Finding a Work Life Balance While Working from Home

When remote work first spiked, those of us who aren’t used to working from home were put in unusual situations. We had to train ourselves to separate our work life from our home life while spending a majority of our time in our house. Since then, the lines can sometimes continue to blur. Luckily, there are a few ways to help!

  1. Step away from your computer and even your office before and after work and especially on your lunch break.
  2. Plan out your workday and prioritize projects.
  3. Use your vacation time when you need to even if you’re not traveling.

How do you maintain a healthy work life balance?

Step-By-Step Virtual Interview Guide

Although in person and virtual interviews seem worlds apart, they’re not all that different when you get down to the basics. Sure, there isn’t a chance to show off your firm handshake but there are ways to prove you’re a great candidate.

Prior to the interview, research the company, the position and the industry. You’ll want to be able to speak to more than just your resume to show that you have a genuine interest in the job. You should also look up common interview questions and ensure you have a well thought out answer to each of them.

As with any interview, you want to show up early and dress the part. Virtually, this means to ensure that you have properly tested your equipment and that you’re in the virtual waiting room at least five minutes prior to the interview time wearing a polished outfit with a background that isn’t distracting.

During the interview, the most important aspect is to be yourself and be inquisitive. Remember, a job interview is also your interview of the company! You don’t want to accept a job that isn’t a good fit for you as well.

At the end of the interview, it is important to thank your interviewer for their time. About two or three days later you should send a thank you email or virtual thank you card with a short reminder about a great conversation you both had during the interview.

For more tips, check out a previous post on acing your next virtual interview!

The Joy of Switching Careers

While some people seem to know their dream job from birth, others dabble in a variety of careers before finding true bliss. No matter your age, starting a new career is an exciting change and should be approached as such! It’s the chance to challenge yourself to expand your knowledge and excel at new projects. It’s the opportunity to tap into your skillset and find your perfect fit.

When you are settled into your new career there’s something refreshing about knowing you pushed past the fear and worry and created a new life for yourself.

If you needed a sign to take the risk, this is it! At Astyra, we support career changes by offering varying levels of employment from entry level to senior level. If you’re interested in starting over now, apply for a position on our website.

Applying for Job in a Pandemic

While remote jobs have been an option for a while, many of us are still learning to navigate the virtual world whether it’s operating a Zoom meeting, switching to working in a home office or even applying for a position with a fully remote company. Some of us may wonder if we’re choosing the right business to apply and eventually work for. While there isn’t a surefire way to know, there are options to help you evaluate the company.

  1. Network with employees. Prior to applying, try to set up a quick call with someone who is in the department you hope to work in to discuss the pros and cons of the company.
  2. Research the company. Be sure to check out their reviews on various platforms such as Google Reviews and Glassdoor.
  3. Take your time if you can. A rushed job search could put you in a less than ideal situation. If you have the option to, look into what other companies are offering in comparison for the same job and industry.

How are you going about applying for jobs during the pandemic?

Acing Your Next Virtual Interview

Arriving early, having a firm handshake, and maintaining eye contact are some of the key factors to making a great first impression during an interview. However, what happens when companies switch to virtual interviews? Suddenly, those tips are impossible to use and must be replaced to ace that interview. With these tips, you’ll be ready for your upcoming virtual interview:

  1. Practice.

Record yourself while you are answering questions to later review and analyze how your voice and body language. Do you seem confident? Nervous? Unprepared? However, you think you sound, the interviewer will think too.

  1. Dress for the role.

Although the interviewer will only see you from the shoulders up, wearing a full business outfit will help you get into the professional mindset.

  1. Print out a copy of your resume and write down any information you want to cover with the interviewer.

The bonus to interviewing by video is that you can have notes prepared and available during the interview. Be sure not to stare or read directly off the page but use the notes to make sure you do not miss out on key points, questions and qualifications for the position.

  1. Find a quiet, distraction-free area.

While the company interviewing you will more than likely forgive distractions, these minor sounds can be harmful to your concentration. Instead of focusing on your next answer, you may still be thinking about the distraction after the moment passes.

  1. Test your device(s) before the interview.

There is nothing worse than spending the first eight minutes of the interview troubleshooting your technology issues and having the interviewer think you are running late.

  1. Maintain eye contact with the camera.

It may seem odd at first but looking at the camera instead of the screen will look as though you are speaking directly to the interviewer and give the same effect as real eye contact.

Have any tips you use? Comment them below, we would love to hear from you!

How To Get More Interview Practice

The interview can be most difficult and nerve-wracking step of the job hunt process. Some of us have only had a few interviews which have all resulted in job offers, while some of us have left interviews feeling like failures. This may seem like a no-brainer but the key to interviewing is practice, practice, and MORE practice! Even if you think you’re naturally amazing at interviews, it won’t hurt to practice anyway! Here are some ways you can get more interview practice outside of the ACTUAL interviews you want to nail for that dream job.

  1. Apply for jobs you don’t want.

It sounds crazy I know, but this is an easy way to get a few practice interviews under your belt. Note, this only works if you THINK of them as practice! Apply anywhere, it doesn’t matter where. Wait for them to call you for the phone screen and practice away! If they want to interview you in person, that’s even better. There is no loss here for you since you’ll get the practice you need.

  1. Partner up with family and friends.

Set up a weekly a mock interview with your parents, siblings or even your best bud. Keeping this scheduled with a partner will also help hold you accountable to weekly practice. It is best if they choose the questions, you want this to feel like a real interview, and in a real interview you won’t know what the interviewer is going to ask!

  1. Look for official mock interview resources.

This can be an online platform or maybe the local community college that has resources set up with professional mock interviewers. Take full advantage and use as many resources as you need to practice as much as you can. Also, make sure you are practicing all KINDS of interviews, such as: the phone screen, phone interview, video/Skype interview, and the in-person interview.

After all this practice, there is no doubt interviews will become a piece of cake. Have you ever practiced interviewing? If so, how did it go? If not, do you plan to now?

Boost Your Confidence – Job Seeker Style

We all hear about how important confidence is, it applies to everything in your life! Confidence in who you are, what you can do and what you believe in is what grounds you as an individual. It sets you apart from everyone else. If you’re job hunting, confidence is something you will absolutely have to master. Why? Because confidence is the key to successful careers. It’s that simple. Nobody gets where they want to be by doubting themselves! So, here’s what you can do to get some pep in your step and wear that confidence like a brand-new outfit.  

  1. Focus on your Talents.

You’re never going to feel confident selling yourself in that interview if you’re always worried about what you think you can’t do. Never automatically assume you’re unqualified for a job because you have weaknesses. Focus on what you are good at and hone those skills. Getting better at the skills you are weak in will take time but everyone possesses a talent that makes them special. Use that to your advantage!

2. Have physical proof of your accomplishments.

This can be old projects you’ve worked on, new projects you’re working on, awards, certificates, a report card from 3rdgrade… anything! Compile these items in a special way. On our Twitter, @AstyraCorp, we linked to a cool article explaining how to make a “Brag Book”. This is a portfolio composed of all of your professional accomplishments. It’s something you can look at as much as you want to and remind yourself that you’re awesome. Plus, you can bring it to an interview and really WOW that recruiter.

  1. Reframe your thoughts.
    This is the ULTIMATE Life-Hack. A million negative thoughts can pop into our minds in a single day. So practice this:if you find yourself thinking a negative thought, cancel it and think about something positive instead. Instead of thinking “That company will never hire me”… cancel it with “ Why wouldn’t that company want to hire me?! I am so smart!”. The more positive thoughts we force ourselves to have, the better and more confident we feel. All of the worry and self-doubt can be * POW! *  knocked out and cancelled, just like that. Training your brain towards positive thinking can even be a new hobby! What a win!

What will you do to really take your confidence to the next level?

Preparing For The Big Day

If you’ve been job hunting, you know the excitement you feel when you are finally scheduling that interview you’ve been waiting for! Getting an interview is half the battle, acing the interview is the other half! Here are some tips that will help you feel like your best self on that big day.

  1. Plan your outfit the night before

It is important to choose the perfect interview outfit. Make sure it is clean, fresh and pressed. Make sure all parts of the outfit and accessories are laid out before you head to bed. In the morning, you will be confident putting on that amazing fit. If you need a more in-depth guide to creating your outfit, check out our guide!

  1. Get a fresh start

If your interview is in the morning, go to bed early and wake up early too! You want to be well rested and you do not want to feel rushed. You need enough time to get yourself looking great and eat a nice breakfast or snack. Taking your time in the morning will make you feel calm, organized and grounded. Feeling in control breeds confidence!

  1. Know the ropes

On the day of the interview, you want to have all the important information you need and we aren’t just referring to the talking points you’ve practiced. You need to know the interview time, place, directions to the site and how much time it would take for you to get there a little early. Estimate the amount of traffic to expect and fill up your gas tank if needed. Think of all the things that could set you back and prepare for them beforehand. You want to prep for a stress-free day!

  1. Give yourself pep talks

Fill your mind with positive affirmations. Sometimes, what makes you shine most in an interview is how you feel about yourself and your skills. You got this! For additional tips on managing pre-interview stress, click here.

The Women’s Guide To Interview Fashion – Comfort Level

An outfit that can be worn in the spring

There is a lot that goes into the final product when picking an outfit for an interview. I will go through the deciding factors of how to create the best interview outfit for you therefore making the outfit selecting process a little easier.

If you haven’t read them yet, check out the preceding articles company dress code and seasonal fabrics as they will provide tips leading to my final point!

At this point, you have the outfit style and the right fabrics, but none of that matters if you are not comfortable in what you are wearing. Comfort could mean a lot of things for you, it could be in the colors you wear, the sizing of your clothes, or the cut/shape of the fabric and how it looks/feels on you. Regardless of how you define comfort, you MUST have it in order for your interview to be successful. I always say, “if it doesn’t work, don’t force it.” An interview is not the time to experiment with clothes you “think” you might like or styles you have been dying to try. An interview is a meeting where someone is trying to get know YOU! You know what flatters your shape, you know what colors look good on you, and you know what fits you not too long or too short, but just right. Making sure that your outfit fits you comfortably, allows you to be confident in what you are wearing, which in return promotes confidence in you. Who wouldn’t want a little confidence going into an interview?

That wasn’t so hard was it? Follow these tips and you’ll be fashion-ready for your interview in no time!

The Women’s Guide To Interview Fashion – Seasonal Fabrics

An outfit that can be worn in the spring

The first part to creating the perfect interview outfit can be found in the first article of the series. If you haven’t read it yet, check out my previous guide to company dress code!

Seasonal fabrics are the next piece of your “this job is mine” outfit. After you know the style of outfit you are looking for, the next step is determining the articles of clothing that fit the current season you are in. The fall and winter seasons call for darker colored fabrics that keep you warmer.  A few examples include cashmere, wool, and thick cotton. Interviews that are held in the spring and summer months call for lighter colors and fabrics that keep you cool, like thinner cotton, linen, and blended fabrics. Choosing the right fabric is very important, imagine being in an interview in the middle of December with a linen suit on; your focus could shift from the interview questions to how cold you are in that suit. It would be quite distracting to regret your outfit choice amidst an interview. If ever in doubt of what type of fabrics to wear, try wearing something similar a few days before your interview. Thus, allowing you to to get a feel for what you could to wear and adjust any changes that need to be made prior to the interview and not at the last-minute.

Check out comfort level for the final step of the interview outfit process!

The Women’s Guide To Interview Fashion – Company Dress Code

An outfit that can be worn in the spring

Having a hard time trying to determine what to wear to your upcoming interview? A little insight on a few things to think about when deciding on the perfect outfit will help you nail your upcoming interview.

Company dress code is one of the first things to keep in mind when narrowing down your “this job is mine” outfit. I will go through one of the deciding factors to give a more in-depth understanding of how to create the best interview outfit for you, so that it may make the processing of selecting your outfit a little easier.

It is important to know the dress code of the company you are interviewing for, as it can help you to determine what would be considered “too little” or “too much” for the interview setting. Most companies are broken up into (3) main dress code types:

  • Business Professional
  • Business Casual
  • Casual

Determining the environment will definitely help with determining the style of outfit to go for. For example, a company that defines their work culture/attire as casual, may not expect an applicant to interview in a 3-piece skirt suit. On the other hand, a company that’s dress code is business professional, may be turned off by someone who shows up to interview in a jean skirt and short sleeve cardigan. Information regarding the dress code of a company may be obtained from a quick search on their company website, or in a detailed conversation with your recruiter. Regardless of the way you receive that information, it is a great starting point to picking the appropriate ensemble.

Check out our other fashion guides on seasonal fabrics and comfort level!

Tips For Your 2019 Job Search

If you plan on looking for a new job in 2019, then you’ll want to pay attention to these tips, they’ll help you launch and execute an effective 2019 job search.

1. Don’t depend on job boards – reach out to the hiring managers or recruiting agencies. 
2. Follow up, Follow up – create lists of the companies that you apply for and follow up on the status of your application. 
3. Prepare for the interview – talk to your recruiter, reach out to friends, practice, practice, practice it makes a difference
The market is saturated with candidates, the trick is differentiating yourself from the pack.
What tips do you have? Comment them below.

Managing Pre-Interview Stress: Grounding Techniques

It is perfectly normal to feel stressed before an interview. You may really want the job or you might just be naturally shy. You know that your interviewer will be in control of the conversation and you don’t know what questions they will ask. This stress can lead to anxiety and may make you feel nervous. Here are some grounding techniques to help you reduce and manage your stress and anxiety:

  1. Senses

Sit comfortably, close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. In through your nose on a three count, out through your mouth on a three count.

Now open your eyes. Take your time and say out loud:

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can feel (Examples: the fabric of the chair, the hair on your forearms, the smoothness of your teeth)
  • 3 things you can hear (Examples: the ticking of a clock, the birds outside, the hum of the air conditioning).
  • 2 things you can smell 
  • 1 thing you can taste (It might be a good idea to have a piece of candy or a mint handy before you start this process. Otherwise, can you still taste the peanut butter and jelly sandwich you had for lunch).

Take a deep breath to end.

  1. Visualize

Imagine the interview going well. Imagine, shaking your interviewers hand and saying you’ll see them on Monday. Imagine coming to work, sitting at your desk and enjoying your new start. Take a look at your negative thoughts and see if they are realistic. Being aware of your unrealistic, negative thoughts can often make them disappear.

  1. Release Your Energy

Sometimes if you are stressed, you are not able to concentrate enough to do some of the grounding exercises listed above. Releasing this pent-up stress and energy can help you relax.

  • Go for a run outside or on a treadmill
  • Clean up the kitchen or vacuum
  • Turn up the music and dance, dance, dance

Once you’ve exerted some energy, sit down and try some of the exercises one more time.

  1. Feel

Hold an object (preferably an object with texture) and close your eyes. Focus on its characteristics.

  • Is it rough or smooth?
  • How heavy is it?
  • Can you close your fist around it or is it much larger?
  • What is the shape of the object?

Now open your eyes and examine that same object.

  • How many colors can you see?
  • How long or short?
  • Are there patterns or pictures of any kind?

Congratulations! You’re now mentally and emotionally prepared for your interview. Just remember, you’ve got this!

Resume Writing Tips

Plenty of people struggle with taking their first steps into job seeking and often wonder where to start. In my opinion, making sure that your résumé is a well-crafted and finely tuned job-hunting machine is your first priority. To that end, I’m here to share some tips that’ll get you on your feet in no time. I’ll focus on three things that I believe can make or break a résumé: style, uniformity, and content.

1.) Style –

Every living thing has a skeleton (well, most, but let’s pretend that a résumé is one of them). Here it means a base, i.e., an outline or a template. Different employers may have different wants and needs with regard to how a candidate displays their experience, but the safest bet will usually be to pick something sleek and simple. If you’re not applying for a job that’s requesting visual design experience, it’s best to avoid any theme or templates that take focus away from the information itself. Feel free to play around with different preset themes if you’d like but be mindful of your audience and prepare multiple copies to best suit them.

2.) Uniformity –

In addition to this, making sure that there is consistency in the way the résumé is laid out will help you immensely. If you choose to have a header on your résumé or for each section of your résumé (for example, “Professional Experience,” or “Education” as section headers) make sure they’re all the same typeface and font size! Some might recommend using Times New Roman in 12pt font but 10-11pt font in Arial is much more commonplace these days. If you commit yourself to making specific things the same size within your resume, no matter where they appear, you’ll notice that it will add cohesiveness and make your résumé feel a lot more concise.

3.) Content –

Sure, it’s very nice to have your résumé be aesthetically pleasing but it won’t mean much if the positions that you list don’t really explain what you’ve done. No matter what roles you’ve held, there’s always a way to effectively communicate your responsibilities. Sometimes, a little nuance goes a long way. Instead of saying “Took notes in meetings,” you could try, “Listened attentively during meetings and transcribed accurate notes for future reference.” – it’s all about how you spin it. That said, BE TRUTHFUL! If any part of your role involves hard metric or statistics, don’t inflate anything with numbers that you can’t explain or back up. No matter how you slice it, this is by far the most important of the three things I’ve listed, but you’ll need ALL THREE to get your résumé where you’d like it.

These tips are just the…tip…of the iceberg! The sky’s the limit, so long as your fundamentals are solid.

Interviewing For Your Dream Job

Interviews – the place where your palms are sweaty, your heart races and at some point, you leave with a thought about how you will spend the money you will earn when you get the job.  Being nervous during an interview is common for the interviewee and usually, for the interviewer too.  Smiling, confidence and a good presentation of your competencies are key.

Here are 5 tips to make sure you have a good shot (no promises):

  1. Be on time.  On time = 15 minutes early and not a minute more.  It is polite to be early, but not so early that your interviewer has to adjust their schedule to accommodate your presence.  If you arrive more than 15 minutes early, sit in the foyer or in your car.
  2. Dress appropriately.  Appropriate for a business meeting because that is what an interview is.  Sportswear and attire that you would wear to a party should be left in your closet.
  3. Know your resume.  Good practice – to hand your interviewer a copy of your résumé.  Poor practice – to refer to your résumé when asked questions about your work history because you cannot remember.
  4. Do your research.  Before attending an interview with a company, make sure you have researched them and understand their mission statement, at the very least.  It is very disappointing to an interviewer if they find out you don’t know who they are and a sure way to lose the opportunity.
  5. Thank your interviewer.  Once your interview is complete, be sure to thank the person that interviewed you for considering your application AND send a brief thank you email to this effect.

What Is Business Casual?

You’ve made it! You crafted your job-winning résumé, successfully passed all the hurdles involved in the recruitment process and now your first day is quickly approaching this Monday. You are already envisioning the new job site and the work that comes with it. A smile rises on your face, you have succeeded. So, what’s next on the list?

There is one aspect of your job you failed to envision: the dreaded first day outfit.

Your new company operates on a business casual dress code but you’re stuck between business and casual. You wonder how it is possible to dress for a business…casually. Business casual wear is less formal than the suit and tie but more professional than the blue jeans you wear on casual Friday.

While there are many options, we recommend a nice blouse without overbearing patterns or a plain button up paired with khaki pants for the ladies. Women can also add a cardigan or blazer to complete the look with an extra layer of professionalism.

Men, it is impossible to go wrong with a button up or a professional sweater paired with slacks. You can even dress your outfit up with a blazer or sports coat!

Some examples of unacceptable clothing choices would be strapless shirts, sweatpants and items with discriminatory or offensive language or pictures. While footwear for both genders is flexible, we also suggest to avoid wearing sneakers, flip-flops and overly bright or distracting socks or shoes.

Although these are the typical business-wear practices, always check to see if your company has a dress code policy which can give you more insight on what is and is not acceptable at the workplace.

What are your tips for business casual wear?