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  • 2 Words that Hold Your Career Back – and What to Do When You Hear Them

    02/19/19 8:25 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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    “Good job!”

    On the surface, this phrase sounds positive – or innocuous, at the very worst. But when your boss uses it to describe your performance, they’re doing you a great disservice (especially when it comes to your career growth).

    Here’s why:

    Throwaway compliments like “nice work” do nothing more than encourage mediocrity and complacency. They’re the verbal equivalent of those participation trophies toddlers get on the soccer field. And if you think the work you’re doing really is good enough, you’re deluding yourself into believing that you have nothing to improve upon.

    How’s that going to help you move ahead in your job?

    So, if you’re hearing generic phrases like, “Good job” or “nice work” – and nothing else from your supervisor – it’s time to ask for something more.

    Three Words that Drive Career Growth

    “Can we talk?”

    These three words can help you initiate a meaningful conversation with your boss to get what you really need to move ahead: specific, constructive feedback.

    Here’s how to get it:

    Be Positive

    Whining that you “never get feedback” won’t set the right tone. Instead, let your boss know that you’re looking for ways to improve your performance and grow in the organization – and that their input would be very helpful.

    Schedule Time

    Asking your boss for feedback will require work on their end. Explain what your goal is (e.g., to earn a promotion), and that you’d like to know what you’re doing well, what you could improve, and how you can prepare to succeed. Schedule a sit-down meeting to speak with your boss, free from distractions.

    Steel Yourself

    You’re asking for feedback – so prepare yourself to hear things that sting, or with which you might not agree. Guard against defensiveness; temper your emotional response and pay attention to the substance of any critical messages. Listen with curiosity and try to understand your boss’s comments from their point of view.

    Focus on Positive Change

    Write down the feedback you receive – both positive and constructive – and discuss how you can use it to learn, improve and grow. Find out whether your manager can help you create a plan of action and/or ways to measure progress. Remember that feedback won’t help your career unless you use it change your behaviors and habits.

    Looking for more ways to accelerate your career growth?

    Check out this earlier post on how to earn a promotion, garner a raise or set the stage for a career transition:

    How to Blow Your Boss’s Mind (in the Best Way Possible!)

    Then contact an Exact Staff Career Agent. With a nationwide presence, we can confidentially represent you to employers who need talented, career-minded professionals like you. If you’re ready for a new opportunity to build your skills and advance your career, apply with your local Exact Staff office today.

A Simple Trick to Dramatically Boost Workplace Creativity

02/18/19 11:17 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Employees struggling to get the creative juices flowing?

Encourage them to fantasize more (stay with us on this one for a minute before jumping to conclusions!). 

Research presented in this Ladders.com post points to some promising links between breaking a sweat and coming up with breakthrough ideas. In fact, fifty-three percent of Americans surveyed use workout time to fantasize or daydream – thinking about books they’d like to write, devices they plan to invent, or even behavior they want to model.

Cardio and Creativity Just Go Together

Although a cardio workout engages your body, your brain is free to wander. And often, to escape the discomfort your body is suffering, your brain distracts itself by focusing on more pleasant, novel thoughts.

Research shows that acute, strenuous physical exercise activates mechanisms in the brain which facilitate information processing. In other words, working out promotes better cognitive function.

As we mentioned in this earlier post, “How Daydreaming Can Improve Productivity,” daydreaming engages the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity, and it’s in this engaged state that you may make sudden connections and have profound insights. Since cardiovascular exercise primes your brain for this type of activity, it’s an ideal time to problem-solve and innovate.

How Can You Apply this Concept to Boost Creativity?

Admittedly it takes a little creativity to combine work, exercise and intentional fantasizing, but here are two suggestions to get your team moving – and your creativity flowing:

Have Walking Meetings

Take a walk outside to discuss an idea with a team member, instead of shutting yourself in a conference room. Build in quiet periods during your walk, so you can each let your thoughts wander.

Try a Workout Brainstorming Session

If it works for the size and culture of your company, head to the gym to develop potential solutions to a business problem. Since employees may be at different fitness levels, make sure the physical activities you choose are safe, appropriate and inclusive.

Looking for More Creative Approaches to Help You Solve Tough Problems?

Our national staffing and placement agency provides a full complement of solutions, across a wide range of disciplines, to help you get the most from your team and your career.

Meaning and Purpose: How to Find It in Work

02/15/19 6:02 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Know someone who has an incredibly fulfilling career? A person who never seems to have a bad day, is passionate about their work, and truly enjoys their job?

Don’t envy them; be them – by finding the meaning and purpose in your work.

In this earlier post, we explored this concept in depth, citing neuroscience research which demonstrates that meaningful work fuels long-term fulfillment on the job – and can increase your engagement by an astounding 250 percent!

And in this recent SmartBrief article, Rodger Dean Duncan shares tips from prominent thought-leaders on how to discover real fulfillment in your work. Here are a few of their best ideas:

Live Your Personal Core Values at Work

Instead of trying to live up to others’ expectations, commit to acting on your core values every day. While you may not always be able to control what you must do each day, you can always stay in charge of who you are and how you behave – especially when work is challenging.

Treat Every Day as the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

We all get the same 24 hours in a day, and none of us can change what’s happened in the past. But by renewing your commitment to doing your absolute best each morning, you greet the day with a clean slate and a fresh sense of purpose.

Connect the Dots

Clarify for yourself how your work affects your department, your organization and the world at large. When you envision the impact of your daily routine in this larger context, you find greater meaning in performing otherwise routine tasks.

Focus on Your Gifts

Make a list of things you’re good at and look for patterns: What energizes you? What do you naturally enjoy most? Identifying your strengths, and then analyzing how those talents benefit others (e.g., fellow team members, clients, customers, vendors and beyond) amplifies the meaning of what you do.

Team Members Lacking Passion or Inspiration?

Give them more time to focus on meaningful, purpose-driven work. With a full complement of national staffing and placement solutions, Exact Staff is here to support your core team’s success. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

Interview Questions Managers Ask to Assess Your Personality

01/28/19 7:41 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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You’ve checked off all the hiring manager’s boxes: job skills, work experience, salary requirements and more.

There’s just one big question left in their mind:

Do you have the right personality type to thrive in the job?

Savvy employers know that creating a successful match between a candidate and an opportunity takes more than the right technical skills and experience; it also takes the right soft skills. In fact, if an interviewer sees you as a better cultural fit, or someone with stronger growth potential than other applicants, it could tip the scales in your favor.

Use this as an opportunity for you to separate yourself from the crowd!

In your next interview, don’t be another me-too candidate who describes themselves as a “team player with excellent communication skills.” Skip the clichés, and prepare unique, memorable answers to these personality interview questions:

  1. Tell me about the accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career. This conversation starter gives you an opportunity to describe your work habits and how you interact effectively with others.
  2. Tell me about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted – like a promotion you didn’t get, or a project that didn’t turn out how you had hoped. A potential employer will want to know how you handle adversity on the job. Do you blame others, deride yourself, or view it as an opportunity for growth? If you’re asked this question, be careful not to point fingers. Focus your response on what you learned from a personal or professional setback.
  3. What’s the best way to manage you? This question reveals how well you understand the keys to your own success. Additionally, it helps the interviewer grasp the communication styles, rewards, amount of supervision, and leadership styles that appeal most to you (thereby gauging your potential fit within the company’s existing team). Give some thought to these factors before you head into an interview, so you can distinguish yourself as a great cultural match.
  4. What was the last new task or skill you learned? How did you go about that? Employers ask this question to see how you view your own professional development. Craft a response that emphasizes your curiosity and commitment to continual learning.
  5. What would your best friend say is the best part about being your friend? This personality question invites candor, and it gives the interview a glimpse of how you might mesh with current employees. Be honest and describe the qualities that make you a good person and friend.
  6. If you could meet any celebrity, who would it be and why? This question may sound trite, but your response reveals a great deal about your personality, values and interests. Choose a public figure whom you admire and describe the qualities that you’d like to emulate.

Need help refining your interview skills?

Contact an Exact Staff Career Agent. We can help you polish your conversational skills, plan responses to common questions, and prepare to knock your next interview out of the park.

And if you’re ready for a new opportunity to build your skills and advance your career, register with your local Exact Staff office today.

Off-Hours: Hobbies of Highly Successful People

01/18/19 6:59 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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All work and no play?

It makes Jack a dull boy. And it zaps creativity, focus and performance on the job.

The most successful people in the world knows there’s more to life than eat-sleep-work:

  • Oprah Winfrey enjoys photography.
  • Elon Musk plays video games.
  • Richard Branson is passionate about yachting and hot-air ballooning.

While each of these high performers puts in long hours on the job, they also enjoy downtime pursuing hobbies and interests outside work. They realize that the way they spend their free time – during evenings, weekends and vacations – has a huge impact on their personal fulfillment as well as their career trajectory.

So…how are you spending your free time?

If you want to be more successful at work, be intentional about what you do when you’re not there. Put down the remote and take up one of these hobbies of incredibly successful people:

Work out. Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do to improve your attitude, confidence, resilience and stamina – all of which prime you to perform at your peak.

Who’s want to sweat? Barack and Michelle Obama are proud gym enthusiasts, and these leading CEOs even do yoga with their employees.

Paint or color. Painting and other artistic pursuits have real work-related benefits that extend far beyond pure enjoyment and creation. Research suggests coloring has the potential to reduce anxiety, promote mindfulness and even help you organize your thoughts. Another study found that creating visual art can improve connections in the brain known as the “default mode network,” which is involved in focusing on internal thoughts and planning.

Who’s want to pencils and brushes? According to her husband, Kate Middleton, Duchess not there, enjoys coloring as a hobby; former US President George W. Bush is a prolific painter of landscapes and puppies.

Spend Time in Nature

Want to do better work? Stop breathing air-conditioned air and idling in a chair. Ambitious people connect with nature and the outdoors; they understand how activities like hiking, skiing and climbing restore their energy, creativity, focus and more.

Who’s an avid outdoorsman? Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reports dedicating his Saturdays to hiking.

Take Classes

Whether you take a workshop, class or pursue a certification, continual learning builds your skills, enhances your promotability and makes you a more interesting person.

Who’s hitting the books? After achieving childhood fame, actress Emma Watson chose to pursue higher education at Brown University.

Need Highly Successful Professionals to Grow Your Team?

Serving organizations across the nation, Exact Staff can quickly connect you to a wide range of talented people with the right skills, experience and personality to thrive in your organization. Just give us a call!

Crush It in 2019: Mindset Shifts That Drive Personal Growth

01/12/19 8:59 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Ready to overhaul your career, health, finances, relationships or any other aspect of your personal or professional life?

Start with Overhauling Your Mindset

The way you think about your life – your successes or failures, your powers or limitations –has a profound impact on what you ultimately achieve. Logically, you must picture what you want to do in your mind’s eye before you accomplish it.  

The really cool part? You control how you see the world (and yourself in it). With a ittle mental discipline, you can quickly change your frame of mind to drive tremendous personal and professional growth this year.

Here’s how:

Shift from “Going Through” Tough Times to “Growing Through” Them

Nobody’s life is a never-ending bed of roses; everyone must endure discouraging times,disappointments and failures. High achievers, however, realize that these experiencesaren’t merely to be endured; they’re sources of experience and growth.

If you’ve experienced setbacks in the past, consider what you can learn from them – and move on.

Shift from a “Lack” Mindset to a”Wealth” Mindset

Do you find yourself chasing a bigger paycheck, focusing on the big house you don’t have yet, or convinced that you’ll never be rich? If you want to change your circumstances, change your thinking.

An abundance mindset shifts from “I could never afford that” to “how can I afford that,” and spurs you to tap your creativity and imagination to create wealth. If you truly believe you earn more, you’ll find a way to do it.

Shift from “Seeking Entertainment” to “Creating and Learning”

Most of us go through life distracted: at work, at the gym, even when we’re spending time with loved ones. Instead of prioritizing deep focus and learning, we numb our minds with content from social feeds, TV shows and alcohol.

If you want to improve any aspect of your life, stop anesthetizing yourself with meaningless, passive entertainment. Prioritize learning and creating. Spend more time thinking, doing and furthering your personal development.

Achieve More with Exact Staff

Serving organizations across the nation for more than 20 years, the Exact Family of Companies provides a full complement of staffing and placement solutions to fast-track projects, delegate non-core tasks, and keep you focused on high-priority work.

What do you want to achieve in 2019? We can provide the exact talent to get you there!

Secrets to Having More Energy

12/14/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Tired of feeling tired?

You could blame the weather. You could blame the coming winter solstice. You could blame the holiday frenzy…

…or you could actually DO something about it.

If you want to greet every work day full of energy, try these tactics:

Create meaning in your work.

Neuroscience studies demonstrate that pursuing meaning – not merely happiness – is the key to long-term fulfillment and engagement on the job. In fact, Tom Rath, author of Are You Fully Charged?, shares research concluding that the “odds of being completely engaged in your job increase by more than 250 percent if you spend a lot of time doing meaningful work throughout the day.”

If your work isn’t especially meaningful right now, look for ways to tweak, expand or evolve your role in the year ahead to:

  • directly impact your organization’s mission and vision;
  • make a difference in the lives of customers, clients or the world at large;
  • better support internal team members’ success.

Improve your interactions with others.

Positive interactions – ones that foster a sense of belonging and connectedness with co-workers – can energize you and improve your overall sense of wellness on the job. Try these tips:

  • Make friends. While it’s important not to overshare or engage in office gossip, build relationships with your co-workers. Research from Gallup shows that people who have a best-friend relationship at work are a whopping 7 times likely to be engaged in their job!
  • Be positive. As a rule of thumb, strive to make 80% of what you say, do or share positive, even when things are tough at work.

Adopt habits of successful people.

The most energetic, productive and successful professionals have mastered tricks to make every day great.

  • Eat well. 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 energy level.
  • Get moving. Research proves there’s a relationship between physical activity and improved cognitive and executive functioning.
  • Discipline your thinking. It’s not just a saying; attitude IS everything – impacting your focus, motivation and your energy level. Adopting a positive attitude, even in the face of adversity, helps you insulate your mood from what happens around you.
  • Wake up earlier. An extra 30 minutes can dramatically improve your morning routine. Just be careful not to short-change your sleep; a high-energy day starts with a great night’s sleep.
  • Practice gratitude. Gratitude is antithetical to anxiety, anger and fear, and it takes just a few moments of reflection to center yourself – and boost your focus.

Maximize your team’s productivity and energy levels 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.

How can we help? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.

The Right Stuff: Top Traits of Incredibly Successful People

12/7/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Overachievers. Self-made billionaires. World leaders.

What do they have that you don’t?

Sure, they have money and power, and they’ve achieved the pinnacle of success in their chosen field. But are they somehow inherently better than you?

No way!

In fact, many of the qualities shared by incredibly successful people can be acquired (with discipline and hard work, of course). But which traits comprise “the right stuff” – and can help you achieve anything you set your mind to?

Here are a few of the top traits high performers share:

They create brilliant rituals.

High achievers practice habits which match their focus and energy level to the importance of the task at hand. In this post, we share rituals successful people follow to maximize their performance (hint: put their habits to work for you!).

They conquer their fear of failure.

Successful individuals realize that fear is often more imagined than real, and that the likely rewards are far greater than the potential consequences of failure. It’s not that they don’t experience fear (they do); it’s just that they refuse to let that fear paralyze them. The next time you’re tempted to shy away from a calculated risk, ask yourself this question: “What’s the worst that could happen?”

They are emotionally intelligent.

EQ is a unique kind of intelligence that combines self-awareness with awareness of others. It’s what enables high achievers to: identify and manage their emotions: while recognizing emotion in others and understand their behavior better; and respond effectively in wide range of situations (both good and bad).

They prioritize strategically.

Incredibly successful people steer their ship – and don’t let it steer them. Despite having the same 24 hours in a day as everyone else, they’re able to decide what’s critical, what’s important and what can wait, and then create a clear plan for getting it all done.

They refuse to stagnate.

High performers succeed because they realize that there’s always more to learn. They embrace change; they’re endlessly curious; they seek new experiences; and they are always on the hunt for better ways to get things done.

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.

The right staffing partner can make you – and your organization – incredibly successful.

Exact Staff can help you achieve more in 2019 by:

  • rapidly delivering qualified people to support your busy team;
  • shortening your search for A-level talent;
  • taking on pressing projects you don’t have the time or resources to complete;
  • improving productivity and focus;
  • flexing your workforce in response to changing demands.

With a national presence, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, the Exact Family of Companies can design an ideal solution for your business. How can we help? Contact your local Exact Staff office today.

The Guide to Having a Lifetime of Joy

11/30/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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What factors create lifelong happiness?

Ask 100 people, and you’re likely to get 100 different responses. Many value health; most want financial security; others need things like freedom or even power to be truly happy.

But several studies cited in this Ladders.com article point to an even more influential component of lifelong joy: strong, meaningful relationships. Here’s a brief overview of what the research presented shows:

  • Harvard’s Grant and Glueck study, which has tracked the health and happiness of two groups (456 poor people in Boston, and 268 Harvard graduates) for over 75 years, concludes that good relationships keep people happier and healthier. Period. Specifically, the study demonstrates that having someone to love and rely upon: helps your nervous system relax; helps promote long-term brain health; and reduces both physical and emotional pain.
  • A meta-analysis of nearly 150 studies concluded that the influence of social relationships on risk for mortality is comparable with well-established risk factors like smoking – and even more influential than other risk factors like obesity. Overall, the analysis showed a 50% increased likelihood for survival among individuals with stronger social relationships.
  • This Sciencemag.org article points to multiple studies that provide strong empirical evidence for a causal impact of social relationships on health. Like the meta-analysis above, this article states that social relationships – or the lack thereof – have as big an effect on long-term health as smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity and physical activity.

The lessons here? If you want lifelong happiness, surround yourself with people who love and support you – and whom you love and support and return. At the end of the day, deep, transformational relationships are the secret to a lifetime of joy.

Want to make your organization a happier place to work?

Start by reading these earlier posts:

Happy People Have These Habits

Maximize Your Happiness by Avoiding These Pitfalls

Then, make sure you’re working with the right staffing partner. As a national employment agency, Exact Staff can design intelligent staffing solutions that allow you to:

  • improve focus and effectiveness;
  • alleviate overwork and burnout;
  • build a high-performing team of positive people.

Ready to get happy and find the next step in your career?

Contact your local Exact Staff office today.

Carbs: Breakfast Do or Don’t?

11/23/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Ack – that’s a lot of pressure to get your food choices right.

Should you opt for the egg or the cereal?

These days, it seems that everyone has an opinion on whether protein or carbs are better for you first thing in the morning. In fact, in this earlier post, “6 Tweaks to Your Morning Routine that Will Transform Your Entire Day,” we recommend eating protein to break your overnight fast – and we’re a national staffing and placement firm!

But new research published on The Lancet Public Health suggests that moderate consumption of carbohydrates is good for you. (It’s okay, we’ll wait while you take a moment to grab a tissue and dab the tears from your eyes.) Below, we share a few of the study’s highlights:

  • The study included 15,428 adults aged 45 to 64 years, in four U.S. communities representing diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. It began with an initial health questionnaire and included a median follow-up of 25 years, to examine the relationship between carbohydrate intake and mortality.
  • Moderation is key. Diets with less than 40% or more than 70% of calories from carbs were associated with increased mortality. The “sweet spot” for carb intake is between 50% and 55% of daily calories; individuals who fell in this range had the lowest mortality risk.
  • People who restrict carbs in favor of animal-based protein have a greater mortality risk. The data provide evidence that animal-based protein/low carbohydrate diets should be discouraged.
  • For individuals choosing to restrict carbohydrate for weight loss and/or cardiovascular health, replacing carbs with plant-based fats and proteins is a better long-term approach to promote healthy aging.

Bottom line? This study shows that moderate carb diet is the way to go! So treat yourself to that morning bagel or donut every once in a while.

Make every morning great with the right staffing support.

Tight deadlines, position vacancies or special projects creating stress at work? Just looking for a smarter way to staff your business? Our national staffing agency provides a full complement of staffing and placement solutions to make your and your team more focused, efficient and successful.

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