Career Advice: Say Thank You

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As you reflect on 2016, think of all the people in your personal and professional life who have helped you along the way. When you sit down and consider the number of people who have made an impact on your life in one year, you might be amazed. You probably can’t count the number of times you verbally said “thank you” or sent a note of thanks expressing gratitude for an act of kindness.

This time of year lends itself to reflection on the challenges and accomplishments of the past, and planning for the upcoming year. Did you get a new job? Did you interview for a position? Did someone proof your resume, or did a mentor provide advice as you walked through the job search process? Have you thanked them for their time and for being a part of your career journey?

Do you have a colleague who went above and beyond on a project for you this year? Think about your team, of times when you were on deadline and needed others to step up and help with execution. Consider emailing them a quick note or stopping by their office before the end of the year to thank them again for their teamwork during 2016. A note of thanks is such a cherished way to share with your colleague that their effort made an impact on you and helped you get through that period of time.

Don’t limit yourself to your professional life – it could have been the young man in the checkout line bagging your groceries that you see every Saturday morning. His great attitude, smile and the fact that he always greets your children and asks how they are may have brought joy to your errands throughout the year. Sharing with him that he makes an impact on your life and how much you appreciate his awesome attitude will be so incredibly important to him. Or did a neighbor or friend do something during the year that you now recall with fondness?

In these final days of the year, take a moment to write a note or place a call to a few people who you are thankful for this year. Share a story of their impact on your life – big or small. This collection of people and experiences helped shape your 2016. And, together, just imagine what you can do in 2017!

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How to Find Fulfillment in a Career. It’s Easier Than You Think.

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It’s Sunday evening and your alarm is set for the beginning of a new work week. Does the thought of going to work fill you with dread, or are you energized by what lies ahead? If you find yourself feeling less than fulfilled in your current career then it’s time to find a job that will inspire and motivate you. Here’s what you need to do.

Decide what you need.
Identifying a career, an industry or company that you feel passionate about may seem unattainable. If you take the time to evaluate what you want to do and set goals on how to arrive at the destination, it is absolutely possible. When you find a fulfilling job you won’t dread that Monday morning alarm. You’ll actually look forward to doing work that has meaning, helps others and keeps you engaged.

Reflect on your passions, interests and what motivates you. What do you enjoy doing, and where do you want to be two, three or even 10 years from now? Do you want to work directly with clients? Is finding an employer that supports professional development important to you? Maybe working on a team with a common mission and goals is more important. Do you prefer a position that allows you to work autonomously? Are you considering a managerial position overseeing a department and team? Do you want a job that gives you time to serve in the community with your co-workers? Is recognition and having a little fun with co-workers occasionally important?

Opportunities are here.
Finding a supportive and positive culture is possible, and you have landed at the right spot on this blog. If you are looking for a fulfilling career, take a look around the Brookdale Careers site.

We offer opportunities to make a difference and are always looking to grow our dynamic team. Our positions range from health care professionals to administrative and managerial careers. We’re a company that looks to promote from within and supports our associate’s desires to learn and grow. You may be looking for a position as a nurse, physical therapist, social worker, financial analyst, receptionist, chef or housekeeper. This is just a sampling of the incredible team that makes up Brookdale Senior Living. Visit our career site for a list of current opportunities, and if you have questions about joining our inspiring and dedicated team, contact us today.

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5 Ways to Stay Calm for a Job Interview

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It’s normal to be nervous about a job interview, especially when it’s a position you really want. Imagining a face-to-face meeting with a potential boss and thinking about the questions they might ask can wreak havoc on your nerves and lead to anxiety. It is often the unknown that takes you down the path of uncertainty. But there are simple ways to control your stress and keep your nervousness at a manageable level. Going into an interview fully prepared and as relaxed as you can be shows an employer that you’ve got what it takes to do the job.

Below are five tips to help you calm down and decrease anxiety before you take the hot seat.

1. Rest Up
Get a good night’s rest the night before your interview. Don’t eat too late, avoid alcohol and get to bed early to get a full night’s sleep. You want to be fully rested and engaged when you walk through the doors for the interview.

2. Practice
Visualize the interview. What questions could they ask? How will you respond? How many people will be in the room? What if you don’t have an answer? Thinking through different scenarios will help you process how the interview may go, and allow you to think through answers.

3. Deep Breaths
Breathe. It sounds so simple. When you are nervous, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your heart rate may be increasing and your breathing may not be consistent. Try a short breathing exercise to relax you before entering the interview.

4. Plan Ahead
Arrive early to the interview. You don’t have to walk in the building too early but leaving for the interview with plenty of time to spare helps avoid anxiety if you are to hit traffic, have to stop to fill up your gas tank or experience any unexpected issues.

5. Believe In Yourself
Remember they saw something great in your resume and want to learn more. They’re looking for the best candidate and are hoping it’s you. Have confidence in yourself. Give yourself a pep talk, listen to music that pumps you up and smile. You’ve got an interview and a lot of others didn’t make it this far.

Extra Tip: Be yourself. The interview is a two-way conversation. You want to learn more about the position and the company culture to better gauge if you would enjoy the position. And, they want to learn more about you as they try to identify the next great addition to their team. Good luck!

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Four Steps to a Professional Online Presence – A MUST for Job Seekers

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Have you searched your name online recently? Have you reviewed your social media accounts to ensure all posts and images are professional? Your LinkedIn and other social media accounts will be one of the first places hiring managers and companies visit in order to learn more about you.

Facebook. Take time to read through your Facebook page. Have you made any unprofessional comments on your page or in response to friends’ posts? Do you have any questionable photographs that you are tagged in or that you have uploaded to your page?

Twitter. Review your Twitter page for any tweets that could be concerning to a potential employer. Have you retweeted anything unprofessional? Have you kept all of your tweets positive?

Instagram. What type of photographs do you post? What are your comments and hashtags? These are things to think about when you are reviewing your photo history. Hiring managers will be looking at all of it.

LinkedIn. This is an opportunity for you to shine. Not only is the biography information and experience on your own page helpful for you to stand out, but it is also the articles and valuable professional information that you share and comment on.

Make the time to review all of your social media activity. Check your privacy settings. Know that employers will be checking it, and may even monitor activity after you become an employee.

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Do These Things to Make Work Fun

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There are jobs where the words “work” and “fun” would never be used in the same sentence. But what if there were things you could do to make work more enjoyable, and maybe even more productive? Does this sound familiar? You grab a cup of coffee, greet co-workers then before you know it emails start coming in. New meetings are scheduled and items not already on your to-do list pop up. Incorporating team-building activities into your workplace might be the last thing you are thinking when things get busy.

Although it would be nice, very few companies and departments can take a half or full day for a fun outing or event. But, you don’t need this much time to bring a little fun to your week. A few simple activities can help with overall morale in the office, provide something to look forward to, let you get to know your co-workers better, and boost productivity.

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

1. Acknowledge staff milestones
If you have a large staff, maybe identify one day a month to celebrate all of the birthdays and work anniversaries for the month. Add the team birthdays to everyone’s calendar so that it is a reminder for colleagues to wish staff a happy birthday.

2. Casual day
Is your office business casual? What about incorporating a jeans day on Fridays? At Brookdale’s Corporate office associates can wear jeans for an entire month if they donate to the Alzheimer’s Association.

3. Play games
As an example, you could find holiday BINGO cards online that you can print and distribute to staff. Then once an hour, you can email out a bingo word to all staff. The first person to email the contact with BINGO wins a prize.

4. Celebrate goals
Did your team meet or exceed a goal? Surprise the team and order pizza to celebrate.

5. Hold an Outdoor Meeting
Need to meet with people to bounce ideas around? Change things up by holding a meeting outside. If it’s just a few people you could walk and talk. If it’s a larger group find a place to sit like a few benches or under a tree.

There are many ways to formally and informally have fun in the workplace. Think of your colleagues and come up with a few ideas for your own team.

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Tips for Reducing Workplace Stress

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Tips for Reducing Workplace Stress

Managing your stress level is important to keep you focused, productive and healthy. Ongoing stress takes a toll on your body, both emotionally and physically. How do you reduce your stress? How does your body respond to the stress? What can you do to relieve stress at work? Here are a few stress relieving actions you can do at work.

1. Walk and stretch. Don’t sit at your desk all day long. Stand up and stretch. Take a walk outside to get from fresh air and change your surroundings. Or, just walk around the office. Take time to stretch your muscles and move around throughout the day.

2. Have healthy snacks on hand. Feed your mind and fuel your body with good, healthy snacks. Nuts and dried fruit are great to munch on. Plus the act of chewing helps calm you. Eating candy, or drinks with a lot of sugar and caffeine could have the opposite effect.

3. Listen to music. Music has a powerful way of affecting our moods. What type of music helps you focus, relax and stay motivated?

4. Arrive at the office a few minutes early. Stress can start the moment you wake up in the morning, and often, your drive in may be unpredictable. Planning to arrive a few minutes early each day will give you a bit of a window in case you encounter traffic or mass transit delays. Give yourself time to grab a cup of coffee and still make it to the office before your boss expects you there.

5. Create a to-do list, and check completed items off. Come up with priorities. What absolutely must be completed today? What can wait until tomorrow? And don’t forget to schedule in little mini rewards, like a 10-minute walk break, or even five minutes of checking social media. Some people swear by the schedule of working 45 mins, then taking a 10-minute break.

6. Delegate and ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and could really benefit from having another team member help with a project just ask for help. Don’t feel bad about going to a co-worker and asking them to pitch in, or asking your supervisor to help you prioritize projects. Sometimes you’ll find that a deadline can easily be moved back a few days, or that a project isn’t as important as you might have thought. If you feel that you don’t have enough time to get something done explain why and ask for help.

7. Create a simple but comfortable workspace. Clutter will only increase stress, however, having a few photographs or items on your desk that motivate you can keep you focused on what is important.

8. Meditate and practice mindfulness. There are many articles and apps available to help you learn the techniques of meditation and mindfulness. Incorporating this into your daily life, especially when feeling stressed or worried at work, is incredibly beneficial. You will learn how to relax and focus purposefully on one activity.

9. Don’t try and control what you cannot control. Sometimes we stress about situations that we cannot change. Pay attention to how you react to the situations that are uncontrollable. Identify how you can approach the situation if it cannot be changed.

10. Smile and laugh. Do you have a co-worker who makes you smile? Spend a few minutes with someone who you can smile and laugh with. Or, take a few minutes to read an article or a story that makes you smile, laugh and brings you joy.

Identify methods that work for you to reduce your stress. Take care of yourself!

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Five No-Fail Fall Focus Tips While Job Hunting

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Fall is upon us, schedules are getting busier and the holidays are right around the corner. It’s an easy time of year to lose focus in your job as well as on your goal of a new, satisfying and fulfilling job. Don’t let this time slip by you. Stay focused on your end goal while also continuing to excel in your current position with these five no-fail fall focus tips.

1. Get plenty of sleep. Feeling rested from a good night’s sleep is the key to having a successful, productive day. If you are having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or wake up tired, take time to identify ways to help you get a more restful night’s sleep.

2. Practice mindfulness and meditation. The moment you wake up, you probably are immediately thinking of your busy day ahead and everything that needs to be done. Taking just a couple moments in the morning before you even start your day to meditate, relax and focus. This is also beneficial throughout your day to boost your effectiveness and focus.

3. Don’t overwork. Take short breaks during the workday. Taking breaks allows you to step back from your work and evaluate if you are being productive. It also provides a break from a possibly boring or mundane task, ultimately refocusing you. Working longer hours and not taking breaks is not a good solution to checking off your punch list. You need breaks to give yourself time to stretch, breathe and focus.

4. Don’t let work interfere with your personal life. In today’s connected environment, it is nearly impossible to completely disengage from work. This makes it even more important for you to be mindful of your time and to enjoy your personal time without checking your email or bringing work home.

5. Eliminate distractions. This applies at work and home. At work, be mindful of the activities that distract you (non-work related emails, internet searches or daydreaming). You must eliminate the distractions to increase your productivity and keep you focused. When you are at home, if you are considering a job change, use this time wisely. After a long, busy day, you may just want to sit down for a few minutes and watch your favorite program or read a book. You can still do this but open up your laptop up while you are sitting there and take a few minutes to research possibly job opportunities. Need a new book to read? Look for a book that provides career direction, motivation and keys to finding your personal success. It is easy to get distracted – eliminate them, focus and you will be rewarded.

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How a Part-Time Job Could Be Your Best Move

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Are you considering a new career? Are you at a crossroads with your current position? Do you have interests and passions that you have not had time to pursue due to your full-time job?

Many people decide to seek a part-time position as a means to make money yet provide the flexibility to pursue other interests. The reasons for seeking part-time employment and leaving full-time jobs vary. You may be interested in starting your own business, going back to school, working part-time to learn more about an industry to see if you enjoy it, or you may want the flexibility to pursue other interests while staying employed.

A part-time position can give you the stability to know that you have a steady income and can pay the bills. It may also allow you to have the time you need and reduce the stress of trying to make a career change or pursue your passion while working a full-time job. And, it doesn’t necessarily mean 20 hours a week. A part-time job could be 30-35 hours per week. If you are considering this as a possible option, begin to visit job boards regularly to see the industries and type of positions available.

A part-time job may not be the path for you, but maybe this will get you thinking about how you can make time to consider and plan your next career move. What do you want to do? What stands in your way of getting there? How long do you want to give yourself to reach your goal? Who can help you? How can you schedule time in your already busy schedule to focus on your next move?

Creating a plan with clearly identified goals will help you visualize your new career path.

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Considering a Career Change?

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Are you at a crossroads with your current career path? Many people enter a professional field after college following a plan that’s based on their major and internships. You may have found your career choice rewarding for many years and thought that climbing the ladder was going to continue to be your professional path until you reach a comfortable level. Are you evaluating your next move? Do you feel that you are defined by your career over the last decade as well as your college major and you aren’t sure what else you could possibly do?

The first step is to know and believe that you can make a career change at any time. If you are beginning to evaluate your talents and what jobs you may enjoy, you may not be sure where to start.

Start with the people around you.
What do your friends do? What jobs excite you? What energizes you? Build an awareness of what draws your attention. Find out what subjects you’re drawn to when reading articles, watching television, traveling or just running errands. There are so many industries and careers out there, and when you take time to look around you realize the magnitude of your opportunities.

Utilize the internet and social media.
If you have careers that you are interested in learning more about, research to identify the industry leaders and businesses. Follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter. Utilizing these social media channels will allow you to see the articles they post, the topics that they find interesting, and industry trends. Monitoring the industry through the eyes of industry leaders and companies will help you learn more about the industry.

Reach out.
Is there someone in a position that you are interested in? Contact them and ask if you can interview them to learn more about the position, the company and the industry. Ask them how they entered the field. Conversations with people in the roles and departments that you are interested in will also provide you with insight to ensure this is the path you want to continue to follow.

Finding a new career path is exciting and ultimately rewarding. Good luck!

P.S. We always think checking out the open jobs at Brookdale is a good place to start!

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Four Signs You Need a Career Change

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Today people are often looking for a meaningful, fulfilling career that provides a feeling of purpose and positive return on their company and society. They have the opportunity to read, research and observe other companies, industries and experiences world-wide and see other careers that may be more enjoyable than their current position. Making a career change does not happen overnight, and you may be in a routine and unaware just how unhappy you are in your current job. Here are four indications you need a career change:

Trust: If you are in a work environment where you do not fully trust your boss or your employer, this can negatively impact your job performance, daily office life and how you interact with your boss and colleagues. Trust, transparency and open communication is a critical component to a healthy work culture and ultimately, to your happiness in the office as well as at home.

Stress: Do you wake up thinking about work? Do you feel anxious or exhausted? Have your eating habits changed? Stress will affect your current and long-term health, and it is imperative to keep your stress level in check. Stress can also affect your outlook on life and your interactions with friends and family. If you find yourself complaining about work and not feeling like an end to the stress is in sight, it is time to be proactive and make a change.

Boredom: If you are not excited about your position and leave each day feeling unfulfilled, it is time for a change. If you lack passion for your position, you will not be giving it your all, and you need to consider what will ignite that passion again. Are you in a job where there is no room to advance? What are you passionate about? Has your passion been placed on the back-burner because you do not have time to follow it with your current job responsibilities?

Staying for financial reasons: You may be staying in a position because the money is great, you are just a couple years away from being fully vested in your 401(k) and you have banked your personal time off (PTO) hours. Yes, these are important and you have worked hard to get to this point. However, don’t let this keep you in your job. Once you are happier and doing what you enjoy, these benefits will fall into place. Finding a career where you feel purpose and find fulfilling is important to decrease the stress and unhappiness in your life and for you to enjoy life.

Don’t stay in a career that makes you unhappy. Start self-evaluation today. Identify what makes you happy, what you are passionate about, and engage with friends, family and mentors to support you in taking this leap. You can do it!

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