Category Archives: Career Blog

3 Ways To Grow Your Career While Working Remotely

While most companies are maintaining remote working schedules, employees often feel worried about their career growth while being absent from the physical workspace. When you work from home, your actual input and value are measured with the work you do, without so much emphasis on the amount of time you spent doing it. So it is not uncommon to worry about a promotion, potential vertical or horizontal growth, and your role in the company. While working from home has its limits, it is still possible to grow your career while working remotely.

3 ways to grow your career while working remotely:

Be proactive

The best way to contribute to your growth within the company is to seek ways to bring value proactively. Try to offer help or your opinion where it would be useful but not expected. There’s no secret that proactive and initiative employees have a higher chance to get noticed, recognized, and rewarded for their efforts. So try to think of any ideas outside of your regular duties that can be helpful to your team, colleagues, or management.

Ask for feedback

Clear and frequent communication helps you to get a better view of your job. When you ask for advice or seek feedback from a mentor, fellow coworker, or manager, you show interest in your work and it shows that you have the desire to improve. The more feedback you get, the faster you can improve your performance. While working remotely, clear communication is even more critical, as physical interactions are limited, which can lead to misunderstandings.

Collaborate

Once again, since remote suggests more solo time, it is important to reach out to your coworkers and collaborate. Try engaging in more team projects, bringing your value and efforts. The role of communication and emotional intelligence in the workplace keeps growing, so being helpful and open can also boost your career.

How To Fight Procrastination While Working From Home

Everyone has experienced when you have things to do, and you have time, but you just keep pushing it back and back until you almost run out of time. If you are guilty of doing this, you are not alone. We all indulge in this guilty pleasure called procrastination. If you’re working from home, you may sometimes find yourself scrolling down your newsfeed instead of finishing that last project. For some people, working from home means peace of mind, silence, and better time management. But for others, the home atmosphere holds way more distractions than a crowded office space. Everybody procrastinates, but if you often do everything last minute or break deadlines, consider these tips on how to fight procrastination while working from home.

How to fight procrastination while working from home:

Arrange a workplace

No matter how much you like your bed, you can’t get the job done if you’re spending all of your day there. Arranging a decent, comfortable workplace will help you stay organized. This way, you can split your activity throughout the day, keeping yourself busy at a desk. Also, many people admit choosing more sophisticated home attire helps them be more productive. If you feel too relaxed in pajamas, dress accordingly to kick off the day.

Limit distractions

The best way to boost your efficiency and fight procrastination is by limiting access to things or activities that distract you. Think of what makes you most distracted. Do you pick up your phone every five minutes? Or switch between the working tab and newsfeed? Is your music up too loud and breaking your concentration? It’s useful to leave your phone out of the workplace and in another room if you can. Leave only those tabs that you really need for work.

Invent a reward

A good old way of getting things done quickly is promising yourself a kind of reward. Make small rewards a part of your working process. It can be a snack, a walk, a coffee break, a cuddle with your cat, or any other motivation that works for you. This way, you have the reason to actually finish important tasks before you can relax.

How To Increase Your Value In A Remote Work Environment?

Despite many offices lifting restrictions, most of the workforce still remains in a virtual workplace. With COVID-19 cases increasing across multiple states, it is uncertain when we will return to physical workplaces, or if we ever will. During this time, many employees struggle to stand out and demonstrate their value to the company, especially the new ones. If you are looking for ways to grow and become a more resourceful employee while working remotely, consider these few tips.

How to stand out while working remotely?

Communicate and collaborate

Communication always was a crucial aspect of good work relationships, and it became even more critical right now. It is often complicated effectively communicate through chat or even a Zoom call. Make sure to clearly communicate your daily achievements, send updates on large projects, ask for detailed feedback, ask questions, and offer help.

Clear and direct communication will make your approach to tasks and projects more efficient, and thus you will bring more value to the company. If daily communication doesn’t give you the desired transparency and clarity you need, schedule recurring meetings to keep track of the updates and discuss all the arising issues. Presenting yourself as an open, collaborative, and social person interested in better teamwork will definitely make you noticed and appreciated.

Always be prepared for the meetings

It’s easy to get too relaxed or carried away when working from home. In some cases, this is okay, but most of the time, it is important to be prepared. Make sure to walk through an agenda, or to create one, and ask all the necessary questions during the meeting. Perceive the calls as a chance to communicate more clearly, to grasp more insight for the project, and to finally socialize with your coworkers.

Be proactive with ideas

On the days when you are not overloaded with work, you have more time to overview industry news, trends, get inspired, and pitch some fresh ideas to your company. Being proactive is especially valued during this time. Whether it is a new project idea or a new suggestion for a better work organization, your initiative will make you stand out.

3 Soft Skills You Should Have To Succeed

In our fast-paced and ever-changing world, career requirements and the job market are constantly changing. In the current time of uncertainty, these changes are more noticeable than ever. While many people struggle with the changes in their job, whether it’s remote work, job search, furlough, or career change, the best way to uplift your career is to adjust to the new market demand. While quarantine has probably shown to all of us the importance of having strong hard skills for operating remotely, employers have their focus on soft skills.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are considered your personal traits, features, and qualities that can be effectively used for individual and teamwork. Usually, the most common soft skills that applicants include in their resume are communication, time management, teamwork, etc. However, now the requirements for soft skills are far beyond just that. Here are some of the most relevant and valuable soft skills most employers are looking for.

Key soft skills to develop

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence encompasses almost everything in terms of human interactions. Basically, being emotionally intelligent means to recognize the patterns or specific characteristics of a person, and use this knowledge to cooperate more efficiently. In simple words, building a personal approach is a valuable skill, whether it’s your boss, colleague, or customer. With the understanding of people’s emotions or behavioral patterns, you will make a long way in your career. It is especially important if you work in managerial positions or deal with many people on a daily basis.

Flexibility and adaptability

The ability to navigate and balance between all the events that are happening right now, and most importantly, to change, is an unmatched skill in today’s job market. We are far away from days when doing the very same job for years was the norm. Now, the more adaptable and flexible you are, the more chances you have to stay relevant in the job market. Being cross-disciplinary and having a combination of skills from different fields lets you not just vertically climb the career ladder, but freely move horizontally and even diagonally. It’s also about mental flexibility. It is hard for experienced professionals to accept the fact they still have something to learn. The fact is, you always have something new to learn.

Crisis management

Since work now has become very decentralized, managers are giving more freedom in terms of decision making to employees. It is important for companies to know that you will be capable of dealing with a complex and random issue on your own. Having responsibility and the ability to handle problems quickly and efficiently is a sign of a mature, professional, and reliable employee.

5 Jobs That Are In High Demand Right Now

With the coronavirus affecting the global economy, the job market took a big hit during the pandemic. In the U.S. alone, unemployment rates reached almost 15% in April, which is the highest ratio since the Great Depression. This has shaken the labor market, and for many employees, their career future is very uncertain during this time. Many people are afraid their job may be low in the demand or even become redundant.

Right now, we are witnessing some shifts in the job market that is giving people some home. Most people can easily adjust their experience and skills to get the right job. Considering current circumstances, some jobs are booming right now, so if you are on the job search, take a look at the following high-demand jobs.

Which jobs are booming right now?

Tech support

Everything in the past few months has gone online, and many servers are now overloaded with a high number of users. After this transition due to the coronavirus, remote work isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Most companies are now realizing that working from home actually works, and will not deploy the same amount of office space, or will get rid of it at all. Even such a giant company as Twitter has announced that more than 7,000 of its employees can work from home as long as they want to. With an increasing demand for cloud services, online platforms and servers, tech support, and IT workers will be in high demand.

Online teachers

The educational system has also suffered during this pandemic, as schools and universities had to close their doors to practice social distancing. Schools and universities haven’t opened yet, but classes, lectures, courses, and conferences had to transit to digital learning. Mass events will most likely be banned for a long time, and most people find it safer and easier to have private lessons online. More online classes could be a trend moving forward after the pandemic is over.

Nurses and medical care

There are plenty of jobs in the health system, ranging from nurses to administrative assistants. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will go to the frontlines to fight COVID-19, but can help contribute to the efforts from afar. The hospitals and nursing homes are generally overloaded and are looking for additional staff. Some job posting might even be offering a bonus or increased rate for coming on.

Delivery drivers

Most restaurants still haven’t returned to their normal functions, and neither had other services that can deliver their products. Deliveries have become the only solution for some grocery stores. Delivery drivers, whether it’s take-out food, groceries, or shipments, will be in high demand for a very long time.

Retail workers

Retail and cashier jobs are always in high demand and don’t require specific skills, experience, or education. Even though the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected these jobs to decline 4% in demand until 2028, retail-related jobs will likely remain hot throughout these upcoming years.

PLS is hiring!

PLS is now hiring account executives! To learn more about our open positions, or to apply today, please click here.

Tips for Job Searching During The Pandemic

During this uncertain time, many people have lost their jobs, are questioning their job choices, and have started working from home. Even during the pandemic, there are still companies out there hiring new talent. Searching for a job during a crisis may be challenging, but it is possible. For some jobs and industries, it is even a more suitable time for boosting your career than ever.

The unemployment rate in the U.S. has officially passed 20% with more than 33 million jobless people, which is the most outrageous number since the Great Depression. It may sound like a terrifying perspective, and you may find yourself wondering if you should even try. It seems like nobody would hire new employees right now since businesses are struggling to at least maintain what they already have. But many companies are just trying to figure out how to organize their work processes, and just may not be posting new jobs yet. Nevertheless, hiring is definitely happening, and you can adjust your search to find the job option you need.

How to search for a job during the crisis?

Update your resume and social profiles

Since everything has gone online, it’s just the right time to upgrade your LinkedIn profile, clean up social media, and refresh your resume. A good thing to do is tailor your cover letter to the current needs of the market, like time management, excellent communication, crisis management, etc. Make sure to keep it resourceful, brief, and adjusted to the particular search. Quarantine is a great time to enhance your skills by taking online courses to learn new skills, so you should definitely include some of those to show your adaptability.

Develop your online network

Having a comprehensive network of useful connections has always been a go-to solution for job searching, both offline and online. Apparently, around 80% of all job offers are never posted anywhere, because these vacancies are distributed and closed through the network of connections. Revise your contacts and define where you can find opportunities. Upgrade your social channels to let people know you are looking for something, and have skills to offer.

Focus on the present

Don’t be afraid to look for a temporary job. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world today, so a short term opportunity could be a great solution for someone looking for a position. You won’t be tied to this job forever, so stay positive and use your creativity to adapt your skills outside of your regular career field.

Look at the growing industries

Some industries have slowed down, while others have gotten a boost in demand and growth. Since most people are searching for short-term options, you can increase your chances where the hiring is active. According to CareerBuilder, currently, these jobs are getting the most growth:

  • Customer service workers
  • Retail and sales
  • Financial analysts and advisors
  • Nurses
  • Laborers
  • Data entry and administrative support
  • Truck drivers
  • Online sales and server maintenance workers

Generally, many industries keep functioning in the relatively same pace. The key to success is to tailor your skills, be persistent, and stay positive. Good luck!

How To Get Back To The Office After Quarantine

As many employees around the globe are right now, you are probably in quarantine or working from home. While there won’t be a national go-back-to-office day, one day you will have to return to your physical workplace. Many people miss having a comfortable place to work and communicate with their colleagues, but returning to the office after quarantine may be challenging.

Firstly, after 1-2 months of isolation, your habits and schedule have probably changed a lot. With that being said, going back to normal won’t really feel normal. Physically and mentally, it will be hard to get back on track, and you will definitely need time to adjust. Work in the office won’t be the same either, because companies are implementing custom solutions for their employees and will most likely set up a safety policy, like social distancing, wearing a mask, or checking your body temperature.

To minimize the damage, you can start getting ready for your comeback right now. Using several simple tips can help a smooth transition.

How to get back to the office after quarantine?

Fix your sleep schedule

Let’s face it, your sleep schedule is broken. In quarantine, it seems like the day merges with the night, and it’s quite difficult to stick to the usual schedule when you don’t have to get ready for work and commute. But this is the primary reason why return to office routine may be painful. Start getting back to a normal schedule as soon as possible, or at least 1-2 weeks before the due date.

Stop wearing pajamas

Another comforting yet quite distracting thing is spending your entire remote month in loungewear or pajamas. It can be very tempting to skip wearing nice clothes to Zoom meetings, but while this feels comfortable, dressing in a more presentable manner increases your chances to set up a productive mood and get work done. Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit, but switching your sweatpants for relaxed jeans will do the job. If you don’t want to accidentally show up in pajamas on your first day, or deal with an unusual feeling of normal clothes, it’s better to start dressing up properly.

Evaluate your job

Quarantine is a good test for both employers and employees. It is also the time when you rethink your role in the company, your career goals, values, and aspirations. Take the time to evaluate if the company you are currently working at is where you want to be. This time seems to be challenging for switching a job, but there are plenty of possibilities even now.

Be prepared for the new rules

Keep in mind that when you will come back to the office, it will most likely be different. Many employers will require obligatory health checks, keeping distance, partially remote, or other measures that can be unusual. But this is the reality we have to deal with now, and the aftermath period won’t last for too long. Being prepared for all outcomes is the best option.

Preparing for a Video Interview

These unprecedented times caused by the coronavirus pandemic have changed the way employers operate. In this new remote world, the interview process has shifted to rely on phone calls and video interviews. While the concept of a video interview is new for many, there is no need to worry! With the right preparation, you are sure to ace the interview.

Types of Video Interviews

There are two types of video interviews, live and asynchronous. A live interview is when both parties are on a video call at the same time, engaging in a two-way conversation. Despite the fact that you are not in the same room as the interviewer, it essentially is the same as an in-person interview.

An asynchronous video is when the interviewee is given a question promptly, not typically given in advance. Then, the interviewee must record themselves responding, usually within a time limit and only one attempt. This concept is more intimidating since it is nontraditional and involves no opportunity for two-way communication. Although it makes it seem awkward, these tips will make you feel comfortable and ready to go!

Tips for a Video Interview

Practice – Practice always makes perfect. It is a good idea to practice recording yourself answering questions so you can get a feel for it ahead of time. The more practice you have, the more comfortable you will be in front of the camera when it comes time for the real deal.

Have the Right Set up – It’s important to consider elements such as background, lighting, and technology when getting ready for your interview. To keep things professional, the background should be clean and organized. A plain wall is always a good idea, and you can elevate the scene by choosing to include a bookshelf, plant life, or wall décor – just make sure it is not flashy and distracting! Test different types of lighting to see what looks best on camera, natural light is always a great option if possible. Lastly, take time before the interview to test your computer’s network connection, audio, and camera system.

Dress the Part – Just because you are interviewing from home does not mean that you shouldn’t be dressing to impress! Be sure to dress fully in business professional attire, including pants (even if they aren’t visible on camera). Solid, soft colors show up the best on camera. Avoid patterns, wearing all white or all black, and colors that blend in with your background.

Body Language – Body language is still an important factor when doing a video interview. Sit up straight, avoid using too many hand gestures, and make eye contact. The natural instinct is to look at the screen, however, you should be looking into the camera!

For more interview tips read: Answering Behavioral Interview Questions, How to Answer 5 Popular Interview Questions

Adjusting to Working From Home

In efforts to control the outbreak of COVID-19 many companies have enacted a prolonged work from home policy. While this is a necessary step and is in the best interest of employee health, working from home can be an adjustment. Below are some tips to help you transition from the office to your home!

Tips for Working From Home

Start Your Day Off Right

While it is easy to roll out of bed and log right on to your computer, you should keep up with your morning routine. Get up, shower, and get dressed for the day as normal. You’ll find yourself feeling more refreshed and ready to take on the day!

Have a Dedicated Work-space

Working from your bed seems like a great idea, but after a while it can get old. Designate a spot in your home for you to work at. It can be a whole room or as simple as a freed-up corner. Make sure it has all the things you need; natural lighting, a comfortable chair, and a distraction free zone can make a world of difference.

Be Prepared

Make sure you have everything you need to continue work as usual. This means downloading any programs or applications you regularly use. With working from home, many companies are relying on virtual conferences. Be ready for your next meeting and check to see if your camera and audio are working. Run into a tech issue? Many companies have chat options available with IT support, this is a good resource if this option is available to you.

Communication is Key

For most, working from home is a new concept. With this sudden change, it is important to maintain lines of communication. Stay in touch with your manager and make sure you know what is expected of you. A daily brief phone call can ensure that everyone is on the right track and informed. If you are a manger, make sure you are keeping the information flowing. Keep communication open and make sure your reports know it is OK to call for a chat.

Missing your daily conversation in the break room over your morning cup of coffee? Don’t be afraid to shoot a message to check in with your co-workers. This can be a way to boost spirits and help keep a sense of normalcy!

Keep the Kids Entertained

Not only are workers at home, but kids are as well. Think ahead and plan some fun activities that will keep the kids busy and allow you to focus on work. However, if you’re a parent, you know this can be difficult. You can mix in some educational activities like reading and puzzles, but know that is it OK to let the kids watch TV and play video games.  Looking for something different? Here are some ideas to keep your kids social while social distancing!

Log Out

Lastly, know when it is time to unplug! Work life balance is even more important when work is brought into your home. Take your lunch break and do something for yourself like working out or watching your favorite show. When the workday is over, exit out of your applications until its time to sign on again!

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College Graduates

8 Job Hunting Tips for a Recent College Graduate

Being a recent college graduate is both an exciting and scary time. As you finish one chapter of your life, you are preparing to turn the page and start your professional career. This can be a daunting task, but there are some steps you can take to help you land that first job!

Job Hunting Tips for a Recent College Graduate

LinkedIn is your friend!

LinkedIn has many different functionalities and is a great tool for finding a job. First, you want to make sure your profile is fully optimized and up to date. When this is done you are ready to job search on the platform. Be sure to check the job postings page regularly, you can even set up new posting alerts for a specific job and area! It is also a good idea to connect with corporate recruiters, don’t be afraid to reach out and send them a personalized message if you are interested in a current posting.

Utilize classroom experience.

You do not need to completely rely on prior job and internship experiences to show you are a qualified candidate. Use your resume and cover letter to highlight any relevant classroom activities. Team projects, external consulting, research, and capstone projects can all be used to show off your skills.

Craft a great cover letter.

Cover letters are important and an opportunity for you to stand out from other applicants. Don’t use a generic cover letter for everything, be sure to tailor it to each position and company. Write it in a way that shows your personality, interests, and qualifications.

Utilize the connections you’ve made.

Throughout your college career, you are likely to have made many connections. Reach out to them and let them know you are in the market for a job. Even if they don’t have a current opening, they may be able to direct you to someone who does. At the very least you will be on their radar if something pops up!

Additional Education.

Your learning experience shouldn’t stop whenever you graduate! Getting additional certifications related to your field can help set you apart. Some of which you can find online for free. For example, HubSpot Academy offers free certifications related to sales, marketing, and design.

Create a personal website.

Having an online portfolio is a great tool and sets you apart from others. Not only does it show your initiative, but it can act as a living document to display all of your work! Include projects, papers, your resume, and contact information on it. You can use a free website builder such as Weebly. Once it is ready, include the website address on your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn page, and anywhere else you find it relevant.

Don’t overlook internships.

Being a college graduate, you may have your eyes set on a full-time position. However, it is OK to accept an internship! Especially if it will give you the experience you need or is for a company you are interested in.

Don’t panic.

You worked hard for your degree and you will get a job. It is OK to not accept the first offer you receive and to wait for a job that is completely right for you! If you don’t graduate with a job lined up, don’t be afraid. Keep up the hard work and you will get that position you are looking for!