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Email Etiquette

Sending a business email is not the same as sending a personal one. Funny gifs and slang like “brb” is not exactly wise when you’re trying to get people to take you seriously. That’s why we’ve listed these 5 important tips to help you keep things professional without having to second guess yourself. 

 

1. Use a signature

 

Using a signature is imperative if you want anyone to get back to you. For instance, if you are sending an email inquiry to another business and it’s only signed with your name, whoever’s reading your email is going to wonder why a stranger is asking such specific questions. Once your work email is set up, the first thing you should do is set a signature that includes your name, position, company information and any additional ways to contact you. 

 

2. Think before you reply

 

Once we’ve read an email, many of us shoot off a quick response without realizing we’ve hit reply all. If there’s one way to annoy your coworkers, it’s reply all. Nobody likes being a part of a chain of emails that has nothing to do with them. So next time you receive an email that has half the staff cc’d, remember to hit reply and save yourself a lot of passive aggressive emails. 

 

3. Proofread

 

Nothing says unprofessional like an email containing grammar mistakes. Again, many of us type quick replies in order to speed things along, but the quality of the email counts just as much as the speed it takes to reply. Read the email over and then over again to make sure you’re message is getting across. 

 

4. Have a clear subject line

 

Ah, the lowly subject line. It's the one space in the email that is almost always forgetten, yet is the most important! Your subject line alerts recipients as to what your email is about and whether or not they want to open it. With the amount of spam that ends up inside of our inboxes, an email without a subject line might be misconstrued as spam. Ensure that you not only include a subject line, but that you in some way indicate what your email is about. 

 

5. Address the correct person

 

Depending on the type of email you are sending, there are many ways to begin an email. If you know the person’s name or title, use it. If you don’t know the name or it is a general email address, “to whom it may concern” can never steer you wrong. 

 

Another tip when sending an email is to put the recipient’s address in once you have finished your message. Although this is not an etiquette tip, it will help you not send an unfinished email by accident. 

 

Thanks to technology, there are now more than one way to make mistakes at work, so next time you hastily type an email, use these 5 tips and you will be well on your way to fashioning a very professional email.

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Pets in the Office: Yay or Nay?

 

Everybody loves having a pet, whether it be a dog, cat or any other kind of animal. Coming home to a loving, bouncing animal that just wants to play with you isn’t too bad a feeling. In fact, according to a number of studies, including on done by the University of British Columbia, dog therapy or an increased interaction with dogs, has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. 

 

That's why some offices have begun to integrate dogs and other pets into their work spaces. Normally, the only pet that was allowed into the office were service animals. However, the idea of allowing dogs into the office has become increasingly popular. Not only can it allow employees to feel more relaxed, it has the potential to increase productivity. However, with every pro there is a con, and when considering the institution of an office pet, there is more than just one con.

 

The first and biggest consideration is liability. Pets are a lot of work, even the well-behaved ones. In the case of personal injury due to an office pet, the employer could be held responsible for damages. There is also the issue of property damage. If an office pet has caused damaged to the property, either the employer or owner of the pet could be held responsible. 

 

Seeing as most offices contain a larger number of employees, allergies are something to consider. Depending on the number of employees and layout of the office, more than one employee could be effected by the presence of an animal. There are ways around this, but a thorough knowledge of employee allergies before integrating a pet would be the only way to ensure the health of the employee.

 

Lastly, landlord approval is something that should be considered first and foremost. Many landlords prefer a pet-free office, so if an employer is seriously considering adding a pet to the office, they should be checking that it is okay with the landlord first. 

 

Obviously, there are many things to consider when it comes to integrating a pet into the office. Like any big decision, there are pros and cons. Ultimately it is up to the employer as to whether an office pet would be suitable, but I say why not? Who else are we going to blame for the stains on the carpet?

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @yipcambridge!

 

 

 

 

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How to Mentally Commit to your Job

 

You’ve looked and you’ve looked and finally, you’ve found the job you want. Assuming you got the job, you soon become a member of the workforce. You’re no longer looking for a great job because you have one! Yet, it seems as though accepting it is the hardest part.

 

For many people who have been looking for a job for an extended period of time or are used to jumping from job to job, the idea of a permanent postition can take a while to get used to. This mentality has the potential to harm your performance at work and negatively impact the job that you've worked so hard to get. 

 

In order to succeed at your job, you have to commit to it. Commiting to your job means that the work you do will be done with focus and passion, but it's going to take work. Here are 3 ways you can learn to accept and commit to your job: 

 

1. Decorate Your Office Space 

 

Whether it be a cubicle, a desk or an office with four walls, decorating your workspace can do wonders for your subconscious. Not only will you feel more comfortable, you will have admitted a sense of permanence to your situation. It doesn’t have to be much, just add something that makes it your own. 

 

2. Share Your Accomplishments

 

Often times, if you plan on leaving a job, you don’t really care what you accomplish and therefore don’t share anything. By choosing to share your accomplishments with friends or family, you are allowing others and yourself to feel pride in your job. I hate to say it, but it’s only a step away from actually caring about what you do. Get used to it. 

 

3. Stop Searching 

 

The search for a job can easily turn from casual browsing to compulsive cruising. Day and night your eyes fixate on the screen of your computer, scanning various positions in the hopes of finding something without the word "burger" in it. You want to look away. You want to stop but you can’t! Must. Find. Job. 

 

Silence that inner job gremlin by closing the laptop. Stop searching. If you get in the habit of constantly thinking there’s something better out there, then you will never be satisfied with any job you have. 

 

Commiting to your job may not be an easy task, but it's an important one. If you ever want to succeed in what you do, you have to be willing to put your eggs in one basket. If you aren't, then it might be time to re-evaluate what you really want.

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Why Young Professionals Should Blog

The term “blogging” did not come about until the late 1990s. Since then, blogging has taken many forms. What began as an online diary, an account of a person’s thoughts, feelings and actions, has since developed into a carefully crafted online corkboard of topics and information. 

 

You see, once the world realized that it had yet another platform to reach people, it separated from its wholesome purpose and morphed into a springboard for personal branding and still, the occasional thought. 

 

As a young professional, blogging may seem like an older practice. After all, you can reach out and talk whenever you’d like through a multitude of outlets – outlets designed to take 60 seconds or less to get your message out. Blogging on the other hand, takes time and effort and proofreading and thoughtfulness and a whole slew of other considerations.

 

Although those are all valid reasons to stick to social media and avoid the continuous blogging circle of doom, there are many more reasons why you should. 

 

Longer Word Count

 

Everyone loves to talk, especially business owners. It’s the only way they get the job done. On Twitter or Instagram, length is limited, which means you’ll have to leave out some key points from your statement. Over time this can get frustrating. 

 

Blogging’s double-edged sword is its almost infinite word count. You could post an entire essay on a blog and no one would bat an eyelash. Take advantage of that and use the space to get out as much information out as you can.

 

Easier to Organize Thoughts

 

When you are pressured to put out a short but sweet message, the original meaning might get muffled along the way. Thanks to the lack of word count issues, blogging makes organizing your thoughts easier. 

 

For instance, subheadings are very common in blogs - just like this one! Not only is it more

appealing to the eye, subheadings highlight key points that often get lost in chunks of messaging. Blogs allow the separation of ideas. 

 

Builds Relationships

 

By blogging, readers are able to get to know you better and get a feel for your thoughts and ideas. If you are a business owner, this is a great way to become familiar with your customers in a unique way. 

 

Remember, it’s okay to express some emotion in your posts. Personalize them and make your blogs synonymous with your brand. 

 

For more YIP related content, make sure to follow us on social media!

 

Twitter: @yipcambridge

Facebook: YIP Cambridge

 

 

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Is Listening to Music at Work Productive?

 

Short answer: yes. 

 

Listening to music has often been thought of as a distraction. That may be in large part due to the dancing that it encompasses. Regardless, people listen to music almost anywhere they are. They listen to it while they’re studying, taking a walk, driving or even sitting at their desk at work. Whether it be out loud or through headphones, more and more employees are listening to music at work and it doesn’t seem to be impeding productivity.  

 

According to a study by WebFX on the effects of listening to music at work, dance music improved proofreading speed by 20 per cent and ambient music improved data entry accuracy by a whopping 92 per cent. The idea that music lowers productivity simply isn’t true. More people are listening to music, yet the same amount of work is getting done. 

 

Benefits of music

 

Music has been shown to be extremely beneficial to the body. Not only does it encourage movement through dance, it can reduce stress and anxiety, increase motivation and act as an overall mood enhancer. It can also improve sleep quality, better than any other tactic. In a study involving 94 students, it was shown that listening to relaxing classical music improved overall sleep quality, and the same results were found in a study involving an older demographic.

 

By maintaining a healthy body and mind, you will be able to focus better, resulting in a more productive day. 

 

Type of music matters

 

Now that the benefits of music have been established, it's time to define what kind of music is the best to induce productivity. Although music does help our minds and bodies and increase productivity, the wrong kind of music can do the opposite. 

 

Music with lots of lyrics can often be distracting, causing us to lose focus on the words we're typing to pay more attention to the words we're hearing. It’s also best not to listen to new music while working on something that requires a large amount of focus. It’s almost impossible not to listen to a new song. That’s why, when it comes to choosing what music is best to listen to, try something familiar and without a lot of lyrics. 

 

Best places to find music

 

There are many places that offer music, online and offline, but not all of them are designed to provide music that will help you concentrate. Two really great resources are Spotify and YouTube. 

 

Spotify offers a wide range of playlists without lyrics that are designed to be calming. If you have a mood, Spotify has a playlist for it. Browse through their mood section and get a feel for what works for you. 

 

YouTube’s options are almost unlimited. With so many playlists and live streams available, it might be hard to choose. One popular genre that is designed for concentration is lofi-hiphop, also known as “chill beats.” Many of these are live streamed and offer continuous soft beats that change throughout the day. 

 

Try either of these options and you will boost your mood and be more productive. So, turn up that radio and enjoy your work day!

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How Bullet Journaling Can Help Your Business

 

The idea of bullet journaling came from Ryder Carroll, a New York dweller and digital product designer, who designed bullet journaling as an alternative way to stay focused and organized. This method stemmed from Carroll’s early learning disability diagnosis, leading him to explore alternate routes of staying organized.

 

If you're not familiar with the idea, the point is to use bullet style or short sentences to write down tasks or lists. You can also add a calendar or tracker to track your daily or monthly activities and patterns. 

 

As technology continues to develop, creating astonishing advances that many of use on a daily basis, paper has become less common, or has it? According to npd.com, US sales of notebooks and planners have seen an 18 per cent increase since last year, along with the tools to use them. It seems the old way of doing things is coming back - with a twist. 

 

For many, in order to remember and stay on top of daily tasks, a physical copy of what needs to be done is essential. This applies to not just personal life but work life as well. The bullet journal is the perfect way to combine both personal and professional goals while adding a creative flair. 

 

There are three primary ways that bullet journaling can help your business stay organized. By putting all tasks and dates in one place, enhancing readability and encouraging creative techniques, the right bullet journal can take the way you operate to the next level. 

 

The bullet journal is a place where calendars, lists and other notes can be stored in one place. The best part is that it’s up to you where each of these go. If you want to layout your ideas on a monthly basis, you can. If a daily approach is preferred, you can do that too. There are many ways to mix and match styles that it could change month to month based on what you need. This helps keep plans fluid and relieves the stress of feeling as though you can only plan in a certain way. 

 

When using a standard planner, all of them have a pre-set design printed on the inside. Now, there are many versions designed to fit the needs of the user, but it’s impossible to explore all versions. With a bullet journal, the way you want to see dates and times and lists is completely customizable. Often, meetings are forgetten simply because it wasn’t seen in the calendar. The beauty of a customizable planner is the lowered risk of misunderstanding your planner, and yes, that is a thing. 

 

The most fun part of using a bullet journal is the creative element. For many bullet journal users, the use of colourful pens and creative designs is a large draw. Having something beautiful to look at is a lot more enticing than something plain. 

 

Many of us don’t put a lot of thought into our planners. We jot things down, close it, open it, maybe throw it in a bag sometimes, but we never take the time to sit with it and go through it. The bullet journal encourages thoughtfulness, something we could all use in our day. The more thoughtful you are with how you plan, the more thoughtful you will be at work. Anything that encourages calmness and creativity can only bring positivity to your workday. A bullet journal not only makes planning easier, it can open you up to new ways of thinking.

 

Still not sure what bullet journaling is? Take a look at this Youtube video on the basics of bullet journaling. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm15cmYU0IM

 

 

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New Year, New Habits

The first week of 2019 may be gone, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to start something good. 

 

Habits are very important in life. They become part of your daily life, and over time can even shape who you are. That’s why it’s important to make sure those habits are good, not just for you, but for your life. As 2019 rolls along, here are 5 habits that can help you start the year off right. 

 

1. Pack your lunches

 

When you don’t bring enough food to work, it’s more than likely you’ll either starve for hours on end or buy yourself something that you didn’t really want in the first place. This leads to spending an unnecessary amount of money as well as a harsh effect on your body. 

 

To avoid the monetary and bodily anguish, pack a lunch the night before. It might seem like a simple one, but it is one that will make all the difference. You’re stomach and your wallet will thank you for this one.  

 

2. Drink lots of Water

 

Many of us absent-mindedly drink throughout the day, not paying attention to exactly how much of one thing we are consuming. Juices, coffee, pop and other drinks take up a lot of our daily drink consumption, but how much water are we drinking?

 

To keep clear skin and a hydrated body, be mindful of how much water you are or aren’t drinking. It’s important to drink the recommended amount, especially as you get older because, let’s face it, wrinkles happen. 

 

3. Turn off electronics at night

 

I know that late night work email may be tempting to look at, but the only thing it can do is cause stress and anxiety. Strain to the eyes and the mind are things our electronics can cause us. If you want to be a better employee, turn the phone off and shut the laptop. It’s important to give the mind a break from constantly working. If you don’t, then you create the bad habit of being a workaholic. 

 

Try set a time that you have to turn your phone off and stick to it. Keep it out of your bedroom if you have to. Just stay away from it until the morning, or longer if you can stand it. 

 

4. Create a workout schedule

 

Don’t panic. Creating a schedule doesn’t mean you are obligated to commit exact days and times to doing CrossFit. Instead, commit to a certain time of day for just you that requires physical activity. It could be Yoga, Pilates or simple stretching. All that matters is you integrate daily movement into your life. Many of us sit at desks for 8 hours, so it is essential that we find ways to rebound from the effects of long-term stagnation. 

 

Carve out a time in the morning or evening that consists of physical activity. Even 10 minutes of stretching every morning or night will make a difference. By repeating these actions on a daily basis, you build up a habit that your body will get used to and crave over time. 

 

5. Express yourself

 

Express is a vague term, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. During our work days, we often need to keep a wall of professionalism. In order to do this, we hold back how we feel. Over time, this can unknowingly build up inside, especially since we have less time to spend on our hobbies.

 

To let go of stress and opinions, find a way to express yourself. This can be artistically or physically. Buy a journal and journal your thoughts. Join a dance class. Paint. Draw. Do whatever calls to you. By expressing your feelings through a constructive outlet, you will feel lighter and more focused at work, which is good for everyone. 

 

 

 

 

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Success Later In Life

Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook when he was only 19-years-old and a student at Harvard. He is now estimated to be worth 61.7 billion USD. 

 

David Carp founded Tumblr when he was 21-years-old. He is now estimated to be worth $200 million. 

 

Cameron Johnson used his creative talent to create greeting cards, earning him thousands of dollars which leveraged him to start his own business, SurfingPrizes.com before reaching his 20s. He is now estimated to be worth $3.2 million. 

 

With examples such as these, it’s no wonder the bar to succeed young has been raised. When it comes to success, most people believe that the sooner it happens, the better. This can lead to an enormous amount of stress. By the time most kids enter high school, the pressure to succeed has overtaken the fun of being young, and as the years pass, the idea that success might be farther than previously thought becomes kind of depressing. 

 

Although success at a young age is exciting, it’s not nearly as valuable as it is later in life. Imagine perfecting your craft and working year after year and finally, success comes. How amazing would that feel?

 

These five entrepreneurs are a great example of that. Take a look at these five entrepreneurs who succeeded later in life and are doing better than ever. 

 

1. Bryan Cranston

 

When hearing the name Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad might be the next thing that follows. However, it wasn’t until Cranston was 44-years-old that he received his breakout role, starring in the comedy sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. Today, he is estimated to be worth $30 million.

 

2. J.K Rowling

 

One of the most infamous stories of later in life success comes from author J.K. Rowling. She was only in her mid to late thirties when she managed to sell the first book of the Harry Potter series. Today, she is estimated to be worth $1 billion. 

 

3. Vera Wang

 

Before becoming a world-renowned bridal gown designer, Wang was a competitive figure skater turned journalist. She spent many years as a senior fashion editor before deciding to design wedding gowns at the age of 40. Today, she is estimated to be worth $420 million. 

 

4. Ana Wintour

 

Ana Wintour, synonymous with the word Vogue, began her career in her late 20s after landing a senior fashion editor role at an erotic women’s magazine called Viva. After moving between a variety of magazines, Wintour finally landed her role at Vogue at the age of 39. Today, she is estimated to be worth $35 million. 

 

5. Alan Rickman

 

Rickman, most notably recognized for his role as Snape in the Harry Potter series, didn’t begin acting until the age of 42. His first role was Hans Gruber in the movie Die Hard, a role which propelled him into the world of acting. Before his death, Rickman’s estimated net worth was $16 million. 

 

Age is just a number. These entrepreneurs didn’t let age hold them back. Why should you?

 

 

 

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6 Things You Should Do In An Interview

You’ve graduated and now you want a job. It’s time to nail your interview. 

 

Interviews are one of the most important parts of any job you will get. In order for a company to get a feel of who you are as a professional, an interview lays the groundwork for who you are. This will be the standard you are held to throughout your job. No pressure, right?

 

If you want to start off on the right foot, take a look at these 6 tips on what you should do in an interview.  

 

1. Give a firm handshake and maintain eye contact

 

When you walk into your interview, you’re usually greeted with a handshake. Many employers use this to gauge your confidence levels. A handshake can say a lot. If a handshake is weak, employers might interpret it as a lack of confidence, the same goes for lack of eye contact. By failing to meet your interviewer's gaze, they will assume you have low confidence and that could potentially turn the interviewer off of hiring you. Always ensure you give a firm handshake while maintaining eye contact with the interviewer and remember to smile. Eye contact without smiling might give off a serial killer vibe and no one wants that. 

 

2. Do your research

 

It isn’t uncommon for a company to ask you what you know about them. In fact, it’s pretty standard. What isn’t standard is the deer caught in the headlights look. I doubt you want to be that deer. To avoid that, research all you can about the company. Most importantly, know what the company is and its function. Make sure to also research the interviewer. Bringing up an interviewer’s accomplishments will not only impress them, but show that you took the time to do the research. 

 

3. Dress professionally

 

This may seem like an obvious one but everyone’s definition of professional isn’t always the same. Black jeans might be professional to some people. Leggings might seem professional to someone else. It 's all a matter of opinion. To avoid accidentally showing up underdressed, show up overdressed. No one has ever lost a job because they dressed too well. If you even have to ask the question of whether you’re underdressed, you are. As a standard, dress pants and a blazer are always a good look, but the choice is yours. As long as it doesn’t have a drawstring of some kind, you should be fine. 

 

4. Show up early

 

Being late to an interview is a clear sign that you are scattered. If you can’t make it to the interview on time, how can you make it to work on time every day? To avoid looking sloppy, simply show up early. Now, here’s where it gets tricky. Showing up too early could actually be bad for you too. Surprising an interviewer by showing up half an hour early might agitate them more than impress them. A good rule of thumb is to show up usually around ten minutes early. That way you have time to collect your thoughts and the interviewer won’t feel rushed. 

 

5. Ask questions

 

If you’re interested in the job, show you are interested in the job. Most likely, there are a lot of things you won’t know about the job or the company. It’s important to ask questions so you not only get a solid idea of what will be expected of you but to show your enthusiasm about the job. An employer doesn’t want an apathetic employee who doesn’t care where they are or what they are doing. They want an employee who cares. Asking questions shows you care about the job and that you want to thoroughly understand the company itself.  

 

6. Follow up

 

The interview is over which means the pressure is off, right? Wrong. The pressure is still on. A mistake a lot of candidates make is to not follow up after an interview. By sending a quick email thanking them for the interview, you accumulate a lot of bonus points. Not only is it professional, it will make you stand out. Make sure not to wait too long after the interview either. The next day is usually a good time to send a quick email and will show that you are still thinking about the position. 

 

Good luck!

 

 

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Why Resolutions Are Still Relevant

The tradition of New Year's resolutions began with the Babylonians. At the beginning of each year, which began in mid-March, Babylonians would make promises to their gods that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. 

 

In a similar fashion, the Romans also made promises at the beginning of each year, but to one god - Janus. In 46 B.C. Julius Cesar decided to make January 1 the beginning of the year, naming the month after Janus for his ability to look to the future and the past. In turn, Romans would offer sacrifices to him and make promises of good conduct for the new year. 

 

Over the years, variations of this practice have trickled its way down into all parts of the world and molded itself into what we call New Year’s Day. So how is it, after all this time, we’ve managed to keep the tradition alive? 

 

It’s because as we enter the new year, it feels right to start it on the right foot. Sure, resolutions don’t always work out, but does that mean we should stop trying? 

 

In recent years, resolutions have gotten a bad rap. As the new year approaches, people feverishly write down all of their goals and dreams they have for the upcoming months and put their resolutions up where they can see it every day.

 

Come January, as if suddenly struck with amnesia, most of those carefully written resolutions are forgotten or thrown out and everyone is back at square one. By the time next year rolls around, no one wants to make resolutions because they never achieve any of them. 

 

Although the cycle might seem endless, it’s still important to make New Year’s resolutions. Even if the list gets lost in the pile, it’s still worth putting it out there. It’s still worth remembering all the things you want to accomplish. 

 

So, this year, write down your resolutions. Who cares what happens? Worst case scenario, you do it all over again next year. 

 

 

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Contributors

Lisa Durocher
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September 14, 2018
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New Year, New Habits
Success Later In Life
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