Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: cell phone

Contractor Quick Poll: Do you get distracted by notifications

Fast Company recently published a post by Daniel Rose at Rescuetime where he explains his productivity experiment that lasted a month. Rose typically turns off notifications on his phone as he’s aware of the distractions they bring and how they easily hinder one’s productivity. Still, though, he took a chance, went against his instincts and reversed his productive settings by turning on all notifications.

The first week wasn’t terrible, but it did wake him up to just how many notifications apps send… all the time. By the third week, he felt that the notifications were destroying his work/life balance because there was no escaping anything. In the end, he concludes that notifications don’t just disrupt you, they destroy your ability to focus long-term.

That article inspired this month’s Contractor Quick Poll. IT consultants bill by the hour and clients want to know their money is being spent wisely. More importantly, you juggle multiple tasks while you manage your business, sometimes serve multiple clients, and other times are searching for your next IT gig. Based on the Fast Company article, notifications can slow down those efforts. So now we’re curious, what do you do with all of those notifications being pushed to your phone?

Companies Are Tracking Your Entire Life

Have you ever received a call or email from a recruiter and thought “How did this person get my information?” We receive that question a lot and even wrote a post with some explanations a couple years go. While IT recruiters can definitely be resourceful in finding skilled contractors, that’s nothing compared to what large corporations have on you.

This video from Bright Side explains that every time you download a free app or access some websites, you are being tracked. Companies are gathering your information and selling it to marketers so they can target you. Some consumers say they don’t mind, but many frequently express concerns with these practices. This video not only gives the scary details about how companies are getting your data, it also gives tips to protect yourself.

Is There a Hidden Spy App on Your Cell Phone?

The world can be a scary place with bumps and bangs around every corner. However, we often look past the silent threats which can sometimes be the most dangerous. With phones getting increasingly more complex and “smarter” with every release, hackers have become harder to catch, let alone notice.

Do you want to make sure your phone is safe? The first step is to detect a problem as quickly as possible. Check out this infographic from FamilyOrbit for more information and forward it to your friends and family who have cell phones and protect them from the unseen dangers that could be just a double tap away.

How to Detect Hidden Spy App on Android or iOS – Infographic - An Infographic from Family Orbit Blog
Embedded from Family Orbit Blog

9 Tips Every IT Contractor and Job Seeker Must Read Before Sending Email from a Phone

9 Tips Every IT Contractor and Job Seeker Must Read Before Sending Email from a PhoneMany IT contractors always keep their smart phone attached to them because the plethora of apps mean they can always be connected to family, friends and work. Among the many apps that keep you connected to work, email is arguably the most important but can also have the greatest failures.

In many ways, email etiquette when sending from your phone is the exact same as when sending from a computer. For example, you will always need to review the tone, use Reply All sparingly or know when it’s better to pick up the phone. However, there are also some distinct differences. Here are a few tips for anyone — IT contractors, job seekers, managers –to consider before sending an email from your phone.

  1. Get to know your email app. There are several mobile email apps available. Whether you’re using the native one to your phone or you have another you prefer, get to know it and ensure the settings are configured. How does your name display when you send an email? Is your signature block set-up (and do you want that “Sent from my mobile device” line)? Do you know all of the tools and how to properly format with bullet points and numbering when sending an email? Failing to review these early will result in unprofessional-looking emails.
  2. Keep them short. Sending emails from a phone is more time consuming compared to sending from a computer where you have a full-size keyboard. There’s also a higher margin for error. To save yourself time and embarrassment, keep the emails on your phone short. If it needs to be longer, jot down a few points in a draft and complete the email when you’re back at a computer.
  3. Don’t Be Too Short. Yes, it’s best to keep mobile emails succinct, but that doesn’t mean you can be lazy. Continue to have a quality subject line and include proper greetings and sign-offs. As well, keep in mind that an email from your phone is NOT a text message. There is no place for emoticons and typical cell phone short-hand. Finally, use subject-only emails sparingly. The email with no body and just a subject that says “Please send Susan that process document” may be efficient for you, but can be perceived negatively by your recipients.
  4. Avoid Long Blocks of Text. Another common flaw that appears in phone-generated emails is the massive brick of text, clearly written by somebody too lazy to hit the enter button. As noted in Tip #1, get to know your app so you can use bullets and line spacing to organize your email in the same way you would from a computer.
  5. Double-Check More Than Usual. While checking spelling is a given because of the nature of writing on a small keyboard and the jokes autocorrect sometimes plays, it’s also prudent to take a second look at the recipient you selected and the email account from which you’re sending.
  6. Have a Plan for Attachments. Do you have a way to access all of the attachments you may need to include in an email? If you did manage to load the files onto your phone, uploading them to emails uses data. Instead, keep files on a cloud account (iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc) that you can access from your phone and only send a link to those files.
  7. Be Careful of Emotions. At this point in your career, you know not to send an email when you’re in an emotional state (ie. Angry) because it’s too easy to write something you’ll regret. Your phone being so readily available will make it even more tempting and easy to send that email… don’t fall into the trap!
  8. Check Your Surroundings. It goes without saying that you should never write an email while driving. It’s also wise and courteous not to start firing off emails while socializing or meeting with other people. Not only is it rude, but the distractions almost guarantee mistakes will happen.
  9. Decide if It’s Necessary. Consider both the urgency and length of your response. If it can wait a few hours or you need to write specific details with attachments not currently available, then wait until you’re back at your desk where you can do it properly. Worst case, send a quick reply confirming you received the email, provide a brief answer, and let the sender know you’ll respond in more detail later.

Certainly you’ve been on both the sending and receiving end of a mobile email. If you’re like many others, you have mixed emotions about them too. How often do you send emails from your phone? Do you have any stories of mobile emails gone wrong? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

The Cool New Things You Can Do with iOS 12

Earlier this week, Apple finally released iOS 12 and reviews have been pretty exciting so far. While many features are unchanged, there are at least 19 new things you can do on your Apple device that you couldn’t do before. The even better news is that, rather than having to discover the new features on your own, Gizmodo did the heavy lifting for us! Here’s a summary of their list, and you can see their post for all the details.

  1. Create your own Memoji
  2. Add stickers and text
  3. Spot repeated passwords
  4. Clear notifications quickly
  5. Share photos more easily
  6. Search for photos more easily
  7. Tackle your smartphone addiction
  8. Browse for ebooks more easily
  9. Measure objects with augmented reality
  10. Enjoy shared AR experiences
  11. Be disturbed less
  12. Get more from Siri
  13. Browse the web in peace
  14. Use Google Maps in CarPlay
  15. Update iOS automatically
  16. Get more from Stocks
  17. Use gestures on your iPad
  18. Build your own Siri Shortcuts
  19. Make group video calls in FaceTime

Quick Poll Results: How often do you restart your cell phone?

We’re quite confident that almost everybody reading this blog uses a cell phone (you may even be reading this from your smartphone right now). What we have no idea about is how each individual IT professional uses and maintains their phone… at least not until today, when we can finally get a very small piece of insight into the topic.

Last month’s contractor quick poll asked our readers how often they take the time the restart their phone, as recommended by many cell phone experts. The results are below and there is no single time period that stands out.

How Often Do You Restart Your Cell Phone?

Quick Poll Results: How often do you restart your cell phone?

10 Ways to Stay Safe on Free WiFi

“Free WiFi” can be one of the best signs you see all day, especially if your cell phone data is limited. Sometimes it saves your bacon if you urgently need to download a large report or send large files to client. Other times free WiFi means you can carelessly surf for hours while you’re stuck at an airport or killing time in coffee shop. But should it really be “careless”?

Most IT professionals already know that “Free WiFi” is rarely free and can require you handing over personal information. Even worse, it can be a security nightmare and cause serious harm to your personal identity. Before you sound the alarm and never trust free WiFi again, review this video from Bright Side, which provides 10 simple ways to stay safe in these situations.

Applying to Jobs from Your Mobile Device

Applying to Jobs from Your Mobile Device

Mobile technology and smart phones are widely used for nearly all purposes. Thanks to the Internet of Things, cell phones are no longer just about calling people, playing games and checking email, but individuals can control their entire lives through their phones. Still, though, according to data collected by Eagle, job searching and applying to jobs tends to be primarily managed on a computer.

There are some obvious reasons why independent contractors choose to stick to their desktop when applying for new IT jobs rather than browsing on their phone. First, many professionals are simply more comfortable on their computer and dislike navigating the browser on a small screen and trying to click through on websites that aren’t completely mobile optimized. Even for those who are savvy on their phone, mobile job searches are difficult to organize and create challenges when uploading resumes — especially if it’s a resume you want to customize.

Taking advantage of your mobile device during your job search can have some clear advantages as well. For instance, you can:

  • Apply to jobs immediately as they’re posted, raising your chances of being evaluated;
  • Privately search for jobs while you’re at work; or,
  • Use “wasted” time more efficiently (ex. sitting on the bus, in a waiting room, or during an awkward evening with people you don’t really like).

To get started, it’s best to be organized and have a plan on how you can best search for jobs using your phone. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Know your favourite places. Starting with a Google search is a great way to do anything, but can alsolead you on a wild goose chase. Instead, download some top job search apps and know your favourite websites to visit right away.
  • Create profiles at home. Once you know your favourites, take a few minutes while at home to create a profile on those websites. This is where you’ll want your computer because it will take extra typing and file uploading. Once it’s done, applying on your phone is much easier.
  • Make jobs come to your phone. Instead of hunting the jobs, have them delivered to you by signing up for job alerts wherever possible. This can usually be set-up once you’ve created your profile.
  • Read your emails. Recruiters and past colleagues may be sending you job opportunities. If they’re contacting you, it means there’s a good chance you can get the job, so read them and reply promptly.
  • Save the jobs you like. If you have a profile with that job board, then mark it as a favourite. Otherwise, email yourself a link to the job or bookmark it. This way, if anything happens (you get a phone call and accidentally close the browser) it will be easy to find the opportunity again.
  • Keep a copy of your resume in the cloud. Google Drive and Dropbox, for example, are great places to store different versions of your resume. You can access them from your phone so can easily attach them when applying to jobs.
  • Pick up the phone. We sometimes forget that cell phones can be used to call people! If there’s a job you want and are unable to complete the application on your mobile device, get the contact information for the recruiter and call them. You will show interest which will buy you time and put you at the front of the line until you can formally apply.
  • Know when a computer is necessary. Of course, a cell phone can’t always be the solution. Sometimes it’s best to save the information and wait until you’re home so you can properly customize a resume and avoid putting in a badly formatted, misspelled submission.

Do you have a preference or strategy when searching or applying for jobs? Do you use your cell phone in the process? We’d love to learn more about what works (and doesn’t work) for you. Please share your feedback in the comments below.

Contractor Quick Poll: How often do you restart your cell phone?

Almost everybody has a cell phone of some sort. As different as they come, they all have one absolute thing in common — they all turn off. Many experts recommend that we regularly restart our phones, to give it a reboot and allow apps to refresh. Still, regardless of their warnings, not everybody does. If they do, it may not happen as frequently as it should.

This month, we’re asking our readers, independent contractors who are technology experts, how often you reset your cell phone? Regardless of your answer, do you find it helps your phone’s performance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.