Depending on your expertise, your client, or demand in your hometown, there’s a good chance that as an independent contractor, you have to travel for business. At the start of July, we provided some tips to maximize your time on the road. Further to that, we surveyed some executives at Eagle who travel frequently and came up with a few extra tips:
- Be organized and don’t leave stuff till the last minute. Pick your seat, book your hotel, etc. well ahead to get best prices, the right schedule and the seat/hotel you want.
- If you have not been there before do a little research. Google map the area, look at hotel amenities, look at a local tourist sites for restaurant options etc.
- Consider using discount sites like Hotwire to get best pricing.
- Don’t stress yourself out by arriving at the airport at the very last minute. The more experience you have the more clear you become about how long it take to get to the airport, get through security etc. Be sure to leave yourself time to pick up water, reading material, and snacks once through security.
- Don’t rely on the airline for drinks or food. It might work out fine, but be prepared. Bring your own bottled water and nutritious snack. You need to stay hydrated, and fed!
- Have all of your travel docs together (electronically and/or on paper)
- Create a “reading” file with photocopied/printed articles to use time productively (Note: an e-reader may do this even more efficiently)
- Create an airplane folder of work items you can “knock off” while captive on a plane.
- Exercise where possible. Consider a skipping rope, running stairs, push-ups and sit-ups if there is no gym.
- Travel as light as you can and do not check luggage if at all possible. Some very specific thoughts on travelling light:
- Get light luggage;
- Mix and match clothes (ex. one suit with two pairs of pants will go a long way);
- Learn to fold efficiently, so things don’t crease;
- Pack as few toiletries as possible and use hotel “stuff” when available;
- If travelling to the same place all the time consider, leaving some stuff at the office there, (shirt, tie, pants, toiletries, casual clothes etc.);
- Take exercise gear and pack stuff inside the shoes (razor, socks, underwear etc.) to save space; and,
- Think through your stay and don’t take things “just in case”. Do you really NEED casual clothes? If so, can a pair of jeans and a t-shirt complement your work jacket and shoes?
Business travel can be a real chore but if you do it right then you can minimize the hassles. We’re sure there are many frequent travelers out there who have their own tips and tricks. Feel free to comment below!
When you have an interview with a client or recruitment agency, it’s common practice to prepare yourself by researching the client and preparing questions. But how much thought do you put into preparing logistically for the interview? Preparation with these tips will guarantee a great start to your next interview:
- Try on your suit the night before and make sure your entire outfit is clean, pressed and smells nice. [Aside: If you notice a stain last minute, try this simple trick. Use hand sanitizer directly on the stain. Rub in a liberal amount with your fingers or a clean cloth (don’t use a napkin, the fibers will detach and spread around creating a big mess) and watch the stain vanish. What about the wet mark? Don’t sweat it. The alcohol evaporates quickly and leaves no trace behind.]
- Your outfit should scream “professional”. You want to look sharp. Make sure your shoes are clean – better yet, grab a quick shoe shine. Avoid wearing heavy perfume or cologne. It can be distracting especially if the Hiring Manager is allergic.
- Access maps.google.ca and plan the route you are going to take. Factor in in 5-10 minute traffic buffer and another 5-10 minute parking buffer, or better yet, figure out where you are going to park in advance.
- Check the weathernetwork.com and make sure you are prepared for Mother Nature.
- Bring a notebook and a pen! (In fact bring two pens, just in case one blows up or runs out of ink.)
- Leave your briefcase or portfolio at home. The only time you need the briefcase is when you are actually working and the only time you need a portfolio is if you are in Design.
- Get to the interview 5-10 minutes early (max.) and take the extra time to review the research info in your notebook while you wait. If you find yourself at the location way too early, go for a nice walk, and then head in at the 10 minute mark.
- Put your cell phone on silent if you can’t turn it off and avoid non-business related activities in the waiting room. Remember that this is the first time most Hiring Managers will meet you and it’s important you give the first impression that you mean business, not pleasure.
Logistics aren’t always the first thing we think about when preparing for an interview, but a well laid plan will ensure an excellent impression. Many of us have learned that the hard way. Do you have any stories about successful interviews because you were prepared? Vice-versa, what about interviews where you overlooked an important logistic? We’d love to hear all of your stories. Leave us a comment in section below.