how to annoy coworkers with smellsIn my last blog, I discussed the fine tunes of annoying your coworkers through their sense of hearing. In this blog, I turn from ears to nose. Offending a coworker with smells is another common workplace grievance.

How NOT to Annoy: Watch Your Smells & Stinks

Food, candles, cologne.
Whoa…what IS that smell? That reeks!
The stench of lunch seems to be a common complaint in the workplace. Realize that the fish tacos or garlic pasta may taste fantastic, but the lingering smell may drive your coworkers crazy. Likewise, that afternoon snack of microwave popcorn that got a bit burnt may be a bother to some. You should be able to eat what you want, but ensure you are disposing of waste properly (maybe even taking super stinky trash outside to the dumpster) and cleaning up any remaining dishes. Don’t forget to clear out leftovers from the refrigerator that have seen better days! It may be a cool science experiment, but no one enjoys watching leftover takeout food grow mold in the work fridge.

Published on August 3rd, 2017

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how to annoy your coworkersWe’ve all been there…that office mate on their cell phone all the time, or the coworker that smacks their gum loudly. Some days these little annoyances are easier to handle than others. I’ve done my fair share to annoy people in the workplace (not intentionally); some people have told me straight out, I’ve overheard others complaining under their breath, heard it through the grapevine, etc. Supervisors may even be called in to address it with employees. I’m sure there are plenty of exasperating habits I possess that I don’t even realize.
This blog is NOT meant to be a manual on how to get back at your coworkers! More so, it’s a heads up on what you may want to avoid in the workplace, or at least be cognizant of, from someone who’s been there a few years.
Offending senses in the workplace can be a major annoyance. In Part 1, we’ll discuss how your ears can be friend or foe!


How to NOT Annoy: Adjust the Volume

Voices, music, cell phones.
Some of us are just loud talkers (guilty). But it is important to note that a few so-called loud talkers might not even be aware of it! So, don’t be personally offended if someone asks you to turn it down a notch.

Published on August 1st, 2017

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EQ emotional intelligenceWe’re all familiar with IQ, or Intelligence Quotient. For years people assumed that IQ was the source of a person’s success. However, studies indicated that people with the highest IQs outperform those with average IQs just 20% of the time, while people with average IQs outperform those with high IQs 70% of the time. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves provides an in-depth look at this topic. They explain that the physical source of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is communication between your rational and emotional areas of the brain.

EQ is a person’s ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. EQ allows you to handle yourself and relationships in challenging circumstances at work and home. It generally includes:

Published on June 22nd, 2017

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Better hope you don’t get called for an interview – that is, if you lie on your application!  Lying could include listing education, skills, or experience that you don’t have, filling in gaps in your work history with “fake” jobs, or exaggerating your credentials.


Dishonesty in the application process doesn’t just impact you and the potential employer.  Not only are you lying, but your references are forced into a rather sticky situation if they are put on the spot and become part of the deception.

Published on May 23rd, 2017

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networking or schmoozingWe’ve heard it repeatedly, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Networking has become one of the most talked about terms (and perhaps overused) when it comes to career growth and business success. However, the effectiveness of this topic necessitates its continued emphasis. But what is it really? It surprised me when the first synonym that Microsoft Word and the thesaurus suggested was “schmoozing.”


Merriam-Webster defines networking as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups or institutions; specifically, the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Illustrating the importance of career networking, this dictionary also includes a quote from Hal Lancaster, “Networking remains the No. 1 cause of job attainment.”
It may be top-of-mind in the job search process, as a principal connector for candidates and employers, but networking is imperative for overall career and personal growth too. Furthermore, if a company wants to persevere and prosper, their employees need to continue to grow as well. Professional development and networking often occur simultaneously. It’s all about making contacts, meeting people and exchanging ideas.

Published on May 18th, 2017

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WHO TO ASK FOR A REFERENCE WHEN YOU CAN'T ASK YOUR BOSSReferences are a common job search dilemma, especially for those that are already employed. You can’t ask your current boss to be a reference unless you’re moving, or facing a lay-off, downsizing, or a merger, or other obvious situations. So who to ask for a reference if you can’t ask your boss?


Who to Ask for a Reference: The Obvious


Prior Supervisors

This is one of the many reasons why it is important to stay connected with former bosses and supervisors; keep the line of communication open so they can serve as references in the future.

Published on March 22nd, 2017

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golden rules of resume writingEvaluations of resume writing can be very subjective, influenced by personal taste and feelings. Potential employers may have an opinion on your font style, design, or whether or not you should use a summary or personal statement, to name just a few. But even though your resume is subject to this type of evaluation, it is important to not dismiss objective, measurable facts from your resume.


There are some key resume writing tips that hiring managers can agree on:


The Golden Rules of Resume Writing


• Spell check, read and re-read. Have a friend check your resume. Misspellings and grammatical errors show a lack of attention to detail. This may seem obvious, but it happens frequently! These mistakes can often be fatal to your job search prospects and automatically send your resume to the “no” pile.

Published on February 28th, 2017

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average peopleAverage. Mediocre. Ordinary. Do you describe yourself with any of these terms, or has anyone else? Never have you heard someone utter “overachiever” in relation to you?


There is still a valuable place for you in the work world even if you weren’t class president, didn’t lead a committee to record fundraising, haven’t worked in management at a global corporation, or weren’t a star athlete or had the lead role in a play.

Published on January 17th, 2017

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Sneaky Tips to Boost Your Confidence Before an InterviewYou’ve applied for a job and were just called for an interview. You’re excited, but you can already feel the butterflies in your stomach. Do you believe in yourself and your abilities to succeed in this potential new job? Even if you are lacking in self-confidence, you can take action before an interview to give yourself a much-needed mental boost. Do a little research before you sit down for the interview. Prepping will help you go into the interview with increased confidence and poise.


1. Inform yourself about the potential employer. Google the organization to see if they’ve been in the news lately. Is the organization non-profit, privately owned or publicly traded? Check out their company website, examine their mission statement and goals. Look at their career section for information about benefits and company policies that might guide your answer to “Why do you want to work for our organization?” Make sure you understand what the business really does before you make your way to the interview.


2. Find out everything you can about the position, and this starts when you first apply. Keep track of positions you’ve applied for – you can do this simply thru Log into your free job seeker account and apply to positions; your applications will then be saved and viewable at any time under your “application history.”

Published on December 6th, 2016

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IMG_3624Kristine Penning is’s Creative Marketing Specialist. She will have been with the company for three years in January of 2017 and works from the Ames, Iowa office.


What do you do on a day-to-day basis?


I have a unique job where I get to do a lot of different things daily. Primarily, I do graphic design for, so this includes handouts and flyers, brochures, mailers, e-blasts, reports, infographics, social media graphics, basically anything the team needs that involves anything graphical. I also handle a share of social media tasks like creating content and posting the jobs that you see on our social media. And I get to do some video production and a variety of writing on the blogs, the newsletter, through the Career Guide, and creating surveys.


What do you enjoy about working here?


I love my job. I appreciate that my job is not just one sector of agriculture, but is all-encompassing of the industry. I feel so fortunate to come to work every day and get to do what I love for the industry that I love. I also love creating. And I feel genuine doing so. I grew up on a farm, and my husband and I farm, so coming from this industry and getting to support it through my daily work is and has always been my dream. All my passions fit into one job, which I think is pretty rare to find in a career.

Published on November 4th, 2016

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