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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.


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.


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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Filed under Careers, Job Search, job search advice

Resume Tips From a Recruiter

We recently asked Joel Burris, a Corporate Recruiter for Allied Building Products for his advice on resumes. Joel looks at hundreds of resumes weekly. Check out these two short clips to hear what he has to say.

How long does a recruiter spend looking at a resume?

You want yours to be the first. Yes, there are times they go back to the pile – but who wants to be second place?

Resume tips recap:

  1. Make sure it’s streamlined and flows easily.
  2. Use bullets to keep it organized.
  3. It doesn’t have to be fancy – no need for photos, charts or graphs.
  4. Use a timeline format.
  5. Gaps in your work history? Provide a brief explanation as to why.
  6. Two page resumes are ok. One is fine too. Three is too much.

How can you stand apart from a pool of similar candidates?

How to stand out recap:
1) Show enthusiasm
Be excited about the opportunity and be willing to have an upbeat conversation.
2) Do a little bit of research
Learn about the company and job, including the competitors of the company.
3) Be able to articulate accomplishments at your last job
Tell stories and give examples – don’t just describe duties.

See Joel’s other posts:
4 Easy Action Steps for Veterans Transitioning To Civilian Jobs

Making it Easier for Veterans to Find Jobs

Learn more about Joel: Meet Joel B.

P.S. Looking for more career advice? Check out this post:
5 Tips to Make Your Job Search Less Taxing 


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 Oldcastle Careers on Twitter, LinkedIn,Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook forjobs and career advice. And, don’t forget to join our NEW Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.


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Filed under Careers, Interviewing, Job Search, job search advice, job search tips, Resumes

Jennifer Burley, Staffing Administrator, Oldcastle Inc.


Photo courtesy of University of Washington Tacoma

What do you do in your position?
 I’m the Staffing Administrator for the recruiting office here at Oldcastle. Most of what I do is onboarding of our new hires – from sending offer packets and reviewing their new hire paperwork to running background checks, coordinating drug screens, answering questions from our hires and ultimately ensuring that the hiring process runs smoothly after the recruiter gives them their employment offer. I do this for many groups that fall under Oldcastle – Allied Building Products, Precast, Architectural Products Group (APG), Building Envelope (OBE) etc. The remainder of my duties include providing administrative support to the recruiters and staffing managers in our office.

What month/year did you start? 
I started in June of 2014.

Where is your job located?
It is located in Rochester, NY.

What do you like about working here?
I like knowing that I make a direct impact on someone’s life. Taking that leap of faith from one job to another is huge – and I pride myself in making sure that the hire feels welcomed and supported, and that the hiring process is a positive and efficient one for all involved. I am excited to get to know a hire during the process and often hear back from them after they are hired, and they tell me how happy they are. That is why I do what I do.

What are the best parts of your job?
Every day is different. I’m always learning something new and it is a very busy position. I’m never at a loss for finding something to do. The time goes by quickly!

Why do you think Oldcastle is a good place to work?
It’s really great to work with so many forward-thinking colleagues. I’m excited to see the many projects that we are currently working on in order to create more efficiencies in our processes. I’m also inspired by the dedication that I see on a daily basis from the team that I work with. I’m humbled to be a part of it.

How would your coworkers describe you?
Hopefully, they would say that I am  funny, positive and a hard-worker.

buildingDo you have any funny or interesting work stories to share?
For many years, I worked on a college campus at the University of Washington. One of the oldest buildings on campus used to be a brothel over a century ago. So, you can imagine my grandmother’s horror when I told her that I worked at a brothel!

If you would like, tell us about your family
I’m a proud mother of my daughter Jasmine. Special shout-out to my parents, including my mother (a two-time cancer fighter), and my sister.

What are your hobbies outside of work?
I recently became a homeowner, so I find most of my days are spent doing DIY projects. I also love to travel, cook and go to the movies.

Just for fun, we want to know – what was your first job ever?
I worked with my best friend at a local motel cleaning the rooms. You can imagine why we didn’t last long.

Want to learn more about Jennifer?
Connect with her on LinkedIn.   

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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Filed under Meet The Recruiting Team

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