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Making a Memorable First Impression

Making a memorable first impression is important in both your personal and professional life. People often make snap judgments within seconds of meeting you, whether intentional or not. To make a positive and memorable first impression, which is especially important when interviewing, follow the tips below.

1. Be early

Make sure you arrive to your interview early. Plan to leave for the interview with plenty of time and factor in possible traffic jams and parking. Showing up early tells the interviewer you value their time and take this opportunity seriously.

2. Make eye contact

Once you meet the interviewer be sure to make eye contact. This is essential in coming across confident and connecting with others.

3. Speak clearly and calmly

Many people have interview jitters but if you show up for your interview early (see first tip) take a moment to center yourself and organize your thoughts. Simple breathing techniques can work in minutes so you can present yourself in the best light. Project yourself in a confident, articulate, and professional manner.

4. Have awareness of your body language

How you physically carry yourself is another thing that people first notice about you. Are you slouched over, or standing up straight? Be aware of your posture, your facial expressions, and especially the firmness of your handshake. By literally carrying yourself this way it will project confidence and it will help you feel more self-assured.

I hope these tips will help with your next interview, and other aspects of your life where making a first impression is important.

Making a Memorable First Impression

Pete Interviews Mary Marx, President and CEO of Pace Center for Girls

In this week’s radio broadcast of Hard work-ah with Pete the Job Guy, Pete sits down with Mary Marx, President and CEO of Pace Center for Girls. Pace employs a gender responsive and trauma informed model that works with adolescent girls with a history of trauma. Mary led the organization through a transformational period of growth since being appointed CEO in 2009. Mary truly is an inspirational leader at a company that is making a difference not only in the lives they directly touch but the community as a whole.

Company Overview
Pace changes the life trajectory of more than 3,000 girls and young women annually. From their site, “Pace provides academic education through individualized progress monitoring plans and daily instruction taught by certified teachers. All educational initiatives align with requirements of the local school district.” Each center operates like a school and they have 60 girls in each center and 10 girls in each class. They have full school days at each center and the students have access to therapists and physical health support. Their mission is to find the great in every girl and they do that by providing students with all the tools to help them reach their full potential.

Pace Center for Girls Background
Pace started in Jacksonville, FL with 10 girls and a budget of $100 in 1985. Since then, they have opened 20 more Pace Centers in Florida and over 40,000 girls have been helped by Pace. One inspirational success story is of a girl named Mia (permission was granted by Mia to share her story). Mia came from a middle class family and grew up engaged and involved with school. However in middle school something happened and her attitude towards school changed. She was constantly being thrown out of school and it wasn’t until she started to go to Pace that things clicked and changed for her. She graduated from Pace, received her Bachelor’s Degree and went to law school. The amazing thing is that she is now a practicing attorney. Pace truly was a transformational experience for her. Women such as Mia, come back to Pace to give speeches and give back because as Mary said, “Once a Pace girl, always a Pace girl”.

Mary’s Background
Mary’s own background had quite a different beginning. She originally wanted to be a doctor and graduated from Reed College in Portland, OR. She was a molecular biologist for 4.5 years before coming to the realization that that’s not what she wanted to do. She decided to change careers and switched to children’s art. She felt that art is a child’s first language and it’s important to have all children be able to express that. She started a children’s art museum in the San Francisco Bay Area which soon became one of the largest in the region. They also became the arts education program for 4 school districts, partnered with public housing for after school art programs, and brought kids together from all over the community to make art. Mary’s introduction to Pace was actually through her father who started volunteering at Pace as a math tutor. He told her about the amazing organization and Mary started working at the company herself as the VP of External Affairs in 2007. In 2009 she was promoted to the role of CEO. Since then she has helped double the number of girls reached by Pace. She also works with Florida legislature to help change the lives of all girls in the area, not just their students.

If you are inspired by Mary (as I know I am!) and would like to get involved there are 3 ways and that’s through time, treasure, and talent. Visit their website to learn more about volunteering for Pace, donating money to the organization, or how you can tour some of their centers.

To listen to the full podcast of the show, please visit www.petethejobguy.com.

Pete Interviews Mary Marx, President and CEO of Pace Center for Girls

Productivity Advice: How to be More Productive

It is important to try to maximize your productivity in your work life. This allows for a better personal life as well and frees you up to do what you please in your free time. This topic of productivity has been discussed for years. Being More ProductiveMost of us seek out advice when we need help managing our time or activities. People are constantly asking for advice when it comes to productivity. Workers constantly want to know how to better manage their time and activities. We have compiled some very helpful advice on how to be more productive. The below advice hopes to serve as an essential guide to being more productive at work so that workers can have the free time and relaxation needed in their personal lives.

Let’s get you to be more productive so you can reach your goals and enjoy your free time!

Read these productivity tips and constantly revisit this guide when you need help focusing:

  • Express gratitude and embrace feedback and assistance from others at work

  • Focus on the right things (try not to sweat the small stuff and get distracted)

  • Control your brain as much as possible – use music to relax if you need to

  • Have daily goals and make lists to check things off to reach these goals

  • Set morning rituals to follow and help you get ready to take on the day

  • Focus on your blessings and be sure to appreciate yourself

  • Be mindful of realistic goals for you and your team

  • Write things down and keep track of your successes and obstacles…both matter

  • Take stretch breaks at your desk when you need them

  • Have healthy snacks available to boost your mood

  • Get your mind and body into a daily rhythm the best way possible…be easy on yourself

Productivity Advice: How to be More Productive

The Pros and Cons of Job Hopping

More reports and surveys showing that “job hopping” and a lack of perceived value being tied to tenure is on the rise. Is this just a trend or a more accepted norm in the world we live in today? Is it largely a bi-product of the extremely low unemployment rates of recent years and will it change when we see things swing the other way at some point? How much impact does the wave of young entrepreneurial tech billionaires who seem to have skipped over the traditional period of paying your dues have to do with this trend? All things to consider, but in general it does appear that younger professionals changing jobs on a more frequent basis is more accepted now than it has been in previous generations. Prior to the last 5 years I would say 3+ years was the expected norm for being in a job before looking at transitioning, but now we are seeing 18 months or less in many cases and the candidates don’t seem to be concerned about how it will impact their candidacy for new roles. At least not for now. In today’s blog I’ll dig in a bit on the topic of changing jobs more frequently than the norm and offer some insight to the potential benefits and draw-backs.

One of the reasons people may find benefit in changing jobs is a higher salary, but this will catch up to you in the long run if you are ultimately labeled as a definitive job hopper. This is because the well of higher paying opportunities will eventually go dry when they are scared off by your lack of tenure/stability. Career growth is another reason and that’s important, but it takes time. Statistics say that gaining a full understanding of a new job and being able to execute effectively typically takes about 12 months. That means in most cases you aren’t totally comfortable in what you’re doing nor is the company seeing a strong ROI on hiring you until that point. So, if you jump ship at 12-18 months or less then you’re really not growing as much as you should be because the skills and mastery of your initial role are just taking hold as you leave. A better cultural fit can also be a benefit, but so many times I interview people who get burned because they don’t do enough due diligence on the front end before they accept a role. They don’t meet the larger team, they don’t ask enough questions about the office environment or the personalities of their prospective co-workers. Be sure you probe hard and ask the tough questions in the interview process to ensure a good culture fit before you accept an offer. One final reason might be having the chance to work with a great manager or market influencer who could change the game for an up and comer and this one is hard to argue. If you have the chance to jump on with an early stage Amazon or Google and work with the best in the business it’s likely one you won’t get again, but that also means you should not be changing jobs again anytime soon. Those are rare situations and hard to see coming. You just want to avoid always chasing something that sounds too good to be true, because the grass is absolutely not always greener. For every Amazon or Google there are a million fast-growing, fast-talking small to mid-size companies that are not what they seem and you don’t want to be part of the wreckage left behind with another ding on your resume.

All these things can potentially improve your career and take you further than if you stay stagnant in the same role for too long, but the question is when do you hit a point of diminishing return. Specifically, when have you changed jobs every 18-24 months or less such that it conveys to an employer that you are not someone they should expect to keep long term? Therefore, they choose not to invest the time, money and resources in to a short-term employee and pass on your background. What constitutes stability and good tenure is subjective, but there is a perceived standard for many recruiters representing candidates and in most cases for hiring managers who tend to have an old school mindset.

A Bullhorn survey shows that according to 1,500 recruiters the biggest obstacles for an unemployed candidate in regaining employment is a history of job hopping. Continually switching roles after staying at a company less than one year can raise a red flag with hiring managers. Even if you do get hired on at a new place if the company decides to downsize it’s often the new hires that are let go first which is something frequent job-hoppers should also be mindful of.

I discussed in a previous blog while people stay at a job longer than they should. While it’s important to continually learn and grow, you also need to recognize that frequent job hopping can be a red flag for hiring managers. When considering a job change really analyze your growth to that point in your current role, do thorough due diligence to know what you are potentially jumping into and assess the amount of time between jobs in your last 5-7 years. More than 2 changes during that period of time should at least warrant further discretion.

The Pros and Cons of Job Hopping