4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Work Day

According to Business Insider, the average American adult will spend 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work. How can you make the most of all that time in the office? Here’s 4 super simple ways to improve your work day.

1. Set a Plan First Thing

When you get into work, the best way to start your day is by setting a game plan. What do you need to accomplish today? What would you like to accomplish today? If you just blindly go through your day without a plan, odds are inefficiencies are going to creep in. You’re going to end up not finishing everything you wanted to. Having a plan will keep you on task throughout the day as well. When you finish one task, you already know what you need to get started on next, rather than being tempted to waste time because you don’t have your next priority figured out.

2. Go Old Fashioned (Pen & Paper for the Win!)

Not only should you organize your day, but you should do it with old fashioned pen and paper. According to The Startup, “physically written lists take the tasks into the real world making it no longer a task to rely on your memory and allow you to actually work on accomplishing the items on the list.” Having the written list in front of you at all times will help you stay on task and prioritize what needs to be done next. Plus it feel really good to physically cross off an item after you complete it.

3. Have an Inspirational Work Desk

You’re spending a lot of time at work, and most likely – a majority of those hours are spent at your desk staring at a computer screen. You should do your best to surround yourself in an inspiring environment! Put up pictures of friends and family that inspire you. Are you working towards a goal? Put a picture representing that goal up at your desk so you are reminded of it every day. Post up motivational quotes. You should be happy when you sit down at your desk – after all, you’re spending a lot of time sitting there. You might as well enjoy it.

4. Leave Your Desk Clean at the End of the Day

You know how you’ve heard all the benefits of making your bed each morning? Well, leaving a clean desk at the end of the day is the same idea. When you leave your desk organized and tidy before you leave the office, you come in the next morning to an uncluttered desk. You can begin the day with a fresh start.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

So What’s the Deal with Cover Letters?

A cover letter serves as an addition to your resume to help explain why you feel like you would be a great candidate for the role. But what should it include? Is it necessary at all times? Are recruiters even going to read it?

Here’s our fool-proof guide to cover letters….

Cover letters are not necessary in every situation.

Your resume is going to explain what you’ve done and the accomplishments you’ve achieved. A cover letter should not reiterate what’s on your resume. It can be a great tool in certain instances though.

If you are applying for a role in a city other than the one you currently live in, attach a cover letter to your resume and explain that you understand you’re living elsewhere but that you’re really interested in relocating. Oftentimes, if you are living in a different city, a recruiter is going to be skeptical about whether it will end up working out. If you explain your intention to relocate, you’ll increase your chances of getting a follow-up interview.

If you are applying for a role that you aren’t completely qualified for, attach a cover letter to your resume and explain what you can bring to a role and how you feel like you could learn the other areas that you may not have experience in. You may increase your chances of hearing back.

If you have gaps in your resume, attach a cover letter to your resume and explain the reasons behind them. Large gaps can be a red flag to an employer that you aren’t a serious candidate. However, if you can explain that the gap was due to raising kids, taking care of a family issue, etc. it will help the recruiter better understand your situation.

Cover letters should be personalized to the specific position you’re applying for. Recruiters are going to look at them, but they’ll probably stop reading if they realize it’s a canned letter.

A generic letter saying you’re going to work hard and are excited for any new opportunities is quite frankly a waste of time. Anyone can type this up in a letter, and a recruiter isn’t going to end up spending the time reading it. Either make it count by having a letter that is very specific to that particular role – or just skip it in general.

The absolute worst thing you can do is apply with a cover letter catered to a completely different role and company.

Always double check when you’re applying for a position that if you’ve written a custom cover letter, you’re submitting the correct one! Nothing will get you thrown into the no pile faster than having an attached cover letter to the entirely wrong company. This is a red flag that you’re not detail oriented.

So at the end of the day, a cover letter can be a great addition to further explain something on your resume that a recruiter may pass over you for, but if you don’t have something specific to explain, just skip it entirely. Most applications come without a cover letter, so it’s definitely not necessary in every situation.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Growth 2018

 

As 2018 comes to a close, we take a look back at this past year. We’ve had highs and lows. We’ve seen people come and go this year. But we’ve grown.

And we could look at how we’ve grown in terms of revenue, profits, or employment numbers. But is growth always measurable? This quote we saw the other day really sums up 2018 in a much better way…

“Sometimes growth isn’t measured in numbers, figures, and metrics. Sometimes it’s measured in things like: confidence, identity, relationships, purpose, quality time, passion, resiliency. When you look at where you’ve gone this year, don’t just look at numbers, look at how you FEEL, how you LIVED, how you SURVIVED and OVERCAME.”

To prove this point, we turned to some of our team members and asked them the question, “If you had to describe how you’ve grown this year, what would you say?”

Here’s just a few of the responses…..

Not a single one of the responses had to do with increasing numbers or metrics – proving that growth isn’t always quantifiable. Growth in terms of learning, building confidence, and developing relationships is what you remember at the end of the year – not whether you hit that margin goal back in January.

We’ll continue to focus on personal growth above numerical growth in 2019. How have you grown this year?


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Giving Back

A lot of people talk about how culture is built with coworkers over happy hours and ping pong tournaments, but that really isn’t true. Culture is built in the everyday – when coworkers support each other, and also when they give back together.

Our team had the opportunity to volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House here in Cincinnati last week, preparing a meal for the families staying at the house.

The Ronald McDonald House gives families with children attending Cincinnati Children’s Hospital a place to stay – free of charge. No family is ever turned away because they can’t afford to stay. It really gives these families an incredible peace of mind because they don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to stay or knowing where their next meal is coming from.

Our team got a tour of the house and then got to work preparing dinner.

The menu is planned out ahead of time, and a sous chef helps you through the process of pulling everything together. We were shown how to prepare different foods that we may not have cooked or cut ourselves before. We then served the families, enjoyed the food ourselves, and cleaned up the kitchen afterwards.

 

It was such a great experience to interact with the families and see the direct impact that you were able to have. Being able to prepare the meal alongside your work team while getting to know them on a deeper level just added to the experience.

What are you doing this holiday season to give back?


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

6 Things We’re Thankful For

As we enter the holiday season, we’re reminded to take a pause and think about the things we’re thankful for and the things that truly matter. This year, we have many things to be grateful for – as we’ve continued our trend of another record year. We’re ending 2018 with our highest year of revenue and the most full-time employees on our team that we’ve ever had.

We’re especially thankful for….

1. Our Team

Any organization is really only as strong as the people that make up the team. We work every day to make sure we’re inviting the right people to join our team and take us to the next level. Two of our Elite Logistics Advisors made company history by reaching 6-figure margin months this year. They didn’t do it alone though – they had operational support from their direct team (which grew this year due to their success), encouragement from the rest of the Bridge family, and assistance invoicing those shipments from our billing department. You can’t succeed here alone – it takes a tribe. Thankfully, our team members are always willing to help and support each other during both the wins and the losses.

2. Our Customers

Building relationships is at the forefront of everything we do – but that doesn’t just end with our team. We pride ourselves on building relationships with our customers as well – relationships built on a mutual level of respect. We communicate with our customers not just when things are going good. Anyone can do this job when things are going well, but how we handle the difficult situations is really what sets us apart.

3. Carriers & Drivers

Being a broker, we couldn’t do what we do without the carriers and drivers who physically haul our customers’ freight. We put guidelines in place to make sure we’re loading high quality carriers, and our relationship with them is just as important as the relationship we have with our customers. We have carriers that we’ve worked with for years who are familiar with our business and love to haul our loads because they know we are also going to treat them with respect and communicate with them even when something is going wrong.

4. Cincinnati, OH

We’re also thankful for the city that our headquarters – and most of our team – call home! Cincinnati is #2 on Smart Asset’s Top Cities for College Grads, #10 on Livability’s Best Affordable Places to Live, and #9 on Forbes’s Best Cities for Raising a Family. We’re thankful for everything the city has to offer while still being an affordable place to live.

5. Mansfield, OH

In addition to Cincinnati, we’re also thankful for the city of Mansfield, OH – which is home to our second location. Mansfield really embodies a small, Midwestern town. The downtown streets are paved with brick, the bartender at the local brewery is going to get to know you on a first name basis, and it’s an extremely affordable city not far from both Columbus and Cleveland.

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6. Growth

We are always focused on growth. And while financial growth is clearly important, it’s not the only thing we focus on. We want our team members to grow – both professionally and personally. We do this by learning about the personal goals our team members have, and then aligning them with their work goals so they’re able to achieve everything they want. We also want our team to grow and expand by inviting additional top talent to join us. We find that when we focus on building up our team, financial growth naturally follows.

We’re looking forward to an exciting end to 2018 that will continue to focus on the things we’re thankful for. What are you most grateful for this holiday season?


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Development

Why Commission?

What’s something you’ve always dreamed of owning? Maybe something you’ve never even voiced out loud to anyone else because it’s so far out of your current reach? It could be owning an ocean-front house on the beaches of Barbados or parking a Lamborghini in your garage. It might be throwing a Louis Vuitton bag over your shoulder or having a passport full of stamps from countries all over the world.

Whatever it is that you’ve dreamed of buying that’s a little (or maybe even a lot) outside of your current budget, have you ever thought about how you could actually achieve that goal? Or is it just a far-off dream that you think in the back of your mind will never actually come to reality?

The first step in achieving a far-out goal is to start thinking of it as though it HAS happened. Instead of “I want to own a beach-front property,” think to yourself “I own a beach-front property.” And then start figuring out how to actually achieve that goal. How much money would it cost you to purchase that? How much would you have to set aside from each paycheck, and how long would it take you to have enough saved up? Is it realistic to achieve that goal at your current income level?

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If you’re working a typical salary job, that might mean you need to ask for a raise at your next annual review to get you a little closer to your goal, go for a promotion, or apply to a completely different job if the financial growth opportunities are not currently available where you are.

What if you’re working in a commission-based role though?

We hear a lot of concerns from candidates when we start talking about the eventual transition to commission that our sales reps go through. People are concerned about not having a steady income or losing a customer down the line and seeing a significant drop in their paycheck at the end of the week. And yeah, we aren’t going to lie – those situations are possibilities. But why focus on the worst case scenario instead of the best case scenario?

One of the best things about working a commission-based role is that you don’t have to rely on anyone else to give you a raise. You want to take home some additional money at the end of the week? Put in the extra work, and you can immediately see the reward for that financially.

So back to our example of making that far-off dream a reality….it’s honestly a lot easier to break down exactly how much additional work you need to put in to achieve that goal when you’re working on commission. In our world, we can break it down to how many additional customer shipments you need to haul, and suddenly it makes that far-off dream a much more achievable goal.

You want that $200,000 Lamborghini in 5 years? Well when we break that down, it means moving 10 more shipments every week for the next 5 years, and you’ll have the money for that car. Is that going to take a lot of work? Absolutely. But having a clear understanding of what you need to do to meet a financial goal is one of the biggest perks of working on straight commission.

The future is entirely in your hands, and you have yourself to be proud of or disappointed with for meeting or not meeting your goals.

So yes, commission could be a scary thing if you just focus on everything that could go wrong. But why not look at everything that could go right and the endless opportunities you have to increase your income? There aren’t very many roles that give you the opportunity to achieve your far-out financial goals quite like a commission-based sales role does.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Professional Ghosting

Ghosting is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. But what started off as a way to turn down a date in the hopes they “got the hint” that you were no longer interested has since transferred to the professional world as well.

Right now, it’s a candidate’s market – there are more jobs out there than there are unemployed individuals, so simple supply and demand tells us that a candidate has quite a few job options to choose from. But what do they do with all the other offers that they ultimately decide are not for them? Some candidates will cease all communication with the other companies, never to return the recruiters emails or phone calls.

It’s not just candidates though who do this – it’s companies too. It happens on both sides. What do companies do with the candidates they take through their interview process but don’t end up hiring? Some of them will also cease all communication, never telling the candidate that they decided to go in a different direction.

But professional ghosting is also still not specific to the recruiting and hiring process. Prospects will ghost you. Sales representatives will sound interested in your business only to never follow back up.

At the end of the day, professional ghosting is a problem across the board in the business world, pointing to a deeper problem that is at the root of all this ghosting.

We don’t want to put ourselves in an awkward situation of turning someone down. People will say that ghosting happens because you don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings, but is that really true? It’s more that we don’t like the feeling we have while we’re turning someone down rather than being sensitive to someone else’s feelings. It sounds harsh, but it’s true.

Is telling someone you’re no longer interested the best conversation you’re going to have that day? Absolutely not. In fact, it’s straight up awkward and uncomfortable. But isn’t it better to give clarity that you’re not moving forward than to leave the other person wondering for awhile until they realize they’ve just been ghosted? We want people to be honest with us, and receiving a no can actually be a good thing. You know that door is closed and you don’t have to put any more valuable time and energy into it. You can focus your attention on what is going to propel you forward.

So the next time you’re not interested in something or someone – whether it’s in your professional or personal life – instead of just ignoring it and waiting for it to go away, ask yourself if that’s the most mature way to handle the situation. Instead face the slightly uncomfortable moment, politely decline, and move on.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

What is YOUR Passion?

What are you passionate about? What’s something that you absolutely love to do? Why do you love that?

These are questions that we ask every person who comes in for a face-to-face interview with us. Very rarely do we get an answer that’s job-related. And you know what, that’s perfectly okay.

People are passionate about family, community involvement, caring for rescue dogs, or coaching sports teams. Hardly anyone, or maybe even no one, will say that logistics is their main passion. That doesn’t mean that people don’t enjoy working in logistics, but people aren’t usually passionate about coordinating trucks to move 40,000 pounds of egg cartons around the US.

Your job itself doesn’t have to be your main passion. But you do need a job that fuels into your passion and allows you to pursue what you love to do, even if that’s outside of work.

What’s the point of spending all of your time at a job that isn’t your main passion if you then don’t have time to do what you love when you leave the office?

Don’t be afraid to ask in an interview what the company does to fuel into their employees’ passions. If they are taken off-guard by that question, then that should be a red flag to you that they don’t place an emphasis on getting to know their employees on a personal level. Can they tell you what their team members are passionate about and what fuels them?

Personally, I love that I work in an environment at Bridge where my coworkers know what I’m passionate about and that I’m encouraged to pursue that. I love traveling. Getting out of town and exploring new places is my favorite. I’m given flexibility to take half days occasionally for a weekend getaway. Taking PTO time is encouraged, which allows me to go on trips farther away, exploring new states and countries.

But I also really appreciate that my job gives me the opportunity to go out of town and explore other places that I wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to see. While visiting college campuses in Ohio and Kentucky isn’t exactly the same as hopping a flight to Paris for a week, it still fuels into what I’m really passionate about, which is getting to see and experience a new place while meeting new people.

Figure out what fuels you and how your job can help build into that. Your daily job responsibilities may not be constantly fueling that passion, but you should be in a position that allows you to pursue it more often than not. If your job leaves you with no time to do what you love, then it’s probably not the right one for you.

Everyone’s passions are different, but make sure at the end of the day, you’re working at a company that is going to support whatever it is you love to do. There are companies out there that care about you as an individual, and you deserve to work for one.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Overcoming Objections & Rejections

You interview for your dream job, only to hear back that the company has decided to go in a different direction. You find an ideal prospect, only to come in above their budget and lose the sale. You go on a great date, only to have your follow up texts go unanswered. You put in a bid on a house, only to have a counter-offer come back too high.

Objections and rejections are a part of life. We all experience them – in both our personal and professional lives – so why do we try and hide them? Why do we not want anyone else to hear our stories of being rejected? And how do we overcome that rejection, take it in stride, and stay motivated to keep working towards our goal?

Obviously, no one likes failing, and rejection feels an awful lot like failure. Failure is really a part of success. You can learn from your mistakes and make better decisions in the future. But while this is all true, cliche statements about how failure can open new and better doors are probably not really going to help pull you out of a slump when you’ve been cold calling all day and have yet another prospect hang up on you.

So how can you stay motivated to apply for another job, contact another prospect, go on yet another date, or walk through one more house?

The key is knowing what motivates you. Your motivation to achieve that end goal has to be stronger than your fear of being rejected, or else you’re never going to try again. If you don’t really care about that end goal, then going through any setback or disappointment – no matter how small – is going to end with you handing in the towel.

If a setback doesn’t motivate you to try even harder next time, then you really need to take a step back and reflect on your motivation. Really think about why you aren’t motivated to keep going. Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself. Wanting to abandon a goal because it seems “too hard” isn’t the real root of your problem. There’s a deeper reason why you aren’t willing to put in the work. Because if you really cared about something, you’d be willing to put in whatever you had to do to make it happen.

You may need to force yourself to think not about the possible consequences of trying and failing, but instead the possible consequences of never even trying in the first place. What could happen if you never made the leap to try again? Well, you might be stuck in the same dead end job the rest of your life. You might never make another sale or go on another date. You’ll stay living in the same too-small house. Sure, you could avoid all possibility of rejection by never stepping out of your comfort zone, but doing that also avoids all possibility of success. And are you really willing to throw success away just because there’s a chance you’ll face an objection along the way?

So the next time you reach a point where you’re not sure you have it in you to try even one more time, think instead about what motivates you and what might your life look like a year down the road if you didn’t try at all. Are you okay with being in the same spot you are today in another 365 days? Or should you face that objection again because of the possibility of achieving something better?


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Why Use a Broker?

Just about every product made these days is at some point being transported on a truck. But shippers and manufacturers have a lot of options when it comes to determining who is going to be responsible for moving all that stuff around.

They can choose to do all transportation themselves – purchasing trucks, hiring drivers, and managing logistics internally.

They can choose to contract out to an asset-based company – a separate company that owns their own trucks to handle the logistics externally.

Or they can choose to contract out to a third-party logistics company, or broker – someone who doesn’t own any of their own equipment but will take on the responsibility of moving the product by contracting with trucking companies.

What’s the benefit of using the last option? Hiring a middleman to coordinate shipments could get complicated with them not having direct control over the trucks, right?

The third-party logistics industry is actually a $185.7 billion industry that is continuing to grow. As a 3PL ourselves, we actually have a lot more flexibility when it comes to handling logistics externally for shippers and manufacturers. We aren’t limited to a certain number of trucks – we can contract loads out to any available carrier that fits our criteria. We ultimately have complete control over which companies we choose to do business with, and we won’t work with carriers who have a history of being unsafe.

Not only are we not limited to a certain number of trucks, we’re also not limited to a certain mode of transportation. Sometimes it might be more efficient to transport product by multiple modes of transportation, and we have the ability to form relationships with many types of transportation companies.

If a customer needs one shipment expedited, a different one shipped via normal truckload, and yet another one shipped less-than-truckload, that’s not a problem because we can contract each of those loads out to different carriers.

Having access to so many different transportation options also allows 3PLs to become experts in figuring out which transportation solution is going to be the best for that particular shipment based on transit times, shipment size, location, and budget.

You hear about middlemen being cut out in certain industries, but 3PLs are such a big part of the industry that they are here to stay. Just like you could theoretically choose to buy a house without a real estate agent, a shipper could arrange their transportation by themselves. But brokers in any industry add value by having in-depth knowledge – saving you the time from figuring it all out yourself.

As a broker, we love operating within such a large and dynamic industry. Logistics is fast-paced, and we pride ourselves on keeping up on the latest trends to provide our customers with solutions tailored specifically to their freight.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding