Your Personal Finance Pro http://yourpfpro.com Personal Finance for Young Professionals Mon, 24 Sep 2018 16:26:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 31591919 How Switching Jobs Can Hurt Your Budget http://yourpfpro.com/how-switching-jobs-can-hurt-your-budget/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-switching-jobs-can-hurt-your-budget/#comments Mon, 28 May 2018 11:00:04 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7957 Lots of times switching jobs is exciting. You may get to meet new people and learn some new skills. In addition, you might be glad to leave behind a job where there were ill feelings. Changing jobs can mean working less hours or receiving a pay increase. It may also allow you to work closer […]

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Lots of times switching jobs is exciting. But there are times when making a job change can have negative consequences. Sometimes switching jobs can hurt your budget.

Lots of times switching jobs is exciting. You may get to meet new people and learn some new skills. In addition, you might be glad to leave behind a job where there were ill feelings.

Changing jobs can mean working less hours or receiving a pay increase. It may also allow you to work closer to home.

Nevertheless, there are also times when making a job change can have negative consequences. Sometimes switching jobs can hurt your budget.

Lower Pay

If circumstances at your current job are bad enough it may warrant a change in jobs. Of course, the switch may also be prompted by your employer closing its doors or selling the business.

Regardless of the reason, making the switch can hurt you financially if the pay is lower. Fortunately there are a couple of things you can do to soften the blow to your budget.

For instance, if you know with enough advanced warning you can try to pay down some debt. This could alleviate some of the financial strain you will otherwise feel. Another idea is to take on a side hustle so you can make up for the lower pay.

Gap in Paychecks

You may also experience a gap in pay that can hurt your budget as well. It all depends on timing. The last paycheck from your current job and the first paycheck from the new one could leave a gap.

Should that happen you may have to dip into your emergency fund to keep your bills paid. Other options include planning ahead and asking for help from family or friends. Once you receive your first check you can pay the money back.

New Attire

There are times a new job has different clothing requirements than your current one. Some have uniforms and others may simply be more professional than your last job.

Either way, this can affect your finances if you’re expected to foot the bill for the difference in attire. You should ask about this ahead of time if you are unsure of what to expect.

Longer Hours

When you switch jobs you may end up with longer hours than before. Even if the pay is higher, switching jobs can hurt your budget.

Hiring out tasks you used to do yourself, such as housework, decreases the amount of the raise you actually received. You may also eat out more or increase your grocery budget by purchasing more processed foods to save time.

But you can find out how many hours you’ll be expected to work before accepting a job offer. Then, run some number to make sure the higher pay is worth the sacrifice.

Farther Commute

If your new job has a farther commute than your previous one, switching jobs can hurt your budget. You may have to pay for more frequent gas fill-ups for your vehicle. Or, if you take a bus or train it may cost you more for the longer ride.

This is something to consider as you think about whether or not to change jobs. In fact, it may even make you hold out for a promotion rather than leave your current job.

Fewer Benefits

Fewer benefits may also hurt your budget when you switch jobs. You may experience a reduction in sick pay which forces you to take unpaid leave occasionally.

Other considerations are a 401K, vacation days, life insurance, and health insurance to name but a few. Any of these, or other benefits, may be eliminated or reduced by your new employers. Be sure to ask about them for comparison purposed before accepting a job offer.

There are lots of things to look forward to when you begin a new job. But since switching jobs can hurt your budget you need to be prepared. Use the information and tips found here to ensure switching jobs is the right thing to do.

Have you ever switched jobs and found out you made a mistake by doing it?

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Should You Hold Out for a Promotion or Move On? http://yourpfpro.com/should-you-hold-out-for-a-promotion-or-move-on/ http://yourpfpro.com/should-you-hold-out-for-a-promotion-or-move-on/#comments Mon, 09 Apr 2018 11:00:38 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7804 Staying at one job for your whole career isn’t as common as it used to be. Changing jobs is sometimes a way of moving up the ladder. It’s what I did several years ago to advance to a higher position and pay. But sometimes it doesn’t pay to change employers. Making that decision can be […]

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It doesn’t always pay to change jobs. Yet it can move you up the ladder. If you're on the fence, here are some tips to help you decide whether to hold out for a promotion or move on.Staying at one job for your whole career isn’t as common as it used to be. Changing jobs is sometimes a way of moving up the ladder. It’s what I did several years ago to advance to a higher position and pay.

But sometimes it doesn’t pay to change employers. Making that decision can be kind of tough. Here are some tips to help you decide if you should hold out for a promotion or move on.

No Job is Perfect

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. So, if you are tempted to move on to another company, make sure you have all of the facts first.

When you interview, pay attention to other workers as you move through work areas. If the person conducting the interview shows you around, observe what’s happening.

Do the employees smile and act as though they enjoy working there? Or are they tight lipped, tense, and frowning? Even busy staff members who are shorthanded will smile if they like what they are doing.

If you encounter such behaviors and yet aren’t completely unhappy where you currently work you might wish to simply stay.

Overtime vs More Pay

Before you hold out for a promotion or move on, compare the pay. At your current job, are you able to receive overtime pay when you have to work longer hours?

Compare this to what you will be making if you take another position. But to be comparable, you need to know what the work hours will be there as well.

If you receive more pay but must work more hours the sacrifice of family time may not be worth it. That’s what happened to me when I changed jobs and moved up the ladder. Eventually I left that job so I could spend more time with my family instead.

Retirement Account

Another thing to think over before you hold out for a promotion or move on is your retirement accounts. If you’ve only been at your current job a few years cashing out your entire 401K may not be possible.

It takes 3-5 years before you are fully vested. Therefore, if you leave your job you may only be able to take part of your 401K money with you.

Withdrawing funds early may mean you incur penalties and fees. If your retirement account is large enough, you could lose thousands. However, you may be able to take it with you to your new employer or put it in an IRA.

But it’s also possible your new employer won’t permit investing in a 401K until you have worked there awhile. Should that happen you will miss out on the investment dollars you would have made in your old position.

Work Hours

When you change jobs, like I did, there are no guarantees that you will like your new position. I did happen to like mine, but I also got burnt out.

Working incredibly long hours just isn’t possible to do for years on end. Eventually you can end up with family problems, health issues, or other negative outcomes.

Compare the required work hours of any new job offers to your current one before accepting them. It could change your mind and make you hold out for a promotion instead.

As I mentioned before, it isn’t easy to decide if you should hold out for a promotion or move on. There are several factors to consider which can put you on the fence, so to speak, about deciding. Consequently, before you make a decision you can’t take back make sure you have all of the facts.

Have you ever held out for a promotion? How did it turn out?

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How to Make Money Going for a Walk http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-make-money-going-for-a-walk/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-make-money-going-for-a-walk/#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 12:00:47 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7477 It’s pretty common these days for people to have a side hustle to boost their budgets. Actually, I had a side hustle myself up until very recently when I quit my full-time job. Now I work my freelancing side hustle full-time instead. To other people, though, a side-hustle could be any number of different occupations. […]

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Make Money Going for a WalkIt’s pretty common these days for people to have a side hustle to boost their budgets. Actually, I had a side hustle myself up until very recently when I quit my full-time job. Now I work my freelancing side hustle full-time instead.

To other people, though, a side-hustle could be any number of different occupations. Some of them include cleaning houses, babysitting, catering, and painting the interiors of homes, to name but a few.

In addition to these, there is another way to side hustle that isn’t as commonly heard about by most people. The really cool thing about this particular method of side hustling is that it isn’t even all that hard of a job. For the most part it allows you to make money going for a walk.

Have a Good Attitude

The first thing you need to be successful at any side hustle is a good attitude. What I mean by that is, even though the job itself may not be difficult, you still have to work hard at it.

Furthermore, staying positive and working hard make all the difference when it’s a non-glamorous job. For instance, you can discover America’s simplest business, picking up litter for a living, if you have a good attitude and willingness to work.

Get the Right Equipment

Getting the right equipment for this job is not a difficult thing to do. You don’t need powerful equipment or big expensive machinery for these easy to complete tasks.

What you do need is a set of hand tools, the will to apply yourself, and a good pair of walking shoes, of course.

Understand Why It is a Good Business

Cleaning up trash and litter isn’t something every business owner wants to do for themselves. After all, although easy, it can be a stinky, sweaty job. However, you can cash in on their unwillingness if you choose to.

Another reason businesses don’t want to clear their own properties is because having you do it can save them time and money. At the same time it keeps their parking lots, sidewalks, and general surroundings clear of unsightly trash that could turn potential customers away.

Certainly there are other jobs you could do if you need money fast. But this is a business you can build and make your own if you apply yourself.

Moreover, the need for this service is growing. Malls, shopping centers, and just about all retail businesses have the need for litter to be picked up from time to time.

An additional reason it’s a good source of income is because it is a service that will be recurring. After cleaning up a property once it will probably need to be cleared again in a few days.

Market Your Services

In order to make money going for a walk you must get the word out. Advertise that you are free to be hired.

To promote yourself, try posting your availability on social media. You can use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and any others that permit you to promote your services.

Print flyers with your business name, contact information, and how you can help your customers. Post them in business that will allow you to, such as grocery stores or job boards in malls.

Increase your exposure by going door to door if you must. Present yourself professionally, as though you are going for an interview. Smile, and let the business owner know how you can help them save time, money, and more.

Ask for referrals from customers you already have. If you are just getting started, offer to clean up a couple of businesses for free if they will give you several referrals.

Having a side hustle can really help your budget when money is tight. But it’s even better when you can do something simple, like make money going for a walk. If you need extra money, consider making your community a cleaner place and getting paid for it at the same time.

Would you ever consider making extra money by going for a walk this way?

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Reasons Not to Burn Bridges When You Quit Your Job http://yourpfpro.com/reasons-not-to-burn-bridges-when-you-quit-your-job/ http://yourpfpro.com/reasons-not-to-burn-bridges-when-you-quit-your-job/#respond Mon, 28 Aug 2017 11:00:18 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7326 Recently, a former co-worker of mine quit her job. While she didn’t flip her finger when she left, she did make it known that she hadn’t been happy while employed there. The town I live in has a population of just over 5,000 and, as a result, jobs are sometimes hard to find. My employer, […]

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Reasons Not to Burn BridgesRecently, a former co-worker of mine quit her job. While she didn’t flip her finger when she left, she did make it known that she hadn’t been happy while employed there.

The town I live in has a population of just over 5,000 and, as a result, jobs are sometimes hard to find. My employer, however, is one of the larger ones in our small town. Consequently, there is always a remote possibility that she may re-apply for a position there in the future.

But the problem is that I am not at all sure she would be hired back if she did. Her situation got me thinking about how different it was when I was rehired a couple of years ago.

You see, I worked for the same employer once before. In fact, I ran the department that I now work in. The difference for me is that I left under different circumstances.

Had I have been surly or lashed out in any way I am certain I would not have been considered for re-employment. I was lucky that I didn’t. There are reasons not to burn bridges when you quit your job.

1. Reputation

Several years ago when I left the hospital where I now work again I wasn’t happy either. Being in management isn’t all great pay, authority, and power over others. For me it was hard work, long hours, and not much appreciation.

Of course, that is expected when you are in a position of management. I knew that before I was first hired because it hadn’t been my first management roll.

After a while, though, I got burnt out. Additionally, I was tired of missing out on so much of my kid’s lives and school activities. That was what motivated me to put in my notice.

Like my friend who recently quit, my coworkers and staff at the time knew I wasn’t happy when I left. Despite my discontent, I left my management job with as much dignity and respectfulness as I could muster.

Because my town is small I knew I would see my former work family again. The two part-time jobs I held during the gap ensured I continued having contact with them. Community events and shopping at local stores also contributed.

But since I didn’t act out or verbally berate anyone when I left the first time my reputation was intact and I had the full-time job I needed. In addition, I had no problem getting those two part job jobs in between either.

2. Possibility of Being Rehired

Another one of the reasons not to burn bridges when you quit your job is the possibility of being rehired. For example, my current employer hired me back with little reservation.

My story would no doubt have been much different if I had gotten confrontational when I left the hospital the first time. Sure, I was frustrated by work conflicts just like anyone else.

However, it’s always best not to say or do anything in the heat of the moment that you might regret later. Think things over carefully before you burn bridges and prepare ahead of time when you quit your own job.

3. Future Employment

Ours is the information age and networking is as important as ever. Furthermore, in a small town, word travels like wildfire. Any juicy gossip or tidbit of information is known by nearly everyone in our community within 24 hours of it happening.

Obviously not everyone works in a small town like mine. Regardless, information still travels and keeping up appearances is important.

When you burn bridges as you leave a job, though, you risk ruining your chances at future employment even in a city. Word gets around within the business world if you leave in flagrant style.

The problem is that you never know when your reputation precedes you. You may apply for a job somewhere with a former competitor and be turned down.

If you were to ask why you may find out information you almost don’t want to know. It’s because the prospective employer heard about your final dramatic performance from your former employer.

Rather than risk your future employment possibilities, don’t burn your bridges when you quit your job. Telling off your boss might feel good in the moment, but it could cost you another job if you do.

Instead, plan your exit carefully. Look over your benefits package and turn in your notice to maximize them the most. Whatever you do, don’t burn bridges when you quit your job.

Have you ever burned bridges when you quit a job? Did you regret it later?

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How to Manage Your Boss http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-manage-your-boss/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-manage-your-boss/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 23:42:39 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7008 It’s a strange realization when you start a new job, especially when you’re an entry-level employee and this is possibly your first “real adult” job, that you have to manage your boss. If you had good mentors, a good internship, or perhaps a really good Career Center in college, someone may have told you this […]

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It’s a strange realization when you start a new job, especially when you’re an entry-level employee and this is possibly your first “real adult” job, that you have to manage your boss. If you had good mentors, a good internship, or perhaps a really good Career Center in college, someone may have told you this would happen. If you’re like me and heard of this but never really thought it was true, it might be a shock when you find out, yes, you do have to learn how to manage your boss.

Learning how to manage your boss is extremely delicate and depends a lot on your boss’ personality. Are they Type A’s who like to know everything, are they less hands on and expect you to go to them with problems, or, perhaps the most difficult of all, are they all over the place with no consistency?

Luckily for you, I’ve had all three types (plus many more, and many that share similar qualities), and I’ve successfully navigated the waters around all different types of bosses. Here are a few ways you can learn to successfully manage your boss without making it look like you’re managing them.

Managing a Type A Boss

A Type A boss can either be a dream or a nightmare to work with, depending on what kind of Type A they are. Are they Type A until they realize you can handle the work, then they back off but still check in regularly? Or will they never relinquish control and basically micromanage your work?

In some cases, you can get a Type A boss to eventually let you do your work by consistently proving to them you can handle the work. Type A bosses typically get a bad reputation for being micro-managers, but in many cases this is because they found they couldn’t trust the work product from their employees, so they assume they can’t trust anyone – especially the new person (you).

Here are the best ways to handle a Type A boss:

  • Get work done ahead of schedule. Fair or not, your best bet with managing a Type A boss is get your work done ahead of schedule. If the deadline is Friday, have it done by Wednesday. Have it completely done with maybe one or two questions for your boss, and have it done well.
  • Be confident. When you approach your boss with questions, be confident in how you ask them. You don’t have to be confident in your (assumed) answer – heck, you could be completely clueless about the answer! But when asking your Type A boss, ask your question confidently, like it’s a completely normal question anyone (new or not) would have.
  • Document everything. Because Type A bosses have usually been let down by employees in the past, as you complete work, make a running list of things you’ve completed in that week. If you notice a process being done inefficiently that you could do more efficiently, write down some notes about how you could improve this process. Type As (and micro-managers) typically look for things that make you look bad, so document what you do.

Winning over a Type A boss and managing them effectively takes a lot of time, more time than any other boss. However, if you win over a Type A boss, and they trust you, they’ll give you a lot of opportunities to shine. They’ll likely give you more work, but if you’re looking for a promotion and a raise, this will be exactly what you need. Type As also make great references, because they typically have good memories (or take good notes) so if you’ve been a high performer, they’ll sing your praises.

If your Type A boss stays Type A, then they’ve become a micro-manager. In this case, continue documenting everything you do and start to set boundaries once you’ve proved yourself. You want to make it so your boss isn’t hovering over you, like a micro-manager, so encourage your boss to set up weekly meetings with regular email updates from you. It may be tedious to send unnecessary email updates to your boss, especially if you work in the same office and already meet weekly, but it’s better than having him/her sit next to you and interrupt your work every single day.

Managing the Disappearing Boss

The opposite of the Type A boss is the disappearing boss. Whether it’s because your boss is actually checked out or because they think you can handle your work all on your own, managing a disappearing or checked out boss can be a challenge.

Here are the best ways to handle a disappearing boss:

  • Find out why they’re gone or checked out first. Is your boss really busy, so they are never there? Do they like work so much that they forget to come out and socialize? Or are they checking out because they’re close to retirement and just don’t care? Figuring out how to communicate with your boss (or their potential replacements, however temporary, if your boss is retiring) will determine how you move forward.
  • If your boss is busy or forgets to check on staff, be persistent. See if you can set weekly or twice a month, one-on-one meetings with your boss to check in. If your boss is busy, these meetings can be short (30 minutes or less). Keep the topics focused on questions you have or challenges you’re not sure how to overcome.
  • If your boss is checked out, see who the next in line may be. If your company usually hires from the outside, that might be more difficult, but usually someone will be a temporary boss or shoulder more of those duties as your boss nears retirement and after s/he retires. Try to work with them, ask them questions, and understand what their work style is. Even if they’re only a temporary boss, you need to have someone to answer your questions if your boss is truly completely checked out.

Managing the Eccentric Genius Boss

Depending on your personality, managing an eccentric (genius or otherwise) boss can be entertaining – or frustrating. These types of bosses typically have so much going on in their heads that they don’t really communicate effectively – with you and with everyone else.

Here’s how to manage an eccentric boss:

  • Be prepared to sift through what they’re saying to understand anything. After a meeting with your boss, you may have more questions than answers. Try to take some time, think about what your boss said, then see how it applies to the questions you have. You’ll probably have to rely on your coworkers for clarity until you understand your boss’ quirks.
  • Be prepared to accept more responsibility, quickly. Eccentric bosses, particularly brilliant and eccentric bosses, will assume you’re just as talented and bright as they are, and they’ll assume you can handle more work than you think you can. If you feel overwhelmed, set a meeting with your boss and express your concerns (do you need more training, more time, a coworkers assistance?) Typically, eccentric bosses are understanding once they realize they’ve give you way more work than you can handle, so don’t be afraid to speak up. Accepting more work if you can handle it, however, is great for your resume.
  • Understand that sometimes you will act as the boss. If you go to meetings with your boss and other people outside of your organization, you may have to act as a “translator” for your eccentric boss. Be prepared that people may start calling you for information because they “see” you as the boss (or the Boss Whisperer). Always remember you speak for your boss and, if you’re asked questions you can’t answer, defer to your boss.

In my experience, the eccentric genius boss has always been the best to work for, because you learn so much from them. Compared to the other bosses, eccentric genius bosses rarely have egos and are so excited to teach you about the job that they give you a ton of freedom, flexibility, and opportunity for challenges. They can, however, be frustrating, so certain personalities do better under eccentric bosses than others.

That’s not to say you won’t find a lot of variation in bosses either – some bosses’ personalities will overlap and some you may never understand. Most bosses, however, have some type of these personalities under the surface. When in doubt, they’re probably Type A.

With these strategies, you’re on your way to successfully managing your boss. Have you found these personality types to be true and, if so, how do you manage your boss?

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4 Ways to Manage Your Last Two Weeks at Work http://yourpfpro.com/4-ways-manage-last-two-weeks-work/ http://yourpfpro.com/4-ways-manage-last-two-weeks-work/#respond Wed, 15 Feb 2017 15:24:34 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=6955 If you’re a Millennial, get used to learning how to manage your last two weeks at work. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, Millennials will have four job changes by the time they are 32. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the best things to keep in mind when […]

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If you’re a Millennial, get used to learning how to manage your last two weeks at work. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, Millennials will have four job changes by the time they are 32. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the best things to keep in mind when switching jobs is: maintain your relationships!

If you haven’t figured it out by now, you will soon learn that a lot of people get jobs because of relationships. Whether someone alerts you to a job, or you get a great recommendation for a job, or even just to have a mentor throughout your career, people are what propel you forward in your jobs. That’s why, when you’re leaving your job, it pays to take your last two weeks seriously.

Leaving a job soon and not sure what a proper last two weeks looks like? There are a few things you should, and shouldn’t do, when finishing out the last two weeks at your job. Here are a few tips on handling those last 10 days!

Give At Least Two Weeks

In many industries, giving a two week’s notice (i.e. alerting your boss that you will be leaving the company in 10 days) is standard. However, that really depends on the organization and your place in it.

If you’re pretty high in your organization and several people report to you, you may be asked to give longer than two week’s notice. The more complex your projects are and the more people you oversee, the harder it will be to replace you and to manage the people you leave behind while finding and training your replacement. If this describes your job, you may be asked to stay on longer.

If, however, your projects aren’t complex, you have coworkers that do a similar job, and you don’t manage any other employees, you’re probably fine to give just a two week’s notice.

Also, make sure to hand in a physical copy of your two week’s notice to your supervisor. While you’ll also need an electronic copy for documentation and to provide to Human Resources (HR), it’s just considerate to speak to your boss face-to-face when ending your time at the company.

Don’t Offer to Work for Free

One mistake I see, especially with Millennial women, is over-apologizing and being overly-helpful in the transition process. When handing in your two week’s notice, you may feel bad for putting your company in the position of having to hire and train a new person. You may feel bad for your coworkers who have to take on more work, and you may feel bad for having to turn down an important project your boss gave you.

The fact is: that’s life. You weren’t the first person to leave your company, and you won’t be the last. Others have left the company in probably a lot worse shape so, if you’ve given your two week’s and are confident you can transition your projects to someone else as best as possible, that’s all you owe your company.

The worst thing you can do is offer to come back or work after hours (after you’ve left the company) to “help” during the transition. A good boss won’t take you up on this offer, but unscrupulous bosses will… and who wants to work for free?

Work on Transitioning Your Projects

In some cases, after you leave, your coworkers may complain about your work ethic or the work you left behind in order to get out of taking on more work. You don’t want to get the reputation of poor work quality, even after you leave, so once you’ve given your two week’s notice, immediately start the transition process for your projects.

Ideally, your supervisor will sit down with you and go over your projects, determining which one of your coworkers will take on which responsibilities. If they don’t initiate this process, try to get a meeting with them to go over this transition plan. If you’ve worked with certain coworkers in the past and know people familiar with your work, you may even suggest people for your projects to help out your supervisor.

Once you know who will be taking on your projects (even if that person is the replacement you), document all the steps to complete your projects. Document your regular tasks, especially if they involve technology or special software. You basically want to leave behind at least a one page explanation of every project and responsibility you have, detailing how to do it.

This tracking document doesn’t have to be long, only one page per project, but it needs to have a comprehensive overview so that someone could reasonably complete or do your job without having to ask your supervisor one million questions. Save this document in a folder that everyone on your team can access, if possible, and send a copy to your supervisor so they can pass it on.

Continue Building Relationships with Certain Coworkers

In your last two weeks of work, you don’t want to spend time with every coworker, answering every question about where you’re going and why. Especially if you’re leaving for a negative reason (like leaving a bad company culture), you don’t want people to pry and second-guess your motives. All it does is create drama and keeps you from finishing your transition documents!

Once you notify your supervisor of your last two weeks, ask if you can send a brief email to colleagues explaining your departure on a certain date and to say where you’re going (if you want to disclose that). Some supervisors will prefer to send this email out themselves, some will want to announce it at a staff meeting, and some will let you do it. Either way, get the message out to general coworkers with as little fanfare as possible.

As far as coworkers you want to keep in touch with, especially supervisors you will need references from in the future, schedule lunches or coffee dates with them in your last two weeks. You don’t need to go into details why you’re leaving, especially if it’s not on good terms, but share with them as much as you’re comfortable and let them know you enjoyed working with them.

Many of these coworkers will want to stay in touch, so give them your email address and send a follow up email, inviting them to stay in touch. You don’t need to be best friends with them, but occasionally send them emails once you’ve left the company, especially with links to interesting news or other articles they may find interesting.

Basically, what you want to do is maintain good relationships with good coworkers. Even if you never end up needing them for anything (doubtful), it’s always good to be in occasional contact with professionals. And in all likelihood, you may need them for a reference, they may need you for one, or you may pass job leads back and forth.

Giving your two week’s notice can seem daunting at first, but there are a lot of things to do in those last two weeks. By staying focused, you’ll get through your final two weeks as a professional and leave on a positive note, on to bigger things!

What recommendations do you have for someone who’s leaving their job? Any professionals tips or even horror stories you’d like to share?

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How to Prepare to Quit Your Job http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-prepare-to-quit-your-job/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-prepare-to-quit-your-job/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 20:21:34 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=6982 Many of us have seen the comics or sitcom TV shows, where the main character has finally had enough and just storms out yelling “I quit!” (or some colorful variation thereof). Hooray for him! we cheer, because we’ve seen how horrible his boss is, or how crazy his coworkers are. Finally he got out of […]

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Many of us have seen the comics or sitcom TV shows, where the main character has finally had enough and just storms out yelling “I quit!” (or some colorful variation thereof). Hooray for him! we cheer, because we’ve seen how horrible his boss is, or how crazy his coworkers are. Finally he got out of there!

It turns out, this isn’t just a phenomenon on TV or in the comics. In addition to writing, I also am a Pinterest Marketing Manager (just a fancy term to basically I say I manage other blogger’s/company’s Pinterest accounts), and so I spend a lot of time on Pinterest. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve read that all triumphantly state “I just quit my job!” “Quit my job with no back up plan!” “Quitting my job and pursuing my passion!”

Don’t get me wrong – I think this is great! If you have the resources to quit your job and get going, good for you! But is this really practical for a lot of people?

I say this all because, earlier last week, I quit my job. I did it for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest is that I make enough with my “side hustle” to replace my full income from my previous job. Regardless of how I felt about my boss, coworkers, or the work that I did, the ability to work from home and not suffer monetarily was the biggest reason I did what I did.

However, this post isn’t one of those “quit your job! Do it! You’ll regret it forever if you don’t!” posts. I didn’t quit my job haphazardly – I planned for 2.5 years to leave. You don’t quite have to engineer your exit the way I did, but rest assured you should, and do, have to plan something. Here’s how to engineer your exit and prepare to quit your job responsibly.

Have a Back Up Plan

If you’re thinking about leaving your job, what’s your back up plan? Don’t listen to Pinterest; you need a back up plan. But it doesn’t have to be hard or complicated! Here’s a few ideas:

  • Leaving for a new position in the same industry – probably the easiest thing to do, this is just called “looking for a new job”.
  • Leaving for a new position in another industry – you’ll likely have to learn new skills to do this, so while you’re working at your current job, acquire your new industry’s skills on your free time and start building connections in that industry. If you are planning to move into the health industry, you can enroll in courses such as an online RN to BSN Program. Studying online is a great way to learn new skills without the hassle of traveling to a traditional university.
  • Working from home/being an entrepreneur – do you already have a viable side hustle? Has your small business idea already proven its viability and made your money?
  • A large emergency fund – sure, you can quit your job and not do something else. But make no mistake, you’re relying on your emergency fund as your back up plan.

If you notice, all of these plans involve money. Unless you have no bills and live completely off grid, you have to make money or have money to take care of yourself (and your family/pets, if you have those). Don’t even consider giving your two week’s notice if you don’t have enough money (or the ability to earn enough money) to pay all of your bills for several months.

How Much Do You Really Need to Survive?

Don’t get too bare bones when creating your “adios job!” budget, but don’t assume your spending will stay the same. In almost every case, you’ll likely spend less moving from your current job to a new position, even if you stay within your field. Unless you’ve let your work clothes get completely tattered, you shouldn’t even need too many new clothes, even for a new job.

If you’re pursuing your own small business plan (as I am), expect many expenses to decrease (driving to work, lunches out, parking costs, etc.) but others to increase (tools for your business, licensing fees, etc.). Make an informed budget based on your current bills and estimate your future monthly expenses. The end number is the absolute minimum you need to bring in monthly just to break even.

You Still Need an Emergency Fund

Even with a back up plan, a bare bones budget and an estimate of how much you’ll make, if you’re quitting your job without immediately starting another one, you’ll definitely need an emergency fund. This goes double for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur or freelancer. Unfortunately, the market can be tough, competition fierce, and sometimes clients don’t want to pay on time.

If you’re running on a tight budget, you can’t afford to be late on your rent or car payment, so you’ll always need some type of emergency fund. You don’t necessarily need an emergency fund to last you a whole year, but you’ll want one to see you through several hard months.

A good recommendation is a 6 month emergency fund, and while there are exceptions, I would recommend 6 months at least. Is that number right for everyone? No. Some people will need a year saved up, some only a few months. Save what you and your family feels is the right amount, but always err on the side of having too much saved up rather than too little.

Overall, deciding to quit your job is a very personal decision, but if you want to do it, prepare first. As long as you’ve thought through your decision and have backup plan B (and C, and maybe D…), you should land on your feet. You can (carefully prepare and then) do it!

What recommendations do you have for someone who’s thinking of leaving their job? Any preparation tips you wish you had listened to?

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4 Positive Ways to Manage Office Politics http://yourpfpro.com/4-positive-ways-manage-office-politics/ http://yourpfpro.com/4-positive-ways-manage-office-politics/#respond Wed, 11 Jan 2017 12:30:11 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=6922 One of the best ways to earn more money is by getting a raise at your current job. A pay increase may mean a little more work, but if you like your job and are good at it, it’s not as tough as getting a second job or starting a completely new career. While it’s […]

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One of the best ways to earn more money is by getting a raise at your current job. A pay increase may mean a little more work, but if you like your job and are good at it, it’s not as tough as getting a second job or starting a completely new career.

While it’s important to work hard and successfully complete your assignments, there’s something else you need to do at work to make sure you get that promotion or pay raise, and that’s managing office politics. The saying “it’s all about who you know” in terms of networking is equally as important when you’re going for a raise or promotion: you need to make sure you’re networking and managing office politics positively.

Luckily, managing office politics doesn’t have to be as tricky, or time-consuming, as it sounds. It’s basically like being your regular, hardworking self, but a little more focused about how and what you’re doing. If you’re looking for that next pay step in your career, check out these 4 tips to manage office politics.

Be a Great Version of You

Office politics is just another way of saying “interacting with your coworkers”, but on a more enhanced scale. Whereas you might have walked into the office on Monday morning, head down focused on getting work done and/or getting coffee, start focusing on saying “hello”, making small talk, and basically being nice the first 15 minutes as people arrive into the office.

What you’re doing here is coming across as friendly yet professional with colleagues. Sure, not everyone is into small talk in the morning, but trust me: people notice. Keep it brief but be seen, and soon you’ll get a reputation for being both reliable and friendly.

Take Leadership Roles

When managers are thinking of promoting people or awarding pay raises, they generally first think of people who have taken on leadership roles. Managers want to promote people who display leadership qualities and get along with the majority of their coworkers, and signing up to be a team lead on a project is a great way to get noticed positively.

Make this a win-win for yourself by signing up for or asking to be included on projects with coworkers you like. This way, even if you don’t necessarily like office politics, you’ll be working with people you like for something that should, eventually, lead to a pay raise.

Stay Away From Office Gossip

Depending on your personality and the culture of your office, this may be easier said than done! Gossiping about coworkers or other departments can be one way to bond, but no matter how “okay” it might seem at the time, it’s a real detriment to getting a promotion.

If you hear gossip near you, try to avoid the area or, if you’re brought in to the conversation, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom or respond to an important voicemail/email. If you feel people are starting to exclude you because you won’t gossip with them, try to talk to them one-on-one about their vacations, pets, kids, or hobbies. People love talking about themselves, so this is a good way to build a positive relationship while avoiding the negative.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Remember why you’re at work: because you like your job, your coworkers, your mentor, the mission, and/or you like getting paid regularly. You don’t have to like all of those things at once, but in the end, you’re there to make money and you want to keep getting raises.

You might not like the term office politics and you may wish you could keep your head down, do a good job, and be recognized for it. Unfortunately, in many offices, that’s not how it works. You have to speak up for yourself and your own good work, and get noticed positively. By following these four tips, you’re on your way to your next promotion or pay raise!

Do you have any tips for mastering office politics?

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Staying Productive in the Post-Holiday Slump http://yourpfpro.com/staying-productive-post-holiday-slump/ http://yourpfpro.com/staying-productive-post-holiday-slump/#respond Wed, 28 Dec 2016 22:38:11 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=6912 Happy holidays! Are you back to work already? Sometimes it just seems like the holidays fly by – which can be a good or bad thing, depending on your viewpoint! One thing that’s for sure: for those of us back to work in an office, feeling productive after the holidays, when the office is mostly […]

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Happy holidays! Are you back to work already? Sometimes it just seems like the holidays fly by – which can be a good or bad thing, depending on your viewpoint!

One thing that’s for sure: for those of us back to work in an office, feeling productive after the holidays, when the office is mostly empty, can feel like a herculean task. After all, no one else is around working, it’s dark and cold outside, and you really have a lot of errands you’d like to run, right?

However, the longer you work in an office (or even from your own home!), the more you realize this post-holiday slump is actually a great opportunity for you, your work and/or your business. While everyone else is off tending to kids, or family still in town, or just sleeping off the holiday feasts, you can be taking advantage of the quiet time to really kick off 2017.

Here are a few tried-and-true tips for staying productive during a post-holiday slump and getting a jump on the new year!

Organize!

When it’s cold outside and you’re (mostly) all alone in the office, take time to finally organize your desk. You likely have stacks of paper, receipts, and other random stuff laying around that you meant to file and never did. Now is the time to take them out, organize them by project or date, make a note on your calendar in 2017 (if it’s a recurring project), and file them away!

Consider making electronic copies too, if you’re trying to declutter. Personally, I like to make electronic copies and keep the hard copy, and I say that as someone who hates clutter. Unfortunately, files can be deleted or corrupted, and keeping a hard copy just ensures you’re covered at work. Just make sure to file it in a place that makes sense to you!

Clean Out Old Files

Finishing filing all the loose paper on your desk? Time to clean out old stuff! Whether you work at home or work in an office, it’s always a good idea to use “down time” (i.e. the post-holiday slump) to review old files and discard anything you don’t need anymore.

This is a good time to review your filing system, too. Did a project change names halfway through the year, but you still have it filed under Project A? If it’s now under a new name (or your client changed the name of their business, etc.), create a new file or use White Out to write over with the new project name, Project X.

Clean!

When was the last time you took a thorough Lysol wipe and pressurized air can to your desk and keyboard, respectively? Yeah, enough said. Your desk is probably gross and harboring germs. Now that you cleared off all your paper clutter and organized your files (hopefully in a filing cabinet), now it’s time to clean off your desk – thoroughly!

Get rid of holiday cards (yes, now), pictures that aren’t framed, broken or useless pens, and corral your paper clips. If you haven’t used it all year, either get rid of it or use an organizational tool to gather extra supplies and put into your drawer. We all need paperclips, but do 70 loose paperclips need to overwhelm your desk? Gather them up, put them in a box or organizational tool, and store them away to use throughout the year.

Prepare for the Next Year

What are your goals, or the goals of your office/supervisor for 2017? Even if you haven’t discussed next year’s goals with your supervisor, you likely have an idea of projects you need to execute in 2017, so start documenting how you’re going to accomplish those goals.

If you run your own business, what do you want to focus on in January? Are you looking to focus on social media in January? How many page views per day would you like to see? Write it down, write down your plans for increasing page views (will you take a course or hire it out?), then write down your steps, day by day, for achieving your goals.

While you may not control every aspect of your projects in an office job, you probably know who you need to talk to and what steps you need to accomplish on your own before moving forward, so document these steps in your calendar and focus on them in January so you’re ready to go throughout the year.

What are you up to during the post-holiday slump? Are you taking advantage of the down time or are you taking a much needed rest?

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Should You Get Your Boss a Gift for the Holidays? http://yourpfpro.com/should-you-get-your-boss-a-gift-for-the-holidays/ http://yourpfpro.com/should-you-get-your-boss-a-gift-for-the-holidays/#respond Wed, 21 Dec 2016 12:30:35 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=6902 This time of the year can be tricky in the office: in addition to avoiding all the tasty treats in the office (holiday pounds!) and the minefield of wishing someone “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas” (a true minefield depending on the politics of your office), the last thing you need to worry about is giving […]

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This time of the year can be tricky in the office: in addition to avoiding all the tasty treats in the office (holiday pounds!) and the minefield of wishing someone “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas” (a true minefield depending on the politics of your office), the last thing you need to worry about is giving gifts to your coworkers. After all, you just work with them – you’re not family!

Unfortunately, some people think coworkers do equal family, and you may feel pressured to get those around you something. But what happens when the expectation is to get your boss/supervisor a gift for the holidays? Do you have to do that? Will you get fired if you don’t?

Here’s what you need to know about getting your boss a gift for the holidays, and how you can avoid going into debt buying gifts for everyone this year!

The Official Answer: No

One of my favorite career writers is Alison Green, from AskAManager.org, and she says workplace etiquette says gifts flow downward, not upward. As she points out, there is a power dynamic between an employee and their supervisor, and managers should never benefit from that power dynamic.

This is true even if your boss gives you a gift – you should not feel obligated to reciprocate. While some bosses are thoughtful and/or generous and give gift cards or small gifts to their employees, this doesn’t mean you need to give them something too. It’s just a nice gesture!

In Real Life: Maybe

All that said, many of us have had bad bosses that expect something during the holidays, whether or not they give something to you. That’s why the real answer to “should I get my boss a gift for the holidays?” is “maybe.”

How will you know whether or not you should get your boss a gift for the holidays? Do a little recon: does your boss like to have his/her birthday celebrated? This will give you a clue into whether or not they expect people to give them gifts. Were gifts given last year? Does your office do a “strongly encouraged” Secret Santa, and the boss is included? Have previous employees been shunned for not participating in a gift exchange?

If the answer to any of these questions points to “yes”, you may have to deal with it and get your boss a small gift… or find a better boss 🙂

What Should You Do?

If it’s clear your coworkers give your boss gifts for the holidays, and apparent your boss takes it personally if you don’t give them a gift, you may want to seriously consider giving a gift just to keep the peace (keeping in mind finding another job or boss!)

However, you don’t have to go broke buying your boss a gift. A few ideas to consider:

Whatever you do, don’t get a too personal gift. No body lotions, charitable gifts in your boss’ name, or anything expensive. They’re your boss, not your cousin.

If buying something for your boss is truly out of the question, you could always write them a card, expressing gratitude for their guidance as a supervisor. If your coworkers are demanding you chip in for a group gift, just say “I’m getting (Boss Person) something on my own, and I won’t be able to chip in on the group gift this year.” If this is the case, make it clear upfront to your coworkers you won’t be chipping in for the group gift, so they don’t buy a gift and then expect your contribution for reimbursement.

Are you getting your boss a gift this year, or have you bought your boss a gift in the past?

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What To Do After Attending a Business Conference http://yourpfpro.com/what-to-do-after-attending-a-business-conference/ http://yourpfpro.com/what-to-do-after-attending-a-business-conference/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:52:21 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6827 I recently attend a really awesome business/financial conference called FinCon16. If you’ve ever attended a conference as a business person looking to make new connections and grow your business, you know how overwhelming these conferences can be. There are so many conferences out there, so many things to learn and implement immediately, it’s tough to […]

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I recently attend a really awesome business/financial conference called FinCon16. If you’ve ever attended a conference as a business person looking to make new connections and grow your business, you know how overwhelming these conferences can be.

There are so many conferences out there, so many things to learn and implement immediately, it’s tough to return from conferences and figure out exactly what you should be doing next. Luckily, I travel and attend conferences for work frequently, so I know what you can put to the side and what you need to follow up with.

Because it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about what you need to do for your business over a year, I’m summarizing the most important things you can do in the first month of returning from a business conference. Here are the things you need to do within a month after attending a business conference.

1 to 3 Days After the Business Conference

Make sure you follow up with every business you connected with that may want to hire you. These people are critical, because you likely went to the conference hoping to make business contacts, so it makes sense to follow up with them first.

If you connected with someone who wants to hire you, you want to make sure you reach out within the first few days of returning from the conference, while you’re fresh in their minds and they’re fresh in yours.

One Week After the Business Conference

Time to reach out to all the people you liked! 🙂 If you made connections with people who you might want to feature on your website, or get to know online, reach out to these people within the week. These people aren’t business contacts, but they’re people you met, liked, and maybe do the same work as you.

It’s always good to make friends within your business industry, people you can learn from and bounce ideas off of. Who knows, you may even become offline friends too!

One Month After the Business Conference

Over the course of the month, take time to determine if what you learned at the conference is what you want to implement. You won’t be able to take everything you learned from the conference and implement it in a month, nor would you want to. However, in the month following the conference, it’s your time to figure out what strategies will work for your brand and your customers.

During this month, continue working on your website or shop as you normally would, and slowly implement changes week by week. You don’t want to completely change up your website and confuse your visitors, but by implementing it slowly, you’ll be able to test things out and introduce your readers to your new branding.

The most important thing to takeaway from a business conference is to not let opportunities get away from you. It’s easy to be overwhelmed and think you have to do everything, right away, but you don’t! Follow up with business contacts quickly, but otherwise, take your time at making changes that are right for your business.

While you don’t want to take 8 months to implement positive changes for your business, make sure your changes reflect your business. With the things you learned at your business conference, you can improve your business and be more successful – just in time for the next business conference!

If you’ve attended a conference for your business or brand, what recommendations do you have for people who struggle with what to do after a business conference? If you haven’t attended a business conference, what questions do you have?

 

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How to Make a Good First Impression at an Interview http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-make-a-good-first-impression-at-an-interview/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-make-a-good-first-impression-at-an-interview/#respond Thu, 15 Sep 2016 03:49:02 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6807 There’s a lot to be anxious about when you’re going on an interview: am I qualified? Will they like me? Have I prepared for the most common interview questions? What about uncommon interview questions? While there are dozens of ways to try to prepare for an interview, there are a few easy ways you can […]

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There’s a lot to be anxious about when you’re going on an interview: am I qualified? Will they like me? Have I prepared for the most common interview questions? What about uncommon interview questions? While there are dozens of ways to try to prepare for an interview, there are a few easy ways you can immediately make a good first impression, leading to a hopefully stellar job interview.

The tips are based on the dozens of interviews I’ve attended as an interview panel member for various different jobs in my company. There are just some people who make such a good first impression, their whole interview is off to a good start. And the best part? There’s nothing “special” about them – anyone can make a good first impression at an interview if they follow these tips!

Arrive Early

As the saying goes, if you’re 15 minutes early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. While there’s typically no reason to get to a job interview earlier than 15 minutes, you do need to be there before the actual interview time itself.

Why would interviewers schedule you for a 9 a.m. interview but actually want you there at 8:45 a.m.? While some interviewers will ask you to arrive “a few minutes early”, some won’t, and that’s because they’re just doing the interview. Someone else (usually a secretary) will be the one behind the scenes, collecting your paperwork, asking you to fill out additional paperwork, and/or validating your parking.

These type of administrative reasons are why you’ll want to arrive early. Also, being there early and not making the interview panel wait for your arrival is key to making a good first impression.

Dress Professionally

There is no reason you need to go to the fanciest suit place in town to make a good first impression at an interview – an outlet store or what you currently have in your closet will likely be fine, but there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Style: dress pretty conservatively, especially if you’re in professions like law, government, banking, etc. Marketing, sports and communications may be a little more casual, but it’s always smart to err on the side of looking professional than not
  • Fit: make sure your suit or skirt-suit fits you. That means it’s not too baggy, with your sleeves overtaking your hands, or that it’s too tight and puckers when you try to button your jacket. If you have any concerns, ask a friend! When you get the job, you can take them out for coffee.
  • Color: I generally recommend people buy suits or skirt-suits together, not mix and match. This way you know your black suit is really the same shade of black and not “night black” and “charcoal black.” There’s a difference, and some people may notice.

None of these recommendations are because what you’re wearing matters to the interview panel. No sane person on the panel is asking “is that J.Crew or Ralph Lauren?” Basically, the good impression you’re trying to make is nondescript in clothing choices. You don’t want to be remembered for what you wore, you want to be remembered for what you said and your qualifications. Don’t let your clothing distract from your message.

Bring Copies of Your Resume & a Writing Sample

Even though the interview panel likely has a copy of your resume, bring one anyway. I’ve been on some interview panels where the lead didn’t give us copies of people’s resumes, and I really wished I could look through it after the person left. It always looks professional to bring a resume “just in case.” Plus, if the panel is waiting on the next interviewee to arrive, it will give them more chances to look thoroughly at your resume.

As far as your writing sample, only bring it if you’re a strong writer or they ask for a writing sample. Nowadays, the majority of companies are looking for people who can communicate. It’s hard to find good writers whose work doesn’t need editing, and if you’re a strong writer (i.e. other people have told you you’re a good writer or you received good feedback in college), this will be a selling point.

Smile!

Don’t smile like the Joker, but do remember to smile! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on an interview where people were too nervous to smile, and it was awkward. I know you’re nervous. I’m nervous for you and, most of the time, the people interviewing you are nervous for you. You’ve made it to the interview round because you’re awesome – don’t freeze up and let your nerves do the talking.

If you’re not a natural smiler, practice before the interview. Practice casually smiling with friends, your spouse, your pets. People will give you feedback, pets will look away (if you’re too creepy). If you’re not a natural smiley person, don’t force yourself into it during the interview. Simply give a casual smile when you walk into the room, when you shake hands, and when you exit. Only 3 times is necessary to give a good impression at an interview!

I hope these tips make you a little less nervous on your next interview. As you can see, there’s nothing here that’s really special. You can be tall and good-looking, but if you don’t smile, your suit is mismatched, or you arrive late, you’re not off on the best foot. What we’re trying to do is make a good first impression at an interview so you’re on your best foot possible. Let your credentials do the talking and you’re on your way to a solid job interview!

What recommendations do you have for someone looking to make a good first impression at an interview?

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