How Improved Self-Awareness Can Increase Your Success in Life

The Importance of  Self-Awareness

Self-awareness. It's important to know yourself as well as possible. But we are complex beings, so sometimes the "knowing" is a real challenge. Yet self-awareness becomes quite valuable when we are able to recognize and manage our thoughts, emotions and behaviors more successfully. Self-awareness which leads to increased self-management is a strong predictor of success in life.

Self-awareness. It's important to know yourself as well as possible. But we are complex beings, so sometimes the "knowing" is a real challenge. Yet self-awareness becomes quite valuable when we are able to recognize and manage our thoughts, emotions and behaviors more successfully. Self-awareness which leads to increased self-management is a strong predictor of success in life.

Eric Hoffer, American author and moral philosopher, once inspired his audience with this insight: “To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.”

DO YOU KNOW what you are? Have you ever taken a good, hard look at yourself, inside and out?

“Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad.” - Debbie Ford

DO YOU UNDERSTAND the inner you as well as the outward portrayal of yourself?

“By becoming self-aware, you gain ownership of reality; in becoming real, you become the master of both inner and outer life.” - Deepak Chopra

DO YOU LIVE each day even remotely aware of your moral tendencies, social proclivities and emotional drivers?

“Self-awareness is our capacity to stand apart from ourselves and examine our thinking, our motives, our history, our scripts, our actions, and our habits and tendencies.” - Stephen Covey

Daniel Goleman, author of several books on social and emotional intelligence, refers to self-awareness as the “keystone” of emotional intelligence, or EQ. As we age and experience more and more of all that life has to offer, one of the most important factors in maturing well and increasing our EQ has to do with increasing one’s self-awareness, especially regarding emotional responses such as sadness, anger or crying.

The Advantages of Self-Awareness

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1. Self-awareness enables us to remove our blind spots as we increase our knowledge and understanding. How?

  • By reflecting on and becoming more aware of our behaviors, thoughts and emotions
  • By understanding our best self, worst self, and the real self (that part of you which doesn't change)
  • By managing the inner you that is ultimately the public display of you
  • By seeking feedback and honestly evaluating the perspectives of others
  • By monitoring our progress and recording the details of our response during any emotionally-fraught situation

Personal Example: I am a blogger. I read constantly, research, take notes, organize, rationalize, write, and tell my stories. In so doing, I am becoming more self-aware. I find myself labeling my patterns of behavior and evaluating my interactions with others. And I continue to hold in high regard the opinions and viewpoints of my closest friends and family members.

The follow-through needed: Seek wisdom and understanding about yourself, your strengths and any weaknesses, then resolve to grow, to change, to mature, and become all that you can and should be.

Increasing our emotional intelligence means that we are learning to recognize negative reactions in ourselves (and others) and that we are striving to manage ourselves better during those stressful, challenging situations which every life entails. The goal is to exercise control over our emotions by maintaining an attitude of respect when others are involved, accepting personal responsibility, and expressing our thoughts and feelings more appropriately in those pivotal moments. Success in this area alone has the potential to greatly impact our friendships, marriages, workplace relationships, and more.

2. Self-awareness can transform fear and resistance into an openness to what is as yet unknown. How?

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  • By breeding greater confidence, motivation and fulfilment
  • By exploring new experiences, people and places
“Fear comes from uncertainty; we can eliminate the fear within us when we know ourselves better.” - Bruce Lee

The Honesty of Fear: We can talk big, brag with the best of them, tell some great tales, but in many of us lurks some fear. It can be fear of literally anything – death, spiders, germs, heights, deep water, roller coasters, people not like you, making a mistake and getting into trouble, being too slow or too overweight, driving in big cities, etc.

Suggestion: Know yourself and your fears. Write down what you are honestly afraid of and then work to conquer those fears one at a time. Allow yourself to experience all that life offers, even the determination and learning experience that failures and successes, both big and small, can boast.

3. Self-awareness provides greater insight into one’s personality, habits, needs and values.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” - Carl Jung
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Did you ever . . . ?  Have you ever worked with someone who got on your very last nerve? Sure you have, and so have I. In my case, it was my immediate supervisor. She was not necessarily a micro-manager, which happens to be one of my pet peeves; she just had a lazy streak, in this one respect, anyway. She consistently left hundreds of sticky notes asking me to do the most mundane, annoying tasks which she could have easily done herself (like the other ten people in the office did) in about the same time it took to write the note. Drove me crazy! 

My point? You probably guessed it. I can be equally lazy and must sometimes remind myself to take care of the seemingly petty stuff myself as often as I can. That irritating, unattractive trait your co-worker, manager, or spouse displays constantly . . . there's probably a similar version of the same trait concealed somewhere inside of you just waiting to rear its ugly head (and probably already has - many times over).

4. Self-awareness creates better decision makers whose choices will line up with his or her values and belief system - by helping you discover what truly motivates you.

Our search for motivation: For this point, let me address something that matters to many of us – physical fitness and our weight. What motivates you to lose those extra pounds and get in shape?

  • Is it the perfect diet?
  • Is it a gym membership?
  • A morning run/walk with a friend or spouse?
  • Maybe it’s a sports related activity or a workout at home.
  • Do you want to read books and soak up information from various internet articles about what a body needs as you perfect a plan for yourself?
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Whatever it is that motivates you, that is what will usher in weight loss success. If you join a gym but aren’t motivated by “going” or “getting out of the house” or “social interaction”, it is highly unlikely that you will go more than a few times, if that many.

Truth: Real motivation is inward not outward. Discover what your core motivators are in life and find a way live life well both in and out of the office, making solid decisions and doing what you must do in a way that lines up with the real you.

5. Self-awareness can help you improve your leadership skills.

  • By leading a more disciplined personal and professional life, people will come to respect you
  • By improving interpersonal skills, you will become a) less authoritative yet still in control, b) less controlling but still the final decision maker, and c) less forceful yet have a greater positive effect and long-term impact on others
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Personal Narrative: As a teacher, I never preferred a totally "quiet" classroom, but I did want my music students to pay attention and participate. I did not want them chatting incessantly. But this time the talking was out of control. I found myself frustrated with them. So, I asked what they wanted. What would motivate them to listen better and sing out? They said ice cream and games, so that's what my music classes became - a game with periodic ice cream parties as a reward. I have never had so much fun singing and celebrating with elementary kids. And the discipline took care of itself because they earned or lost their daily point by how well they did two things during each class: how successfully they played the game, "Name That Tune," and by how well they all paid attention and sang. Rarely did I have to ask them to be quiet or sing; they reminded each other. They wanted to earn the day's point, not lose it.

The Lesson Learned? I became aware of my own frustrations with these students and met them where they were. I discovered their motivators. Changes were made, and the transformation began. I exercised less authority, yet I enjoyed a disciplined group of students. I maintained control without being obnoxiously controlling. I seldom, if ever, had to enforce or remind them of the rules. And the outcome was impressive: joy and lots of great music. Plus, my former students still remind me about what fun my music classes were. Best of all, after a while, it was not so much about winning the ice cream party but about the personal pleasure experienced by each student through their interactions with me, each other, and the music itself.

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How to Hone Your Self-Awareness Skills

1. Don’t be so ego-driven or close-minded.

Be more curious. Ask better questions. Be truly open to others and their ideas.

“The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.” - Eckhart Tolle
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2. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Face them head-on.

“Self-awareness is one of the rarest of human commodities. I don’t mean self-consciousness where you’re limiting and evaluating yourself. I mean being aware of your own patterns.” - Tony Robbins

3. Stay focused and use your time wisely.

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Are you a slow-mover or even a procrastinator? If so, have you ever taken the time to simply write down what you do all day? It can be a real eye-opener! I am a thinker who can easily spend endless hours merely pondering tasks or problems without moving forward with my other responsibilities. Time just seems to slip on by, and I let it. Even composing an email can take an inordinate amount of time if I allow my perfectionist tendencies to get the best of me. My goal is constantly to be more aware of the time I spend dwelling on (considering and procrastinating versus completing) specific tasks, large or small.

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4. When stressed, be extra aware of your emotions.

When you find yourself in the middle of a volatile or emotionally-charged situation, take time to breathe and think through the situation before you attempt to communicate your thoughts. You may have been advised that counting to 10 before responding is the best rule of thumb, but it's actually best to wait 20 minutes or longer before responding. Click HERE to learn why your brain needs more than 10 seconds to respond rationally, especially when emotions are running high.

Learn to identify and manage the negative emotional reactions which may tend to rule you when faced with stress and conflict.

“If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” - Daniel Goleman

5. Talk to others and get their feedback on your common facial expressions, tone of voice, and word choice(s).

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Years ago, I spoke to one of my bosses in passing and asked, “Why are you smiling so big today?” His shared comment made me laugh out loud. He had just had his yearly evaluation, and there had been complaints about his moody, often scowling or sad, facial expressions. So, he was trying to make a change, and good for him! Sometimes what seems “natural” to us in how we express ourselves is actually a thing that needs to change and can change if we will simply make the effort to do so.

How to Assess Your Self-Awareness

TTI Success Insights® - DISC Assessment

DISC is a behavioral assessment tool which measures 4 behavioral styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. This assessment measures how a person behaves. You can learn all about your natural and adapted tendencies when it comes to behavior both at work and at home. You will also gain insight into the valuable traits which you possess and can offer to an employer.

TTI Success Insights® - Personal Insights, Attitudes and Values (PIAV) Assessment

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The PIAV assessment offers insight as to why a person behaves a certain way. The assessment report will reveal your top motivators so you can discover the passion behind your choices of behavior, especially when it comes to decision-making, social interactions, your need and appreciation for particular things in life, and dealing with challenging, stressful situations.

Whether you are a student seeking greater personal insight, an employer needing better management tools, or a job hunter seeking additional ways to convey you most valuable skills and traits to hiring managers, you can invest in either of these insightful assessment tools by visiting Brannon Professionals' website today. 

 

     

    The Battle with Tardiness: How to Stop Being Late to Work

    Do you want to stop being late for work? If so, read on for some helpful insights.

    Do you want to stop being late for work? If so, read on for some helpful insights.

    A recent blog article we shared about tardiness and how to correct it is one of our most popular posts. The truth is, many people struggle to get to work on time; unfortunately, they and the companies who employ them are facing negative consequences as a result.

    Everyday, those who struggle with tardiness are seeking answers and exploring any technique that could possibly help them break this bad habit in life. It’s a tough one to break too, but you are not alone in your search for help.

    Below you will discover some tips regarding changes you may wish to make in your morning, office, evening and even sleep routines. Hopefully they will lead you toward greater punctuality and fewer tardiness issues.

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    HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR MORNING ROUTINES

    Let the sunshine in!

    The brightness of our morning sun is the best alarm clock when the timing of the sunrise works with your schedule. If you believe the sun's rays could help you awaken more easily, consider an investment in curtains and shades which will usher in the morning light rather than keep it out.

    Determine to Avoid Rushing & Racing Out the Door

    Your goal is not simply to arrive to work on time although that is a most noble goal. You also want to avoid rushing through your routines, skipping breakfast or important chores, and racing to the office. This probably means you need to become an early riser, or at the very least, an earlier riser.

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    Spend a few minutes thinking about how lousy you feel when you fail to get in your morning exercise, enjoy a good cup of coffee, talk with your spouse, help your children prepare for their day, play with your pet, eat a little breakfast, and put dinner in the slow cooker, or how stressed you feel as you drive like Road Rage Rita or Ron just to be on time to the office. It’s not good for your health or your stress level. Determine to make a change. Say it aloud. Say it to a friend.

    Aim High But Plan Ahead

    In all actuality, the goal is not merely to be prompt but to arrive a few minutes early everyday so that your stress level is diminished and a better impression is left with your manager.

    Write down your morning agenda and establish a plan for leaving at a specific time

    • What are the routine tasks?
    • What are the extra tasks you want to accomplish that morning?
    • Are there stops you need to make on your way to work?

    Breaking the Chains of Chronic Tardiness

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    Chronic tardiness is a hard habit to break. It may reflect a lifetime of being “okay” with running late, procrastinating, being lazy, too meticulous or task-oriented, ignoring helpful habits like planning and creating agendas, as well as underestimating the time your body and mind really need to accomplish all that you want to do.

    Using Habit Triggers to Your Advantage

    I love James Clear’s suggestion regarding habit triggers. He says there are 5 types of triggers which can be used to develop both good and bad habits: time, location, preceding event, emotional state, and other people.

    Here are a few I use:

    1. People - When I hear my daughter close the bathroom door, I know that I have another 30 minutes before I need to get up. I can choose to snooze, read, think through my day, or get up earlier to prepare breakfast, pack a lunch, or do a little laundry, etc. The closing of that door triggers an action on my part every day.

    2. Time – I know that if we do not leave the house by 7:45 each morning, there is little chance of us getting to school/work on time, so that triggers stress and more rushing around along with a good bit of adrenaline. If we walk out by 7:40 or before, we are all smiles and enjoy the drive, the conversation and the music. When we are late, there is much less joy, only worry about the possibility of being tardy to class. And the difference between the two? A mere five minutes!

    3. Emotional state – Know what you need to make yourself happy (or at least not irritable) and start your day off on the right foot. When you wake up feeling tired and have a nagging headache, what is it that you need most? Will a long shower and time to eat breakfast help you feel better? Or do you need to stay in bed, sleep a bit longer, and risk not even having time for a shower? Establish your options ahead of time so that you don’t have to stress over it. You can make a simple adjustment and move forward.

    4. Location – We live in a home with 2 bathrooms. Sometimes both are available; sometimes not. When I see that both rooms are available for use, that automatically triggers freedom because no sharing of bathroom space will be required. I can move at my own pace, and for me, that means a little extra peace.

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    5. Preceding Event – How much does your cellphone slow you down in the morning? Do you find yourself catching up on the news or checking Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat thoroughly? How time consuming is that?!?! Every time you hear a buzz, there you are – distracted by all things phone related. The constant buzz of cellphones and the information you glean from news, pictures and texts can precipitate all sorts of shifts in mood and behavior, sometimes in a less than positive way. So if necessary, consider keeping your phone turned off during your morning routine.

    Habit Stacking

    Find some tips on creating a morning routine based on habit stacking by checking out these great articles by James Clear and liveboldandbloom.com. Basically, you will learn how to attach new habits onto already established good habits.

    HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR OFFICE MEETING ROUTINES

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    Write down your scheduled meetings and wisely plan what time you need to leave. Get the leave time in your head rather than the start time. Consider all that must be done to prepare for your meeting and the time that it will take you to accomplish those pre-meeting tasks: 3 minutes to get your papers together, 3 minutes for a bathroom break, 3 minutes for unexpected cell phone interruptions, 3 minutes to walk to the meeting room and chat briefly with a co-worker on the way . . . Get the picture?

    Plan for everything that you might need to do and then add a couple of minutes to that so you can arrive with or before everyone else and not come bounding in at the last second or worse - late again.

    HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR EVENING ROUTINES

    The Effects of Sugar and Caffeine Consumption

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    The later it gets, the more you should avoid sugar. Are you enjoying too many sweet treats and caffeinated beverages before bedtime? Break this bad habit as soon as possible!

    Did you know that consuming caffeine even 6 hours prior to your bedtime can reduce REM sleep, total sleep time and make it difficult for you to fall asleep?

    Did you know that the amount of sugar you consume during the day can directly impact how many times you awaken during the night? It’s a given that the less sugar you enjoy during the daytime hours, the more likely you will be able to relish what many refer to as “a good night’s sleep.”

    How Writing Can Set Your Mind Free . . . to Sleep

    Stress tends to trigger wakefulness, so instead of rehearsing in your mind all the tasks you must do tomorrow and should have done today, write it all down and let it go. Making long lists of stuff to do is an excellent way to release worrisome thoughts and concerns and put them to rest. Plus, it works!

    Also try to make a daily plan for what you will accomplish after office hours. Prioritize then schedule these things – in writing.

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    • Time for family and friends.
    • Volunteer work.
    • Time for your favorite TV shows.
    • A visit to the gym.
    • Meal plans.
    • Errands and household responsibilities.
    • Social media communications.

    Whatever it is, decide what you have time for and go for it. But let there be a cut off time. Set your alarm for 9 pm if necessary and let that be a gentle reminder that it is time to lay certain things aside and prepare for bed.

    Bedtime Routines

    Bed preparation routines are important too. What do you require? A toothbrush? Or is it much more extensive than that? If you need time to bathe, curl up with a good book, watch the news and weather, organize things for the next day, iron clothes, or cuddle with your kiddos, plan accordingly.

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    HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP HABITS

    What a Yawn Means

    A yawn does not always mean that you are sleepy; you may simply be bored or yawning because someone else in your family did. However, if you are at home and find yourself yawning during the evening, go on to bed if you feel like you could go to sleep. If you fight sleep, you may catch a second wind, and you don't need that if it's fairly late already. Don’t delay going to bed when you are tired!

    How Reducing Exposure to Blue Light Can Help You

    Keep all blue light sources away from you when it is bedtime. Blue light comes primarily from electronic devices and energy efficient light bulbs, and it can mess up your internal clock by reducing the production of melatonin. Want to understand more about this? Check out this interesting article from livescience.com.

    So, turn your electronic devices off and place them far away from you (to remove the temptation to read the news or check Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, email, and so forth).

    The Purpose of Your Bed

    Use your bed for sleeping only. Don’t go there to enjoy a good meal, phone call or book. Always avoid doing office or school work on your bed.

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    If you can’t go to sleep, get up and go to another room to read, draw, color, write, or enjoy another activity. But keep electronic devices off, including your TV and cellphone. When you feel sleepy, try the bed again.

    There is no need to increase your stress level by looking at the clock. You don’t want to awaken the part of your brain that counts the hours and calculates remaining sleep time. You are working on correcting your internal clock and trying to improve your sleep patterns.

    Celebrate the Night by Sleeping

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    Allow time to go dark. It is worth reiterating: Don’t let yourself see the time at any point during the hours you should be sleeping. Do not keep your digital alarm clock or glow-in-the-dark watch within easy reach either. Use the dresser rather than your bedside table.

    Here are more great tips for getting yourself to bed found in one of the most helpful articles I came across while researching this topic. Check it out here! 

    We at Brannon Professionals wish you much success for better sleep and increased punctuality. If you are successful in breaking the tardiness habit, let us help you the next time you find yourself job hunting. Visit our website to review currently available positions by clicking HERE.

    5 Ways to Ace an Interview When You Haven't Worked in a While

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    If you haven't been a member of the workforce for a few years, you're not alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 87.4 million people over 16 years of age in the U.S. did not work or look for work in 2014. Reasons for not working include retirement, illness, disability, school, and family responsibilities. People often take a break from working to care for small children or aging parents.

    There are many reasons to rejoin the working world after taking time off. Stay-at-home parents may decide to work after their youngest child starts school. Retired people may want to work for intellectual stimulation or economic reasons. But how can you interview for a job and still make a positive impression when you have a huge gap in your resume?

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    Here are 5 ways you can reveal your ambition and ace a job interview after an extended absence from the workforce:

    1. Be Honest

    Honesty is a sought-after trait in any potential employee. In simple terms, tell your interviewer why you weren't working. It may strengthen your candidacy to show that you weren't just slacking off or unable to find a job. Also, let your employer know briefly why you are choosing now to start working again. Be positive and express your genuine enthusiasm for re-entering paid employment. "Emphasize your skills and work ethic rather than your time away," suggests Monster.com. And don't get too personal--your interviewer isn't interested in your son's advanced math placement or the details of your mother's illness. 

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    2. Be Prepared for Difficult Questions

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    Even candidates who have been working continuously get tripped up by interview questions. Be prepared to deflect attention away from your absence and onto the positive attributes you can bring to the company. Pre-write your answers to classic interview questions, such as, "What's your greatest weakness?" Many employers give situational interviews, with questions such as, "Tell me about a time when you faced a difficult decision and what steps you took to ensure that the correct decision was made." It's fine to use your experience caring for family members or attending school in this scenario, just make sure you're referencing a job experience in at least some of your answers.

     3. Show the Interviewer You've Done Your Homework

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    Convey to the interviewer that you're not out of the loop when it comes to their business. Read as much information as you can about the company where you're interviewing and be ready to ask engaging questions. Keep abreast of trends through relevant trade journals, news articles, and even job descriptions or company blogs.  

    4. Demonstrate How You're a Good Fit

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    According to themuse.com, the number one thing employers are looking for in a candidate is a good fit. Fit means different things to different people, but generally, your personality plays a large part in your fit at a given company. Show employers you have a positive attitude by smiling and exhibiting enthusiasm for the job. How you dress and present yourself can also convey to the interviewer that you're a good fit. In general, dress slightly better than you would be expected to dress for the job.

    5. List Professional References

    Your last paid employment might have been years ago. How are you going to list references who can vouch for you? Most people list former employers and colleagues as references. You can do this too, although it will help if you have at least one recent reference. If you've been in school, teachers and academic advisors are wonderful references.

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    Have you done any volunteer work? References could be someone you volunteered with, or a volunteer supervisor. If you've helped your child's teacher at school, ask him or her if you can list them as a reference. Some employers will accept friends or neighbors as character references as well. Ideally, you should have at least three professional references when meeting with a recruiter or attending a job interview -- preferably people who have supervised you.

    Re-entering the job force after a lengthy break can be challenging. However, if you keep a good attitude and remain professional, recruiters and employers will see you as a valuable candidate.

    For more information on how to land the right job, contact Brannon Professionals.

     

     

    How to Clean Up Your Social Media Profile Before a Job Search

    You've heard for years that it's important to clean up your social media presence before you start your job search. Unfortunately, you might not be sure exactly what that means--or even why it's all that important. 

    Question: Do employers really check candidates' social media pages before they hire?  Answer: As it turns out, they do!
    Question: Do employers really check candidates' social media pages before they hire? 
    Answer: As it turns out, they do!
    Depending on your field and your future employer, cleaning up your social media presence may be a critical part of ensuring that you get the kind of job you want, rather than being stuck at the bottom of the ladder.

    What Do Employers Look for?

    When they check your social media pages, what are potential employers really expecting to see? To some extent, it may depend on your field. For example, if you're in a highly creative field, your employer might be looking to see what you've published. Do you have eloquent posts? Are your regular images the quality they expect, based on your portfolio and your experience, or do you appear to be misleading them? The right image is critical for those individuals.

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    Employers also want to know that potential employees will fit in within the existing company culture. They want to know that you are the person you've portrayed yourself as throughout the interview process and that you're the type of person who will fit well with the company. In addition, they're hoping for candidates who have what it takes to fit in with the existing candidate pool--and those may be things that you can't predict from your social media posts. 

    What to Fix

    Whether you're shooting for a quick fix before you send out your resume or you have time for a longer, more in-depth social media purge, it's important to be sure that you're taking care of the right issues. Locking down your privacy settings is great, but it might not be enough to erase evidence that a savvy hiring manager will be able to find. 

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    • Update your LinkedIn profile

    If you're applying for a professional position, make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects you as you are now. Write a new post, make sure your job qualifications are updated, and be certain that any new job experience, publication, or certification is clearly listed. 

    • Be aware of what you've mentioned regarding your qualifications

    Your social media presence can help provide evidence that you are as qualified as you claimed, but it can also be the source that "outs" any lies you told in the process. 

    • Check your Twitter posts

    Twitter posts are very public--and if you've created a poor impression of yourself, now is the time to do some deleting. Avoiding hot topics like guns, sex, and drugs is a great way to create a better impression of yourself.

    • Pay attention to public posts on Facebook

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    That's not just your posts, either--it's also public posts that you've commented on. Locking down your privacy settings won't keep those items from being visible. If you've been belligerent or acted as a "keyboard warrior" a few times too many, take the time to erase those posts and comments.

    No, it's not "cool" to use bad language--especially not when potential hiring managers will be reading your posts. Clean it up, clean it out, and avoid posting that type of content in the future.  

    • Check your time stamps

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    Do you have a habit of posting excessively in what should be the middle of your work day? That might be a red flag for potential employers. You should also pay attention to what you've posted about your current job, from how much you hate it to potential trade secrets.

    Cleaning up your social media profiles before a job search is just good practice. By looking through your posts, you can ensure that the opinion a potential employer has of you is a more positive one--and that you haven't lost a job due to your social media activity.

    Need more help moving into the job you've always wanted? Contact us today to learn how Brannon Professionals can help.

    How to Improve Your Work Ethic

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    • Did You Know that employee engagement numbers in the workplace remain low and unimpressive? According to a 2017 Gallup poll51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged. 
    • Did You Know that employers have a very difficult time finding employees with the strong work ethic that they really desire?
    • Did You Know that your work ethic plays a role in your employer’s bottom line?
    • Did You Know that if you were to improve your work ethic, you could potentially inspire others around you to do the same?
    • Did You Know that both co-workers AND management take notice when an employee's work ethic is exceptional?
    • Did You Know that you possess a unique opportunity to take the reins of your career and do something to be the change that is desperately needed in today’s workforce?
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    Employers like to hire certain types of people. You know this because there are times when you’ve been hired and times when you’ve not been hired. Even in a job market bursting with competition, it is still quite difficult to find qualified candidates who really care about the job they are being hired to do, much less care about the company that is paying them to do that job. Sometimes the vice-versa scenario is also true. Employees struggle to find companies who truly care about them or the effort they make to do their job well.

    I get it. The world is tough. Not so nice. Lots of competition. Money matters. When business is good, you’re in. When business is bad, you’re out and job hunting again, struggling to pay your bills.

    All that aside for the moment, suffice it to say, we just want to help you move your life and career forward and believe you can do this, in part, by having a dynamic work ethic – one that is constantly improving and showing signs of experience and maturity.

    Here’s how you might go about making a difference by increasing your engagement with your job. Forgive me for pointing out the negative as well as the positive in these methods of showcasing your work ethic, but I wish readers to fully engage with all that is being inferred.

    1)  Do not be lazy. Be energetic. Discover the joy of working.

    Show an uncommon vitality when you enter a room. Whether you are engaged in customer service calls, marketing company products, doing tedious accounting work or any other task, find a way to enjoy it and do it well.

    Do not be not lazy in your approach to work. Treat this instruction like one of the 10 Commandments of the Workplace. While in the office, don’t ever walk at a snail’s pace to your desk; rather, smile and move with purpose as you go about getting your work done.

    Is your work more isolated? Do you sit all day doing the monotonous work of entering or manipulating data? Or stand all day ensuring the security of your environment?

    Finding joy in these types of jobs can be a challenge, but it all comes down to attitude and finding something to break up the monotony or the lack of motivation you may feel at times.

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    Try these suggestions:

    • Say good morning to a few more people than usual and be sure to introduce yourself
    • Take a slightly different route to your work area
    • Tell a story to make people laugh during your break
    • Invite a different friend or co-worker to lunch every week; always build new relationships while maintaining the old ones
    • Keep a healthy snack to enjoy at your desk (grapes, popcorn, pretzels, nuts, etc.)
    • Text a quick “thinking about you” note to family members during your morning (if the company allows time for quick texts)
    • Offer to get your co-worker something to drink
    • Get up and walk to the bathroom or the printer
    • Listen to music (if allowed and doesn’t compromise your ability to work/think quickly and accurately)
    • Choose talking in-person over texting or emailing because face-to-face interaction with others tends to improve your disposition much more than cellphones and computers
    • Step outside periodically just to look at the world and stretch your legs; invite a friend along
    • Checkout the company’s website and stay up-to-date on what’s going on; then share what you learn
    • Volunteer to help in any way you can (especially doing what no one else wants to do)
    • Step up and be a problem-solver
    • Brainstorm ways to make your tasks more efficient and effective; then take the initiative to share your new ideas 

    And there’s still so much more you can do!

    2)  Do not act miserable at work. Be a kind person who is more focused on others than on yourself.

    Practice being just as courteous and considerate as you can possibly be to your co-workers and supervisors. Display a prepared-to-meet-and-talk-to-anyone type of attitude.

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    Whether you are super tired, sad or simply feeling emotional about something going on inside or outside the office, do your very best to continue giving 100% at work. But if you can't, it may help to confide in your boss or a close co-worker so they will not assume that they are doing something to make you behave differently.

    Be willing to engage with your co-workers! Some people think that doing great work is all there is to being a great employee, but how WRONG that way of thinking is. Doing good work, in and of itself, does not make you the ideal employee.

    The engagement process also involves your interactions with others and what extra effort, enthusiasm, and even kindness you bring to the table.

    3)  Do not be known for being unorganized, tardy, or unreliable. Instead, be punctual, dependable and organized!

    • Are you always running a minute or two behind everyone else in your circle?
    • Do you find yourself making excuses over what you couldn’t find or didn’t complete by the given deadline?
    • Are you the person people come to when they have questions or problems?
    • Are you the dependable one?

    Tardiness can be difficult to conquer, but it can be conquered if you set your mind to change this bad habit. Add all your meetings and appointments to your daily agenda in MS Outlook, then set a 10-15 minute alarm. Set your phone alarm. Write yourself a Post-It note. Go to the bathroom 30 minutes beforehand instead of 5 minutes beforehand. Plan to arrive 3 to 5 minutes early instead of on-time, then plan accordingly.

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    If you are rigid, even compulsive, about remaining organized 24/7, you might be living out an OCD issue. If you are somewhat unorganized, you might be an average human being. Somewhere in the middle is probably a good place to be.

    If you are less than organized or need to be more punctual, figure out how to make those important changes in your life. Do you need a briefcase? A planner? A clock? An assistant? (I’m serious about that one!) A file cabinet? A day off? A shredder? A white board? 

    Whatever it takes, find a way to go there and make it happen. It can be a game-changer!

    Being dependable and trustworthy are strong, positive traits for anyone to possess in life, yet because of them, one may deduce that you have a stronger work ethic than the next person – and that you may work harder than another would if given the same responsibilities.

    Are you that person – the one always there and willing to step in and get the job done no matter what?

    4)  Do not be rude and uncaring. Be polite, diplomatic, fair, and a good listener.

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    • Are you approachable?
    • Do you walk around distracted, with your mouth closed and nose stuck up in the air?
    • Can you be trusted not to yell, fuss, or act completely annoyed with your co-workers and managers when they have issues?
    • Do people want to be around you?

    The looks you give, your reactions, demeanor, words, and your willingness to listen and respond all play a role in how others will choose to interact with you and will affect your general reputation.

    If you desire your career to go anywhere at all, you should be especially aware of this aspect of the work ethic. Don’t just speak offhandedly to people and be done. Be sociable and engage with your co-workers! Speak, ask good questions, listen, show respect and true concern, then do something constructive in response when possible.

    5)  Don’t be unproductive. Don’t be a slacker! Let your performance be top-notch.

    Work hard. Think hard. Be consistent. Always follow up – with everyone, on both problems and ideas.

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    Set priorities and check them off one by one. Start with the most difficult tasks; otherwise, they tend to get delayed indefinitely. Don’t go to the next until the first one is complete (or as complete as possible). When you finish, share what you have completed with someone else and be happy, even celebrate. Then start the next project or item on your agenda.

    Let your approach to work include dedication, determination and discipline. Take ownership of your work, even while maintaining a sense of teamwork and setting the standard. See the job through to completion – emphasizing quality and excellence all along the way.

    6)  Don’t ever act clueless, apathetic, or arrogant. Bring your intelligence, curiosity, myriad interests, and experience to the table. You never know how this will be perceived and received by management.

    When you interview for a job, that’s the thing, you typically interview for ONE JOB, not multiple ones. However, as time goes by, opportunities outside of your specific job duties may arise in which you may showcase new or additional interests, skills, and knowledge. Don’t wait until a new job opportunity is on the table before you prove yourself; that comes beforehand. Step up each time you have the chance.

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    Also, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! A little risk and fear generally go before doing something truly new and different. Opportunities to shine do not come along very often, so be ready.

    Develop your skills (even those not currently used at your place of employment), read up on a variety of topics, increase your understanding of the company, its products, services and goals.

    It’s so easy to text, “IDK,” or to say, “Don’t know, don’t care.” But what a poor impression this makes on others, even if it’s true. Instead, offer to investigate and do some research. Show some interest in something outside of your own little world! Engage!

    Bragging comes a little too easily to most of us. But it is most assuredly NOT the way to win friends and influence people. Instead, brag about the successes of those working around you or wait for an appropriate time to share your own experiences, then do so with the utmost humility and enthusiasm, allowing your personality to shine through. Better to let your success and joy of living be revealed to your co-workers through a well-timed story than a quick, boastful comment and arrogant attitude over your accomplishments.

    In Conclusion:

    So, are you ready to work on your work ethic? Will you start today? Does it seem like too much effort and not enough return? You must decide for yourself. But I tell you the truth, hard work does have its merits. Are you willing to work toward creating a win-win situation for both yourself and your employer?

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    IMAGINE THIS:

    You are a job seeker. You show up at Brannon Professionals. You qualify for a job and get an interview. The client wants to hire you. So, we call your references. Your most recent reference tells us that you have an incredible and uncommon work ethic. We share that insight with the employer, and of course, who would not be thrilled with that kind of candidate? And you get the job!

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    But whether you get the job or not, it is a sign of strong character to have a good work ethic. And a candidate's character typically plays a role in the hiring decision, so always give your best!

    Contact Brannon Professionals today to learn more about our clients who are seeking skilled, professional, and hard-working individuals to fill their jobs.