It’s ‘Clean Out Your Computer’ day. Here’s how to declutter your computer in 4 steps.

Save your sanity by keeping files straight from the start.

Chris Ambrose

[Courtesy of Monster.com]

It's Clean Out Your Computer day Here's how to declutter your computer in 4 steps

If you’ve ever seen the comedy “Zoolander,” you may remember the hysterical scene where the not-so-bright title character played by Ben Stiller is told to search for some hard drive files “in the computer.” Zoolander goes into a rage when he can’t open the computer and shatters it open instead.

You may have felt like doing the same thing with your own computer at a time when you couldn’t find an important file you knew you had but can’t locate. Today for Clean Out Your Computer Day, I’ve gathered some easy-to-use, expert tips for decluttering your computer files and getting them organized so you can stop computer rage before it starts.

1. Subdivide your folders

One of the most important steps you can take to organizing your computer’s files is creating subdivisions within folders. In her article, “Where Did I Save That Document?” productivity expert Laura Stack suggests using subdivision to help with organization.

“If every folder were labeled ‘My Documents,’ you wouldn’t find anything,” she notes. Instead, consider making more folders based on type of work or the date it was created. “Microsoft automatically sets up a folder titled ‘My Documents,’ where you can save your documents. If you save EVERYTHING under this directory, you will never be able to find what you need,” writes Stack. Make sure you take control of where your files and work go.

2. Remove old files

Do you have a file — whether it be a spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation — you use a couple times a week? You should probably keep those around on your Desktop, but almost everything else should go somewhere else.

N2 Publishing CTO Jim Hall advises people delete or move files off their desktop if they’re not in use. “Move files you don’t use often to an external hard drive or cloud storage (whatever you trust and are comfortable with). And don’t be afraid to delete files you won’t ever use again. Clear out your photos and store them on an external drive or cloud, too.”

3. Think about how you want to search

Before you save something new, remember to first ask yourself “how will I search for this in the future?” Take for instance, the example of searching for old insurance files from Stack’s article.

“You can’t remember, ‘Did I call that “automobile” insurance, or “car” insurance, or “Bronco” insurance?’ You would logically want to go to ONE place in your files to find all information related to insurance. So a simple solution is to put the noun first, such as ‘Insurance, Auto;’ ‘Insurance, Homeowners;’ ‘Insurance, Medical.’” By placing the noun first in the file name you reduce time spent searching and stressing.

4. Invent a file-naming system

Perhaps the best way to prevent all future mishaps is create a simple file-naming system that incorporates both a date and a useful description. Your files don’t have to be in a code that would make the pros at NASA proud, just use short, clear names for your files, advises Hall. “And be consistent with the style or format you use.”

Computers are powerful productivity machines, but like anything else, they must be organized from time to time to remain dependable and easy to use. Take these small steps and you can prevent plenty of headaches in the future.

Give your people C.R.A.P. if you want great employee retention

Jeff Kortes

[Courtesy of smartbrief.com]

Early in my career, I worked for an incredible general manager that taught me a lot of C.R.A.P. — caring, respect, appreciation and praise. He also taught me that giving people C.R.A.P. was at the heart of driving employee loyalty and retention.

He never told me it was about caring, respect, appreciation and praise. He just showed me and, as my mentor, I listened and applied the philosophy. As time went on, I added some other key elements to truly be able to solve employee retention problems in organizations that I worked in. The four elements of C.R.A.P. are simple. I said simple, not easy.

Here they are.

Caring.

People know if you care about them or not. They simply do. There is a vibe that is given off if you don’t care. I’m not so sure you can fake it but the good thing is that most leaders do care about their people. They are there for their people when they need them and stand by them when times are tough. They are available to listen and to talk to their people when their people need to talk.

When your people need you, they need you right away. If you put them off in their time of need, the likelihood they will come to you in the future drops off considerably. Make time for them so you can understand their problems and help to solve them. Your people will love you for it.

Respect.

Everyone wants it. Everyone deserves it, at least until they show that they are not worthy of that respect. Micromanaging people is one of the greatest signs of your respect for them. It sends the message you don’t trust them or their ability to get the job done. Micromanaging is one of the biggest reasons people quit their job. It is frustrating and, in your heart, you know your boss does not trust you if you are being micromanaged.

Another element of respect is wanting the best for your people. It means you are in it for them; not just you. The best bosses know that if their people grow that they might ultimately leave but they know that it is the right thing do and that their role is to help you succeed.

Give your people CRAP if you want great employee retention

Appreciation.

I have heard the statistic that 50% of the people in the workforce do not feel appreciated. That is a scary statistic. It’s not hard to thank people for the work they do and the results they deliver. Maybe we didn’t lead that way in the past. It is how we have to lead today and into the future.

However. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that things have changed. You can’t get the most out of your people if they never hear when they do things right. With the mantra of continuous improvement, we certainly hear when we need to do things better or have done things wrong. Without appreciation, people get beaten down and don’t want to come to work. A little appreciation goes a long way towards keeping people fired up and energized about what they do. How hard is to say “nice job” when someone gets you that report on time?

Praise. I like to call praise “positive affirmation on steroids.” Praise takes appreciation to the next level. Growing up, praise was not something I received and, frankly, it stunk not getting any! Unfortunately, we went the other way with the millennial generation and gushed praise every time they did anything right. Some of them became praise addicts. They got praised for simply showing up and finishing — even if it was in 12th place.

Praise

is designed for when people exceed expectations, not just do their jobs. When someone does a good job, they do need appreciation. When they exceed expectations, they need to hear that is was a big deal, they hit it out of the park and that they made a huge difference to the organization. Is that going to offend some of the average performers? Perhaps, it will but that’s just the way it is. We need people to realize that when they do great things, we will take note of those great things and make a big deal out of it.

This is simple stuff but it is not easy to do for some reason. It takes time and hard work on the part of a leader to give people C.R.A.P. But, if you do it, your people will be loyal, follow you anywhere and want to stay working for you. Giving your people C.R.A.P. will also give you a feeling of accomplishment and the impact on the organization will be something that goes beyond the bottom line. Remember, C.R.A.P. works!

Jeff Kortes is an employee-retention speaker, author and expert by accident. His early career spanned 25 years as an HR professional, trainer, and consultant. His no-nonsense approach is reflected in his C.R.A.P. Leadership System, which instills positive supervisory and managerial behavior while driving results in the organization. He shares expert advice on Twitter @JeffKortes and on his website.

 

It’s Customer Service Week!

It’s Customer Service Week

It’s Customer Service Week!

Customer Service Week is an international celebration of customer service and to the people who serve and supports customers on a daily basis. This year’s Customer Service Week theme is Building Trust. The Brelsford Personnel team strives to provide exceptional customer service while working to earn our customers TRUST every day. We deeply appreciate those of you who go above and beyond the call of duty to deliver superb customer service!

#CustomerServiceWeek

It’s Customer Service Week

 

How To Take the First Steps To Scale Up Your Career

COURTESY OF FORBES.COM

How To Take the First Steps To Scale Up Your Career

Whether you’re in a front desk role or trying to scale up in your career, here are five tips that can help move your career in the right direction:

Get the hard stuff done first.

That’s right, cross it off before the clock strikes 9! Whatever it is that you want to put off, whether it’s responding to email or filing papers, do it first. This means once the stuff you detest is done, you get to do all the tasks that bring you joy.

Take ‘massive action.’

What separates the go-getters from the not-so-go getters is massive action. What do I mean by massive action? If you don’t yet have a skill that would really benefit the job you’re doing or the job you want next, go out and develop that skill. If there’s research that would benefit the company that nobody’s doing — go do that research. It’s more than showing initiative. It’s all about actually doing the work that makes a difference for the business. Don’t let your fear or imposter syndrome keep you from greatness!

Never stop learning.

Learning encompasses keeping up with business trends, technology, the actions of your competitor businesses, and more. Teach yourself about nonviolent communication, empowering women-owned and women-run businesses, the hottest trends in benefits, how to retain employees and keep them happy – the learning opportunities are endless. Keep at it.

Become a brand.

Utilize social media to create a strong personal brand, and where appropriate, align it with your business. Personal branding is essentially the process of showcasing the kind of person you are and establishing a reliable and respected voice. Journalist Dan Rather and actress Melissa McCarthy both have strong personal brands, though they are quite different from each other. They’re also great examples because of their longevity. When Dan Rather came back into the public spotlight after he retired, his audience understood why, because his values and his voice demanded that he step back into the spotlight, in light of current events. You don’t have to think like Dan Rather or like Melissa McCarthy, but you can take a page (or eight) out of their personal branding books.

Cultivate relationships.

Relationships are essential, and you might not know which relationships will bear fruit in the long term. As long as the relationships aren’t unhealthy, cultivate all of them, and one or more or many will prove to be valuable in the long run.

Nobody gets a map when we appear in the world, no matter what philosophy or religion we follow. We’re all winging it a bit, especially in the beginning. But if we have measurable goals, we can make them attainable goals. Once they’re attainable goals, we can break them down into action, and then tackle that action one day at a time. If you’re dreaming of that corner office, use these five actions to keep your eyes on your own prize.

The Smart Way of Investing in Talent

Courtesy of peoplematter.in

In this dynamic world, it is difficult to find people who can act as the sole resource, and are also the only source of expertise in your organization, hence it is important for any company to identify the right set of people and invest in them.

The Smart Way of Investing in Talent

It is interesting to think about what the professional domain at large would look like if organizations were being run solely by all-powerful, ultra-accomplished, ingenious, multi-talented beings who had an expertise in every possible field and who knew everything there was to know about everything.

Well, for one, it would be a far less diverse landscape. Fortunately, therefore, the human brain, as well as the general human potential, simply does not support such a scenario, leaving us with both a challenge as well as an opportunity.

The challenge here is that in a reality where it is impossible for one single person to be the sole resource and source of expertise that a company needs, there is an always an urgent need to look out for all the right people who would effectively fill those gaps. But the opportunity here is that the process of bringing people and talent onboard has the potential to do so much more for your company than just filling gaps!

Today’s Talent Forecast says

Is there an organization anywhere that does not invest its time and energy in planning for the future? (If there is, my heartiest condolences to them on their inevitable downfall and demise.) Planning ahead lies at the heart of all organizational goals and it is the one process that determines all the individual elements that will be factored into the organization’s framework in the future – including, of course, its talent.

But how do we know when or how to bring the right talent onboard?

Let’s start with getting back to the organizational planning process. Priorities are discussed, goals are set and decisions are made – more often than not within the confines of a closed conference room by the people primarily in power – the senior management. An error made most often in these situations is the exclusion of the individual managers or department heads more closely involved with the specifics of the issues being deliberated upon. The fact that these department heads are left out of the major decision-making process means that the organization misses out on their potential for providing information and advisement; their expertise, after all, is all about gaining a better understanding of the status quo as well as the nitty-gritty of the everyday dealings (which would help better understand the feasibility and impact of the decisions). Most importantly, however, it means missing out on their informed suggestions to bring onboard the talent and expertise that the company currently needs or might possibly need in the future.

As a general rule, including more people in the decision-making process not only helps optimize the talent you already have but helps your company gain foresight and in some cases, an edge when it comes to determining its fate in the future. It is on the basis of the educated guesses, instinct and professional opinions of the internal ‘people in the know’ that some of the most successful companies have been able to make the significant decisions that were not understood at the time but reaped incredible rewards years down the line.

This holds true most prominently in the matter of the what, who and when to bring the right talent onboard.

You see, it works as an incredible, beneficial cycle – if one were to let it run, that is. The talent you already have, bring with them the knowledge and thorough understanding of their department, which in turn makes them the best people to predict the trends in that department and hence identify and bring the talent that would help your department keep up with those trends. What’s more, since they are the in-house talent lending their skills to recruitment, they are better able to recognize the value and culture fit that their company is looking for.

The right talent in a company can achieve so much more than fulfilling job descriptions or playing pre-defined parts in the organizational story. It has the potential to effectively and accurately chart out a map to the future, filling the gaps (and job descriptions) that the company does not even know it needs yet! Previously unexplored perspectives come into view and when this talent becomes a part of the core strategy meetings, rest assured your company will be steered into the right direction and invigorated with new, fresh talent.

5 Things You Need to Remove from Your Resume In 2017

[Courtesy of LinkedIn.com]

Five Things You Need to Remove from Your Resume In 2017

Everyone agonizes over their resumes. We all worry that if it’s not perfect, we may not get a call from a recruiter. However, when you constantly gather feedback from peers and experts, you may end up making the job search too confusing before you even start.

Ultimately, you only want to consider one thing when you write your resume: the reader. The reader isn’t the evil applicant tracking system that throws out your resume according to some algorithm. The reader is a real, live person. Your task is to make it easy for them to understand what you do and what your accomplishment are in 1-2 pages.

Trust me, I’ve read my share of resumes. In the last four years, I’ve averaged between 20-35 open technical jobs that I was responsible for filling. In each, I selected between 5-10 candidates to interview and put forward. This equated to between 200 and 350 people I spoke to – every week. Not to mention every hiring manager I spoke to as well. Over a year, this equals 16,800 resumes. That’s just the ones that I selected, not counting all the others I declined.

Take it from me: Here are the five things you want to cut from your resume, if you haven’t already:

1. Multiple Fonts

For the most part, recruiters aren’t going to read your whole resume. They’ll look at your title, company, and dates of employment for each job, and then move on.

The human eye is a funny thing. If you have several different fonts on the page, it may mess with the reader’s comprehension. They’ll have to reread certain sections of the resume just to make sure they understand – if you’re lucky, that is. If you aren’t lucky, they will just move on to the next candidate.

Plus, all those fonts are making my eyes hurt. Please stop.

2. ‘References Given Upon Request’

We know they are. We will ask you for references if we decide to give you an offer. This is premature in the relationship. All you’ve done so far was send a cover letter and resume.

3. Long, Boring Bullet Points

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If a sixth grader can read your resume and understand what you do for a living, than a non-technical recruiter can, too. The odds that the person reviewing your resume doesn’t fully understand what you do for a living are high. That’s why you want to write punchy bullets with accomplishment statements woven in. Use a simple format to present your tasks and achievements quickly. White space is your friend. I promise.

Five Things You Need to Remove from Your Resume In 2017

4. Funny or Odd Email Addresses – or Worse, Your Company Email Address

It’s a job search. Be professional. I once had a job seeker list “foxylady@gmail.com” as her email address. After 15 years of doing this work, I still remember it. Enough said.

5. Industry or Company Jargon

The reader has no idea what the “Tiger Team” or the “Eagle Project” were. Be safe and drop anything highly technical and industry- or company-specific – especially acronyms. If you must use such language, spell it out. High-tech companies are known for having special languages that don’t translate to anyone outside of the company. Years ago, I read resumes from candidates who were let go from Intel. It was confusing and time-consuming. They were lucky, because I ended up calling them and asking a lot of questions. Most recruiters won’t do that. They’ll just skip over you entirely.

Job seekers often write too much (and never too little) out of fear. They are afraid if they don’t list every little detail on their resume, they won’t get a call to interview. This approach often backfires. If you put your resume “out there” for 30 days and no one responds, stop sending it out. Chances are what you wrote on your resume works just fine, but you should also know when it’s time to pull the document and refresh it.

6 Tips for Staying Sane During Your Job Search

[Courtesy of blog.job.com]

You’ve updated and posted your resume, signed up for job alerts, and have consistently applied to jobs. Yet, you still haven’t landed your #NewJob2017. Don’t dismay. Our internet sources tell us that it takes roughly one month to find a job for every $10,000 of the paycheck you would like to earn. For example, if you were looking for a job that pays $50,000 a year your job search could take 5 months.

Below are some ways to help take away some of your job search pain and put your mind at ease:

1. Take a Break

You don’t want to run the risk of job search burnout. Taking some time away from your job search to focus on things like your family, friends and health will help you appreciate all that’s good in your life in order to help lift your spirits.

2. Simplify Things

If you’re finding it difficult to make time for your job search perhaps you have too much going on in your life. Look to rid yourself of distractions like social media and TV which can suck up your free time fast. Also, see if you can delegate some of your household chores or at least save some for the weekend when you’re not so exhausted.

Six Tips for Staying Sane During Your Job Search

3. Meditate

Meditation is a tried and true practice of many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. From LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner to the incomparable Oprah Winfrey, it is difficult to deny the benefits of meditation. While there are many different methods, studies have shown that meditation can change your brain matter, reduce stress and help you make better decisions.

4. Get Outside

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes, when you’re in a funk, all you need is just a change of scenery. Sure, winter isn’t the most pleasant of seasons to be outside if you dislike the cold and live in New England (we feel sorry for you) but it’s scientifically proven that being one with nature is an easy way to boost your mental and physical well-being.

5. Get Exercise

Seeing the pattern here? Like being outside, there are endless mental and physical health benefits to getting your move on. Even if it’s just going for a 15-minute stroll, getting your blood flowing is imperative to feeling happy and healthy.

6. Treat Yourself

Just because you need a new job doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of happiness. Sure, you may not be able to afford eating out, or clothes shopping, or Netflix even, but you can still find enjoyment in some small things. Life is short and you shouldn’t hang on to the idea that you will cheer up as soon as you get a better gig. By finding peace throughout the rough patches builds character and makes you a stronger you in the end.

Six Tips for Staying Sane During Your Job Search

Are You Making These 5 Common Phone Interview Mistakes?

[Courtesy of MurrayResources.com]

Gone are the days of the initial interview being a face-to-face one. Most employers today first conduct a phone screen. These are usually shorter and less in-depth than a full in-person interview. But they give the employer enough to go on to decide whether a candidate should move forward in the hiring process. We see some candidates make the same common mistakes in phone interviews, which impact their job search success. What are they – and how can you avoid them? Here’s a look:

Are You Making These 5 Common Phone Interview Mistakes

1. Not setting aside a quiet, private time to talk.

When it comes to successful phone interviews, it’s important to schedule them at a time when you can focus and will have total privacy. That means doing phone screens while you’re driving, or while your kids are all at home isn’t a good idea. Nor is it wise to schedule one while you’re at work, sitting at your desk. Keep in mind, if the environment isn’t quiet and distraction-free, you’re not going to be able to focus and provide the best answers.

2. Not preparing.

Just as you would for an in-person interview, it’s important to prepare for a phone screen. That means researching the company ahead of time and developing a list of questions you’d like to ask. That also means reviewing the job postings again ahead of time so it’s fresh in your mind and thinking through how your background and skills are a good fit for the position.

3. Eating and drinking during the interview.

It’s ok to keep a glass of water next to you in case your throat gets dry. But other than that, don’t eat or drink during the interview. Nothing makes a worse impression in a phone screen than the sound of chewing or slurping.

4. Using call waiting during the interview.

If another call comes in during your phone screen, ignore it unless it’s an emergency. You should never put a hiring manager on hold, unless you want to send the message that you don’t really want the job.

5. Talking too much or too little.

It’s up to you to persuade the hiring manager that you’re the best fit for the job. That means providing persuasive answers that showcase your strengths and proven record of success. That does not mean droning on, or giving one-word answers to interview questions. If there’s a pause in the conversation, don’t jump to fill it with mindless chatter. Let the hiring manager take control.

Phone screens are the new interview. So, avoid the mistakes above so you can ace yours – and move onto the next step in the hiring process.