9 things people think are terrible for their careers that actually aren’t

By Rachel Gillett

Via Business Insider

Speaking up about problems

“No one likes to work with a whiner, but the occasional gripe emanating from someone who ordinarily doesn’t complain holds weight,” says Vicky Oliver, author of “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions.” “The key is to kvetch in moderation.”

Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, tells Business Insider that you need to embrace the idea of having difficult conversations to get what you need. “Instead of backing off in fear, you’ll learn to handle tough problems while treating people with dignity and respect,” she says.

A bad performance review

Oliver says that a lackluster performance review isn’t always a career-ender, as long you take the opportunity to fix what’s wrong. “You must show you can take the feedback and respond proactively to it,” Oliver says.

Taking time off

Most Americans are leaving vacation time on the table — in fact, Americans didn’t take 658 million vacation days in 2015 and lost 222 million of them entirely because they couldn’t be rolled over, paid out, or banked for any other benefit. That adds up to about $61.4 billion in lost benefits.

“Workers are often celebrated for wearing multiple hats and logging numerous hours,” Haefner says. “But working without letup is a bad habit that can jeopardize business, health, and the life you’re supposedly working toward.”

Studies suggest that not taking enough vacation time is bad for your health, happiness, relationships, productivity, and prospects for a promotion.

Making a lateral move

Just because you’re not moving up doesn’t mean you’re making the wrong move. Vicki Salemi, a career expert for Monster, suggests making a lateral move when you’re immersed in a dead-end job, working for a toxic boss, or need a change of scenery.

“When you work for a new employer, even if your title and responsibilities, as well as salary, are pretty similar to your former one, think of it as temporary,” she says. “Once you’re in a better environment, one in which you can flourish and grow, that’s not so terrible after all.”

Faking it ’til you make it

This advice can certainly backfire, especially when you’re taking on major debt to appear more successful or you’re ignoring the signs that it’s time to move on.

But it’s not always so terrible for your career. Indeed, Salemi says ‘faking it ’til you make it’ can help you overcome a common problem among working people — imposter syndrome.

As Harvard Business School professor and “Presence” author Amy Cuddy tells Harvard Business Review, faking it ’til you make it is more “about pretending to yourself that you’re confident” and framing challenges as opportunities than pretending to have skills you don’t. “Don’t think, ‘Oh no, I feel anxious.’ Think, ‘This is exciting.’ That makes it easier to get in there and engage,” she says.

Being bypassed for a promotion

“It hurts terribly when it happens, but sometimes you simply aren’t ready to handle the responsibility,” Oliver says. If you don’t get the promotion you wanted, Oliver suggests showing a brave face and dogged determination to shine so that you won’t be bypassed the next time around.

Crying at work

There’s no crying in business, at least not according to Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran. “The minute a woman cries, you’re giving away your power. You have to cry privately,” she once told an entrepreneur on the show.

But not everyone agrees. “You’re always taught to suppress emotion, but sometimes showing your upset can actually move you forward,” Oliver says. “You don’t want to wail at the top of your lungs in your cubicle, but some well-placed anger has its place.”

Political activist Gloria Steinem said that she often cries when angry, and the best way to handle it when it happens at work is to allow yourself to get angry, cry, and then keep talking through the tears, as a female executive once taught her. “She had mostly men working for her,” Steinem said. “And she would just say to them, ‘I am crying because I’m angry. You may think I’m sad. I am not sad. This is the way I get angry.'”

Sheryl Sandberg says that sharing emotions helps build deeper relationships at work, and experts say that, as long as the emotion is sincere, crying can increase people’s support and admiration for leaders. One study even found that found that expressing sadness can even help you in negotiations because it can “make recipients experience greater other-concern.”

Leaving your job without having another one lined up

In some ways, waiting to quit your job until you have another one lined up makes sense. Cutting off your income supply can be hard on your finances. You might also think getting a job would be infinitely more challenging when you’re unemployed because of stigma.

But Salemi says that if you’re miserable in your job, deflated and exhausted in a toxic work environment, and have extremely limited time and energy to find a new job, you’re probably not going to make a good impression when interviewing anyway.

She also says that whenever she’s interviewed job candidates who have quit without anything else lined up, the conversation never lingered on the topic. The conversation would go a little something like: “Why’d you leave your last job?” “I was completely burned out, getting sick, working 80-hour weeks, and my health was at risk, so I needed to make a clean break to re-energize my career!” And then on to the next question.

Taking a pay cut for a new job

“Taking a pay cut sounds counterintuitive to everything you’ve probably ever heard, right? Work hard, get recognized, get promoted, get paid more. Repeat,” Salemi says. “Well, there are many times when taking a pay cut can actually position you better for the long-term.”

“Your career, as cliché as it sounds, is a marathon, not a sprint, and sometimes it’s not a straight ladder up to the executive suite,” she says.

Just like making a lateral move can open you up to new opportunities, Salemi says that, if you’re in a toxic environment and haven’t gotten a pay increase in three years, taking a pay cut to leap to a competitor is a fair price to pay in the short term when you work for a company that will promote you and ultimately pay you more in the long run.

 

 

Candid candidates: The 10 weirdest interview mistakes

by The HR Specialist on January 30, 2017 10:00am
in Hiring,Human Resources

Step Brothers, Columbia Pictures 2008

It’s like Christmas in January—that most wonderful time of the year in which CareerBuilder.com releases its annual list of job interview quirks and missteps committed by candidates in the preceding year.

The employment website polled 2,600 HR pros and hiring managers late last year and whittled the interview weirdness down to the following 10 “winners” in which a candidate:

  • Called his wife to ask her if the starting salary was enough before continuing the interview
  • Brought childhood toys to the interview
  • Said her hair was perfect when asked why she should become part of the team
  • Bragged about being in the local newspaper for alleged theft
  • Ate a pizza he brought with him
  • Ate crumbs off the table
  • Asked where the nearest bar was located
  • Invited interviewer to dinner afterwards
  • Stated that if the interviewer wanted to get to heaven, she would hire him
  • Asked interviewer why her aura didn’t like her.

CareerBuilder also asked about candidate behavior that would prompt an instant “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” rejection.

Job interview deal-breakers

Being caught lying: 66%
Answering a phone call: 64%
Appearing arrogant: 59%
Dressing inappropriately: 49%
Lacking accountability: 48%

Source: CareerBuilder.com survey, January 2017

 

Urban Pioneer Spurs Downtown Growth

Urban Pioneer Spurs Downtown Growth

Doug Barry is showing his commitment to Dayton by taking BarryStaff, Inc., downtown.
By Jamie Kenny

Doug Barry has gotten a lot of attention lately. His commitment to downtown Dayton and his love for the city have been contagious as he begins construction on a new building for BarryStaff, Inc., near the Dayton Dragons’ stadium at the corner of Monument and Webster Streets.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE->  Urban Pioneer Spurs Downtown Growth

 

10 Good Reasons to Hire Veterans

Capitol Hill Democrats and Republicans lowered their swords long enough to pass the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which dangles tax credits at employers as incentive to hire military veterans.

But Veterans Day is a reminder that there’re plenty of other reasons to hire military vets. Here are 10 of them, courtesy of the U.S. Labor Department:

Accelerated learning curve: Veterans have the proven ability to learn new skills and concepts. In addition, they can enter your workforce with identifiable and transferable skills, proven in real-world situations.

 Leadership: The military trains people to lead by example as well as through direction, delegation, motivation, and inspiration. Veterans understand the practical ways to manage behaviors for results. They also know the dynamics of leadership as part of both hierarchical and peer structures.

Teamwork: Veterans understand how genuine teamwork grows out of a responsibility to one’s colleagues. Military duties involve a blend of individual and group productivity. They also necessitate a perception of how groups of all sizes relate to each other and an overarching objective.

Diversity and inclusion in action: Veterans have learned to work side by side with individuals regardless of diverse race, gender, geographic origin, ethnic background, religion, and economic status as well as mental, physical, and attitudinal capabilities.

 Efficient performance under pressure: Veterans understand the rigors of tight schedules and limited resources. They have developed the capacity to know how to accomplish priorities on time, in spite of tremendous stress. They know the critical importance of staying with a task until it is done right.

Respect for procedures: Veterans have gained a unique perspective on the value of accountability. They can grasp their place within an organizational framework, becoming responsible for subordinates’ actions to higher supervisory levels. They know how policies and procedures enable an organization to exist.

Technology and globalization: Because of their experiences in the service, veterans are usually aware of international and technical trends pertinent to business and industry. They can bring the kind of global outlook and technological savvy that all enterprises of any size need to succeed.

 Integrity: Veterans know what it means to do “an honest day’s work.” Prospective employers can take advantage of a track record of integrity, often including security clearances.

Conscious of health and safety standards: Thanks to extensive training, veterans are aware of health and safety protocols both for themselves and the welfare of others. On a company level, their awareness and conscientiousness translate into protection of employees, property, and materials.

 Triumph over adversity: In addition to dealing positively with the typical issues of personal maturity, veterans have frequently triumphed over great adversity. They likely have proven their mettle in mission critical situations demanding endurance, stamina, and flexibility.

 

“F” for SUCCESS

Technology is giving us clues into how people read online resumes—how their eyes travel over the page, where they pause, what they move to next. Dr. Jakob Nielsen, a pioneer in the field of usability, conducted an eye-tracking study on the reading habits of web users. The research study displayed that participants exhibited an F-shaped pattern when scanning web content.

With this “F factor” in mind, when you are composing your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letters, or other career-comm documents, think about how you can position key information and impressive accomplishments in these areas. Doing so will increase the likelihood of readability and comprehension for recruiters and hiring managers.

Here are six secrets to leverage the “F factor” in resumes:

1. Use Keyword In Headings And Subheadings

Choose keywords for headings and subheadings when possible. For example, instead of “Professional Experience” as a category heading on your resume, consider “Sales Management Experience” or “Customer Service Experience” or other appropriate title. As recruiters scan the resume headings, they’ll get an extra dose of the keywords they’re looking for.

2. Position Impact Statements Near The Company Name

Since readers look for company names and dates as part of their first impression, consider adding a key impact statement or accomplishment between the company name (on left side of resume) and the date (on right side of resume), as this example with yellow highlighting shows:

3. Lead With Info-Carrying Information

Front-load paragraphs and bullet points with info-carrying words, accomplishments, and/or numbers. For example, instead of saying “Developed strategy to boost untapped VA contract from $250K to $2.5M”, lead with “10-fold increase: Built VA contract from $250K to $2.5M.”

4. Use Graphics To Convey Key Information

Consider adding a graph or chart to convey important information. A picture IS worth a thousand words!

5. Keep Key Info Above The Fold

Keep the meatiest information up high on the page. Even though many resumes are read on a computer screen, the information near the first third to half of the page is still the most important real estate on the page/screen.

6. Center Important Points Near “F” Bars

Consider centering key information in a text-box, as the example below shows.

Review your resume today and consider potential tweaks to increase its readability. Getting the “F Factor” into your resume may earn you an “A” in your job search!

 

Questions You Should NOT Ask at an Interview

Chances are you’ve prepared answers to a variety of questions an interviewer might throw your way, but have you spent equal time considering the questions you want to pose to a potential employer? What you ask (and sometimes when) can speak volumes about your interest and work ethic. Keep interviewers from cringing — and possibly questioning your suitability for the position — by avoiding these seven questions:

1. What does your company do?

Sure, an interview is a two-way street designed for both parties to learn about one another. Yet how can a job seeker prove he is the person for the position if he doesn’t even know the basics about where he wants to work?

“I feel that if someone is coming to an interview, he should have some background about who we are and what we do,” says Tina Kummelman, human resources business partner for Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital in Baltimore, Md. “Specific questions are great, but the overall blanketed question tells me someone did not do his homework.”

Bottom line: Don’t waste the interviewer’s time by having her recite what could have been learned beforehand on the company’s website.

2. How much does the role pay?

It may be the answer you’re dying to know, but seeking this information too soon can make you look like you’re jumping the gun.

“Just don’t ask it. It sends the wrong message,” says Chris Brabec, director of leadership talent acquisition for Western Union. Adds colleague Julie Rulis, senior recruiter with the talent acquisition team, “I believe this question should be saved for later stages in the interview process. Asking about salary or benefits in the first interview isn’t the impression you want to leave with an employer.”

A better idea: Do some research ahead of time to get a feel for what similar jobs are paying.

3. What are the hours of this position?

“This one question makes me cringe more than any other,” says Paul Solomon, president of Solo Management, a New York-based executive recruitment firm that specializes in financial industry recruitment. “Wall Street managers don’t want a clock watcher, so when I hear that question I know the candidate will not be the right fit.”

Rulis agrees. “Although I understand why candidates are eager to know this upfront, it
can raise a question regarding their work ethic if asked too early in the process.”

4. How many sick days do I get?

What goes through the interviewer’s mind when hearing this question?

“We are in the business of developing leaders, not slouchers,” says Gary Rich, president of Rich Leadership, an executive coaching firm in New York City.

Keep a potential employer from questioning your motivation (or your health) by looking this up in the employee handbook later.

5. How much time do I get off?

Like numbers three and four, this question can make a potential employer wonder if a candidate is more interested in getting out of work than contributing. It is especially frowned upon in fields requiring significant motivation from the get-go.

“A career as a financial representative is what you make of it. Your hard work helps determine your rewards. You have the ability to be your own boss, build your own practice and arrange your own schedule, while making a positive impact on your clients’ lives,” says Randi Michaelson, a director of recruitment and selection for the McTigue Financial Group in Chicago who recruits career changers to work as Northwestern Mutual financial representatives. “In the beginning, it takes time, energy and commitment, but successful financial representatives — like successful entrepreneurs — are able to enjoy work-life balance among other rewards.”

6. If I’m hired, when can I begin applying for other roles within the company?

“This question makes it seem like the candidate isn’t really interested in the job she is currently interviewing for — that she really just wants a foot in the door,” Rulis says.

While ultimately you might have higher aspirations than the position for which you are applying, remember that an employer is looking for the best person to fill an opening for what the company needs now, not in the future.

7. Do you do background checks?

If you don’t have something to hide, you probably aren’t going to bother asking this one. If you do …

Rich sums up the feelings most interviewers have after hearing this question, “I definitely don’t want this person on my payroll!”

STRANGE INTERVIEW MISTAKES

CareerBuilder’s annual look at the strangest interview mistakes shows how frequently job seekers say and do the wrong things during interviews. Some of these missteps could have been the result of nerves, and others are just so weird there’s no way to explain them.

Here are 13 outrageous and real interview mistakes that surveyed employers have experienced and how you should avoid them.

Strange interview mistake No. 1: Candidate said he had to quit a banking position because he was always tempted to steal.

Why it’s a mistake: No one wants to hire a potential thief.

What you should do: Say you wanted to explore other options or you needed a position that aligned with your career goals. Honesty is great, but an employer doesn’t want to hear that you’re possibly going to rob the company.

Strange interview mistake No. 2: Candidate denied that he had a cell phone with him even though it could be heard ringing in his briefcase.

Why it’s a mistake: A ringing phone is a simple mistake; a lie is a deal breaker.

What you should do: Say, “Excuse me” and quickly turn the ringer off. A sincere apology shows you’re sorry and lets you get back to the conversation at hand.

Strange interview mistake No. 3: Candidate emptied the employer’s candy dish into her pocket.

Why it’s a mistake: It’s just weird.

What you should do: Take a single piece of candy like a normal person. Pouring the entire bowl of candy into your purse makes it seem like you have no manners.

Strange interview mistake No. 4: Candidate said he didn’t like getting up early and didn’t like to read.

Why it’s a mistake: Separately, these statements sound like red flags warning the employer you’re not keen on working too hard. Together, these statements are worrisome.

What you should do: If early morning isn’t your preferred time to rise, you can admit that as long as you counter it by saying you have no trouble staying late. This works only if getting up early isn’t vital to the position for which you’re applying. Also, if you’re asked what books you’ve read recently, you should have at least one title to mention. If the questions continue down that path, explain that you spend most of your time outdoors or doing something else productive with your time.

Strange interview mistake No. 5: Candidate asked to be paid “under the table.”

Why it’s a mistake: Ethical employers frown on illegal activity.

What you should do: Don’t ask to be paid illegally.

Strange interview mistake No. 6: Candidate reached over and placed a hand on the interviewer’s knee.

Why it’s a mistake: Aside from the handshake, you shouldn’t touch the interviewer.

What you should do: Keep your hands folded on your lap, writing in your notebook or resting on the table. Basically, keep them anywhere that isn’t the interviewer’s body.

Strange interview mistake No. 7: Candidate commented that he would do whatever it takes to get the job done, legal or not.

Why it’s a mistake: Crossing the line from passionate to a legal liability is worrisome for a company.

What you should do: Stress your passion for the job and how eager you are to reach the company’s goals. Employers want to know you’ve got the strong will to make things happen, not that you’re breaking the law on their behalf.

Strange interview mistake No. 8: Candidate hugged the president of the company.

Why it’s a mistake: Hugging is never appropriate in an interview.

What you should do: Unless there is some very unusual exception to the rule, interviewers and job seekers shouldn’t hug. You really shouldn’t hug the president of the company, unless you’ve been asked to do so. (And if you have been asked to hug the president, you probably should find out why.)

Strange interview mistake No. 9: Candidate called his wife to see what they were having for dinner.

Why it’s a mistake: Your focus should be on the interview. Phone calls are never appropriate mid-interview.

What you should do: If there’s an urgent matter, such as your child is sick, explain to the interviewer that you might need to step out of the room if an emergency call comes in or that rescheduling might work better. What’s for dinner is not an emergency.

Strange interview mistake No. 10: Candidate asked to postpone the start date so she could still get holiday gifts from vendors at her current job.

Why it’s a mistake: That’s not a good excuse.

What you should do: If this or any other frivolous reason is why you want to postpone the start date, make up a better reason. Simply saying, “I have a prior engagement I can’t get out of,” is better than saying “I want gifts.”

Strange interview mistake No. 11: Candidate called in sick to her current employer during the interview, faking an illness.

Why it’s a mistake: You’re showing your potential boss that you have no trouble lying.

What you should do: Interviewing is tricky, because you usually have to lie in order to get out of the office to get to the interview. Employers know that. However, they don’t need you to tell that lie in front of them. It’s a sign that you don’t know how to be discreet and professional.

Strange interview mistake No. 12: Candidate said he didn’t want the job if he had to work a lot.

Why it’s a mistake: No one will hire a lazy person.

What you should do: Don’t admit you don’t want to work a lot. If there’s one thing you shouldn’t say in an interview, it’s that you’re looking for a job where hard work isn’t a requirement.

Strange interview mistake No. 13: Candidate wouldn’t answer a question, because he thought they would steal his idea and not hire him.

Why it’s a mistake: This answer makes you sound greedy and paranoid.

What you should do: You definitely don’t want to hand over all of your genius ideas and secrets, because a crooked company could steal them. However, you should be prepared to give a sample of your ideas, because sitting in silence or refusing to answer the question doesn’t help the interviewer evaluate you

Function of an Employment Agency

Function of an Employment Agency

For employers, an employment agency can take the grunt work out of human resources. Filling an open position takes time and money. The American Staffing Association estimates that hiring a worker can cost 7 to 20 percent of that position’s salary and take 30 to 45 days to fill [source: American Staffing Association]. That can be pretty taxing to some companies, so it’s worth their while to farm out the hiring process to a recruiter at an employment agency.

When a business needs a specific person for a job, it’ll contract with a personnel placement services firm, also called a recruiter. The recruiter handles the search process and matches up an employee with the job in question, lining up potential candidates who interview with the company.

For senior-level management positions, a company may choose to hire an executive search firm, also known as a headhunter. An executive search firm works under a retainer agreement from the hiring company and uses a set code of standards to identify and place workers in these highly visible positions.

When a company just needs a vacation fill-in or someone to work for a few months, it uses a staffing agency. Staffing agencies provide skilled employees to work on a temporary or contract basis. Some employers also use staffing agencies as recruiters in positions known as “temp to perm,” meaning the position is temporary, but it could lead to a permanent position if the worker and company are a good fit.

For job seekers, an employment agency can be the ticket to getting that full-time job. The public employment service is free and offers a lot of tools. Recruiters can open doors to positions that may not be easy to find on your own. Staffing companies allow you to try out different companies and industries, and they’re also great for those looking for short-term or part-time work.

Another bonus of using an employment agency is access to training. Many employment agencies offer free training in a variety of skill-building tools, such as software programs and computer skills. Those who take advantage of these skills can build up their resumes, making them more marketable for the employment agency.

Your First Video Interview

With all of the advances in technology bringing people together it only makes sense that people would start interviewing by video. Look for BarryStaff to lead the way in this area in the near future. That’s right. Just comb your hair, put on that smile, crack open that laptop, turn on the webcam, and you’re at your interview. For some ideas on how to approach this new innovation in interviewing here is an article from Recruiter.com

Dear Candidate,

You’re about to embark on your first-ever video interview. It’s a little daunting I’m sure, but there are ways to make sure you not only ace your first digital screening but get invited back for another screen-to-screen.

1.) Plan. Prepare. Focus. Treat this interview like it’s a real one. Because it is. That means giving yourself plenty of time to prep, researching the company and the position. Keep your notes and resume handy and make sure you have all your dates lined up.

2.) Advance Notice. If your hiring manager or recruiter request information ahead of time, make sure that you get it to them well in advance of the interview so they have time to look it over.

3.) Check your Tech. Not only will you need to ensure that your microphone and webcam are working (try a test with a friend) but you’ll also want to see if you need to make use of mobile options (many video interviewing providers now have this option). Having trouble? Contact the tech support team of the interactive interviewing platform being used. They’ll set you straight.

4.) Timing is everything. Give yourself plenty of time. Just because you’re using advanced technology doesn’t mean that everything will move smoothly. To be sure, plan for an hour before and 20 minutes after your video interview slot. Even if you are simply answering pre-recorded questions (often called a video screen).

5.) Dress it up. Just because you aren’t in an office, doesn’t mean you can forgo pants. While it’s true that no one can see below the desk, as it were, you still want to make sure you’re in an interview state of mind, so keep it classy and professional when it comes to dressing up, even if you’re doing the interview from your bedroom.

6.) Speaking of surroundings. Don’t take the interview just anywhere. Coffee shops and loud areas are a no-no in general. Even if you’re in a quiet public place, chances are you’ll play down your energy level and look self-conscious. Not the best look. Respond to your interview questions (or the live interview) in a quiet, private location. If it’s an option, move your computer to an internal room so sounds like trains, car horns, barking dogs or any other noise won’t be picked up by your microphone.

7.) Background. Keep it clean and streamlined. Sure you love your collegiate pennant and that Blues Brothers movie poster, but they shouldn’t really be part of the background when you take your interview. Make sure that your interviewers can focus on YOU during your interview.

8.) Sit still! Fidgeting, moving around and giving in to nervous tics makes you look…well, nervous. So don’t do it.

9.) Try to enjoy yourself. Its easy to forget that a video interview is supposed to be a barometer of a match between you and your ideal company, so show your qualifications and your personality. Tough to do when you’re thinking about all that can potentially go wrong, but necessary nonetheless.

What College Grads Don’t Know About the Working World

Getting that first job can be an eye-opening experience for a new college grad. One person willing to give new grads some advice is blogger Laura Pierson. Pierson is a former English teacher who now works in the Human Resources Recruiting department of a large Fortune 500 company. She is passionate about recruiting, employee benefits, and employee relations. In her spare time, Laura is a freelance writer and blogger for FreeResumeBuilder. Here’s what she has to say.

What College Grads Don’t Know About the Working World.

Many recent college grads leave the halls of their classrooms with a fresh, eager zest for the working world. Many send resumes to multiple job openings, attend job fairs in their spiffy new suits, and go to interviews expecting both the best and the worst. What recent grads don’t know is that the working world is way different than college. It’s also way different than it was ten years ago.

Current employers could care less about your college courses, unless if you studied something very specific such as Engineering or Computer Science. You can’t learn how to run a business from a book, that’s why most employers will hardly look at your resume if you don’t have work experience.

So instead of approaching the business world with what you consider to be “business expertise,” approach your employers and coworkers with a desire to learn. Even if you know you’re a Microsoft Excel whiz and you can run circles around everyone in your office, Pretend that they know so much more than you. Win people over by – here’s the kicker – acting “stupid.” Admit to your lack of experience. Trust me, this will win your co-workers over as they will be very eager to “teach” you the things they have learned.

Remember, people are not always going to want to “be your friend.” You will have friendly coworkers. But other coworkers will go out of their way to avoid you, bad-mouth you, or even try to make you look bad. Your first few weeks in an entry level position may feel a lot like a Fraternity or Sorority hazing period. No one is going to congratulate you for a “job well done” every time you do something right. So, keep your head down, be polite, and do your work. Over time, this will pass and you’ll be able to pick your allies.

Ten years ago competition for jobs was less intense. Recent grads received at least $5,000-$10,000 more per year than they are offered today. For example, an Entry Level Business Analyst was offered about $50,000 per year in 2004, whereas today he or she might be offered $40,000. Ten years ago, internships were easy to come by, and many employers ran to college campuses to fight over the best candidates.

Probably the most important thing every new grad should know is that food wins every game of office politics. Are you looking for a promotion? Are you looking for higher pay? Maybe you want more of your coworkers to like you. Bring in cake! Bring in cookies! Have your Grandma Sophie make a delicious casserole or pot pie. People in the working world are naturally comfortable in their office chairs. They love comfort food, especially free comfort food.

And lastly, young college grads should remember that a job is just a job. Leave your work at work. After my fourth month of working full time, my director, who has been working in Human Resources in over 20 years, came up to me and said, “Don’t take this job too seriously, dear. Remember, family is most important.” Her words still ring true to me today. If you start working in your early 20s, you want to be able to live up those precious years before 30. Remember to make time for friends, family, hobbies, and personal goals.