tip & baristas

do you leave one?

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Tipping is more confusing than ever. In some countries, tipping is looked down upon. Here in America, it’s looked down upon if you don’t tip or if you leave a “bad” tip but shouldn’t a tip correlate with the service you received? Let’s face it, times have changed. Americans got used to tipped and settled on some basic rules.

Basic Rules

  • $1-2/bag for skycaps, bellhops, doormen, and parking valets if they handle bags, $1 per coat for coatroom attendants, $1 per diner at buffets, $2-5 per night for housekeeper, $5-10 for concierge (only if they arranged tickets or reservations), $1-3 per bag for grocery loaders (not in all areas of the US). Doormen who merely open doors are not tipped, unless they call a cab or provide another service. Parking valets are paid upon pick-up $3-5, depending upon much effort is required to retrieve a vehicle.
  • For waiters at sit-down restaurants, bartenders, barbers/hairdressers/attendants at beauty salons, taxi drivers, tour guides, and food delivery folks, the tip should be calculated as a percentage of your total bill as follows: 10% usually means you aren’t totally happy, 15% usually means all was acceptable, 20% for excellent, over 20% for outstanding. 15-20 percent is considered standard in most communities.
  • For ski instructors, tipping 15 percent for adult groups and 10 percent for private clients is pretty standard.

In addition to all of the other “rules” we have to keep straight, there is potential for another to be added: Baristas. As a former barista of a mom and pop-shop, it was more an accustomed norm to receive tips. At my coffee shop, we didn’t rely on tips we had a normal wage.

Last week, Starbucks released a new App where you have a digital tipping option. Because the payment system is handled digitally, customers can tip the Starbucks barista up to two hours after buying a drink. Instead of tipping before tasting their cappuccino, users now have more than enough time to decide if the beverage merits a tip. The system will push out a tip notification after each eligible transaction.

Of course, I tip my barista every so often, but I don’t make it a frequent thing. Now that a tipping option is added to my iPhone App, I don’t see why it would make me more willing to tip them.

I want to hear you thoughts! How do you feel about the option to tip on your app? Is this taking the power of tipping too far? By adding a tipping feature, is this pushing tips to be more of a requirement rather than optional?

Interview questions

they’re not just for the perspective employer

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

With interviews, there always come questions. Questions are asked by the potential employer. They are trying to figure out whether this job is the right fit for you, which will lead to very important questions. Questions from any caliber are fair game at this point. Go into the interview prepared to answer some questions, but you also need to be prepared to ask questions. Think to yourself, what do you want to know about the position, the company, the department and the team?

To get you thinking, here is a list of key questions to ask in your interview. Definitely don’t ask all of them rapid-fire—some of this stuff will be covered during the course of your discussion, and you can weave in other questions as you go. When the inevitable, “Do you have any questions for us?” part of the interview comes, you will be prepared to answer that daunting question? Here’s a few suggestions to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

1. Tell me a little about your office culture.

2. What’s your favorite part about working here?

3. How has the company changed since you’ve been here?

4. Does the company offer philanthropic opportunities?

5. Please explain a typical day for this role.

6. How do you measure success?

7. Tell me about the team I would be working with and how they function.

8. What would make a person successful in this role?

9. What challenges will I face in the first three months of this role?

10. Why is the last person who held this position leaving?

This last one is a no-brainier, make sure to follow up. Ask a simple question like, “What are the next steps in the interview process?”

Remember: Don’t ask about salary or benefits just yet. Wait until you are in the final steps of the interview process to negotiate with the hiring manager or an HR representative.

networking

here are some tips, that actually work

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

With networking you have to go from awkward to awesome. I don’t know anyone who actually likes networking, but it’s something we all need to do. Here are a few tips and tricks when it comes to networking. Here are a few networking tips from Entrepreneur and a few more, too.

1. Be on time, better yet arrive early-  Showing up early at a networking event is a much better strategy than getting there on the later side. As a first attendee, you’ll notice that it’s calmer and quieter – and people won’t have settled into groups yet. It’s easier to find other people who don’t have conversation partners yet.

2. Ask easy questions. Don’t wait around the edges of the room, waiting for someone to approach you. To get the conversation started, simply walk up to a person or a group, and say, “May I join you” or “What brings you to this event?” Don’t forget to listen intently to their replies. If you’re not a natural extrovert, you’re probably a very good listener – and listening can be an excellent way to get to know a person.

3. Ditch the sales pitch. Remember, networking is all about relationship building. Keep your exchange fun, light and informal – you don’t need to do the hard sell within minutes of meeting a person. The idea is to get the conversation started. People are more apt to do business with – or partner with – people whose company they enjoy.

If a potential customer does ask you about your product or service, be ready with an easy description of your company. Before the event, create a mental list of recent accomplishments, such as a new client you’ve landed or project you’ve completed. That way, you can easily pull an item off that list and into the conversation.

4. Share your passion. Win people over with your enthusiasm for your product or service. Leave a lasting impression by telling a story about why you were inspired to create your company. Talking about what you enjoy is often contagious, too. When you get other people to share their passion, it creates a memorable two-way conversation.

5. Smile. It’s a simple – but often overlooked – rule of engagement. By smiling, you’ll put your nervous self at ease, and you’ll also come across as warm and inviting to others. Remember to smile before you enter the room, or before you start your next conversation. And if you’re really dreading the event? Check the negative attitude at the door.

6. Don’t hijack the conversation. Some people who dislike networking may overcompensate by commandeering the discussion. Don’t forget: The most successful networkers (think of those you’ve met) are good at making other people feel special. Look people in the eye, repeat their name, listen to what they have to say, and suggest topics that are easy to discuss. Be a conversationalist, not a talker.

7. Remember to follow up. It’s often said that networking is where the conversation begins, not ends. If you’ve had a great exchange, ask your conversation partner the best way to stay in touch. Some people like email or phone; others prefer social networks like LinkedIn. Get in touch within 48 hours of the event to show you’re interested and available, and reference something you discussed, so your contact remembers you.

holiday travel

a short survival guide

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

If you know me at all you know that I absolutely LOVE being a holiday traveler. When people learn that about me, I get the look. It’s the same look every time. As this happens all the time, I’ve become accustom to it. This is a specific look, let me tell you about it. There comes a head tilt, mouth open, eyes squinted and a deep stare into your soul (luck for me, being a ginger they are looking at nothing!). When people give me this look it’s like I have three heads or just said the most crude thing they have ever heard.  With the love of holiday traveling you learn a thing or two. Before you go out on your big holiday adventure take some of these tips and tricks into consideration.

Don’t Drive Yourself to the Airport

Arrive in style of course. But seriously, don’t drive yourself to the airport or the train station. This will be an added stress to your life. You want your holiday travel to be as smooth as possible.

Get There Early

This seems like a no-brainer, but get to the airport or train station early. I don’t know what it is but around the holidays there are more delays than not, which is totally ironic considering everyone cannot wait to get to where they are going. Anyway, get there early. It’s better to be early and on time, than late.

Do Research

Make alternative  plans, trips if traffic makes your way home too overwhelming.  Is there a scenic route? Maybe this will make the trip a little longer, but there won’t be as much traffic.  Break up a long drive by finding a few places to stop.  And as always, when flying, make sure you check the airline’s restrictions ahead of time on carry-on luggage and fees for checked bags.

Ship Gifts

TSA suggests to ship wrapped gifts or wait until you reach your destination to wrap them. I’ve been in a situation before where TSA had to unwrap a present to inspect it. Ship gifts ahead of time.

Travel Early/Late in the Day

Flight statistics show that planes traveling earlier in the day have a better on-time performance. And if your flight is cancelled, you will have the option of taking a flight later in the day. As a perk, there will be fewer lines at security. If you are driving, hit the road when every one else is asleep — early morning or late at night. You can always take a nap when you arrive at your destination.

Expect the Unexpected

Only a half hour before connecting to another flight? Traveling to Rochester, MN, during snow season? Think ahead! Plan accordingly. Leave extra time before flights to deal with security, extra time between connections and, for road trips, pack tire chains for snowy conditions, flashlights, and of course, a few band-aids never hurt either. But as a positive, expect holiday cheer and excitement from everyone as well. Remember if you have a smile on your face– they will too!

cover letters

Cover letters are an integral part of the job application. Cover letters can both be annoying and rewarding. As any job seeker knows, a cover letter is a must when applying to a job. Below, Matt shares a guest post about cover letters and how they are a vital part when applying for a job. Matt will share with you a few tips and tricks he’s learned to get his application noticed.

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

an application’s basic necessity

guest blog presented by: Matthew D. Shalbrack
You can find Matt on Twitter: @hamsterjockey; insta: hamsterjockey, make sure you follow him!

As most know, I’ve been on the job hunt for five months now. I’ve put out hundreds of applications and cover letters to various abbreviated non-profits, sports teams, newspapers and electronic stores. Minus the food industry, you name it and there’s a great shot I’ve tried to apply or applied for a position with them.

One thing that I’ve noticed is an interesting factor to the job hunt is the elusive cover letter. Cover letters have become such a vital part with applying for jobs nowadays, that some employers don’t even need to list it as a part of the application process anymore – it’s just a basic necessity, like oxygen or sports. Yes, sports are a basic necessity in my mind, but that’s a blog post for another day.

Anyways, with the various jobs that I’ve applied for, I’ve tried some different versions of my cover letter in order to see which works best. There’s the general one where you just need to change the name of the position and the company, there’s the witty one that shows shades of your personality and then there’s the combination of the two.

I started off using the general cover letter but then I realized that it was pretty basic and that every job I applied for had different qualifications that I needed to list in the cover letter. Then, I used the witty one, which I decided, works for specific jobs, but not for all of them. Finally, I’ve been using the combination of both lately and it’s very enjoyable. I haven’t had any success with any of them – a few interviews here and there, but nothing that has led to a job. However, with the witty one, I did get an email back from the employer quickly asking for more writing samples and complimenting me on how well written and clever it was. Although I didn’t get that position, I’ll chalk it up as a victory for the home team.

Through my months of writing cover letters, I have a few suggestions for writing a great cover letter.

  1. Start it off with something unordinary, meaning, don’t write, “I am writing in regards to the job position yadda yadda yadda.” As an employer, I’m sure they get millions of cover letters that start out like that. In order to get recognized, you need to be different, so BE different right off the bat and come up with a great opening line that will keep the employer interested and intrigued right away.
  2. DON’T HAVE ANY SPELLING OR GRAMMAR MISTAKES!!! One of the biggest things that I am an advocate of is making sure that all words are spelled correctly and that there aren’t any misplaced commas or improper usages of semicolons. You’ll just look silly and immediately be dismissed from contention (most of the time). Which leads me into my next one –
  3. PROOFREAD PROOFREAD PROOFREAD! Reread your cover letter and make sure that you’re not missing words. Even if you use spellcheck, some common words will be passed over even if they’re spelled wrong because you missed a letter. If you have someone you trust, have them proofread your cover letter after you write it. Another way is to make the font size big; I’m talking like 48 point big and then proofread it. Since the font is so big, it’ll make it so there are only a few words on each line and it will force you to read it a lot slower which will help pick up those mistakes that could have been made.
  4. Tailor your cover letter to the position you’re applying for. If you have experience in social media and the position calls for social media, make sure you highlight that. If the position doesn’t call for social media, you can touch on it, but make sure that you focus the various aspects of the job description.

Those are some of the main tips I have for writing cover letters. I’ve had my cover letter proofed and edited by a few professors and friends, so what I have is definitely a beneficial piece that I can add to my resume. However, the toughest part is actually getting a call back and that’s something that I have yet to master the art of.

Any cover letter tips or suggestions? If so, drop them in a comment. I’d love to hear what other advice you have for us job seekers!

telecommuting

womp

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Telecommuting is both a blessing and a curse. As you may know, most telecommuters work from home while others use mobile telecommunications technology to work from coffee shops or other locations.  Reuters recently released a poll stating, “approximately one in five workers around the globe, particularly employees in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia, telecommute frequently and nearly 10 percent work from home every day”. That is a mind blowing statistic.

Lately, I’ve had many opportunities to work remotely and I’ve taken them with a happy heart. Telecommuting always seems like a novel idea in the hype, but honestly it is not all the rage. When it comes to telecommuting, I have the worst time focusing, like a college kid trying to write a 20-page paper–the work is always left to the last minute, but on a positive note, working under pressure is a key ingredient in allowing me to accomplish many tasks.

I commend others who are able to do work from home or a coffee shop. Give me a few tips and tricks–how do you set yourself up for success when you aren’t in an office? Without a work atmosphere, terrible drip coffee and face-to-face interaction, my production level plummets. Shoot some ideas over to me so I can turn these next two weeks into a huge success.