All posts by Lolita Johns

About Lolita Johns

Lolita Johns has over fifteen years’ experience in Adult Education with a specialization in Career Services. She is passionate about mentoring individuals regarding their career and overall professional success. She currently works at St. Petersburg College as a Student Support Specialist in Career Services. This role involves facilitating weekly career focused workshops, developing career content, organizing large scale job fairs, and directly assisting students with resume writing, interview preparation, LinkedIn creation, and the workings of SPC’s various career tools. This has allowed Lolita to help students and graduates increase their marketability, confidence and self-salesmanship. She also serves as administrator to the Career related social media platforms at SPC. Hobbies include spending time with family, blogging, mentoring, and web design.

Time’s Up! The Expectation of Videoconferencing Etiquette

Various professionals on videoconferencing call

The onset of Covid-19 undoubtedly and unexpectedly affected the way we live day to day. It also managed to derail certain business processes, including how we communicate and collaborate. As a result, videoconferencing in programs like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype for Business have seen an influx in usage. At the start of social distancing, these communication platforms were new to many. But as time moves on, so does the expectation that employees are able to follow proper videoconferencing etiquette.

Videoconferencing Etiquette Expectations

Prepare and Check Your Sound/ Video Settings Prior

We all know technology can dysfunction at times. You’ll want to check to ensure your mic is getting sound and your video is showing a clear picture. In addition, you should check your internet connection and have a backup plan, in the event it fails.

Don’t Be Late

Although you are not face to face with an individual, being on time is still equally important. Showing up to a videoconference at the exact starting time is actually showing up late. You should log in 5-7 minutes prior to the start of the presentation. This allows you to be ready to begin right at the start time.

Man Looking At His Watch Worried He Is Late

Mute Your Microphone

I’m pretty sure if you’ve been on a videoconference, you’ve heard the words, “Please mute yourself or we can’t hear you, you’re on mute!” We get it, things happen! But this should not be a regular occurrence. Be mindful of your mic status at all times. Stay on mute at all times unless speaking.

Position Your Camera Properly and Look Into Camera

While it is tempting to look at yourself or directly at participants on the video call, it is best to look directly into your camera instead. This way, participants viewing will feel as though you are looking directly at them versus off to the side.

Make Proper Introductions

Don’t assume everyone is familiar with all participants on the call. Unless you’re absolutely sure everyone is known, proper introductions should happen at the beginning of the videoconference. You’ll also want to state your name as you begin to speak.

Professionally Dressed Man on Video Conference Call

No Chewing, No Exceptions

Let’s be honest, microphones magnify sound and the sound of chewing is not a pleasant one. Be considerate to all participants by not eating or chewing gum during a videoconference. I do recommend having a drink nearby to keep yourself from getting dry mouth when speaking. You’ll still want to drink while on mute.

Be Mindful of Background Noise (Especially Cell Phones, Other Individuals, and House Sounds)

Absolute silence can be hard to achieve without prior preparation. It is best practice to put yourself in a do not disturb mode on your computer, silence your cell phone, take the call away from other individuals when possible, and don’t forget to settle your pet as well.

Be Present, Limit Distractions, and Don’t Multi-Task

While it is tempting to work on other things while videoconferencencing, be aware, other participants can tell when you’re distracted and/or multi-tasking. Being present is very important. To be present, you need to listen intently, speak up and participate in conversations, and offer valuable input. Don’t be known as a lurker!

Following these simple and direct guidelines will ensure your success using the various communication platforms.

If you’re a student or alumni currently looking for an internship, employment opportunity, event registration, and networking opportunities, join SPC’s online platform Hire SPC Titans.

Positive Attitude: Your Most Valuable Asset!

Having a positive attitude is always a choice

When the word attitude is mentioned, many different reactions, feelings, and thoughts may come to mind. This is because the word attitude may represent different things to different people. However, we can all agree that displaying a positive attitude is one of the soft skills that can either propel or stall your professional career.

According to author Charles R. Swindoll, attitude is chosen as he believes, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

Attitude is the ticket to success!

ATTITUDE DEFINED

Simply put, your attitude is the position you hold or the behaviors that you express towards another person, group of people, a specific place, an object or a subject. Your attitude comes about as the result of the concept, belief or precept that you hold regarding a person, place or thing. The attitudes you take determine the experience and outcome of your relationships with others, a specific environment or place, a particular object or an area of study. Therefore, it is essential that you are aware of the attitudes you take, the position you hold and the concepts that you have.

THE 3 COMPONENTS OF AN ATTITUDE

The three main components of an attitude are:

  • What You THINK: Paying attention to what you think means practicing self-observation and listening to your inner voice.
  • What You DO: Attitude can determine your level of success as it heavily influences your actions.
  • What You FEEL: Your emotions can affect how you react which can either be positive or negative.
You pick the attitude you chose to display.

CONSEQUENCES OF NEGATIVE SELF TALK ON ATTITUDE

According to wellness coach Elizabeth Scott, MS, Negative self-talk is any inner dialogue you have with yourself that may be limiting your ability to believe in yourself and your own abilities, and to reach your potential. It is any thought that diminishes your ability to make positive changes in your life or your confidence in yourself to do so.”

  • Giving in to negative self-talk can:
    • Limit your thinking
    • Make you seek perfectionism
    • Create feelings of depression
    • Cause relationship challenges

HOW TO DEVELOP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

Having a positive attitude will undoubtedly create the best outcome professionally and personally. Nevertheless, it must be worked towards in order to achieve. There are various ways to help in developing a positive attitude including; listening to your internal dialogue and keeping it positive, learning to communicate better, getting back to the basics, helping someone other than yourself, and lastly by finding the humor in life including laughing at yourself. No matter which method works for you as an individual, you’re moving in the right direction just by acknowledging the great importance of having a positive attitude.

If you’re a student or alumni currently looking for an internship or employment opportunity, join SPC’s online platform Handshake, for direct career and internship opportunities.

Reference: Elizabeth Scott, M. (2020, February 25). How to Reduce Negative Self-Talk for a Better Life. Retrieved August 01, 2020, from https://www.verywellmind.com/negative-self-talk-and-how-it-affects-us-4161304

Work-Life Balance Is Achievable

work-life balance puzzle

During the course of your lifetime, you will wear many hats. More often than not, success comes from learning to balance the wearing of these hats. Work-life balance is the concept of properly prioritizing between your profession or “work” (career and ambition) and your personal “life or lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation). The communal goal of obtaining work-life balance lies in the achievable benefits of balance.

Benefits of Work-Life Balance
  • Increased productivity and improved relationships, on and off the job
  • Reduction of stress by feeling more rested and organized
  • Better physical and mental health
  • More leisure time for yourself or to spend with loved ones
  • Getting more accomplished, leading to career success
Work-Life Balance Is Personal
How Do You Balance It All?

Although a common goal, work-life balance typically means different things to different people. Everyone is responsible for creating their own sense of balance. Balance means you are feeling adequate and successful in both home and work environments. You should not feel overwhelmed, guilty or lacking in these areas. If this describes you, perhaps you have already achieved work-life balance. However, most of us have yet to achieve this level of satisfaction.

In order to prioritize and balance your life, you must first determine what is most important to your happiness. This will change as you age, switch careers, and acquire additional or different responsibilities.

Myths to Dispel

According to Jessica Gendron, President of The Center for Leadership Excellence, there are five work-life balance myths we need to dispel to achieve true work-life balance.

puzzle pieces with the words myth and reality
It’s Important To
Know the Difference
.
  • Myth: Balance Equals Perfection
    • Reality: Perfection is not an attainable goal.
  • Myth: Balance Means Everything is Equal All the Time
    • Reality: As priorities shift, so will your focus which makes balance teeter back and forth.
  • Myth: Balance is Easy
    • Reality: We cannot have it all, therefore choices must be made, even if difficult.
  • Myth: You Can Do It On Your Own
    • Reality: Balance requires allies, advocates, supporters, and helpers.
  • Myth: Work-Life Balance is Completely Attainable
    • Reality: Balance is attainable in small portions and must be readjusted often.
Tips to Achieve Work-Life Balance
Set priorities and have a clear plan Stop procrastinating
Unplug when possible and say “No” Find a mentor and ask for support
Identify and remove obstaclesFocus on one thing at a time
Track your time/set boundaries Realize there will be overlap
Do one thing you love, everyday Evaluate balance regularly

For additional career-focused articles, please visit SPC’s Career & Internships blog often. If you would like a one-on-one career session, visit the Career Services webpage to reach a member of the Career Services team. And don’t forget to join Handshake, where you’ll find various employment and internship opportunities.

Reference: Jessica Gendron, “The Five Myths of Work-Life Balance.” The Center for Leadership Excellence, February 5, 2019, accessed April 20, 2020, https://cleindy.com/the-five-myths-of-work-life-balance/.

Career Fair Preparation

Job Fair blog photo

How to make the most out of visiting a career fair

The Purpose of Career Fairs

While many people believe a Career Fair is simply an opportunity to submit your résumé to numerous employers in person, the main objective of visiting one is to obtain employment. Career Fairs are essentially one of the greatest opportunities to network with hiring employers. This includes the chance to speak with industry leaders about your field of choice. 

Career Fair Etiquette

Remember, the moment you walk into the Career Fair, you are being observed. Appear professionally dressed, confident, and prepared. Professional attire is required; however, choose comfortable and lightweight clothing to avoid overheating after long periods of walking and standing.

As you approach employers, be prepared to introduce yourself and, if asked, provide your 30-second commercial or elevator pitch. An elevator pitch answers the prompt, “Tell Me About Yourself.” You should have prepared a few sentences describing yourself, your work history, and your intentions regarding employment with their organization. Remember to share professional information only!

Career Fair Tips

  • Before the Career Fair
    • Prepare/bring plenty of your résumés
    • Research companies in attendance
    • Be prepared for an interview on the spot
    • Stay hydrated! Bring a small bottle of water
  • During the Career Fair
    • Remember, you only get one shot to make a great first impression
    • Look approachable, engaged, and do not forget to smile
    • Check your appearance prior to introducing yourself
    • Have a firm handshake and maintain eye contact
    • Speak clearly with a pleasant tone
    • Retrieve a business card from each employer
    • Do not monopolize a recruiter’s time
    • Always speak with the recruiter before taking any goodies from their table
  • After the Career Fair
    • Send out thank you cards immediately that contain some reminders of your conversation at the career fair
    • Review your LinkedIn profile for accuracy
    • Address any critiques you received in regards to your portfolio
    • If encouraged, reach out to recruiters you met using LinkedIn

Upcoming Career Fair at SPC

Get Hired! Job Fair. Thursday, March 5, 2020 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the St. Pete Gibbs Campus of St. Petersburg College in the SS building lobby.

The St. Petersburg College SP/Gibbs Campus is hosting a Career Fair on Thursday, March 5, 2020, from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm. It will be in the SS building’s lobby. Employers attending include, R’Club Child Care, Inc., Chick-Fil-A, YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, New Western Acquisitions, U.S. Border Patrol, Just Grillin’, and others.

To view a full list of employers, log into your Handshake account via MySPC.