stress

4 Ways To Find Yourself Less Stressed At Work

The Interactive Team HQ is a buzzing business hub in the heart of the city of Glasgow and although we work hard and smart, we all get a little stressed sometimes. I guess in a way feeling a bit stressed can sometimes be a good sign, it means that you’re working hard, you’re busy and let’s face it – in this industry, and bit of pressure normally breeds brilliant results! As a whole, the world of business can sometimes feel like a bit of a harbour for unexpected happenings and The Interactive Team are certainly no different!

Have you ever lost a client, forgotten your laptop, got a bad review from a superior or, well, you get my drift. Of course you have! For most of us, it’s a given that one work day or another, we’ll be presented with something we didn’t plan for, and normally something unpleasant that could predominantly cause panic, worry, anxiety or stress.

At The Interactive Team, we have been lucky enough to see continual success since the day we opened our doors for business just over 3 years, but it certainly hasn’t been easy. Our team are taught and trained to deal with problems as challenges, and to find the positive in every negative situation, and we never lose sight of our goals. Not only does this wholly work as a motivational tool, but we find ourselves to be much less stressed and panicked by unexpected situations because we know how to move forward and use it as a learning curve, rather than allowing it to emotionally damage us in the short term.

Don’t worry though, as it’s human nature to react to unexpected situations negatively, but the stress and worry that comes from our negative reactions can be monumentally overwhelming. If you want to ensure that you can keep your focus at work, you need to find different ways to tame your negativity. Think about it – if problems persist, you’ll inevitably feel long periods of emotional suffering, sleepless nights and a distinct lack of productivity. It’s no secret that when your mind is bogged down, you focus on everything that is not happening rather than putting all your energy into figuring out how to make things better.

It doesn’t matter which position you hold, or which industry you’re working in, you would never turn up to work with unprepared resources, so why does emotional preparation get put at the bottom of the to do list? Well, don’t worry, because you won’t be the only one. We’re all guilty of not planning our emotions, but a conscious decision to react in a certain way to a situation can save you an awful lot of unnecessary stress so it’s definitely something to do, if not at least consider! Although, even if you want to become ‘emotionally prepared’ for work, knowing how is pretty difficult! So don’t worry because here are four ways that you can prepare for unexpected challenges, to avoid stress, and to be more content at work:

GRATITUDE – In the morning when you wake up, before your mind starts inevitably going through everything you’ve got planned for the day ahead, stop and remind yourself of all the people and things for which you are grateful. It does sound a bit strange initially but hear me out! Even if you are not the type of person to keep lists, making a gratitude list before you drag yourself out of bed can really help maintain a good, clear perspective throughout the day of what is actually important. This will leave you less affected by unexpected situations and events and you will most certainly be able to relax more into your day and make the absolute best of whichever challenges you face. A good tip is to have a ‘gratitude shower’ in the mornings! Don’t try and tell me that you don’t sing in the shower – we all do – so instead of singing, maybe say out loud the things you’re grateful for!

‘MAYBE’ – The ‘maybe’ mantra is an absolute must when facing adversity in the workplace. Sometimes, when we get upset, it is because we believe that we are stuck in a rut and things really aren’t going out way. We definitely forget that – at times – life changes in funny ways! Always remind yourself that as bad as things may look or feel, there is always the possibility that MAYBE what is happening will turn out to be good, MAYBE you will figure out how to make the situation better, or MAYBE you can accept this challenge is what it is, and everything will be alright. These ‘maybe’ thoughts will enable you to see past the problem facing you, so make up a few ‘maybe’ statements you can always use and make a habit of remembering to keep them close at hand when challenges do arise!

AWARENESS – Sometimes, we don’t even realise that we have become negative or stressed at work until hours, or sometimes even days later! Creating awareness of when and how our emotions become increasingly negative is an ongoing practice or habit than can definitely help us identify opportunities for positive change – which is a necessity! Be smart about it, and don’t just expect your emotions to change on their own. Make a habit of taking physical action that will inevitably turn your frown upside down!

Try to remember each day that no matter what challenges you are facing, the next moment can bring something new. Remember, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at start to change, so MAYBE it’s time to act and emotionally prepare yourself for less stress and a happier career!

humblw

Humble Pie; because we’ve all got to eat a slice to see success!

So, you’ve made it this far ay? Well done. Feel proud. It’s easy enough to look back at some small successes and start to feel pretty full of yourself and that’s fine. However, I’m sure you know as well as I do that life has a unique way to knock us back down off our pedestals in a catastrophic fashion.

The Great South Run I took part in was held in Portsmouth in 2013. My decision to partake in a charitable sporting event such as this was arrived at only after a tussle with my conscience. Should I leave it out as I simply don’t have the time or should I get stuck in because it’s for charity? My heart strings pulled tighter as I opted for the latter. I was never the fittest girl in the bunch but I knew full well that I was certainly the most determined and tenacious. So with this in mind, training began. Every day after work, I would take myself for a good run down by the canals, timing myself in order to monitor my progress. The smile on my face (and the sweat on my brow) continued to grow as I noted myself making progress each day. I knew full well at this point that, out of my friends, I was definitely the one putting all the work in and I wouldn’t feel the least bit smug at the finish line when I came first out of us all.

I continued to train on a daily basis and even treated myself to some top of the range running gear (you know, just so that I’d look the part as I claimed my victory). The day finally came and the 6 of us were dolled up to the nines in lycra and sweatbands. I had put so much effort into preparing for the event and I felt comfortably assured that I would surpass my friends’ expectations, as well as the finish line. The gun went off, and we were off. I had done my research. I saw hundreds of people darting off and I found myself thinking “fools, slow and steady wins the race!” As I hit the half way mark, I started to feel myself struggling. How? How was I struggling? I had done so much training and put so much effort into being the best, and people continued to overtake me. I pushed on and on and finally, the finishing line was visible. I sped up and blitzed towards the banner, sailing through and breathing a massive sigh of relief and accomplishment. However, much to my dismay, there they were. My 5 friends. Sat down. Waiting. Waiting for me.

It’s a truth no one likes to admit: no matter how successful, how hard-working or accomplished you are (as an individual or as a business owner), there is ALWAYS someone who is better than you. No matter whether they’re smarter, wittier, prettier, fitter, more advanced, more wealthy, more experienced… there is always someone. Yes – I know – it’s certainly not the best feeling in the world to come to terms with, but once you do, definitely don’t let it get you down rather use it as a driving force.

After the run, I was initially horrified that I hadn’t come first out of us all, albeit slightly disappointed in myself, then I got to thinking. We had all done this in aid of a fantastic cause whilst keeping fit and healthy in the meantime, which I hadn’t done previously but much to my surprise, I enjoyed greatly. After careful consideration, I decided to take up running as a hobby and even found the humility to ask one of my friends to run with me to spur me on.

The most successful people in the world are ridiculously humble about most things, but in particular, their skills, talents and attributes. The difference is that successful people will gladly recognise that there are other people out there who are better than them, and they use it as an opportunity to learn, develop, progress and improve. I really don’t think people realise just how important a trait humility is. Undoubtedly, there will come a day where you think “I’ve made it” and it’s par for the course that at this point, you take your foot off the gas which inevitably leads to fading talents and regression.

If you genuinely have a burning desire to become successful, you will certainly find yourself grabbin’ a big chunk of humble pie every day so that the person you are tomorrow will be a phenomenal improvement on the person you are today.

 

Think Tank

The Interactive Team’s 4 key components to a Think Tank

In the reconfiguration of our office space to accommodate our Head of Media’s move up from Glasgow we moved desks around in the newly crowned Media Team room and now with extra space we’ve installed whiteboards and a spare chair – aptly named the Gilles Chair.

Our CEO, Gilles Baudet, despite having a corner office, with an enormous desk (which I’ve been not so subtly coveting) spends the majority of his time when he’s in the Glasgow HQ and not visiting our other branches in the Media Team room – so much in fact that we have a designated chair for him.

But there’s a good reason for it, while overseeing the media accounts of every branch, organising our nationwide conferences, and master classes, training material and – well everything in between, we need direct access to the CEO Gilles Baudet to make decisions.

It’s become a really fun atmosphere, and one I suspect few offices would be able to replicate. Due to the importance CEO Gilles Baudet places on the work we do there is a ripple effect of respect across The Interactive Team. When people need to solve a problem they now come into our office, they bounce ideas off us, and its seen as a space to get things “sorted”

Now, while not every business out there needs a dedicated Media Team, The Interactive Team is quite lucky in the sense that through CEO Gilles Baudet’s vision we’ve inadvertently created a Think Tank – which we can safely say from experience – every business should have.

Baudet says “I love it, every single day I’m excited because of the energy that’s generated from this room” – and from a CEO of a company with over 150 team members nationwide that’s a pretty glowing endorsement!

 

Contrary to what you might think, a Think Tank truly doesn’t require a great deal of resources, so from our research and from our own experience we’ve compiled a list of the 4 key components of setting up your own Think Tank!

 

 

1/ Key members

In order to achieve results from your Think Tank it is crucial that you gather key members to be a part of your team. You need a manager: someone in a position to make financial decisions, someone that has a definitive say over what happens going forward. At The Interactive Team we’re fortunate in that the CEO of the business, Gilles Baudet, is in our Think Tank. If we’ve got a deadline, you can guarantee Gilles Baudet will give us what we need to get things done.

It’s also essential to have someone deeply practical on your Think Tank. Who is it in your office that keeps track of everyone’s birthdays? Usually the person who keeps track of all the important dates and figures is a good person to have sitting in on your Think Tank sessions. They’ll be level headed enough not to run away with an idea before you’ve looked at the logistics. Sometimes they’ll end up being ‘the bad guy’ because it will be their job to say if something is feasible or not, but if you want your Think Tank to make cost efficient decisions you simply can’t skip this member.

And of course you need the creative types, the ones that will come up with whacky ideas, the bright sparks to solve problems you hadn’t even seen coming (not that I’m tooting my own horn here!). The other people are there to rein them in and the creative types are there to drag the others along to the overall vision. Luckily in The Interactive Team we’ve achieved a balance in our Think Tank members, everybody has a good balance of practicality and creativity – but we make room for each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which is why we’ve really come into our own with the business.

 

 

2/ Equipment

You don’t need a smart board (although if you have the budget for them they’re a dream for sharing your progress later on and saving your ideas!) to have a Think Tank but what you do need is some way to put your ideas up in front of the group.

Psychologists will tell you that visuals are a crucial aid to helping humans organise and analyse. So the bigger the board the better. In The Interactive Team we have whiteboards lining our training room. There’s only one office that doesn’t contain a whiteboard and that’s Gilles Baudet’s own office. In the Media Team we’re considering taking down a beautiful black and white 4 by 3 foot image to make way for another whiteboard. But if your budget doesn’t stretch to wall-to-wall whiteboards, a mounted flip chart can work just as well, or even an overheard projector if your office is old school.

Obviously a good supply of whiteboard markers is crucial. The Interactive Team has a standing order with our stationers because we use them so frequently. Something we’ve now instituted that I can personally recommend is a perpetual calendar, laminated and placed in a prominent position. This way when we’re planning a master class, a road trip to another branch, or coaching sessions we can pop it on our visual calendar as well as on our phones so everyone can see what we need to keep in mind before making more plans.

 

 

3/ Time

Putting something truly great together doesn’t happen overnight. There’s nothing worse than realising that you need to prepare booklets for a conference happening the following day. Thankfully we’ve never had this experience at The Interactive Team, because with so much going on everyday it is paramount that you schedule your days to stay on top of your tasks with enough room leftover for anything unexpected.

Now that you have your perpetual calendar prominently displayed, if you can see something coming up that you need to be prepared for it is essential to give yourself the time to prepare for the day. Set up a Think Tank session well ahead of the day, some people will need to make room in their dairy for sessions with the Think Tank, so if you can all get an app to share calendar dates that would be useful too.

But not only do you have to schedule a session, you also have to manage the time you have effectively.
At The Interactive Team HQ, especially on days CEO Gilles Baudet joins our sessions, its easy to get carried away with having a laugh – and while you don’t want to stifle that fun, creative energy, you also don’t want to leave yourself running late for another appointment. With Gilles Baudet’s busy schedule in mind we always leave an extra 15-minute cushion time to make sure we never run over time.

Finally another piece of advice on this matter is to schedule a deadline. If you’ve created an exciting new project there’s nothing worse than not setting a realistic time scale on it. If you don’t learn to schedule a deadline, you may find that your ideas never get off the ground – which leads us to our last key component of setting up your own Think Tank.

 

 

4/ Follow-ups

There’s no point coming up with an amazing idea if you don’t follow it up with progress and completion of the task – which is why incorporating follow-ups into your Think Tank game plan is crucial. Just a five-minute follow-up is all it takes to make sure everyone is on the same page and heading in the same direction.

If you all agree at the session to the dates and times, then space out your follow ups between then and the deadline you have a clear set of expectations for progress. Using follow ups as a means of reporting your progress can also be a means of demonstrating your return on investment to management should you need it in future. You will have a ready-made list of when key components of your project were completed.

 

Well, I hope you can use the experience of The Interactive Team Think Tank under the direction of CEO Gilles Baudet as a guide to setting up your own company Think Tank. Genuinely I can’t recommend the process more highly. Through formally recognising and placing an importance on the meetings that take place in the Media Team we’ve created a powerfully positive group within the business that has the tools and motivation to drive significant change for the company overall – if that’s not something you want for your own business then I don’t know what is!

If you want to share your own Think Tank experiences or see what The Interactive Team and CEO Gilles Baudet has been up to why don’t you visit our Facebook page here.

The Interactive Team

The Interactive Team’s tips to handling responsibility

This week our Managing Director of The Interactive Team, Gilles Baudet, is taking a very well deserved break. Naturally on Friday about a million things were popping up, but as my colleague Stacey pointed out, the holiday wasn’t just for Gilles, it was for his family, so it went ahead – much to his wife’s relief no doubt.

Now, even though The Interactive Team is very much built around Gilles own ability to drive the business forward, it doesn’t stop just because the boss is away. In the meantime the Glasgow HQ is being handled by one of our Campaign Managers, Joel, who, pending promotion will be launching our branch in Birmingham.

I grabbed Joel for 5 minutes inbetween his duties and asked him what its like stepping up to the plate, and shouldering the responsibility of running the branch on his own, this is what we discussed.

 

“Its exciting, it gives you an opportunity to prove yourself” he said instantly.

Wasn’t he scared of the responsibility, I wondered out loud.

“No, Gilles has been personally training me for a while now, so I’ve learnt what is expected of me and what it takes. He wouldn’t have left me in charge if I couldn’t do it.

The biggest challenge while Gilles is away is being prepared for everything – but I’ve learnt to have a plan A, B, and C because in this business there’s always something that can happen.”

 

This goes back to that old adage – proper preparation prevents – well, you know the rest. It’s a hallmark of this company to be hyper prepared. We have a Dropbox full of learning material to help not only our Events Team, but our Management Team too. With daily management meetings and training sessions, it is beyond crucial to be prepared for every question, every outcome, every possible thing that could happen. We work in the moment, live data uplinks mean live decisions, which equals live results, results that directly effect our clients – and our customers too, and so without proper preparation anything could happen.

 

“When you’re running an office,” Joel says, “its important to set the tone, and the bar, high so people know what your standard is – when people are looking to you for an example they’ll do 70% of what you do right and 200% of what you do wrong”

Whether I agree with those statistics or not, he has a point – and I don’t like those odds.

“Everything you do has to be above and beyond of normal standards,” Joel says of coping with that responsibility. That sounds pretty tough I say, “doing all the easy things correctly, that’s the hard part,” Joel laughs.

While Joel might have been having a laugh, again, he has a point. Leadership is a myriad of smaller tasks that goes together to make a larger whole. While each task in and of itself might seem inconsequential or be fairly easy or simple to perform, each action has an impact on the people around you, and each one has to represent The Interactive Team at its best.

With that kind of responsibility stacking up I wondered what Joel’s goals for this week were, personally and for The Interactive Team.

“I guess what I’m most looking forward to is proving to Gilles I’m ready to open the Birmingham branch” he replies.

The Interactive Team operates on merit-based progression, so this is the exactly the chance a Campaign Manager can use to earn a further promotion.

Professionally Joel’s goals for the week were concerned with motivating the Events Team.

“I want to show people you can achieve your goals, whether they’re your own performance, or financial – I’m going to lead by example.” Joel continues, “it’s easier than you think to progress in this business if you just set your goals and achieve them step by step every day.”

 

As someone personally trialing different ways to hit my goals I dug a little deeper. How does Joel go about hitting his own goals?

“You know, you’ve got to facilitate your pathway to hit your goals,” he paused.

“I prepare every single day. I’m ahead of my day by getting up earlier so I have more time to do what I’ve got to do, I’m focused because I go to bed early,” Joel finished.

My mind leapt to last weeks experiment in ways to wake up earlier, and the advice was consistently, start as you mean to go on, ie go to bed early to wake up early (you can read more of my morning routine experiment here).

 

“And I always have back up plans” Joel smirked.

 

So the key lessons from Campaign Manager Joel this week will be to lead by example, to take care at every step so they add up to a good whole, and if you want to hit your professional and personal goals to prepare for every outcome.

 

For the rest of the week I’ll be continuing my goal setting and visualisation experiment I started here – if you have any advice or want to share your own experience head on over to our Facebook company page here.

The Interactive Team

The Interactive Team reviews the benefits of visualisation

While I was interviewing one of the Team for an upcoming article we got to talking about mood boards. He was planning of making one to hang on his wall for daily inspiration – I refrained from telling him that I had a million online versions on my Pinterest account – but it did get me thinking.

When we have goals in mind, whether it be a promotion and the lifestyle that comes with it, or the way that you want you wedding to look (the reason for my Pinterest obsession) humans naturally seek out visuals to help motivate us towards that goal.

The fact is, that very few of us are capable of processing information without a visual element to it. Think about it, when you read a book you imagine the characters, you form a mental image of how you imagine the characters would look. Or say your pal calls to tell you they’ve dyed their hair from blonde to black – you immediately demand a photo because in your head that person has blonde hair and your brain needs visual help changing that information.

The human brain is wondrous, but the way we think can actually be quite limited. When we learn new information our brains immediately seek to categorize it and file it away with similar information. When we go to remember that new information we retrieve it via synaptic relays, the strength of that neural pathway determines how capable we are in using that information. So now you know that scientific explanation behind why practice makes perfect – how can this help you visualize and achieve your goals?

Well visualization might seem similar to daydreaming or fantasizing but there are crucial differences that makes visualization a powerful tool for goal setting. When you fantasize you only experience the euphoria of the end of the goal, the reward or accomplishment phase, you’re on the stage performing for thousands, you’re on a yacht in the Seychelles, you’re looking trim and fabulous in your wedding dress – but what makes visualization different and powerful is that you imagine the processes you require to get you to that reward.

 

Sports psychologists have long been encouraging athletes to use the power of visualization to enhance their performance, athletes from Wayne Rooney to Muhammed Ali – and you can bet Floyd Mayweather is visualizing winning his fight tomorrow night every punch, every duck and every weave.

It’s undoubtedly a multi million dollar business, with books like The Secret and How Winners Win topping best seller lists the tricks of visualization have gone from psychologist strategy to mainstream media.

 

So I asked around The Interactive Team HQ to see what people visualized throughout the day and how it helped them.

Suzanne, a colleague in another office, had been working towards a target all week, and when she hit it the office erupted into cheers “you can only do your best,” she said modestly. What did she visualize when working towards her target this week? “I have a Mulbery handbag that I really want to get, that’s my long term goal at the minute, every time I hit a target I think of that.”

Our Head of Recruitment, Stacey Smith, has this tip “when I’m having a bit of a dip in my day and things are just getting a bit nuts, I shut my eyes for a moment and I picture my house. I walk through the halls of my five bedroom dream home, I put my Chanel clutch down on the granite workbench in my kitchen and I make a coffee from my shiny coffee machine”

 

Managing Director, Gilles Baudet, shared a more business focused visualization that he focuses on frequently “I see the people that I brought on Top Gun as Directors, I think about what steps going forward I need to take each day with each person to get them to that stage. It absolutely motivates me, and I hope it motivates them too to know I take their careers so seriously.”

 

My visualizations are nowhere near as progressed as my colleagues, and not even close to that of Managing Director, Gilles Baudet’s, but I’m getting there. Instead of fantasising of fitting perfectly into that wedding dress I’ve begun acknowledging the process of getting there. To whit I now have a graph beside my desk where I can check off every glass of water I drink, so I can say to reach my fantasy, I need to do x, y and z and it will become a reality.

With visual reminders, both mental and physical I’m that much closer to making it a reality, and you could be too. Good luck!

Good Morning The Interactive Team

The Interactive Team guide to becoming a Morning Person

Our Managing Director Gilles Baudet has a phrase he likes to say in the morning: “beast mode on”

He is notoriously and quite enviously regarded throughout the company as the type of Morning Person few of us can even dream of (geddit?)

Now a couple of weeks ago he gave us some of his daily habits for success and a lot of them were related to his morning routine – which got me thinking – what other habits are out there that help people turn “beast mode on” in the morning and hit the day running?

So after asking around HQ and scouring the internet I’ve put some of the best wake-up routines to the test…

 

Start the night before:

How can you get better at waking up before you’re even gone to sleep you wonder? It’s a concept called sleep hygiene and it covers everything from bedtime to whether your phone should be beside you or not (hint: it shouldn’t). It stands to reason that if you’re better at falling asleep then logically you should be better at waking up, let alone more rested and ready for the day ahead.

For instance – always make sure to go to the loo before bed – if your body wakes you up for a 3am trip to the loo you can throw off your whole sleep cycle and ruin your attitude for the next day.

Start turning off the lights above you and opt for softer lamps instead – we often spend all day flooded in artificial light meaning your body is tricked into thinking it should be awake when it shouldn’t.

And another aspect of sleep hygiene is putting down your electronics an hour before you go to bed. This was definitely the hardest part of the experiment for me. I’m always clutching my phone, and appallingly feel lost, sometimes literally (thank you Google Maps!) without it. But an hour without your phone before bed can be surprisingly useful. I started moisturizing before bed (a first for me), and picking the next day’s outfit before laying in out ready to go in the morning. Knowing I didn’t have to waste time the next morning uhming and ahing over an outfit made a nice change to the routine.

 

Do something that makes you want to get out of bed each day:

This seems pretty obvious but if you loathe your job, chances are you’re not bounding out of bed every day to get to it. Your ability to get out of bed depends on how motivated you are for the day ahead of you, so if you have zero motivation you have zero desire to get out of bed.

This was Gilles personal recommendation, “I love what I do, I love the energy, the atmosphere and the industry, that’s why I’m so excited every single day” so find what it is that you love doing and then that daily struggle out from under the bed covers won’t seem so bad!

Now I do love my job, The Interactive Team HQ is a terrific environment to work in, we have in-jokes, and parties, and genuinely care about each other and the work we do but I still couldn’t attack the day with the same vigour as the Managing Director, Gilles Baudet. Instead what I started doing was scheduling one really exciting task for each day, giving me something I was just dying to get into work to do – and I’ve been early to work every day this week.

 

Exercise in the morning:

Now, I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t managed to do this one yet! But I’m assured by the girls in the adjacent office that it is a must for becoming a Morning Person. A gym has just opened around the corner from our Glasgow HQ so I know a lot of the other staff in the office have joined so I suppose I’ll drag myself along – but the science behind it is sound.

The logic is that, by exercising first thing in the morning you’re kick starting your metabolism and signaling your body that it needs energy for the day ahead. Also, by the time the end of the day rolls around – who has the energy for a workout – let alone the motivation?

Other benefits are that allegedly an early morning workout encourages you to eat healthier throughout the day, so its really win-win – so now I really don’t have any excuses for skipping the morning gym sessions with the rest of the office!

 

Resist the temptation of the snooze button:

I told a lie earlier, this was the hardest part, but while I managed to put down my phone each night I did not manage to swear off hitting the snooze button every day. Rationally I know I can, but it was very hard changing the habit of a lifetime.

You see, when that first alarm rings out, truly, how good is the quality of your sleep for an additional 10 minutes? Rubbish. Now if you’re like me your body has learnt to sleep through the sound of your alarm, despite it being beside my ear, and when you do eventually wake up you’re still groggy. Well there’s an explanation for that. If you wake during your REM (rapid eye movement) cycle you’ll remain tired as your body hasn’t completed the sleep cycle.

To tackle this common issue there are a plethora of apps out there that monitor your breathing and movement while you’re asleep, waking you at the best possible time to maximize wakefulness for the next day – meaning no more snooze button!

 

 

So which technique worked best for me? Well, surprisingly the phone free zone had a very large effect on me, though maybe a whole hour was pushing it! Having a task I was looking forward to each day waiting for me at The Interactive Team HQ also made a difference in my motivation for getting out of bed – but as for exercise and eliminating my snooze button – the jury is still out.

The Interactive Team resume

The Interactive Team’s 4 best ways to get your resume noticed!

 

On Monday Bloomberg Business released an article stating the best and worst fonts to use on your resume having interviewed top typographers about the subject. Some conclusions came as a surprise to no one – ie that fonts like Zapfino were unsuitable, and that Comic Sans was right out. But what did come as a surprise was the analogy of one expert, Brian Hoff, who stated that using Times New Roman in your resume was the equivalent of “putting on sweatpants” and showed a lack of care or interest in getting the position you applied for.

So with that mental note made for future, the question is how can you show a future employer that you’re motivated to get that position?

The resume is a very tricky format to get right. With fistfuls of statistics stating the average number of job applications sent out before a graduate lands a job, and the 6-second rule (recruiters say they only take 6 seconds to look at a resume before deciding if the candidate will get an interview) it’s no wonder executive resume writing is a multi-million dollar industry.

Now, very few of us can afford the services of a professional resume builder, but there are a number of things to consider that will help get your resume top of the pile.

I asked the Head of Recruitment at The Interactive Team Head Stacey Smith for some of her top tips to get your resume noticed.

 

1. Get past the gatekeeper:

What a lot of people don’t realise is that the manager, or the person conducting the interview is not the first person that sees your resume.

In every medium to large company there is a gatekeeper, whether it be software that filters out those with spelling errors, or an HR manager – almost all companies have a way of choosing the best candidates before showing it to the person who has the final say. Often the person looking at the resumes has very little idea of what their manager is really after and 9 times out of 10 the actual job description will be inaccurate because it wasn’t written by an expert in the field. For instance HR managers don’t typically have the knowledge to say what experience will make you a good mechanical engineer.

The job of a good resume is to get you past the gatekeeper to show off your talents to the person that can appreciate your skills and expertise.

Ideally every resume you write should be tailored to the company you’re applying to.

While this may seem obvious, Stacey states “its startling how often we get resumes that haven’t been written with The Interactive Team in mind”

A good idea is to hit on keywords from the job ad, that way if they’re using software to filter out candidates you’ll get through, and if an HR manager or recruiter is reading it they’ll know you’ve taken the time to tailor your resume to their company – leaving a good first impression before you’ve even stepped through the door.

 

2. Length and formatting :

Unless you have particularly extraordinary experience, that you just have to include, the rule of thumb for resumes is one page only. That is not to say you can’t include a lot of information in that space. With some creative formatting and a good typeface choice you can fit a surprising amount of information into one page. If you head on over to Behance you’ll find hundreds of downloadable, and often free resume formats created and shared by graphic designers keen to show off their own imaginative ways of displaying their resume. For a graphic designer a creative and beautiful resume is a must, but for the rest it’s a nice perk that really helps you stand out from the pack. A quick scroll through the top performing templates and you’ll find people are increasingly turning to the principles of infographics to make a visual impact in a resume, examples include bar graphs displaying your expertise level of different software, and timelines showing the length of time spent at previous jobs.

“I remember receiving an application for our Events Team, and right away it stood out, the different sections were divided with coloured boxes and she’d chosen different fonts to make headlines pop – that resume belonged to our now Head of Media Naomi Lewis,” Stacey recalls. She continued “don’t be scared to set yourself apart from the crowd, if someone has a vibrant side of their personality we want to see it”

 

3. Profile yourself:

While on LinkedIn a photo means you’re 14 times more likely to be viewed, the same is rarely the case with a paper resume. Instead resumes with photos are often put aside because employers are concerned that they might positively or negatively discriminate against someone based on that photo. Say you’re wearing a pale blue colour in your photo, but another candidate is wearing an orange tie in theirs – it just so happens that the HR managers favourite colour is orange, and they think baby blue is tacky – wham, your six seconds are up and you were dropped for choosing the wrong photo. So, its fair to say it’s safest to skip a photo where you can and force the person viewing it to look more deeply into your resume.

If you still want to get a part of your personality across instead include a profile or About Me section in your resume. With a profile front and centre on your resume you get a chance to put your best foot forward straight off the bat. Think “versatile software engineer with 10 years experience across dynamic client briefs” for a profile, or a little bit of humour in your About Me ie “an undying love for Jaffa Cakes”

According to Smith a humourous line in an About Me section can make all the difference, “it gives us a sense of the person and whether they’ll suit our corporate culture, which is really important to us”

 

4. Show Ambition:

This may not be true for every job but over at The Interactive Team we like candidates to show us they’re looking for a career they can shine in. Managing Director Gilles Baudet goes through our handpicked candidates and selects the ones he wants to personally interview “I love seeing a candidate showing that they want to make something of themselves, that’s what I look for and that’s what I hire on, average people with the above average desire to succeed,” Gilles says.

In a more general way, a show of ambition can demonstrate to a potential employer that you’re looking to stay in that job role for some years – a company doesn’t want to hire a job hopper because all the time they’ve put into training you is effectively lost money if you leave within a few months. So saying you’re dedicated to growing with the business you’re applying to says to an employer that you won’t jump ship the first time things get rough.

 

 

Finally I asked Stacey what her pet peeve was “someone that doesn’t give detail, I want to get a sense of the person I’m recruiting before I give them a call,” she says. And what is her personal recommendation to any jobseekers out there? “I’d recommend an objective statement, so we know what you’re looking for out of the role, it shows we’re on the same page and is a sure fire way to get to the next stage of the interview process”

 

So there you have it, The Interactive Team’s review of the 4 best ways to get your resume noticed!

 

If you’d like to learn more about careers with The Interactive Team, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us or give us a call. Good luck with your search!