In the last year alone, America’s workforce has undergone serious change. From a national shutdown to the re-evaluation of what makes someone essential, almost every organization has experienced some form of restructuring and reorganization. Even if you’re one of the lucky few and the only change to your career was a temporary work from home order, nobody was able to avoid major disruptions to their work life balance.
The Atlantic published an article on how structure relates to happiness, and they found that the happiest people limit their unstructured free time to 2-4 hours a day. These findings may sound counterintuitive at first, but professors from the University of California and the University of Pennsylvania have also found that too much unstructured free time makes people feel unproductive and unhappy.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 threw any semblance of structure out the window, and now everyone is struggling to find structure within their personal and professional lives.
Without a clear routine at work and at home, it can be incredibly difficult to find happiness when everything seems out of whack. However, while structure is an important aspect of work life balance, it’s not the only factor to consider. The next section includes 10 ways in which you can improve your work life balance without the need for structure.
Make sure every goal you set is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. If your work goals meet these five criteria, you can’t go wrong!
It might feel wrong to step away from a critical project, but a short 5-minute break can help refresh your mind and allow you to think about difficult problems in a new light.
Procrastination is dangerous and detrimental to one’s work life balance, especially when you’re used to a specific workflow that no longer exists. If you set SMART goals and adhere to the timeframes you set, then you’ll be ok.
While this might sound like it would be an uncomfortable conversation with your boss, it may actually be more efficient for you or your team to coordinate during times that don’t fall into the usual 9-5 work day.
We can help with this one! USPRO has guided countless people to better opportunities during the pandemic, and we’d be more than happy to help you find a career that you love. Contact us and improve your prospects today!
If your work is affecting your mental or physical health, make sure you fix whatever is it is that’s hurting you right away. Finding balance is a give and take; you can’t give 110% without taking 10% from somewhere else.
If you’re working from home, don’t prevent yourself from completing necessary chores just because you’re “at work.” If you need to step away, that’s ok as long as you’re able to complete your assigned tasks.
Take a walk or find an activity that does not involve a screen when you are done with work for the day. The worst thing you can do is close one laptop and open another. Everyone needs a break from screen time.
Studies have shown that working from home actually increases productivity, so even though you don’t have to spend time commuting, that doesn’t mean you should always offer to do more.
Whether you’re working from home or in the office, it’s tough to find time to connect with your coworkers. With everyone being displaced, it can easily feel like you’re all alone. Be sure to reach out, even if it’s just to say hi.
Now that you have a good idea of how to achieve a stable work life balance, how can you maintain that balance when life throws you a curveball?
One way is to find a career that works for you. At USPRO, we have a wide variety of remote and in-person job opportunities that will help you achieve your professional goals.
You can also check out these great online resources on how to maintain a proper work life balance during Covid-19:
Forbes: “6 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance” ,
Business News Daily: “How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance Today”
Our “Running Guide on How to Achieve a Proper Work Life Balance“ on LinkedIn.
Returning to work while coronavirus is still a threat is understandably stressful. While some companies like Twitter have decided to make remote work permanent, plenty of companies are expecting everyone to return. Your office might be reopening or open already.
But is it safe to return to work? Ideally, your workplace will spell out in writing the plan that will address all the policies and procedures and let you know ahead of time.
While the CDC did layout some guidelines, the state and local rules are sometimes different and that’s what’s actually enforceable. If an employer doesn’t follow state guidelines, employees can report them for noncompliance. Companies can be fined or even shut down. Your local Department of Labor website should have the information, or links might be available on your governor’s homepage.
Experts recommend asking some specific questions to either your direct supervisor, human resources contact, or union representative.
Here are the questions you need definite answers to:
Companies need to be aware of the global pandemic’s current impact and it’s path to help their decision making. Criteria must be based on: frequency of virus transmission, if transmissions and deaths are increasing or decreasing, and for how long. Your company needs to pay attention to the most accurate and updated information the local health department can provide. Decisions need to be based on that information.
According to the CDC, wearing masks can greatly reduce transmission of the virus, particularly in areas where social distancing isn’t an option. So you will want to be aware ahead of time before returning.
Returning to work doesn’t need to be more stressful. No one wants to work in a dangerous environment. Every company needs to have a clear set of steps that need to be taken in case someone gets infected. No one wants any confusion on what to do if your work gets an outbreak. Checking temperatures of everyone entering the building is a fast and efficient way to check everyone’s health. Some companies are doing multiple temperature checks. Ask your employer if they plan on taking similar steps. Of course this can’t be for specific employees, but will have to be done across the board.
Remember that you’re not returning to work for one day; you’re returning to work every day. Be sure to ask about an ongoing cleaning and sanitizing plan for high touch areas. This includes restrooms, door handles, and all of the areas that people tend to touch should be cleaned regularly. CDC recommended guidelines have what to clean and with what chemicals. You can also check the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) for more information. Before returning to work, everyone should know where to find cleaning products for employees to clean their own work surfaces.
Studies have shown that before coronavirus, 9 out of 10 Americans didn’t stay home when sick. Main reasons were they were either worrying about too much work or they weren’t able to afford a day off.
With coworkers taking care of family that may have been sick or exposed, sick days are more important than ever. Now is the best time to check on vacation policies and sick days. Is there a plan in place for people who are at increased risk? Make sure the existing policies work for this new situation. Remember that it only takes one case of coronavirus to spread.
The ideal situation would be if anyone exposed was able to stay under mandatory 14 day quarantine. Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, employees of certain public agencies or private companies with less than 500 people have access to emergency paid leave. This is in place until the end of 2020. While not all employers fall under this law, there should be options.
Moving desks further apart or installing barriers between seats can help install proper distancing between employees. Another thing to consider is air flow, so that air conditioners aren’t pushing respiratory droplets from one person to another. People may have to move away from sitting directly below air conditioning vents. Fresh air isn’t always possible, but would be preferred. That would reduce people coming into contact with each other at entryways.
If there’s an important public announcement while you’re at work, how will you be informed? Some companies will use email while others might find a loudspeaker more beneficial. If there is an emergency at your workplace, you need to know how you will find out and what to do next.
Workplace safety has now taken on a whole new meaning. Be sure to check out our other links on working during this time:
Before coronavirus, no one questioned whether they needed to wear pants for an interview. Now all of life has changed as we stay indoors, some with humiliating videos shown online afterwards (yes, you need to wear pants). So how do you look professional on a video job interview? What’s the best technique to convey eye contact? What lighting is best? We have the answers to all these questions. Here are the very best video interview tips that will make a world of difference and get you that job:
We cannot stress this enough: sit in front of a window. The light needs to be in front of you, and behind the computer or phone you’re using. If the light is behind you, then no one can see your face and it will look washed out. If you’re not able to use a window or the weather isn’t bright, a table lamp will be nearly as good. It won’t have the diffused light that a window gives, but it will do. Avoid any overhead light, as that is the least flattering light.
See if anything in your shot might create a glare. The worst offenders are glasses, jewelry, and watches. The easiest way to check ahead of time is at around the same time that your interview will take place. Removing glasses isn’t always an option, so it may require playing with the angle of the light or angling the computer a different way.
You’ve probably already suspected this, but having loads of laundry behind you isn’t the most professional background. If you don’t have room for an office in your household, try to make sure that you’re still presenting a business background. A blank wall is still better than a messy room.
While putting the computer or tablet on a table is high enough for you to type, it’s not anywhere near high enough for eye contact. No one wants to see up your nose, so be sure to grab some thick books or a box on top of a table and then add the laptop. Try to get the camera as close to eye level with you as possible.
One of the excellent perks about a video job interview is that you can keep notes behind your tablet or laptop that the interviewer can’t see. Hanging them up so you can read them while in the interview would be useful for referencing the questions you’re going to ask them. You absolutely should also ask questions, but some people seem to get tongue-tied or their minds “go blank” when in the actual interview, making notes an easy way to avoid that. One of the best questions we recommend asking is “What skills or experience do you think is most important for this position?” because then you can spend the rest of your time showing that you are that person.
When you get dressed for the interview, you want to be just as formal as though it was in-person. We also suggest seeing how your outfit looks on camera. If you wear all black and have a dark background, there’s a risk of looking like a floating head. Be sure to wear something that’s a different color than your background. Also be sure that enough of your shirt shows up in the frame, as anything that might have a lower collar or deep v cut can come across as inappropriate.
While telling anyone in your household that you’ll be in an interview sounds obvious, it’s still crucial. Don’t forget to turn off your phone! Mute any popups and email alerts. If you have something or someone that has a high possibility of interrupting you, mentioning it at the beginning can help steady your nerves and help the interviewer understand your situation. If anything does interrupt you, just get through it as best you can. This is about being as professional as possible under the circumstances.
Being at home makes being relaxed natural. Unfortunately, relaxed posture can come across as a lack of interest. To look engaged in the interview, be sure to sit up straight with your feet on the floor and try not to fidget. This will convey interest and enthusiasm without having to say a word.
One of the problems with streaming video interviews is that occasionally it can skip, causing the image you’re seeing and the audio to fall out of sync. Be sure to speak clearly and slowly so that the other person hears everything you’re saying. Enthusiasm is always key in any interview, but talking too quickly may lead to miscommunication.
A key tactic to interviews is eye contact, but using video interviews throws that off. If you look at the person you’re talking to, the camera doesn’t catch your eye contact. If you look into the camera the whole time, you don’t get to read the body language when they’re talking. When you are talking, look at the camera. When they’re talking, watch them. Most recruiters find it’s easier to pretend that it’s a phone interview.
Since the interviewer won’t be able to see all of you all the time, you’ll need to explain any long pauses in your answers or responses. If you’re writing notes or just coming up with your answer, be sure to let them know. This will reassure them that no technical glitches have happened.
One of the best things you can possibly do to prepare is to make sure you are comfortable using Zoom or Skype before the actual interview. Much like interview questions, it’s always best to practice ahead of time. Handle a video chat job interview like you would an in-person by making sure you can be there!
Keep in mind that the main goal is still the same: to show that you’re the right person for the job. Preparation is key for a video job interview just like an in-person interview. Make the connection and show you’re the one they need!
Whether you’re just graduating or have years of experience in your industry, job hunting during coronavirus probably wasn’t in your plans. Everything has changed for everyone and that includes how we find work when everyone else is also looking. We have the 6 best job hunting tips during the coronavirus.
The pandemic forced local and federal officials to shut down the American economy, causing an shockwave through the labor market and causing over 20 million of Americans to go on unemployment in a matter of months. Experts say that getting the economy to the same level of unemployment before the virus hit may take several years. While some jobs may reopen once the state approves it, others may disappear due to bankruptcy. The facts are that if you want a job, you’ll need to beat out the competition.
Applying to everything isn’t helpful when everyone else is also applying. The key is to apply to openings strategically, in a way that makes sense with your background and skills. Focus on quality, not quantity, or you’re just spinning your wheels.
What you have to offer doesn’t change with the number of the job market. The reality is that you’re going to need to “sell” yourself as the best candidate and the majority of people are really terrible at talking about themselves. Figure out what you really bring to the table, and then decide on the best and clearest way you could tell someone that – and then practice. Practice in front of a mirror for a while, and get to know which phrases really seem to clearly convey who you are and why you’re the best candidate. The mirror is a crucial step, because you’ll then want to video yourself giving your pitch. The video step will show you where to make improvements. If you’re applying to a lot of different types of positions, you’ll need to create an elevator pitch that can be adapted to all of them.
After an interview is a great chance stand out from other competitors. Don’t do the old standby of sending an email to say thank you . Everyone else is already doing that! Instead of either applying to everything, use your time to create several videos: an introductory one and a thank you. Sending a video instead of the usual phone call or email will help you stand out from the competition, so make sure to spend some time on it.
According to a March 2020 survey by Handshake, an online career community for college students, 89% of employers are now adopting virtual interviews given the COVID-19 situation and that will go up until there is a vaccine. Make sure that you are ready for when that important interview request comes. Much like showing up late or dressing inappropriately, your ability to adapt to video conferencing is one of the new markers of whether or not your interview will go well.
It’s the perfect time to conquer the skills you need to stay ahead of the rest. Analyze the skill section of job descriptions and assess your own familiarity. Do you already have that skill, but could use a refresher? Do you lack it entirely? Now is the time!
This is new to all of us, so there may be hiccups you didn’t expect or prepare for. Common ones are companies that may have had a round of layoffs or reduced staff may not be able to meet your pre-Covid pay, or may require a flexible start date, or won’t have a date when you’ll be allowed on-site. Due to many people’s increased urgency to get a new position, recruiters are now reporting that many candidates are coming across as pushy or desperate. Patience makes a great deal of difference in this situation. Above all, remember that this is new to everyone. To insist on the exact same situation as before the global pandemic comes across as not only tone-deaf, but also extremely insulting to anyone who may have gotten sick or lost a family member during this global pandemic. You can do this! Our tips for job hunting during the coronavirus will help you stand out from the crowd and get hired! Be sure to check out USPRO’s Job Board for openings!
Just because you’re not an “essential” employee doesn’t mean you can’t help. Here are seven ways for you to make a big difference during this time of crisis:
2. Donate Blood According to the Red Cross, there’s a critical blood shortage. As more people become infected with the coronavirus, there’s less people to donate blood. Find out where you can donate blood at their website here.
3. Help Healthcare Workers There is no CDC approved way to make homemade masks, so we can’t recommend donating them. There is Mask Match, a 100% volunteer-run project designed to get medical supplies to verified healthcare workers. If you do have N95 masks at your house (used for household projects, so check your garage, your basement, closets, etc.), Mask Match will arrange for them to be sent to hospitals without you having to leave your house and they will match your donation. Don’t have any masks or gowns or gloves? You can donate money to the Mask Match as well, and help cover the cost of shipping these vital resources to those who need them most!
4. Help Food Banks and Restaurants Everyone needs food. Donate time, food, or money to your local food bank. With school closures, non-essential businesses closing, and rising unemployment claims, food banks are expecting a giant surge in demand and need your help. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your house, you can donate to Feeding America, and help senior citizens, the disabled, and children in poverty without any risk. Help support your local restaurants by ordering takeout and buying gift cards. Buying gift cards allows the restaurant to use the money now while still getting you food later, letting them stay open.
5. Help The Elderly Stuck At Home DOROT, a New York City based organization whose mission is to alleviate loneliness among the elderly and housebound, are looking for volunteers to make phone calls. After a short webinar and two personal references, you’ll be matched with a senior and talk on the phone once or twice a week, for four weeks. The phone calls take place between 10:30 am to 7:30 pm EST and at the phone volunteer’s convenience. If you’re not a fan of phone calls, try writing a letter for Love For The Elderly and send someone anonymous good wishes without requiring money or making a phone call.
6. Become A Crisis Counselor If you’re a night owl or early riser with reliable internet and your own computer, you can become a crisis counselor. Crisis Text Line is looking for night volunteers who can commit to 30 hour training and then contribute 4 hours a week. This international organization is a free hotline, open 24/7 for people in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. If you’re unable to make such a commitment, they also accept donations. Check out their United States website here.
7. Join Your Local Mutual-Aid Network All over the world, communities are coming together to help out. They’re using Google Sheets, of all things. It’s a mutual-aid tool, where neighbors can post their needs, such as groceries, pharmacy runs, translation services, etc., and others can choose to answer the call. Join yours or start one in your area here. In this invisible war, we’re all in this together. Join us in doing your part to help stop the virus! We can do it!
Share this: Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related Here Are the 3 Things You Need To Make Excellent Career Choices Jan 30, 2018 In “Job Search Advice” How To Make Your Networking Even More Effective Feb 21, 2018 In “Job Search Advice” Expert Career Advice From Recruiters Who’ve Seen It All Dec 28, 2017 In “Job Search Advice” Tags: coronavirus, covid-19, help, remote Categories: HR Advice, Job Search Advice, News
Resources to help parents or anyone as we deal with the effets of self-quaratine
If you’re new to engineering, trying to figure out which engineering major is for you, or trying to explain what you do to someone who isn’t an engineer, it can be tricky to sum up all the different fields. Here we break down the six major branches, but under each branch there are literally hundreds of different subcategories.
Chemical engineering is the application of chemical, physical, and biological sciences to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful forms. This includes fields like biomolecular, materials, molecular, process, or corrosion engineering. This field requires studying sciences, such as chemistry, biology, physics, and math. Most work in offices or laboratories.
Civil engineering is about the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and natural built environment. It’s about solving infrastructure problems. This includes environmental, geotechnical, structural, mining, transport, utility, and water resources engineering. Working in this field can mean splitting time between the office and the worksite.
Just as it sounds, electrical engineering is about the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. This includes computer engineers, power engineers, and optical engineers. Similar occupations include electricians, biomedical engineers, and architectural and engineering managers.
This field includes the design and study of the heat and power needed for operating machines and mechanical systems. This includes acoustical, manufacturing, optomechanical, thermal, sports (testing sports equipment), vehicle engineering, power plants, and energy engineering. Related occupations include petroleum engineers, mechanical engineering technicians, and materials engineers.
This is the ultimate combination field and the largest of all six. Plenty of the previous fields could easily cross over into others, which is where this category comes in. Consider that aerospace engineering has both the design and development of the aircraft and air traffic control systems, but also has to consider the spacecraft itself, including the spacecraft systems, ground control, and orbital mechanics. Interdisciplinary engineering has multiple fields along these lines, with everything from aerospace to farming to systems to software. This is the technical title for a vast and varied landscape of studies.
If you’re looking for an engineering opening, we have multiple on our career opening page.
You’ve finally landed the interview with the company you’d love to work for, so what do you do next?
Read the job description carefully and prepare yourself to be able to give the definitions and speak about the major benefits of the operating systems, and programming used. Be prepared to take coding tests in everything, even if it’s been a while. If the employer comes across as arrogant or competitive, it’s best not to take the position. Be sure to ask any questions before you start answering.
Interviewers will be watching to see if you can work with others, so be sure not to show signs of ego or arrogance during the interview. While what you can do is important, you’re not the only person interviewing for this position, so keep your ego in check while talking with the interviewer. They will be noticing how open you are to new ideas, if you’re flexible in your solutions, and your approach to how you optimize the solution.
It’s normal to include skills on your resume that you haven’t used in awhile. If you’ve done that, be sure to give at least the basics a review before heading into your interview.
Think about what technology the company uses and then focus on studying the languages and concepts that might be on the test. Search online for a free coding test that covers these technologies. Find sites like Leetcode or HackerRank are good places to start for common technical and algorithmic interview questions.
This article from Medium recommends preparing for a tech interview at least 4-6 weeks ahead of time, with 3 months being preferred, simply to brush up on all the different kinds of questions asked. If you haven’t been in the industry consistently, you may want to consider following their lead.
Getting a job can be one of the returning veteran’s hardest challenges. Translating military skills and experience into civilian terminology is hard, but it can be done.
Ideally, you would be able to prepare for civilian life while you’re still in the service. Make sure to enroll in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which gives armed forces members access to employment information and training within 180 days of separation. Ask about VA benefits, request letters of recommendation, and try to get all your paperwork taken care of ahead of time. Work on your resume and LinkedIn profile and keep in mind that military slang won’t track in civilian life. Update your resume to match the job requirements.
Do you have the skills for the kind of civilian career that you want? Does your competition have more education? Consider taking classes, getting a certificate, or getting a degree. Now is the time to figure out what would work best for you in the long term. Make sure that any college or certification you choose comes from a well-respected school that’s accredited. Consider taking CLEP or DANTES exams for skills you already have, but might not be able to prove on paper.
While the armed forces discourage socializing to complete a task, you need to recognize that civilian life often requires socializing. Extend your network through LinkedIn to attract new professional contacts, and make sure to add a professional profile picture to your page. Don’t focus only on people at the top, because other people can also influence your career. Engage with all types of people at all types of levels in the career path of your choice.
You could feel a sense of culture shock when you return, but it will get better with enough patience and effort. Don’t expect everything to come together at once. Think of this as the long term strategic plan to accomplish your mission, with many pieces in play.
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