Category Archives: Job Search

Everything You Wanted To Know About References But Were Afraid To Ask

references road sign illustration designOne of the most searched questions that brings people to our blog is – “Is it a good sign if they contact my references?” The answer is a resounding yes! If it gets to the point where a prospective employer requests references, you can feel confident that an offer MAY be headed your way.

However, a lot can happen between requesting your references and a potential job offer. Some of it you can control, some you can’t. Let’s start with the basics:

Why are good references so important?
You may think that reference checking is a formality – that either the employer won’t bother calling them or will only ask for verification of basic information such as dates worked. While this is true in some cases, it is very far from the truth in others. Go into your job search and interview expecting your references to be called if all goes well.

Who should you pick as a reference?
You want to pick a supervisor, boss or superior you’ve worked for over the years.  Your neighbor, pastor, best friend, colleague or parents are not good references!

Depositphotos_31386347_m-2015

How many should you have?
3 to 5 is a good basic number.

How do you prep your references?
By all means, let them know that they may be called! However, do NOT reach out every time you have a job interview. If you’ve had a few interviews and can tell the company is interested and asks for references, then you can give your references a heads up.

Sending your references a copy of your resume and even a link to the job description is helpful. Always make sure to thank them – even before they are called and definitely after! In addition, encourage your references to call the hiring manager as soon as they can (if they missed the call and were left a message).

Fair or not, you are being judged on everything – including how long it may take for a reference to call the hiring manager or recruiter back.

Think about it – which looks better – a reference so pumped about you as an employee that they call back right away or one who waits a half day or day to respond?

Poor employee ! Company performance audit checklist

What do recruiters and hiring managers want to hear?
They want to hear about your accomplishments – not canned or rehearsed answers. Enthusiastic, thoughtful commentary on why you were a good employee will go a long way.

How should younger job seekers handle references?
If you haven’t been in the workforce long enough to have former employers to use as references, you can always reach out to a former professor, sports coach or someone in authority who would be a good spokesperson on your behalf.

Do I need to put References Available Upon Request on my resume?
No. This is just a waste of space and is seen as a given. You should have a list ready to go when asked. Do not offer this list up. Wait until you are asked for it. Also, make sure all the contact information on there is current. It’s also helpful to add some context to the list – for example:
John Doe, my former Supervisor at Acme Corporation, 333-3333

What can job seekers do to make sure they have good references?
Don’t just reach out to your references when you need them! Keep in touch with them via LinkedIn, email or even a text. No one likes to be used! It’s up to you to cultivate and maintain good professional relationships so you will have a pool of people to draw from when the time comes.

What do I do after my references are called?
Reach out to them and thank them for being a reference. You can also find out how the call went.

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

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Filed under Interviewing, Job Search, job search advice

Pave Your Way To A Better Job

Road making

Step 1 
Map out a two month plan. 
The job search takes time. Start by listing out activities and goals. You can’t control the employer end of the process, but you can take ownership of what you do. Here’s a sample:
Week 1: Update LinkedIN and resume, line up three references.
Week 2: Search online for jobs – using LinkedIn, Google, Indeed, etc. Write cover letters and apply.
Week 3: Start a list of target companies – look to see if you have any mutual connections at those companies (via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter). Reach out to those connections.

Step 2
Budget out your time.
If you’re currently employed, your time challenges need to be addressed. Carve out time after work or on weekends. This should be scheduled in – not just a haphazard thought. Schedule it like you would any appointment. For instance, “I will job search for one hour every Tuesday and Thursday night between 7 and 8 pm.”
If you’re currently unemployed, you have more time to search, but you also have more time to procrastinate and get distracted. Schedule your time in shifts, allowing for breaks. For example:
9 am to 10 am – Do a LinkedIn status update, look at the job listings on Monster or Indeed, reach out to two contacts.
10:00 to 11:00 – Attend local networking job search group
11:30 to 12:30 – Meet former coworker for lunch
1:00 to 4:00 – Write cover letters and submit applications.

Step 3
Get a support system and get serious about networking.
The job search has its ups and downs, and you have to be prepared to handle the uncertainty. Discouragement and disappointment ARE part of the process. It’s how you react and forge forward that is going to make the difference between a short job search and a long one.

matthewweinrichLearn how to effectively network. Looking for a job is a full time job, so you should attend networking events and get to know people in a similar situation. If someone you met gets a job, they could potentially refer you to any openings they hear of, and vice versa.  

In addition, use LinkedIn and follow the companies you are interested in working for. Try to connect to some employees who work there. Also, join groups pertaining to your field or industry.
Matt Weinrich, Lead Operations Recruiter, Oldcastle

Step 4
Just get started and keep going
It’s really important to not get sidetracked. It’s easy to let the day-to-day, along with holidays, vacations, etc. – even the change of season (“It’s so nice out, no one is hiring in the Summer, I’ll just take a break!”) cloud your thoughts and get you off course. The longer you resist or postpone the search, the longer it will take – and you are letting your competition win. If you find this happening – do some real soul searching. Maybe you aren’t really ready to leave your current job. And, if you are out of work, maybe it’s the type of positions you’re looking for. Is a career change in order? Our thoughts and actions (or in this case, in-actions) give us clues. Listen, learn and act upon them.

Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

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Stay Up-To-Date – 3 LinkedIn Changes You Should Know About

Depositphotos_6058464_m-2015

We all want to expand our network, and, when it comes to the online job search, LinkedIn is increasingly the go-to destination. It has over 450 million active users, and growing. LinkedIn recently revamped the look of the site, as well as many features. Here are a few to note.

  1. You can sort your news feed again. For some unknown reason, LinkedIn took away this functionality, but has since restored it. The default setting is “Top” stories, but if you want to see the most recent posts, just click on the down arrow and change it to “Recent.”
  2. LinkedIn now allows you to edit your status posts.
    This is great news! Now, if you made a typo or mistake, or just wanted to update your status, LinkedIn allows you to do so. Previously, this was not an option. You had to delete the post and start over. Simply click on the three dots to the right, and click on the pencil to edit. As you can see, you can also copy the link to post or delete it entirely. Thank you LinkedIn for recognizing that this bit of functionality was really needed.edit
  3. The LinkedIn Privacy Policy Will Be Updated Next Month It can be too easy to blindly accept privacy policies – after all, aren’t they standard? They certainly aren’t the most riveting reading, that’s for sure. However, it’s important to know the information sites gather and how they use that information. This is especially true when it comes to LinkedIn – which is basically a repository for a lot of personal information – from where you work, to dates of employment to your educational background. Be sure to be aware of what the updated policy is. The new policy goes into effect June 7th, 2017. Click to see the policies (changes are highlighted): Privacy Policy & User Agreement.

LinkedIn can be a powerful career enhancing and job search tool. They constantly make changes (some good, some not so good). Stay aware of what’s going on with the site, and we’ll do our best to keep you in the loop as well.

Happy Networking!

P.S. A version of this post, by our social media specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

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Step it Up! 7 Ideas To Move Your Job Search Forward This Year

progress1One of our company divisions recently sponsored a Fitbit competition. Is there any correlation between challenging ourselves physically and the mental stamina it takes to find a new job? One of the challenge participants shares lessons learned and tips to help you on your own job search journey.

1) Don’t underestimate yourself
Our thoughts can often limit our behaviors. When I first started the challenge, I had my doubts on how I would do. While I am competitive (for some things), I’m also realistic. I have a sedentary desk job. How was I going to increase my activity enough to counteract that? How was I going to compete against other employees who had more active construction jobs at my company? The same self limiting thoughts may occur to you when you embark on a job search. How long is this going to take? How can I compete against others with more experience or a better background?

Here’s the thing – there will always be people with more experience, better odds and more advantages in the game – whether it’s for a contest or a job. You can’t sell yourself short before the challenge or job search journey begins. You just have to start.

StepIntoSpring

2) Silence your inner critic
Are you guilty of negative self talk? It’s hard to break the self destructive habit of thinking of everything that could go wrong. In a job search or interview situation, this can destroy your confidence. You can’t let the critic win! Even silly visuals like imagining a stop sign when that bad chatter comes into your head can help. A motto, mantra or inspirational quote can also be helpful. I constantly told myself to “just keep going.”

3) Stop comparing yourself to others
This one is hard. Fitbit has an online leaderboard where you can see how you rank on a daily and weekly basis. It’s fine to know where other people stand, but it can also make you crazy. In the job search, there are obviously other people interviewing. You can’t change that reality, but you can prepare yourself to do the best you can. Spend extra time researching the company, revising your resume and practicing your interview skills.

watch4) Get a strategy

My strategy was to increase my activity and duration weekly. I wasn’t going to increase it all at once that first week, because then my competition would see that and keep increasing theirs. Slow and steady – try to be the underdog, below the radar. In your job search, you want to be selective. Set up a schedule of job search activities with target dates. Use an excel spreadsheet if that helps. Target employers and jobs, customize your resume and cover letter and have goals. You can’t ultimately control what the employer decides, but you can control how you handle the process.

5) Just start doing it and KEEP GOING – no matter what
The toughest part of the Fitbit challenge was the daily grind. It was exhausting. Running in the cold, wind and rain – it was less than ideal. There were points where my feet and toes felt numb. Honestly, I was ready to bail by the end of day three. Fitting in time to workout 3x a day during the week and more on weekends was tiresome. It also left me no time to do much of anything else – for an entire month. The job search game is also draining – maybe not as much physically, but definitely mentally. Get a support system that can cheer you on. For me, it was others in the contest. Do you know other job seekers? Find your tribe so you can bounce ideas off them. Having others who can relate to what you are going through will get you through the bad times and makes celebrating the wins even better.

6) Consistency is key
This one holds true in almost every area of life. I had one “low” step day during the contest. I certainly didn’t throw in the towel. I just upped my game to counteract it. It averages out over the duration. It’s the day to day efforts that will pay off in the end. You can’t let anything veer you off course. There was another time (mid challenge) that I walked out to my car and discovered that I had a flat tire. Oh no! How was I going to get my steps in? I needed to get home and get on my treadmill. Sadly, this was my first thought. But, for any obstacle, there is a solution. I called AAA and, while I waited the two hours (!) for them to arrive, I did laps in the parking lot. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.
If you don’t land one job, there will always be another one to apply to. You won’t get a job in a day. It’s the culmination of weeks and months of effort to win the coveted prize. Getting a job takes dedication, commitment and consistent, concerted effort over time.
7) Finish strong

By the end of week four, I was over it. My coworkers were over hearing me talk about it. I just wanted my life back. I did not want to walk, run, jump or do a thing. However, that mental and physical exhaustion wasn’t going to beat me. You can’t let the discouragement and ups and downs of the job search get to you either. If you keep at it, you will prevail. When you start something, you finish it. I dug deep and kept going, eventually upping my daily steps from 30k, to 40k, then 50k and finally 60k+ on that last day (over 24 miles). Yes, it took til the final hour of the final day (11:40 pm to be exact). But, at least I knew that I gave it my all. There is satisfaction in a job well done – whether that be a contest like this or your job search. You can do this – keep going.

Photo Credit: Allied Building Products

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

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References – 5 Do’s & Don’ts [Infographic]

References Infographic

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!
TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

 

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Rough Job Search? Make your own luck

St Patricks Day dog

Green with envy upon hearing a friend just landed a new job? Don’t despair!
1) Reevaluate your plan
How many hours a week are you REALLY devoting to your job search? Be honest. You may have to carve out more time OR maximize the time you are currently devoting to it. Mass blasting out resumes isn’t the best option. You should spend more time researching potential employers/contacts than you do actually applying to positions.
2) Always try to get a back door into a company
Applying to “Acme” company and don’t know anyone? Broaden your search. Are any of your LinkedIn connections connected with people at the company? Reach out to your connection to ask if they might be able to make an introduction.
3) Power up your social media
Use Facebook to research company pages and to see if any of your followers have mutual connections. Fill out your profile completely to show where you work. Recruiters and hiring managers could potentially look at it. Also, make sure all your profile and cover photos are employer friendly. Even if you have all your privacy settings locked down, anyone can see those photos.
4) Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Open Candidates feature
This relatively new feature lets recruiters know you’re open to new opportunities. Don’t worry -it does not inform people at your current company. To activate, go to the preferences tab on the home page, turn sharing on and fill out the info about role types you are interested in.
5) Customize that cover letter
The jury is still out on the importance of the cover letter. Some swear by them; others question their importance. Either way, you have to make yours the best it can be – just in case!

“Take the time to customize the cover letter so it fits the particular position you are applying for. You want to make sure it reflects the particular role, and it’s not just a stock template you use for every job you apply to.”
Damon Arnold, Corporate Recruiter, Oldcastle Materials Group

Damon also mentioned that, often times, he will see a cover letter come through with a different company’s name on it. It’s imperative to be sure this doesn’t happen. He can spot a canned cover letter immediately, and this can hurt your chances. “You need to take the time to personalize it. Attention to detail like this is important and also reflects your level of interest and commitment in the position and the company.”

The cover letter also showcases your writing/communications skills. Take the time to get it right. That means no typos or grammatical errors. Read it aloud to a friend, and make sure you proofread. It should flow easily. Don’t throw in unnecessary jargon or fancy language. Industry terminology is fine, but don’t go overboard. The resume is ultimately more important than the cover letter, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the time you spend on it. You never know which employer might weigh it more heavily.

Make tweaks like this so you’ll be the next ‘lucky’ one to land a new job!

** Bonus tip **
You can send a LinkedIn message to group members you share in common. This is a great way to reach out and communicate with people who may not be a connection.

Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

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5 Ways to Love Your Job Search Again

heart
No one really “loves” the job search, but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day this month, we’re hoping to show you how you can at least enjoy the journey more.

1) Expect Ups and Downs As a Part of the Process

Not only does the job search take time, rejection is inevitable at times. Just like you don’t go on one date and find true love immediately, you have to endure multiple interviews and ‘no’s’ before you get to that all important yes.

2) Don’t minimize how life changing and stressful the search can be

Have you ever heard of the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory? This is a questionnaire developed in the late 1960’s that identifies major stressful life events. Many of them are job related, including: changing to a different line of work, promotions, demotions, being fired, a change in work responsibilities and retirement. Work is a big part of our life and can easily consume our thoughts and behaviors negatively if we let it. Be aware of what a big deal it is to be be actively looking for work. However, don’t let this paralyze your search. Always keep moving forward. Your job search journey is not just the practical/mechanical part of applying and interviewing. It is interwoven with a roller coaster of emotions as well as your comfort level with change, trying new things, meeting new people and adjusting to a new environment and schedule.

3) Organization and persistence go hand in hand

Successful job seekers track their job seeking activities – which companies they’re interested in, what jobs they’ve applied to and how much time they devote to their search. They keep at it, knowing that the time spent will pay off in the end. Using our love scenario as comparison, think of that stressed out bride. She knows that planning her wedding and getting in shape for the big day is not going to happen overnight (or successfully) unless she’s focused, mindful of her schedule and determined. The beauty of all this tenacity is that worry melts away once you land your job (and, for the bride-to-be, when she’s walking down that aisle).

4) Remember the end game

Visualization can be a great motivator. Instead of focusing on all that you “need” to do, focus on what you will gain.

Change the need to a want. You don’t “need” to find a job, you “want” a new, exciting opportunity.

Take it one step further and imagine how awesome and proud you will feel on that first day of your new job (and on the day you get that first paycheck!).

5) Show your support system some love

A job seeker does not exist in a vacuum. It takes a group effort. Your job search tribe consists of family, friends, current/former coworkers and references. You need these people – for everything from mock interviews, to advice to emotional support. Don’t underestimate their importance. Make sure gratitude and appreciation come into play. There will be a time when you can be there for them as well.

Embracing a better, more loving attitude as you embark on your job search will make the entire process easier and more enjoyable.

Photo credit: DepositPhotos

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

 

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Smile! Picture Perfect Profile Tips For LinkedIn

winky3

‘Winky’ needs help & a haircut to be LinkedIn ready

How happy are you with your LinkedIn profile and cover photos? It’s a good idea to evaluate the professional image you’re portraying.

1) When was the last time you updated your profile photo?

If your profile photo is over two years old, we recommend getting a new one. People change over time. Make sure your photo is current! A ten year old photo just doesn’t cut it. Yes, you may have looked a lot more youthful, but walking into an interview not even closely resembling what you look like in that old photo is not doing you any favors. And remember, every time you update your profile photo on LinkedIn, all your connections will see that change. It’s another easy way to appear in the feed. Appearing in the feed = exposure and being top of mind.

2) Do you have a cover photo?

Not everyone chooses to have a cover photo, and we’re not sure why. This is another easy way you can differentiate yourself. You could make yours industry or job related if you like. The key is to always pick something compelling, engaging and eye catching.

3) Are your photos the right size?

According to this very helpful “Cheat Sheet,” these are the recommended sizes:

LinkedIn profile: between 1000 x 425 pixels and 4,000 x 4,000 pixels.

Linked in profile picture: between 400 x 400 pixels and 20,000 x 20,000 pixels.

Max file size: 8MB File type must be PNG, JPEG, or GIF.

4) What message do your photos send?

Think about this one for a minute. Some industries are conservative, while others a bit more lenient. You want to fit in with your field. However, always keep in mind that this is not Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram! I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve seen really inappropriate profile pictures. If you’re trying to present yourself in the best light to recruiters, hiring managers and potential employers, a bad, inappropriate photo really works against you. This mean no low cut/tight clothing, sloppy attire, bad lighting, casual, alcohol/party type photos etc. The site is meant to be for professional networking. Take the time and effort to showcase yourself in the most flattering way.

5) Have you gotten other people’s opinions on your photos?

Ask your colleagues, friends and family what they think. If you want to analyze your current photo online, check out this interesting/fun tool: Snapp’r Photo Analyzer. “Snappr’s Photo Analyzer uses the latest research, combined with image recognition and machine learning technologies, to determine how well your photo will perform.” Take the results with a grain of salt, although they do offer some solid suggestions.
snappr

Looking for more job search advice?
Join our Talent Community today HERE! You’ll receive receive a monthly e-newsletter with job search advice written by our own staff of recruiters and experts.

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

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Filed under Job Search, job search advice, LinkedIn Advice

4 Career Resolutions You Can Keep in 2017

2016 to 2017, happy new year conceptWell, here we are again. A fresh slate, a new calendar. Ready to make the most of this year for your career? Great! Let’s get started.

  1. Vow to update your LinkedIn page
    Be honest now. When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? Set aside an hour. You want to go through and make additions and deletions as necessary. Have you taken on any new projects? Are there new success stories you could add? Don’t just reiterate your resume! Add “wow factor” content that a recruiter or hiring manager would be impressed to read. LinkedIn allows for photos, video and links too – take advantage of the multimedia possibilities. When you’re done updating, show it to a friend or family member and ask them how it looks, what makes sense, and what could still use some sprucing up. When you’re done with that, you need to do the same thing for your resume.
  2. Start an accomplishment list
    It’s easy to forget all the projects you’ve completed over the year. Yet, you can really stand out when you have this arsenal of good stuff to draw from (for your resume, cover letter and interview). If you jot down your successes and projects you’ve worked on as they happen (once a week is a good goal), this will help when it comes time to interview. Start – right now – to keep track of your results. This way you won’t have to back track or try to remember something you worked on months ago. This list can also be helpful for your yearly performance review.
  3. Show your references some love
    You do have a list of at least three references that you could use, right? Never underestimate the importance of a good reference. Create your list and then make sure to keep in touch with your references – not just when you need them. In addition, make sure your reference has a copy of your resume and prep them if you think they will be called. At the very least, send them the job description and 2 or 3 points/characteristics you want them to emphasize.
  4. Start a career ‘Content calendar.’
    Marketers and writers often schedule out topics and themes by day, week and/or month. This could be based on the season, holidays or a number of other factors related to the industry/field they are working in. You can do the same – whether you’re job searching or just focusing on your career. Break it up by season to get started. What do you hope to accomplish this first quarter? For instance – January through March could be – Resume/Cover letter updating, April though June – networking/submitting applications, July through September – attend an industry conference/seminar, etc.

Don’t stay stuck in a job just because you don’t want to put in the work and effort required for a successful job search. These tips don’t take a lot of time, but can yield good results. Good luck on your career journey in 2017!

PhotoCredit: DepositPhotos

Looking for more job search advice?
Join our Talent Community today HERE! You’ll receive receive a monthly e-newsletter with job search advice written by our own staff of recruiters and experts.

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

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6 Strategies To Cope With Post Holiday Blues

Empty road to upcoming 2017 against the big cloudsThe first week back to work after the holidays can be rough. The next vacation or holiday feel a million miles away. So, what can you do to make things more pleasant?

1) Ease back into your routine

The months before the holidays are usually a flurry of activity. Getting back into the grind of working feels somewhat ‘off’. Don’t pressure yourself to be perfectly back on schedule. Give yourself a few weeks to get back into the swing of things.

2) Resolve to not resolve

January brings with it societal/personal pressure to make and keep New Year’s resolutions. Certainly, getting fit, losing weight, saving money, etc. are admirable goals. The problem is – 71% of people fall off the New Year’s Resolution wagon the first two weeks. Cut yourself some slack and don’t try to do everything at once. You aren’t going to go from binging on Christmas cookies for weeks to being satisfied with just carrots. Set goals, but start small. For instance, “this week I will bring fresh fruit as a snack instead of going to the vending machine every afternoon.”

3) Create a “look forward to” date

Having something on the calendar to anticipate can really help on those days when you’re dragging. Think about the last time you planned a vacation. Half the fun isn’t the vacation itself – it’s the time planning, talking about it and reminiscing after. Your event doesn’t have to break the bank either. Sign up for a cooking class, buy tickets to a concert or sporting event, make a reservation for a new restaurant, etc. Pick something fun and meaningful to you.

4) Perception is everything

For most of the country, the weather is cold, gloomy and dark. Going to work and driving home in the dark can take a toll. However, it’s all in the way you look at it. December 21st (the first day of Winter) was the shortest day of the year. We actually gain sunlight from that day forward. Counting down until Spring is a start to putting the reality into perspective. Try this countdown calculator. Use it to count down until Spring and/or the next fun thing you have planned.

5) Commit to self care

You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. Proper sleep and a good diet make a world of difference in your mood. Stop surfing the web and checking your phone an hour before bedtime. Disconnect, relax and make time to wind down at the end of every day. Even going to be 15 minutes earlier can make a difference.

6) Wallowing allowed (in moderation)

There are plenty of perky self-help articles that encourage embracing everything about the new year and a fresh start. However, if you’re feeling guilty about being blue, reading those essays can make you feel even worse. It’s OK to not jump for joy about being back to work after the holidays. Those feelings are normal. All you need are the strategies to get back into the work groove. If you continue to feel down after a few weeks, you may want to talk to someone. For most people though, you can make minor adjustments in your life to get past this.

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

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A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

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