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  • Adopt These Habits of Mentally Strong People

    06/25/18 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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    They’re disciplined. Tenacious. And remarkably resilient.

    They’re mentally strong people, and their grit helps them overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve their goals.

    Whether it’s personally or professionally, we all face challenges in our lives that test our mettle. Do you have what it takes to succeed, even when the going gets rough? Make sure you’re properly equipped by adopting these habits and characteristics of mentally strong people:

    They fight even when they feel defeated.

    Mentally tough individuals know that it’s not how often they’re knocked down; it’s how often they get back up that matters. When challenges arise, the mentally strong don’t roll over. They resolve to face those challenges, work until they overcome them, and then use what they’ve learned in the process to grow, change and prepare for the next obstacle that comes their way.

    They have high emotional intelligence.

    Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a combination of self-awareness and awareness of others that enables you to identify and manage your emotions; interpret others’ emotions and behaviors; and use that knowledge to respond effectively. It’s what enables mentally tough people to tolerate strong negative emotions and channel them positively. And unlike IQ, which is relatively fixed, EQ is a skill you can develop to improve your mental strength.

    They prevent negative people from undermining their success.

    We all encounter “Debbie Downers” and “Haters.” Mentally strong individuals know how to effectively neutralize them by managing conflict constructively. In this post, we explain how to prevent toxic people from derailing your success and bringing your entire company down.

    They accept delayed gratification.

    People who are mentally tough know that patience is essential to success. Failure, trial-and-error and setbacks are all part of the journey; the path to achieving a goal is almost never instant, and never a straight line. Through experience, mentally strong individuals have learned that results only materialize when they put in the hard work and forego instant gratification.

    When the going gets tough, Exact Staff is here to support your success.

    Serving organizations nationwide, the Exact Family of Companies provides a wide range of talented, mentally tough people – and a full complement of staffing solutions – to make you more efficient and successful.

    Whether you need to fast-track a challenging project, delegate non-essential tasks or build a more positive, resilient team of high performers, we have you covered. Just give us a call!

Email Opening Lines That Make You Look Clueless

06/22/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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“You have absolutely no idea who I am, and I have absolutely no idea how to start this email.”

You wouldn’t begin writing an email this way, right? Unfortunately, some business professionals pour a ton of effort into writing compelling email subject lines that get their emails opened, but drop the ball once they get to the body by:

  • being too casual or formal;
  • being too cheery or disingenuous;
  • offending the recipient.

If you want to appear confident, sincere and likeable in your emails – and convince recipients to take a desired action – steer clear of these opening lines that make you look clueless:

“Hey there”

This opener may be fine for personal emails or emails to coworkers, but steer clear of it if you’re writing to someone you’ve never met. It’s too casual, and it sounds like you’re trying to gloss over the fact that you don’t know the recipient’s name (believe us, your recipient will notice).

“To whom it may concern”

It’s cold. It’s impersonal. And your reader will likely think, Alright, this doesn’t concern me, so there’s no need to read further.

“Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear [job title]”

Nothing screams “I don’t know who you are!” quite like these greetings. If you’re not convinced, consider how likely you’d be to read an email from a stranger that started one of these ways.

“You don’t know me but”

You may be a stranger, but there’s no need to emphasize that fact; it only puts more distance between you and your recipient. In most cases, you can eliminate this opener entirely and just get to the point: “You don’t know me but I’d like to invite you to our business mixer on July 17th.”

Want a better alternative?

If you’re writing a business email to someone you don’t know well (or at all), keep it simple! A variation of “Hi [first name],” is usually your best bet. It’s friendly, innocuous, straightforward and sincere. And if the situation dictates a bit more formality, you can always use the person’s last name.

Looking for more tips for writing effective business emails?

Check out these earlier posts:

Secrets to Writing Clear and Effective Emails

Writing Email Subject Lines? Here’s What NOT to Do

What can Exact Staff do for you?

With a national presence and a full complement of staffing and placement solutions, our national employment agency is here to help. Drop us an email or give us a call today.

Entertain Your Audience for Maximum Impact During a Meeting

06/18/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Ever had to lead a dull meeting? Give a presentation on a dry topic? Teach your team something that’s important but incredibly boring?

Then you know how tough an audience can be.

By now you’ve probably heard that statistic from Microsoft saying that the average human attention span is shorter than a goldfish’s. Regardless of whether it’s true, one thing is certain:

If you can’t hold your audience members’ attention, you can’t influence, teach or lead them.

Do you have to be a fire-breather or contortionist to hold your attendees’ interest? No; but if you make an effort engage and entertain them, you’ll be much more successful in your endeavor.

So get ready to banish those blank stares. Say “so long” to attendees’ heavy sighs. With these three tips, you can transform any topic from boring to entertaining – and make a big impact on your audience:

Get Visual

You may be good looking. You may even have executive presence. But we live in a visual world, and we’re wired to understand images. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, and we don’t even have the innate cognitive ability to process words.

So, if you want to capture – and hold – your audience’s attention, supplement your verbal presentation with visuals:

  • Don’t just paste words on a slide. Incorporate charts, diagrams, infographics, videos…you get the picture.
  • Use visual metaphors. Drive home a high-level concept by finding an image that parallels it.
  • Inject a little humor. Your topic may be dry, but that doesn’t mean your presentation has to be. Inserting a cartoon or funny image can break the monotony and is great for re-engaging a disconnected audience. And while it probably goes without saying, be sure to use humor in a way that’s appropriate for your audience.

Explain the Why

Why should I care? Why does it matter? Why am I even here? These are the questions your audience members are asking – especially if their attendance is required. To keep your listeners from automatically tuning you out, explain the “WIIFM” (what’s in it for me) at or near the beginning of the presentation.

Share Your Passion

“FOMO” (fear of missing out) is a big driver of curiosity and attention. If you want attendees to be interested in what you’re sharing, you have to convey your enthusiasm about the topic. And don’t try to fake it – it won’t work. Find an aspect of your presentation that’s truly meaningful to you and use it to spark your audience’s attention.

Have training to conduct? Need extra time to prepare a big presentation?

Exact Staff is here to help. We provide the right resources, exactly when you need them, to free-up your time for high priority work. To learn more about how we can help, schedule a free consultation today.

Sit at a Desk All Day? Here’s the Workout You Need to Do

06/11/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Ever hear of dead butt syndrome?

It sounds creepy, but it’s a real medical condition! Also known as gluteal amnesia, the condition develops when the gluteus medius (one of the three main muscles that make up your behind) stops firing correctly. Left untreated, it can lead to lower back pain, hip pain, as well as knee and ankle problems.

If you sit on your bum all day, you’re much more prone to developing dead butt syndrome – as well as heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. But the purpose of this post isn’t to scare you; it’s to get you (and your glute muscles) fired up!

If you have a desk job, it’s important for you take periodic breaks to stretch and move your body. Today, our national recruitment agency shares exercises to keep you in prime form:

Note: If you have back problems or other health issues, consult with your doctor before trying any of these exercises.

Dead Bugs

This move targets your core and helps ensure correct spinal alignment:

  1. Lie down on your back, with your arms raised toward the ceiling (at shoulder level) and your legs in tabletop position (bend your knees to 90 degrees and stack them over your hips).
  2. Slowly extend your right leg out straight (stop before your heel hits the floor), while also extending your left arm over your head until the back of your hand is just above the floor. Keep your navel drawn in toward your spine to keep your abdominal muscles engaged and protect your lower back.
  3. Return your arm and leg to the starting position, and repeat with the left leg and right arm.
  4. Repeat steps one through three for 20 reps.

Planks

They’re tough, but they work! If you haven’t done planks before, start with a 15-second hold and gradually increase the length as you become stronger and more stable. Here’s how to plank like a pro:

  1. Get down on the ground with toes shoulder-width apart. Place your forearms and palms on the floor, so that your elbows are directly underneath your shoulders.
  2. Lift your thighs and hips off the ground, so your core is tight and your body is in a straight line from head to toe.
  3. Keep your thighs, butt, abs, shoulders and arms tight to maintain the plank position, while adopting a neutral position for your neck and spine.

Chair Yoga

Yep, you can do yoga right at your desk! Here are a few moves that are great for your lower back:

  • Backbend arches. Slide your butt forward to the edge of your chair (make sure you lock the wheels if it’s on rollers), and then place your hands behind you with your fingers pointing away from your body. Prop yourself up on your fingertips, drawing your tailbone in and up – so you stretch the entire front of your body. Hold that position while you draw eight to 10 breaths, then release.
  • Roll downs. Sit upright in your chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground, about hip-width apart. Allow your arms to hang naturally. Starting with your head, gently roll your neck and spine forward and downward while exhaling, until your face is down near the top of your thighs. Then begin inhaling, while you slowly stack your vertebrae back up to a sitting position. Be sure to keep your stomach muscles drawn in to protect your spine. Repeat this cycle of moves five to eight times.

Get Your Workforce in Great Shape – with Help from Exact Staff

The Exact Family of Companies offers a full complement of national staffing and placement solutions to:

  • Provide temporary support to “offload” low-priority or repetitive tasks.
  • Assume the time-consuming aspects of hiring including managing job postings, screening resumes and conducting initial interviews.
  • Take a proactive approach to managing your staffing and recruiting needs. The better you plan your needs, the more effectively we can help you meet them (saving you time and frustration!).

If you’re ready to learn more, give Exact Staff a call.

Writing Email Subject Lines? Here’s What NOT to Do

05/29/18 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Fact: People judge books by their covers…

…and emails by their subject lines.

You may have great news to deliver. An unbelievable offer to share. Or an urgent request that can’t be ignored. But none of that matters if your recipients never open their emails from you. And the secret to getting your emails opened? You guessed it: writing compelling subject lines.

So, give your digital correspondence a fighting chance! Improve the likelihood your readers will notice, open, and read your email by avoiding these top email subject line mistakes:

SCREAM TYPING.

Typing in all caps is the visual equivalent of yelling, and it turns readers off. What’s worse, all caps can even trigger certain SPAM filters and prevent your messages from ever making it into inboxes.

Using exclamation points!!!!!!

You probably wouldn’t include six exclamation points in a subject line (at least we hope you wouldn’t), but research presented in this Yesware eBook shows that emails with just one exclamation point had a 6.4% lower open rate than average (45.5% vs. 51.9%), as well as a 7.6% lower reply rate than average (22.2% vs. 29.8%).

Failing to convey the good stuff.

Have something promising or exciting to say? Don’t save it for the body of your email; tease it in your subject line. Remember, most people only scan their inbox. Positive words stand out.

Making false promises.

Be sure that you can make good on anything you commit to in your subject line (or anywhere else in your email, for that matter). False promises will irritate your audience and undermine your reputation.

Beating around the bush.

People are busy and aren’t likely to take the time to decode vague subject lines. Include the essentials in a clear, attention-grabbing way.

Droning on and on.

Think about how ruthless you are when you open your email in the morning. Would you take the time to read a subject line with a dozen or more words? Keep your subject line as short as possible and get to the point – quickly. As a best practice, limit your line to 50 characters (so it displays well on mobile, where most email is opened).

Only writing a single word.

Single-word subject lines read as suspicious and/or lazy. Brevity is important but be sure to provide adequate context.

Forgetting to front-end-load essentials.

Have an important question to ask or critical piece of information to share? Encapsulate and include it in the subject line.

Not writing in active voice.

Active voice (i.e., when the subject of the sentence performs the action described by the verb) leads to more clear, concise and impactful subject lines.

Including sensitive information.

You never know who will have access to your intended recipients’ email, so err on the side of caution.

Looking for more email tips? Check out this earlier post:

Secrets to Writing Clear and Effective Emails

What can Exact Staff do for you?

Whether you want to improve focus, save time and money, relieve administrative burdens or grow your core team, our national employment agency is here to help. Drop us an email or give us a call today.

The Key to Stop Wasting Time in Unproductive Meetings

05/25/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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We’re a productivity-obsessed nation, always looking for new ways to save precious hours and accomplish more in less time at work.

One of the biggest workplace productivity saboteurs? You guessed it: meetings.

Every year, businesses waste $37 billion (yep, with a “b”) on unproductive meetings. Middle managers report spending 35% of their time in meetings, and upper management spends a whopping 50% of their work week attending meetings.

Whether your company schedules too many of them, or they just last too darn long, meetings rob you of time you could be spending on your core responsibilities. Can you just skip the ones you don’t feel like attending? Banish meetings altogether? Probably not. But there is hope! Today, our team shares a few expert tips to combat meeting overload and make them worth your time:

Improve meeting planning.

Distribute a clear agenda (at least 24 hours in advance) with discussion items, required preparation and a rough timeline, so that everyone gets the greatest return on their invested time.

Block time.

If you attend multiple, regular meetings in a single day, those 15- and 30-minute chunks of “dead” time between them really add up. When you plan multiple meetings, schedule them back-to-back to minimize wasted time.

Banish devices.

Ask participants to put away their phones, so eyes and attention don’t stray every time they light up.

Be ruthless about timing.

Everyone appreciates it when meetings begin and end according to schedule. To keep participants from derailing conversations or endlessly droning on, try using a countdown clock. It sends a clear message that the end of the meeting is a deadline, and it gives you a polite excuse to interrupt, redirect and get attendees back on track.

Schedule breaks.

Any meeting longer than an hour should include a break. Require participants to get up, stretch and move around. Give them five minutes for a phone check or bathroom visit, and then engage them for another five in something fun to break the tedium before refocusing on the task at hand.

Selectively uninvite yourself.

While your attendance at certain meetings is likely mandatory, that may not always be the case. Over time, routine meetings may lose their effectiveness and your attendance may not be essential. Periodically evaluate whether you absolutely need to attend recurring meetings – and respectfully uninvite yourself to ones you can skip.

Need a hand getting it all done?

Give Exact Staff’s experts a call. We provide a full complement of national staffing and placement services to save time. Banish busywork. Keep you focused on essential priorities. And accomplish your goals. Give us a call to find out what we can do for you.

Make Every Morning Great! Adopt These Habits of Successful People

05/23/18 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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It’s cold. It’s raining. You’re tired. And in 45 minutes, you’re headed into another day of that firestorm/3-ring-circus you call work.

The question is:

Is it going to be a great morning or a fantastic one?

That’s not a misprint; it’s an example of choosing a positive outlook to improve your experience – and it’s just one of the tricks successful people have mastered to make every morning exceptional. If you want to get off to a great start each day, adopt these habits:

Discipline your thinking.

If you expect to have a rotten morning, guess what? You will. But if you expect to have a wonderful morning – despite any challenges work throws your way – guess what? You will! Disciplining yourself to adopt a positive attitude, even in the face of adversity, helps you insulate your mood from what happens around you. It’s not just a saying; attitude IS everything.

Eat well.

Research has shown that consuming the right foods can improve brain power by as much as 20 percent. In this earlier post, we share 4 power foods you should eat in the morning to kickstart your day and supercharge your productivity.

Get moving.

Successful people understand the vital link between exercise and work performance, and research proves there’s a relationship between physical activity and improved cognitive and executive functioning. If you want to be a better leader, manager and person, exercise before starting your workday.

Wake up earlier.

Whether you use the time to share a conversation with a loved one, meditate, cook a nutritious breakfast, plan your day or grab a workout, an extra 30 minutes can dramatically improve your morning routine. Just be careful not to short-change your sleep; every great morning starts with a great night’s sleep.

Practice gratitude.

Gratitude is antithetical to anxiety, anger and fear. And you don’t have to be Tony Robbins or a yogi to realize the benefits of this practice; you just need to take a few moments to reflect:

  • Start a gratitude journal. Each morning, write down one thing for which you’re thankful.
  • Make the first email you send each morning a positive one, thanking a friend, relative or coworker for a kindness.
  • Take a gratitude walk. Get outside (even if it’s just for 5 minutes) and observe what’s around you: the sights, scents and sounds, and even the feel of the wind, snow or rain on your face. Be present in the moment, breathe and give thanks for the promise another day holds.

Make every workday great – with the right staffing support.

Exact Staff delivers exceptional talent and innovative strategies to meet your local or national requirements. Whether it’s a single temporary for a day or an entire project team, we provide a range of staffing and placement solutions to increase productivity and performance – and make every day great.

What can we do for you? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.

Collaborating in Business Without Consensus

05/21/18 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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“Innovate or die.”

It’s more than a cool catchphrase. Factors like rapidly advancing technology and intense global competition make it extremely difficult to keep up with the accelerating rate of change in business today. Maintaining the status quo, or even striving for incremental improvement, is no longer enough to stay at the leading edge of your industry.

“Yes men” won’t drive the innovation your organization needs to thrive.

Groupthink is extremely dangerous. It can suppress innovation and lead to strategic mistakes and missed opportunities. To keep your business from becoming irrelevant or obsolete, you need a diverse team – people with varied talents, perspectives and backgrounds who aren’t satisfied the status quo and challenge one another’s thinking. Their new ideas and insights are essential to push boundaries and drive your business forward.

How to Keep Conflict from Paralyzing Your Organization

As a manager, it’s your job to make sure the members of your dynamic teams can effectively collaborate with one another – even when they disagree. Otherwise, the dissent can bring projects to a screeching halt and effectively kill innovation.

In this earlier post, we offered suggestions for channeling workplace conflict constructively. But when employees have fundamental disagreements, don’t trust or simply don’t like one another, what are your options? Author Adam Kahane shared these three “stretch strategies” in a recent strategy+business post, to help teams move forward and collaborate without consensus:

Accept the plurality of the situation

Make sure everyone on the team realizes that you don’t have to agree on a solution to make progress. Individuals can work alongside one another toward the same overarching goal in different ways, and for different reasons.

Keep experimenting

Acknowledge as a group that succeeding in an effort isn’t necessarily about coming up with the ideal solution; it’s about continually trying new tactics in pursuit of one. Even if you can’t solve a problem, you should still aim to stay “unstuck” and moving forward.

View yourself as part of the problem

Progress is impossible until team members recognize that they are a part of the problem they’re trying to solve. As their manager, help them understand they role they play in creating or fueling the issue. Only by shifting their perspective can they become part of the solution.

Nothing is perfect in business; we sometimes have to work alongside people we don’t care for agree with. But as a leader, it’s your responsibility to help employees rise above differences to achieve shared goals. The ability to collaborate without consensus is essential to moving forward, driving innovation and ensuring your organization’s long-term success.

Need innovators? Independent thinkers? Exceptional collaborators?

Exact Staff can deliver the high performers you seek for assignments and projects or to grow your core team. What can our national staffing agency do for you? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.

The Leading Soft Skills to Develop

04/30/18 3:00 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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They may be called “soft,” but make no mistake: Regardless of your industry or job function, soft skills are an undeniably important success factor in your career. They’re those often-underrated skills that make team members collaborative, professionals confident, service providers caring and leaders inspirational.

What Soft Skills are Most Important for Success in the Modern Workplace?

Here are a few that should be on your radar:

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is a combination of self-awareness and awareness of others. It’s a unique kind of intelligence that enables you to:

  • identify and manage your emotions;
  • recognize emotion in others and better understand their behavior as a result;
  • effectively manage your relationships with others by reacting and responding appropriately.

It’s also one of the most important measures of potential leadership success, making it an essential quality if you’re in or pursuing a management role.

Listening Skills

Anybody with functioning ears hears the words coming out of employees’ and managers’ mouths – but there’s a big difference between hearing and effective listening. In this earlier post, our team shares simple tips to dramatically improve this sought-after soft skill:

  • Be fully present, by eliminating distractions and making a conscious effort to focus your eyes and ears on the speaker.
  • Make the speaker feel comfortable, by subtly mirroring their nonverbal behavior.
  • Employ active listening techniques such as reflecting and clarifying – before you formulate your response.

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal skills can make or break your ability to connect with, instill confidence in, persuade and inspire others. Some experts even argue that nonverbal cues have an even greater impact on a conversation than what you say! Make sure you pay attention to the following aspects when speaking:

  • Eye contact. Avoid extremes (i.e., staring at the floor or your phone; glaring intently) when it comes to making eye contact. Too little conveys disinterest or insecurity; too much conveys aggression.
  • Posture. If you tend to slouch or fold your arms across your chest, be aware of the negative ways in which these signals can be interpreted. Sit (or stand) upright when speaking and lean slightly into the conversation.
  • Smiling. It helps you relax and makes you appear approachable and warm. Just make sure you do it the right way. A wide grin can convey naiveté (which isn’t ideal for leaders), but a subtle smile can convey friendliness and even intelligence.

Growing Your Team?

Experts in behavioral interviewing, Exact Staff’s recruiters can help you identify candidates with the experience, hard and soft skills to thrive in your organization. Contact your local Exact Staff location to make hiring leaders faster, simpler and more successful.

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Smart People Never Include These Words and Phrases on Their Resume

04/25/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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 “addicted to online shopping”

“in my 30s and living with my mom”

“someone who enjoys long naps during the work day”

You’d never put phrases like these in your professional resume. They’re career sabotage!

But if you want to create a resume that truly distinguishes you as the best candidate for a position, you need to do more than avoid obvious faux pas. Today, we’re sharing a list of words and phrases that, while they may seem innocuous, should never make it onto your resume. Some are cliché. Others are utterly meaningless. And all could knock you out of contention for the job you want.:

Results Driven

Um, who isn’t?

Hard Worker/Strong Work Ethic

That’s a bummer; the employer was looking to hire a loafer.

Ninja/Guru/Rockstar

Instead of using a quirky word to show you’re great at something, quantify it.

Self-Starter/Go-Getter

Think this makes you sound eager or productive? So does every other job seeker you’re competing against. List projects or responsibilities that provide evidence of your initiative.

Team Player

Finally – a candidate who plays well in the sandbox! Instead of claiming you have great qualities, describe activities or accomplishments that portray them.

Seasoned

What are you – coated in dry rub? Your years on the job and job titles clearly explain how experienced you are.

Detail-Oriented

Phrases like this waste valuable space on your resume. Replace it with examples of how you spotted mistakes or identified problems in complex situations.

Honest/Trustworthy/Loyal

The employer had presumed that – until you just brought it up, that is…

Disruptive/Cutting-Edge/Bleeding-Edge

Unless you’re Elon Musk or Bill Gates, just don’t.

Need Help Refining Your Resume?

Contact an Exact Staff Career Agent. We can help you improve your resume so that it strengthens your candidacy – and improves your job prospects. If you’re ready for a new opportunity to build your skills and advance your career, register with your local Exact Staff office today.

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