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Important Networking Follow-Ups: How to Get Those Job Leads Calling When you leave a networking event, you may be buzzing at the prospects offered by all of those new contacts you made, but soon, the cold reality sets in. How will you be able to convert those contacts you made over a glass of wine into valuable business opportunities for you? Successful networking is all in the follow-up. If you?re looking for a job, following up is all the more crucial. Without touching base after a networking event, you become just another face in the crowd of job hunting hopefuls. The first important rule for following-up with networking contacts is to lay the foundations for the follow-up during the initial meeting. At networking events, there can be a lot of empty promises thrown around. Use that first meeting to convey the message that you haven?t gotten caught up in ?networking fever? but instead that you are very serious about exploring the job opportunity that you?re discussing with your new contact. Ask the contact when would be a good time to follow-up with them, and then reiterate the information back to them at the end of your conversation: ?I look forward to speaking with you Friday at 2 p.m.? If they don?t give you a specific time, then suggest one to them. This rule holds true even if your contact is giving you a lead on a job not with them but with another contact of their own. Let them know you appreciate the information by saying, ?Thanks. I will plan on calling Mary on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m.? Not only will this convey your seriousness about the opportunity presented to you, but it may also get you some handy inside information, as the contact may reply, ?Oh, no, Mary will be out of town until Thursday ? call her then.? The next important rule to networking follow-ups is to follow up with EVERY lead a contact gives you. If a contact suggests that you call someone whom you know won?t really be able to help you in your job search, call him or her anyway. Otherwise, when your contact finds out you aren?t taking their advice, they may just decide not to give you any more the future and any business person can tell you that you never know from whom the most valuable lead will come some day. Keep the lines of communication open by giving any and all suggestions a whirl. Last but not least, do the actual following-up. Follow up with your contact exactly when you said you would, and in the exact manner you said you would (phone, email, letter, etc). If for some reason you can?t make contact at the arranged time, keep trying. If you haven?t made arrangements for a follow-up with a contact, then the rule of thumb is to follow-up with them as soon as possible after meeting them. Try to at least send an email or letter the next day saying what a pleasure it was to meet and that you look forward to talking more in the future, and then say in that note when you plan to follow-up with your contact by phone. Then, of course, stick to that new follow-up obligation. Even if the promises made by a contact while networking don?t pan out for you on the job front, don?t cross them off of your contact list. Keep them in the loop about your job search and your career goals. While they may not have been able to make if happen for you this time, you never know what they might be able to do for you in the future. Your most promising business contact may be someone you already know.

Achieving a Better Family and Work Balance Makes for Better Job Performance Are you constantly working after hours and weekends at the office? Are beginning to forget what your family even looks like? Many people find themselves in this predicament. Work seems to get more and more demanding with every passing day, and to stay on top of your game at work, you feel like you need to put in long hours. The flipside to this is that of course when you are at the office, you are away from home ? away from family dinners, play time and your kids? sporting events or school plays. You may feel like your hands are tied ? that no matter how much you want to be more involved with your family life, you have to keep working as hard as ever to make sure your family is provided for in the long run. The truth is, however, that you may be doing yourself a disservice on both fronts. Studies have shown time and again that well rested workers with well balanced lives are more productive in the time they do spend working. In the end, the best way to be a stand out worker at the office is to be fully involved and present in your family live. But wait, you say, ?I?m working practically around the clock now, and everything still isn?t getting done.? However, maybe the problem isn?t that you aren?t working hard enough. Maybe the problem instead is that you aren?t working smart enough. Think about the way you spend you working day. Are you taking on more responsibility than you need to, instead of delegating tasks to others? Are you spending a lot of time chatting in the break room when you run for a cup of coffee? Are you procrastinating so that big projects require you to work all-nighters instead of spreading out the work? Keep a journal of all of your activities at work for a few days. You might be surprised to see how you are really spending your time and in what areas you could make improvements. Simply staying on task and delegating effectively could get you home in time for dinner. When you have done everything you can to make your work habits as productive as possible, it is time to turn to other ways to balance your work life and your family life. Rule number one is the hardest one for most people to follow you ? draw clear lines of distinction between work time and family time. Family time isn?t really family time if you are constantly on your cell phone making and receiving work calls or if you are on your laptop for the entire family vacation. When you?re working ? work. When you?re with your family ? concentrate on them. The time you spend actually taking a breather from work will recharge your batteries and make you a better worker when work time rolls around again. Next, you have to evaluate your priorities. Maybe working around the clock will help you make partner faster, but at what cost? Decide if seeing your daughter?s soccer game every week is more important to you than moving up the corporate ladder quickly, and make adjustments in your schedule appropriately. There is no right or wrong answer, but deciding where you priorities lie will make scheduling easier for you. With your priorities in mind, see what work options are available to you to help you meet them. If you want more time with the kids, see if your office offers flex time or part time hours to help you meet your family commitments. Last but not least, don?t feel guilty about taking time with your family. Not only is this time important to your family, you can rest assured that the time out from the office stress will make you more productive when you return to work.

Turning your Eye to Government, Nonprofit or Small Business for you Next Job The type of business you work for can effect your job satisfaction. Your personality type may also work out better at certain types of businesses. Research different business types before going on your job search. Working for a small business or a non-profit definitely has its pros and cons. First of all, getting hired at a small business can be much easier than landing a position than at a corporation. Typically you will only have to go through one person to get the job. Usually the small business owner conducts the interview. This can be a good thing because the business owner may be willing to overlook a lack of experience or extenuating circumstances concerning your work history. Nonprofit jobs are often easier to get if you are passionate about the cause. The person that is doing the hiring is generally passionate about the cause that the nonprofit is working to assist. If they pick up on passion about the cause from you, typically you will get the job. However, that passion is necessary because they pay may not be very much. Working for a smaller company also opens up more opportunities for promotions. With fewer employees and contact with the owner, you may be able to move up in the company faster. You will be able to pick up on skills in less time than at large corporations, which often have many hoops for one to jump through before training for a new position. There may be a smaller window of time to pick up on new skills because of the limited amount of time that can be put towards training. Nonprofits may not have as many opportunities for promotions and job stability may be questionable. If the donations stop coming in or whoever funds the nonprofit decides not to fund it anymore, you could be out of a job. This is a very real concern with a nonprofit job. There are some drawbacks to working at smaller businesses. Sometimes, the staff at smaller businesses have been in place for years. New, younger employees may not be viewed favorably. This could affect working relationships with co-workers. Smaller companies also mean smaller paychecks. Independent businesses are not able to generate large paychecks. This could make staying at a small business undesirable. However, the personal interaction between you and your boss could be encouragement to stick it out with a small business. Or the opposite could be true. Government jobs can be beneficial to have for a number of reasons. First of all, government jobs offer good salaries and great benefits. You will have all government holidays off and you will be working in a position that is necessary to the maintenance of the government. That means that you probably won?t have to worry about being displaced. Although, remember that if the government runs into tough times, layoffs are possible. Government jobs are usually normal business hours but not always. There are some positions that will have hours that extend a little bit beyond regular business hours but for the most part, you will be able to enjoy your life by taking advantage of vacation time. Sick days will also be available at government jobs. Some of the drawbacks of government jobs are that you may have to deal with a large amount of on the job stress. You may be responsible for processing hundreds, maybe even thousands of cases and one mistake could be very tragic for an individual. Depending on what your position is, you may be instrumental in handling paper work from a huge amount of people.

Why Taking that Vacation Can Lead to a Better Workplace Do you love your vacations? Are they relaxing, fun and entertaining? There are many reasons why a vacation can enrich your life and fulfill you with joy and happiness. But many of these reasons actually can also be directly translated into reasons for why taking that vacation can lead to a better workplace for you, your boss and other employees. Vacations are as essential to a hard working employee as a parachute to a person jumping from an airplane with the goal to land safely. Many employers would love to minimize the time you are gone from your workplace because they think the more time you spend there, the more work you will accomplish. This argument is right up to a certain amount of hours and days a months or a year, but whenever your body starts to get tired and exhausted, the amount of work that you produce decreases. The quality of your work starts to decline as well. Time off work, time together with your family, time to relax, time to regenerate and time to just plain have fun are very important in an employees life. Taking a vacation has many benefits to the employee, but also to the company you work for. The more relaxed and happy your worker starts a workday or the workweek; the better will most likely be his or her performances at work. Research has shown that relaxation and regeneration are essential to human bodies. Did you know that in some companies in Europe and Asia, the emphasis on relaxation goes so far that meditation, morning sport and a short power nap belong to their required parts of a work day? The United States is actually one of the only industrialized countries that does not mandate a minimum of vacation days that the worker has to take off. In fact, in many countries in Europe, a minimum of 20 and more days is the norm. Since the late 1970s, the average middle income family works in total hours three and more months a year more then they did back then and according to a research done by Boston College, approximately 25% of Americans do not take a vacation at all. After all these facts are slowly emerging from mounts of collected date, some of the bigger American companies have actually begun to realize that off-time and vacation are essential to prevent mishaps and screwed up designs and products. If you are not taking your vacation or your employers does not allow for any vacation, a series of health hazards such as stress and high stress, sleeplessness, burnout, heart attacks and even more serious health conditions can occur. Another big factor in working too much, working overtime or never having vacation can be problems and loss of family and friends. Problems with families and friends will directly impact performance at work and even though the employee might not talk about it at work or might b e holding back his or her feelings, the mood and general behavior of the employee will have an impact ion his work and other employees. Every employee should value the vacation time given to him or her and employers should grant the time asked for to their employees. Vacation is essential to the performance at work and the quality in products the company can deliver. Following the examples that are set by many European countries, the US should give their employees the time they need and also make sure that their employees do take the time off to be a better employee overall. Vacation is fun, relaxing and regenerating.