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.

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4 Quick Ways To Enhance Your LinkedIn Exposure

Linked Word Name Tags Sphere Connecting NetworkingWe’ve all heard the standard LinkedIn advice – fill out your profile completely, use key words in your field, etc. What else can you do to take your profile from good to great?

  1. Reorder your skills
  2. Customize your URL
  3. Get a profile badge
  4. Start Self Publishing


1) Reorder Skills & Endorsements
LinkedIn automatically ranks these based on number. But, let’s say you would rather emphasize a skill that ranks lower. No problem! Simply drag that skill to appear closer to the top. This is a great way to highlight the most important attributes to match a job you may be applying for.

reorder

2) Customize your URL
You don’t have to settle for the default LinkedIn URL with random numbers that LinkedIn assigns to your account. Change and customize it. It’s easy! Simply click on the Me icon, then View Profile, then Edit your public profile. Then, type in the new URL in the text box.  This custom URL can have 5-30 letters or numbers (no spaces, symbols, or special characters). The nice thing about having this link is that you can now share it.

3) Create a Profile Badge
pbadgeMake a custom button that you can use to promote your profile. You can add this to your blog, email or website/online resume. There are different sizes/styles to choose from. Go here to get started. 

 

4) Start Self Publishing
We’ve praised self publishing on LinkedIn before, and we’re singing its praises again. Why? It’s a great way to get in the feed of your connections. In addition, writing a post shows off your communication skills. In addition, the articles you write show up predominately in Google searches. Want to differentiate yourself from another candidate in your field? Which candidate do you think a recruiter or hiring manager would gravitate towards – one with a selection of industry related posts or one without any? You don’t need to be a professional writer to start writing. Take a topic you know and write a concise, helpful post. Need more help? Check out the guidelines here.

Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

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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Erick Rodriguez, Bilingual Sourcing Specialist, Allied Building Products

17021619_851081929996_4870670717929656329_nWhat do you do in your position?  I am a Bilingual Sourcing Specialist for Allied Building Products. I source candidates and cultivate relationships to attract potential candidates to our company.

When did you join Oldcastle? March 2017

Where is your job located? Rochester, NY

What do you like about working here? Thus far, I have enjoyed how friendly and helpful everyone is, especially in providing assistance to my many questions.  In addition, the work environment is very relaxed and professional.

What are the best parts of your job? The best part of my job is being able to change a person’s life by helping them achieve their career goals.  Also,  my job gives me the opportunity to enhance my career development and become connected with professionals in the community.

What was your first job ever? My first job was at my college cafeteria, and I washed dishes for 2 years there.

Do you have any fun or interesting work stories? At my previous job, a snake was found in a closet, and everyone left the office for the day.  The funny part was how quickly everyone left the room.

Would you like to share anything about your family?  I have a  nine-year-old son named Aiden James.  He loves animals and playing hockey. Also, we have a few animals at home. We have three dogs and a parrot name Obie.

Connect with Erick 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 on: TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice. And, don’t forget to join our Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.

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Christina McPhee, Operations Recruiter

ChristinaMWhat do you do in your position?  I am an Operations Recruiter for the Precast Division of Oldcastle.

When did you join Oldcastle? March 2017

Where is your job located? Rochester, NY

What do you like about working here? I really enjoy the supportive and positive work environment. If I have a question, there are multiple people who were willing to help me find the answer. We manage our own individual workloads; however, we all help each other if we run into difficult situations. It’s wonderful that I get to work with people who possess such elevated levels of knowledge and skills. The Rochester recruiting center is truly a great place to work!

What are the best parts of your job? I think the best thing about my job is being able to connect with a variety of people all over the United States and assist them with finding a career.

What would co-workers say about you? I would think that they would say that I am a hard worker and willing to help out whenever I can. 

What was your first job ever?  I was 15 and I worked at Wegmans grocery store as a cashier.

Do you have any fun or interesting work stories?  When I worked at Wegmans, I had an interesting experience. One Sunday, Danny Wegman himself came in and assisted me with bagging groceries on my lane.

Would you like to share anything about your family?  Most of my family lives in Rochester, NY. I have an older brother and younger sister. I grew up with a love for animals because my family owns and trains thoroughbred horses. We love to gather and watch the races together. 

Connect with Christina on LinkedIn.  

See Christina (below) in this short clip the Recruiting Office made for Go Orange day (part of National Work Zone Awareness Week)

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 on: TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice. And, don’t forget to join our Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.

 

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Cadillac Asphalt, an Oldcastle Materials company

Pave1

Since 1959, Cadillac Asphalt has been providing professional paving services and products. They “operate seven asphalt plants and, with our partner companies, nine aggregate and materials locations as well — including the largest liquid asphalt terminal in Michigan.”

Products:
Porous, Warm and Hot Mix Asphalt, Polymer-Modified Pavements

Services:
Asphalt – Commercial & New Construction
Paving – Asphalt & Parking Lot
Milling
Asphalt Maintenance

mill

Locations:
Ann Arbor, Clarkston, Dix-Detroit, Mt. Clemens, Rawsonville, Romulus, Shelby, Troy, Whitmore Lake and Wixom.

Map

Safety
Safety is a core value at Cadillac, with systems and steps in place for employees to return safely home to their families each day. An award winning organization, Cadillac has been the recipient of numerous honors, including a World Class Safety Award, Best Division Safety Performance and Presidential/Safety and Fleet Excellence awards.

Community/Environmental
In addition, Cadillac Asphalt is actively involved in their community and an environmental  advocate.  Each year they recycle in excess of 400,000 tons of old asphalt pavement for reuse in asphalt mixes.  Their ECO-MIX ™ ASPHALT is a high quality pavement that requires less energy to produce, uses more recyclable materials in the mix, is more sustainable, reduces toxic emissions, smoke and smell and is better for the environment.

mill2

Cadillac is a member of numerous associations including the National Asphalt Pavement Association, Asphalt Institute, Asphalt Paving Association of Michigan, and the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association.

Sound interesting? Check out Careers with Cadillac Asphalt. 

Visit the Cadillac Asphalt webpage for even more information.

About our parent company:

Oldcastle – North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. We have more than 2,000 locations throughout North America.

About Oldcastle Materials:
Oldcastle Materials is the leading vertically integrated supplier of aggregates, asphalt, ready-mix concrete, and construction and paving services in the United States.

Looking for more information about working for Oldcastle?
Follow Oldcastle Careers:
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Brand Yourself Like A Business On LinkedIn

LI

1)     Don’t just ‘Set & Forget’

You need to create, post and share fresh content to continue to show up in the feed and remain on the radar of your connections.

2)     Show some personality

Content is king! Think about what catches your eye when scrolling your LinkedIn feed. No one wants to see a sales pitch or boring statuses. Instead, aim for useful, interesting and engaging content that’s heavy on visual images and links. According to recent statistics released by Social Media Today, 98% of posts with images receive more comments, and posts with links have a 200% higher engagement rate.  A good rule of thumb is to post 20% news (about your company/job), 30% industry information, 30% helpful material/links and 20% fun, creative content.

3)     Schedule out your content

Decide how many posts you want to write/share by week. For example, Monday: image with a career/industry related quote using the hashtag #MotivationMonday. Tuesday: A link related to news in your industry. Wednesday: a link to a ‘fun’ or interesting article or photo, Thursday: Link or image for an upcoming company event. Friday: #FlashbackFriday hashtag and image.

4)     Decide when you will post

Opinions on this vary. Friday afternoon at 4:30 is not a great time. You need to consider your connections. When are they online? Does your business have locations in other time zones? The nice thing about LinkedIn is that older posts do appear in the feed days or weeks later, so content still gets exposure after that initial posting. In addition, the more engagement (like/comments/shares), the greater reach that post will have. Popular posts are distributed to more people in the feed. This is why putting effort into quality content instead of quantity pays off.

5)     Put on your creative hat

While LinkedIn is more formal than other social media channels like Facebook, there is still the opportunity to be professionally playful. For instance, start with the next upcoming holiday and see if you can create an image to play off that occasion that relates to your business. The engagement and exposure you get from this can really pay off. People love to see, like, comment on and share things that are interesting, funny and intriguing/unique. 

6)     Use free tools

Don’t have the graphic design skills or resources to devote to creating and posting the content? Not a problem! There are sites where you can find free images and online tools that will save you time and effort. Canva.com  can be used to create images/infographics and https://unsplash.com/ or http://startupstockphotos.com/ are good for finding free photos.  There are also many reasonably priced photo sites such as Depositphotos.com that are worth checking out.

7)     Set goals, track progress and update along the way

What are your goals on LinkedIn? To make connections? Network? Find a job?  Set tangible goals and give yourself a realistic timeframe to achieve them. “Increase connection by 15% over the next 6 months.” Or, “Get 50 likes and comments by the end of the month.” If a post is doing really well for you, try to replicate that type of content for future, similar posts.

With a little time and effort, your LinkedIn page can be a great way to increase visibility of your personal brand.

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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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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What LinkedIn And Facebook Just Did To Help You With Your Job Search

Hand Holding A Social Media 3D Sphere

Advances and competition among social media, job search platforms and technology mean that methods and strategies change quickly. Here are a few to be aware of – adjust and adapt accordingly!

LinkedIn’s Makeover

You may have noticed that your personal LinkedIn page looks vastly different. This new ‘face’ rolled out to some users in January, and eventually all users will see the new design.Visually, the change was meant to streamline the site, make it more appealing and encourage users to spend more time LinkedIn. The jury is still out on how users are embracing these changes, but it’s important to be aware of what they are and how you can use them to your advantage.

Menu Bar – This thinner menu bar is similar to the one on the LinkedIn mobile app. Notice how now you can easily view your Notifications. This is a great way to see how your content is doing. Simply click on the bell to see them (it previously was a flag icon).

menubar

Look to the left of the Menu Bar, and you’ll also see your Activity Feed – giving you an at-a-glance update on how many people viewed your profile and posts. It’s important to keep track of views – especially if your goal is to increase your reach, visibility and engagement. actvity

Summary section
Viewers will only see the first few lines (before they have to click to see more). Make the most of those first few sentences to really sell yourself. What you see ‘above the fold’ is what recruiters or anyone viewing your profile will see.

Background photo: Recommended size is now 1536 x 768 pixels. Test this out – some photos can look ‘off’ even at the recommended size.

Public Profile URL
To see/grab your LinkedIn URL, click on ‘Me’ from the Menu Bar and then ‘Edit Public Profile.’ This the where you will see your LinkedIn link address. We still recommend customizing this address to make it easier to share/remember.
profileedit

Status Updates/Sharing – This is where you can share articles, photos or write an article. Previously, this was where you started blog posts as part of LinkedIn’s self publishing feature. *Note – LinkedIn no longer notifies all followers/connections when you publish an article.
share

Facebook

Employers can now post jobs to Facebook, and you can apply via the site. As this article in Forbes describes it, “Companies now will have a bookmark on their Facebook pages where they can post job openings that users can apply for directly on the site. Applications are automatically populated with information pulled from the user’s Facebook profile, and sent to the employer via Facebook Messenger.”

For now, job seekers will see more entry level to mid-level jobs posted. Know that companies who rely on an ATS – Applicant Tracking System (which many larger companies use) may not be able to post their jobs via this new method. To maximize this new source of postings:

  1. Make sure you fill out your Facebook profile completely – since this is what will be sent to a potential employer
  2. Start following pages of brands/companies you’re interested in working for – in case they decide to start using this feature
  3. To see the jobs, simply scroll down to the Jobs icon on the left side of your homepage. Once you click on that icon, it will bring you to the page (below, right) where you can search by location, keyword, industry or job type.

This post is meant to give you an overview of the new changes/enhancements that LinkedIn and Facebook recently made. There may be more not covered here, and more to come – as things change all the time. Let us know your experience with the new features. Best of luck to you on your job search journey, and, as always, thanks for reading!

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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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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Filed under Job Search, job search advice, job search tips