How to Exit Your Job With Care

March 27th, 2012

Got a new job in Houston that you’re excited to start? Congratulations! But before you move onto that next opportunity, you’ve got to exit out of your old position. You might think all you have to do is coast for the next couple of weeks, until your two weeks notice is up. But be careful; even if the change is a positive one, it is still emotional, as most changes are. And when emotions become involved, sometimes people can do things they live to regret.

To help ensure a smooth transition for you, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Protect your online brand.
Strong emotions connected to a job transition can lower your inhibitions online and cause you to post things you might regret in the future. But be sure to always put your best foot forward, even if you are secretly thrilled to be leaving your Houston job for greener pastures.

Tie up loose ends before leaving your old job.
When it comes to getting a referral letter or tying up any other loose ends, it’s much easier to do it while you’re still employed at the company. So ask your supervisor and anyone else you’ve worked with to write up letters of recommendation. Even if you’ve already secured a new job in Houston, these could prove invaluable in the future.

Preserve relationships.
Before you leave, seek out each of your colleagues and thank them for times when they helped you or taught you important lessons, or simply to say that you will miss them. Leave a lasting positive impression with each one of them. After all, you never know when you might run into them again in the future.

Once you do officially leave, decide which colleagues you’d like to keep in contact with. After you get settled into your new Houston job, send them an email to check in and to give them your new contact information. Always be professional in these kinds of emails (i.e. don’t bad mouth your former employer or any colleagues) because your email might be forwarded, either accidentally or intentionally.

And if you’d like to transition to a new job in Houston, but are still searching for the right opportunity, let us now. As an employment firm with more than two decades of experience in Houston, Texas, we can give you access to rewarding opportunities in a variety of fields. Search Houston jobs now.

Posted in: Blog, Tips

How to Build Better Relationship on the Job – And Reap the Rewards

October 18th, 2011

There are many factors important to success in your Houston job. These include things like competency, knowledge, and hard work.

But what’s really the #1 factor that can help you achieve career success?

The answer is probably less complicated then you think. It’s about building strong relationships with your co-workers.

Think about it. When you’re in a bind at work, you probably don’t turn to your boss for help. You ask a co-worker. Likewise, if you have a question about how to get something done, or want to bounce a new idea for a process or product off someone, whom do you ask? Again, it’s not likely you’re going to schedule a meeting with the company CEO to discuss an undeveloped idea. You’re going to seek feedback from a co-worker.

However if you don’t have strong relationships with your co-workers, then you won’t reap the many rewards that come along with them. To help you get there, here are some ideas to keep in mind:

Be respectful.

This should go without saying, but some people still need it said. Be kind and respectful to everyone you work with. That doesn’t mean you have to be an easy target or a big softie. It just means that you should think before you speak.

Share information.

If a co-worker comes to you with a question, don’t hoard your knowledge. Share what you know with them. If you ever need fast answers or a quick solution, your co-workers will be much more likely to help you when you’ve been generous with knowledge in the past.

Don’t point fingers.

When things go wrong, it can be tempting to point the finger of blame at someone else. But you’ll simply alienate your co-workers. So when errors happen, accept responsibility and work to determine how you can fix the mistake.

Share credit.

When things go right, don’t take all the credit, even if your boss thinks you did it all yourself. Tell him or her that you couldn’t have done it without help from the team. This is probably one of the best ways to strengthen relationships with your co-workers.

Socialize with co-workers.

You may not want to go to lunch or happy hour with co-workers, but make the effort. You’ll get to know your co-workers better in a more casual environment and learn what makes them tick. You’ll therefore be able to develop more productive relationships with them at work.

If you want to build better relationships on the job – just not in your current job – Murray Resources can help. As one of the top employment agencies in Houston, Texas, we can work with you to find a new job that’s a great match for your skills and personality.

Start your job search now.

Posted in: Blog, Tips

Help! My Boss is a Micromanager…and It’s Driving Me Crazy!

July 26th, 2011

Having a micromanager for a boss at your Houston job can be a frustrating experience, from the incessant hovering to the frequent disruptions. Unfortunately, since micromanaging is more of a personality trait than a management style, it’s unlikely that your boss will change anytime soon. But there are some steps you can take to cope with the situation:

First, examine your performance.

There may be a reason your boss is micromanaging you – he or she doesn’t have confidence in your performance. So look around you. Are your co-workers being micromanaged, or are you the only one? If it’s the latter, then you might need to accept the fact that you’re under-performing and determine what you need to do to improve.

Second, don’t get passive aggressive.

When confronted with a micromanager, many people tend to begin to withdraw or get passive aggressive as a way to assert control over the situation. But since this is the person who signs your paycheck, you don’t want to make your boss angry. If your boss micromanages everyone, then understand that it’s not personal. Many times, micromanagers are perfectionists with incredibly high expectations.

Third, communicate on your boss’s terms.

You have to bear in mind that your boss is under a lot of pressure to produce good results, and that may be why he or she asks for frequent updates. If their constant requests are disrupting your ability to get your work done, ask your boss the best way for you to provide these updates.

For instance, should you send them via email or in person? Once a day, or three times a day? When your boss assigns you a task, repeat what they told you in an email to ensure you’re both on the same page – i.e. “This is my understanding of the assignment. Is that correct?”

If you get into a regular habit of communicating – and even over-communicating – on your boss’s terms, then your boss can get the information he or she needs and you can get your work done without regular disruptions.

Fourth, follow the rules.

Micromanagers like to catch people breaking the rules, as if to say “See, this is why I need to manage you so closely.” Don’t give them the satisfaction. Follow the rules, don’t be late, and do your job well.

If you continue to communicate frequently and deliver excellent work, then it’s possible that your micromanaging boss might let up a bit and allow you to do your work without constant hovering. But if your boss’s micromanaging has gotten so out of control that you’re ready to explore new jobs in Houston, Murray Resources can help. We work with some of the city’s leading employers and can give you access to top jobs as a result!

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Posted in: Tips

Don’t Let an Employment Gap Sabotage Your Houston Job Search

June 28th, 2011

In today’s economy, with unemployment stuck at above 9%, a gap in employment is not uncommon. However, these gaps can still be a big red flag for a potential employer. What’s worse is that for some hiring managers, there’s a misperception that good employees don’t get laid off. So while you’re certainly facing an obstacle when it comes to finding a new job in Houston, Texas, you can overcome it by spinning the negative into a positive. Here’s how.

1. Explain the gap in your cover letter.

That said, don’t start off your letter by talking about it. Instead, focus on why you’re a good fit for the job and what you can do for the employer. Then include a line or two about the gap in employment. Don’t go into detail about the bad economy and a frustrating job search; simply state that you were out of the workforce for a short period and are eager to return. If the gap in employment occurred many years ago, don’t mention it at all.

2. Don’t draw too much attention to the gap on your resume.

If most of your past positions span many years, then don’t include a month and year. Just include the year.

So for instance:

Account Executive
2007 – 2011

Rather than:

Account Executive
January 2007 – February 2011

Also, don’t use bold fonts for dates on your resume. That said, hiring managers aren’t dumb and will certainly be aware that there is a gap. But by underplaying it and focusing on your positive attributes, you could get your foot in the door.

3. Fill the gap.

While you’re searching for Houston jobs, try to do some consulting or freelance work in order to fill the gap. There is no requirement that you have to be paid for the work on your resume, so volunteer work counts here, as well. But if you can, don’t call it “volunteer work.” Include a job title, like you would for a paid job.

4. Make yourself more marketable.

Take a class to sharpen an old skill or get certified in a new one. Include this experience at the top of your resume and in your cover letter and explain how this skill will help you perform the job.

5. Be honest.

Today, many employers verify employment. So even a little white lie can take you out of the running for a position.

If you’d like some professional help with your Houston, Texas job search, please contact Murray Resources. We work with many of Houston’s top employers, including leaders in the energy industry, Fortune 500 firms, financial services firms, legal and medical practices, as well as dozens of other small to mid-sized employers. As a result, we can help match you with a job in Houston that’s a terrific fit for you!

Posted in: Tips

Cracking the Job Description Code

April 19th, 2011

Proficient multi-tasker. Motivated team player. Independent self-starter. Job descriptions are typically laden with vague terms like these. In addition, some employers use glorified verbiage to make a job sound better than it really is. However, lack of specifics and inaccuracies can lead to confusion and disappointment on your end.

To avoid this frustration, here’s how to translate some common terms used in job descriptions so you can ultimately find the Houston job that’s a great match for you:

“Proficient multi-tasker”

Translation: This is probably a small company where everyone is expected to wear a lot of hats. That means if you were hired to perform one job, you may be expected to take on additional responsibilities outside the realm of that position. For some employees, this kind of variety in their daily duties is welcome; but for others, it can be frustrating.

“Motivated team player”

Translation: The company has a lot of cooks in the kitchen and you need to be able to work well with all of them to build consensus. If you consider yourself a diplomat and are good at negotiating and persuading, then this position could be right for you. Otherwise, keep moving.

“Independent self-starter”

Translation: The company doesn’t have a lot of time or resources to train you. They will likely expect you to hit the ground running without a lot of direction from management. If you’re a highly experienced professional, then this kind of autonomy could be appealing. But if you’re just starting out, you may want to instead consider an environment that offers more support.

“Works well under pressure”

Translation: This company regularly operates under tight deadlines, and you will be expected to go the extra mile to ensure projects are completed on time. If you’re like many people and actually operate better under pressure, then this Houston job could be the one for you. But if regular intense pressure gives you major anxiety, then you’ll probably wind up hating it.

“Potential for rapid advancement”

Translation: This is probably a start-up company that can’t pay you a lot of money to perform the job, so they’ll try to entice you by offering the opportunity for growth instead. If you’re passionate about what the company does and see potential, by all means go for it. But also understand that taking a job with a start-up could mean lots of long hours and working weekends, only to have the company go bust after a short time. So it’s a risk; but it could also be a risk worth taking.

“Ability to solve problems”

Translation: The company probably has a lot of problems that need solving. If you’re up for the challenge, then this might be the Houston job for you. However, if you don’t like confrontation and don’t perform well under pressure, then you may want to move on.

If you’d like more help in translating job descriptions, or finding a Houston job that’s a good fit for you, please contact Murray Resources today!

Posted in: Tips

How to Survive Your First Days on the Job

April 5th, 2011

Congratulations! If you just landed a new job in Houston, you’re probably pretty excited…and maybe a little nervous too. It’s completely natural to feel a bit anxious. After all, your job satisfaction has a big impact on your quality of life as a whole. To help you make the best of your new opportunity – and survive the first few days, here are some do’s and don’ts to follow:

DO dress for success.

People form an impression of you within the first few seconds of meeting you. So you want to look your best because how people perceive you can have a major impact on your future success within the company.

DO get to work early and stay late.

Even though you may not have a lot of work to do immediately, those first few days can really set the tone for your tenure with the employer. You want to establish early on that you’re motivated and enthusiastic; not a clock-watcher.

DO ask a lot of questions.

It’s easy to talk a lot about yourself, especially as you’re meeting new people. But don’t forget to ask questions so that you can learn as much as possible about your new Houston job and your new employer. Most people typically like to help out others and will gladly offer you information and advice.

DO be friendly and open.

Meeting an entire staff of new people at once can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a little shy. But make a big effort. Having strong relationships with your co-workers will make you more of an asset to the company and will increase your overall happiness. So try to get to know everyone’s names as quickly as possible and find common ground with them.

DO ask for help.

Don’t be afraid of being perceived as needy or incompetent if you ask for help. Nobody expects you to hit the ground running and achieve major milestones within your first few weeks on the job. Plus, you’re much better off asking for help and getting it right, then making a major mistake.

DON’T complain about your old job.

You don’t want your first foot forward at your new company to be a negative one.

DON’T over-promise.

You want to make a great impression, so it can be tempting to bite off more than you can chew. But this can cause you to stress and burnout quickly. So if you already have a lot on your plate, and are asked to take on more, be honest. It’s much better to under-promise and over-deliver.

DON’T try to change the status quo immediately.

Learn how things work at your new company first; then offer solutions or ideas for making processes or procedures better.

DON’T get too stressed.

Chances are, you’re going to make a few mistakes or do something in a different way than what your co-workers are used to. But relax. Within a couple of months, you’ll probably feel like an old pro in your new position.

And if you’re a job seeker looking forward to having a first day “on the job,” please contact Murray Resources. As a Houston employment firm, we can help you find a great job!

Posted in: Tips

4 Tips for Surviving a Company Merger

March 8th, 2011

As the economy continues to recover, there’s been a recent uptick in the number of mergers. And while merging with another business might be good for a company’s bottom line, it can be stressful for its employees. Job loss and uncertainty are big concerns among workers.

So if your company is undergoing a merger with another, or there is a merger on the horizon, what can you do to ensure you not only survive, but thrive, in your Houston job? Here are 4 tips:

1) Expect a cultural change.

Two separate cultures can’t exist together, so expect the dominant company’s way of doing business to prevail. Don’t resist it; accept it and adapt to it.

2) Get to know the new owner and managers.

After a merger, it can be tempting to keep your head down and try not to be noticed. But most new owners are looking for people to step up to the plate. First, learn all you can about the new owner and managers. Then reach out to them via email or by making a phone call. Tell them what your department is doing, highlight your responsibilities, and offer suggestions for improvement within your department or the company as a whole.

3) Do a great job.

This is the time to go above and beyond. You want the new owner and managers to think they simply cannot live without you. So come in early, stay late, and offer to take on additional assignments. Ask the new owner or managers: “What can I do to make this transition easier for you?” Even if they tell you to “keep doing what you’re doing,” the perception will be that you’re an asset, not an obstacle.

4) Be positive.

It can be easy to feel defensive and stressed during a merger. But keep your attitude to yourself. Attend any informational meetings the new owner or managers hold, ask intelligent questions, and introduce yourself to new managers and staff members. You want to be perceived as a team player; not a complainer.

When it comes to a merger, you have to come to terms that things just aren’t going to be the same. But the faster you “get it” and adapt, the better your chances will be for surviving a merger. That said, it’s always smart to prepare a contingency plan. So dust off your resume and begin to rework it, just in case.

Also, if you’re interested in learning about job opportunities in the Houston market, please contact Murray Resources. As an employment agency in Houston, we work with many of the top employers and can give you access to new opportunities in your field.


Posted in: Tips

Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Salary Negotiations

September 21st, 2010

As a Houston executive recruiters, we know the process you go through to land a job can be daunting – from screening and interviewing to testing and reference checking. And after all that is said and done, there’s still one more crucial phase to complete before signing on the dotted line – salary negotiations. So how can you successfully negotiate to ensure you get the compensation you deserve? Here are some do’s and don’ts:

Do’s for Salary Negotiations:

  • Do your homework ahead of time so that you know what the value of your skills, experience and achievements are worth in today’s marketplace. Use salary information websites or visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
  • Do withhold information on your salary history as long as possible. Many times, employers use past salaries as a way to screen candidates out.
  • Do be honest about your salary history. Padding your salary can come back to haunt you when the prospective employer calls your past employers to verify employment and salary.
  • Do toot your own horn and highlight the experience and skills you can bring to the table so that the employer truly understands the value you’re offering.
  • Do be realistic about your salary expectations. You have to keep in mind the current state of the industry you work in, as well as the economy when it comes to salary negotiations.
  • Do try to negotiate additional perks, especially if you’re not successful in getting the exact salary you want. These can include things like extra vacation time or a performance bonus.
Don’ts for Salary Negotiations:
  • Don’t start negotiating a salary until you’ve learned as much as possible about the Houston job and the responsibilities it entails.
  • Don’t give the employer a specific figure when asked how much salary you want. Instead, ask the employer how much they would be willing to pay for someone with your skills and experience.
  • Don’t be too eager to accept – even if the figure is exactly what you want. Many employers leave some room for negotiating, so you should still consider a counteroffer even if you are happy with their initial offer.
  • Don’t get pressured into accepting if you’re not happy with the offer. Let the employer know that the offer is less than what you’re expecting by saying something like: “I have a better offer from another firm. Can you match it?” or “Given my level of experience and track record of success at my past employers, I feel like $65,000 would be a more appropriate salary.”
  • It’s ok to be aggressive, but don’t go overboard. After all, if you do get the Houston job, you have to work with these people and you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot. So always remain professional and upbeat, focusing on why you deserve a higher salary than what’s being offered.

If you need more tips on negotiating a salary, or help finding a job in Houston, contact Murray Resources. As experienced executive recruiters, Murray Resources can help you through each and every phase of the job search process so that you secure the position and the compensation you deserve.

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