What to expect from the job market in 2013

2013 forecast

Employers are heading into the new year with cautious optimism. The economy has been growing at a gradual but steady pace and is poised to stay on this path in 2013 barring any major disruptions. More employers are expecting to hire than in recent years, but the modest recovery, along with the weakened global market, means that companies will continue to play it safe.
This guarded approach to hiring was apparent in the results of CareerBuilder’s 2013 U.S. job forecast*, which polled more than 2,600 hiring managers and human-resources professionals and more than 3,900 workers across industries and company sizes. According to the report, more than 60 percent of employers say they are in a better financial position than last year. Twenty-six percent plan to add full-time, permanent employees, up three percentage points over 2012. However, due to mixed expectations for the coming year, the number of employers planning to reduce headcount is trending up as well. Nine percent of employers say they plan to decrease headcount, up from 7 percent last year. The fiscal cliff is likely on employers’ minds; whether or not the U.S. goes over it may impact actual hiring behavior.
Temporary and contract hiring on the rise
When companies are cautious about making major hiring commitments, they often turn to staffing and recruiting companies and temporary workers to help meet increased market demands. The study found that 40 percent of employers plan to hire temporary and contract workers in 2013, up from 36 percent last year. Among these employers, 42 percent plan to transition some temporary workers into full-time, permanent employees over the next 12 months, perhaps as they see how various economic factors play out over the course of the year.
Where the jobs will be
It may not be surprising that the top two positions companies plan to hire for in 2013 are sales (29 percent) and information technology (27 percent), two fields that have continued to experience healthy growth. Other roles employers will hire for include customer service (23 percent), engineering (22 percent) and production (22 percent).
Location-wise, the West and the South will again lead other regions in hiring plans as they have in past forecasts. Twenty-eight percent of employers in the West plan to add full-time, permanent workers in 2013, up from 24 percent in 2012; 9 percent plan to reduce headcount, the same as last year. In the South, 27 percent of hiring managers anticipate adding full-time, permanent employees in 2013, up from 23 percent in 2012. Nine percent will likely reduce headcount, up from 7 percent last year. Both the Midwest and the Northeast will hire more than last year, but headcount reduction will tick up as well.
Small businesses show confidence
Small business hiring will rise, but likely so will headcount reduction, as companies remain unsure about financial stability and market demand. Hiring plans increased at least three percentage points over the year across small business segments, while plans to downsize trended up the same amount. Nineteen percent of businesses with 50 or fewer employees plan to add full-time, permanent staff in 2013, up from 16 percent in 2012, while 6 percent plan to reduce headcount, up from 3 percent last year. Of the companies with 500 or fewer workers, 24 percent plan to add full-time, permanent headcount, up from 21 percent in 2012; 7 percent plan to make cuts, up from 4 percent last year.
Companies fight to close the skills gap
The demand for skilled positions has continued to grow at a much faster pace than the supply. However, companies are finding solutions to narrow the skills gap, which they’ll continue to implement in 2013. Workers looking to fill highly skilled roles should pay close attention to the following three trends in the new year:
1. Employers scouting workers from other companies: Employers will be more aggressive about approaching workers with the right skills, whether or not it’s solicited. Nineteen percent of workers say they’ve been asked to work for another company in the last year without applying for the position. Sales workers have been courted the most, at 33 percent, followed by professional and business services workers at 31 percent and IT workers at 26 percent.
2. Employers will pay more for qualified candidates: In an effort to keep and attract the best workers for skilled positions, employers expect to provide higher compensation for both current and potential employees. Seventy-two percent of employers plan to increase compensation for existing workers — up from 62 percent last year — while 47 percent will offer higher starting salaries for new employees — up significantly from 32 percent last year. Most increases will be 3 percent or less.
3. Companies will take matters into their own hands: Oftentimes workers possess a base level of skills that, with the right training, can be built upon to meet an employer’s needs. So instead of waiting for applicants with the right résumé to come to them, employers are taking the initiative to “re-skill” workers to fill positions. Thirty-nine percent of employers plan to train people who don’t have experience in their particular industry or field and hire them for positions within their organizations, up from 38 percent last year.

source: careerbuilder

5 Silliest Ideas To Solve The Jobs Crisis This Year

Bad ideas to solve jobs crisis 
If this past year were to be summed up in a Sweet Sixteen birthday bash, then the theme would be jobs, and there would be a lot of tears and yelling. While the unemployment rate has been slowing slipping for three years, this country still has a jobs crisis, and lots of people have lots of ideas about how to solve it.

Some of those ideas have come from the government, a handful have come from the private sector and nonprofits, and others from really, really rich people. Some have been obvious, a handful have been inspired, and others have been really, really silly. In this latter bracket, here are the top five:

5. Replace Workers With Schoolchildren

During the Republican debates back in January, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed a gem of an idea for reducing the dropout rate and promoting the work ethic of poor youth: fire absurdly overpaid New York City janitors, and let 30 kids do each of their jobs.

Researchers and journalists pounced quickly, pointing out that New York janitors aren't paid an "absurd amount of money" ($37,710-a-year after two years on the job), that there's no research to suggest that working keeps poor kids in school, and that if one maintenance job was divided by 30, those kids would be earning a little over $24 a week.

There's also the matter of those grown-up people who worked those jobs, who'd join the ranks of the jobless, and their families, who'd join the ranks of people asking why children are taking adults' jobs.

4. Get Rid of Taxes for Corporations
David Cote, CEO of the diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc., called for corporations to pay no taxes back in May, claiming it would boost job creation. There is some logic to this: If corporations didn't have to pay the 35 percent maximum corporate tax rate, they could use that money to hire more workers.
Unfortunately, Cote isn't the best man to make this argument. His company paid just two percent in taxes between 2008 and 2011, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, and in fact between 2008 and 2010 it received more in government subsidies than it paid out. And in the past two years, a Wall Street Journal analysis found that Honeywell -- despite increasing sales -- cut its U.S. workforce by 1,000 and added 11,000 jobs abroad.

3. Scrap Employment Laws
Last year, the British government asked venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft to write his recommendations for spurring job growth. The resulting report, published in May, was called a "bonfire of regulations" by the British press for its assault on labor protections. Beecroft's proposals included making it much easier for employers to fire workers, saying in a redacted portion that a few people getting fired just because their boss didn't like them was a "price worth paying" for economic growth.
Other controversial suggestions included allowing companies to hire staff from other countries without first advertising the opening in local job centers (as British law currently requires), making it easier for employers to hire children for certain jobs, and re-introducing the mandatory retirement age of 65.

2. Make The Unemployed Work For Free
The U.K. Department for Work and Pensions completed a pilot program earlier this year that forced jobseekers who have been receiving unemployment benefits for three years to work without pay for six months -- or have their benefits stripped. The government planned to roll-out the project nationwide, but it hit a tiny legal snag involving the European Convention on Human Rights.

One 41-year-old jobseeker and former mechanical engineer, Jamie Wilson, refused to wash and clean furniture for six months for no money, calling it "slave labor," and lost his benefits, forcing him to rely on the kindness of friends and family to survive. The British High Court ultimately found that his benefits couldn't be lawfully taken away, since he wasn't properly informed about the penalty. In a December hearing, the government tried to overturn the ruling, while Wilson's lawyers countered that the entire program violates a European law "prohibit[ing] forced labor."

1. Lottery Tickets
Spain is suffering one of the worst jobs crises in the world, with unemployment standing at 25 percent at last count, and over 50 percent for young people. Sixty-year-old driving instructor Bartolomé Florido decided he wanted to soothe some of that pain, so he visited welfare offices in five southern cities, and handed out lottery tickets to the unemployed people waiting in line.
Encouraging jobseekers to gamble is not the most practical or sustainable strategy for job growth (the lottery is often referred to as a "tax on the poor"), but Florido did at least offer people an ounce of hope. In response to his simple gesture of caring, many hugged him and wept, he said.

How to connect with an employer via LinkedIn

Used right, LinkedIn can be a job seeker's golden ticket.
Savvy job hunters can use the site to gain all kinds of advantages: information on the types of people a company hires, the name of the hiring manager for a particular job (and if they're really lucky, an email address) and even the ultimate "in," a personal connection at a company of interest.
 But, for every job seeker that expertly navigates the online networking scene, there are plenty of others who fumble their way through it, often over- or underestimating the role the site should play in their searches.
"LinkedIn is a valuable tool, but sometimes when people search for a job they can confuse activity with productivity," says Tony Beshara, president of Dallas-based placement firm Babich and Associates, and author of the book "Unbeatable Résumés," for which he surveyed more than 2,000 people about their LinkedIn use. "No matter what activity you're doing, whether it's writing your résumé or browsing profiles on LinkedIn, if that activity isn't actually getting you an interview, it's not as productive as something that would get you an interview."
If your online networking has been less than productive (read: if it hasn't actually lead to a connection to or interview with an employer of interest), then you might need to revamp your LinkedIn strategy. These guidelines will help ensure the time you spend on the site is most effective.

When reaching out to your contacts:
· Don't be shy
The whole point on LinkedIn is to connect with people, so if you're hesitant to reach out to a former co-worker you haven't spoken to in a while, don't be. She's on the site for the same reason you are -- to network with people -- so she probably expects the occasional introduction request.
"Interestingly enough, everybody that's on LinkedIn expects the same thing out of everybody else," Beshara says. "[The thought is] 'What I do for you today, you'll do for me tomorrow.' People are a lot more open to responding to you because they know that somebody else is going to do the same thing for them, or that you're going to do the same thing for them the next time."

· Don't be needy
When you do find someone in your network who has a connection or works for a company you'd like an introduction to, your approach will play a big part in the person's response.
"Make it known early in the process that you're not expecting your networking connections to do the hard work for you," says Diane Crompton, author of the books "Seven Days to Online Networking" and "Find a Job through Social Networking." "In other words, if you want them to introduce you to a contact at their employer, say something like 'I'm not expecting you to endorse me for this position or intervene on my behalf.' This will take the emotional burden off of them should they feel too much ownership in your job search process."
If your networking contact is new, or someone you don't know very well, it's especially important to make it know that you'll be the most active part of the equation, Crompton says. For example, "Ask if you can use your contact's name as a door opener to get the conversation going with your desired end recipient. By doing this you've taken them off the hot seat in terms of their involvement," she says.

· Take it off line
InMail, LinkedIn's messaging function, is great for making initial contact with someone. But once that's done, move the conversation to email or a phone call. Not everyone checks their LinkedIn profile consistently, so communicating this way is often ineffective and slow.
If you're browsing your connections and find out that someone you know pretty well works at a company or has a connection of interest, you can even skip the InMail message altogether.
For example, says Beshara, "Once you find somebody you know at an organization, call them up and say 'Hey Mary, this is Tony, I understand you work with Leroy, and I'd like to get a hold of him. Can you tell me a little bit about him, or what's going on at your organization?' That sort of thing."

When making introduction requests:
· Let your contact know it's coming
If you plan on asking a contact for an introduction and have his email address, send him a "heads up" to let him know it's coming. Doing so will help you gauge his reception to your request, Crompton says. "[Plus], not everybody is active on LinkedIn everyday and this will ensure that your message doesn't sit in their LinkedIn Inbox for a long period of time," she says.

· Make a good first impression
Something that not all job seekers realize before they send introduction requests: "When using the 'Request an Introduction' function on LinkedIn, you'll need to create messages to your 'bridge' (middle) contact as well as to the end recipient," Crompton points out. "Keep in mind that both people receive both messages, so if you're on a casual name basis with the introducer you'll still need to keep the communication more formal and professional, knowing that your end recipient will also get the message you sent along to the middle connection."

When researching companies
· Find the hiring manager
If you're interested in a particular job, try finding the hiring manager for the position on LinkedIn. Job descriptions will often include the title of the person the job will report to.
If the position reports to the director of marketing, for example, pull up the company page, and see if you can find the person with this title. If you do find the hiring manager, "it's absolutely OK to reach out to him or her directly," Beshara says. If the person's email address isn't listed, you can often find the company's email format online (for example, FirstName.LastName@companyX.com), and you can plug his or her name into this format.

· Look at who they hire
Browsing company profiles and looking at the company's LinkedIn page will not only give you a better idea of whether or not you're the type of person the company usually hires, but will also clue you in about potential alumni connections you may have missed.
"You can look at employee profiles and find out what kinds of people the company has hired in the past, what companies employees come from, if you went to school with any of them , etc.," Beshara says.
If you find a common bond between you and someone you'd like to reach out to, "Use the transparency of LinkedIn to assess the best approach for communicating with your end recipient," Crompton suggests. "Customizing your message by using these commonalities will build rapport and make your initial approach that much more 'warm.'"

Source: careerbuilder

Career risks: Tips for deciding which are worth taking

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
The motto sounds simple enough -- until you try to apply it. From fears of making the wrong move to worries about looking foolish, taking a career risk is not an easy thing to do.

While there is no magic way to predict an outcome, some honest evaluation beforehand can make the decision to take a risk a little, well, less risky. Things to consider:

How big is the risk?
Giving up a steady paycheck to return to school full time or approaching a manager about an unorthodox idea to restructure customer service may seem like daunting tasks. But how scary would it be to take one night class a semester to test the waters or vow to speak up at the next meeting with one idea?
"In order to learn to take risks, it's important to practice," says Aricia E. LaFrance -- a therapist, career coach and author of "Unlocking the Secrets of the Successful Career Seeker." "Start small so you can test what works and doesn't work for you. Sometimes people will take a huge risk the first time out, see it end in disaster and then never take another risk -- staying stuck in a life they don't want."

What is the best-case scenario (and the worst)?
When considering a risk, it is easy to get wrapped up in either the grand outcome ("I'll be promoted on the spot!") or the horrible fallout ("My stupid idea will be the running joke of the office for months!"). Chances are neither is quite correct.
"When evaluating risks, the best strategy is to outline the best-case scenario and the worst-case scenario first," states Melinda Stephenson, a career coach and co-founder of The Leadership Room, a unique development program for rising executives. "Ask a trusted colleague or two about these scenarios and get some different perspectives. Once you've covered the extremes, you have freed up your thinking so that now you can envision the most likely scenario. Then, really take a moment to imagine yourself in that situation."

Are you afraid to change and/or unmotivated to act?
Sometimes the scariest part of a risk is that it actually involves action.
"Many people enjoy the status quo and don't want to make a change. You may be unhappy and unsatisfied, but it is a familiar position and is comfortable. It's very easy to choose comfort over passion," says Joel Garfinkle, founder of dreamjobcoaching.com.
Similarly, successful risk-takers are ones who are ready to put in the effort to get what they want. Whether updating a résumé, learning a new skill or researching a business venture, they see the goal as worth the effort.

What is beyond the initial impact?
"The thing about career risk is that it is almost never black and white -- one decision leads to another which leads to another," says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, co-author of "How the Fierce Handle Fear: Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times" and partner at the career-coaching firm SixFigureStart in New York City. "The direction you take initially impacts choices you will be offered down the road. A good evaluation is an honest reflection on all of the consequences and an assessment of what works best for you for now and in the long term."
Take the common, but tough, question of whether or not to take a lower-paying job. Beyond a skinnier wallet, the loss of cash may affect your lifestyle, your mood and how much you actually like the job. If your job goes away before you are able to get a promotion that makes up the difference, your new salary anchor is lower than before. But the immediate pay cut may be worth it in the long run -- finding a more fulfilling career path.

What does your gut say?
Finally, remember that you have a great advisor to help with decisions -- your gut.
"We often know immediately whether something is a good or bad idea -- and we're usually right," LaFrance says. "The first step to taking the right risk is to tune into your instincts and learn to trust them."
Yet even when you "know" what to do, the timing might not be right for a particular decision. "Balance your instincts with reality and common sense," LaFrance notes. "While it might be the best decision to go into debt to start your own business, if you're on the verge of losing your house, it may be best to shelf the business until things are more stable. This is the difference between leaping before you look and a calculated risk."

Reinvent Your Career During Christmas Vacation: 7 Tips

Changing careers over Christmas vacation

Finally, the holidays are here and you've had a chance to relax and reboot. But as you begin to unwind on Christmas vacation, and enjoy yourself, you may find yourself asking: Have I been happy at work this year? What other job could I be doing that would be more fulfilling -- monetarily and spiritually?

If you're like many people, you've probably lost track of what would make you happy at work -- but are deep in touch with what makes you miserable. You can't change your career or your life by snapping your fingers, but you can begin to think about what that true passion might be. Once you understand what you really want to be doing, you can start connecting the dots and figuring out how to get from here to there.

During the holidays, you can start the process of changing your career with these 7 tips.

1. Observe yourself.
During the holidays, many people tend to spend their time where they feel the most comfortable -- whether that's with family or friends. Pay close attention to the environment in which you place yourself over the holidays. How do you relax? What environment are you in? How can you connect that environment to the workplace?

2. Walk down memory lane.
Look through photo albums and your old boxes of stuff. Maybe you once wrote a diary with great business ideas. Or perhaps you'll see photos of yourself in sports gear and start to think about how to involve sports in your career. Take note of what you find, as the goal with work is to spend your time doing something you enjoy. It can also be argued that when you are passionate about what you do, you'll do a much better job.

3. Ask yourself: Who do I like to spend time with?
What kind of personalities do they have? It's good to know the kind of people you connect best with because that also may help in finding a workplace that matches your temperament.

4. Walk around a bookstore.
Which books are you checking out? Which magazines spark your interest? This will tell you a lot about the kinds of subjects and industries you should be focusing on.

5. Write down what you like about your current job.
Write down all of the tasks that you do enjoy and think about the other career paths that incorporate those tasks and skills.

6. Ask your friends and family what they think.
Sometimes the people who know you best and longest may have some insight that escapes you. Ask them, "If you had to guess what I would be doing as an adult, what job do you think I'd have?"

7. Note how you spend your free time.
How do you spend time when you don't have to be anywhere? When you aren't trying to meet a boss' deadline, what do you catch yourself doing? That may give you some vital clues.

Source: AOL

New college grads: 6 tips for success

college gradCollege seniors and recent graduates are in a delicate, crucial and demanding time of their lives. They face an overwhelming number of decisions to make, paths to choose from and obstacles to overcome.
Have you ever heard someone say, "I wish I knew then what I know now?" It's time to walk away from the wishing well and check out six pieces of advice that will enlighten you and improve your experience as a college senior or recent college grad.

1. Cut the expense fat
Take an honest look at your expenses, and you are likely to find several areas where you can shave off a few dollars and still live to talk about it. A few unnecessary extras here and there can add up to a lot of cash, leaving you unable to accept lower-paying job opportunities with greater long-term potential over a less desirable position that pays more now.
Marc Hyman, partner at Pacific West Investor Services based in Santa Barbara, Calif., provides a list of nonessential expenses that could be hurting your ability to jump start a successful career.
Expense: Large car payments
Tip: Buy a Kia, Hyundai or other less expensive vehicle.
Expense: High rent
Tip: Rent or share a room first before you go out and get a large, expensive apartment.
Expense: Large cable bills
Tip: Drop premium cable channels and digital music subscriptions. Perhaps drop cable altogether and get Netflix and Hulu instead.
Expense: Gym membership
Tip: Join a Y instead. It's usually much more affordable.
Expense: $100 cell-phone plans
Tip: Get a $35-$50 cell-phone plan. Carriers such as Boost Mobile, Cricket and Virgin Mobile offer many reasonable plans that include texting and data.
Expense: Daily expensive coffee (example: large vanilla latte with soy)
Tip: Get a regular coffee instead.
"I have interviewed and hired a large number of recent graduates, and I am always shocked by the large amount of expenses, beyond school loans, these grads are carrying," Hyman says. "Many new grads can shave at least $500 off their monthly living expenses. This increases [their] flexibility when a lower-paying job with better prospects is available."                                                                                                           

2. Monitor your online personality
"Many students don't realize what's online about them, and some of this content may be questionable in an employer's eyes," says Amanda Haddaway, author of "Destination Real World: Success after Graduation."
To keep your social-media presence from hurting your chances at gainful employment, Haddaway suggests following four simple tips:
  • Determine what's out there about you. Search your name and see what comes up, and review your profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social-media websites. Remove any inappropriate or workplace-unfriendly content.
  • Be honest. If unflattering content about you has been posted online and you've tried to remove it without success, be upfront with recruiters or interviewers. Let them know the information is not a true reflection of who you are and how you would perform as an employee.
  • Be careful about what you post in the future. Remember that anything posted in a public domain may remain public indefinitely and could be available to a prospective employer.
  • Use free tools to monitor your online presence. If you set up a search-engine alert on your name, you will receive an email each time your name shows up in a search. This way you can do something about inappropriate content before it's too late.
3. Go beyond the textbooks
"If you're still in school, now is the time to gain experience," says Heather Huhman, founder and president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job-seeker and employer-focused organizations. "Pick up an internship, volunteer in your field and take on more leadership roles."
While an education is an invaluable asset, in order to succeed in today's market, you have to go beyond the textbooks whenever possible. "A degree isn't going to be your golden ticket to gainful employment; worthwhile experience is," Huhman says.

4. Be honest; have integrity
Brooke Allen, founder of Noshortageofwork.com, shares an interesting story:
"I was addressing a class of college seniors when someone asked, 'What do you look for in an employee?' I said, 'Integrity and the ability to do the work.' The class laughed and the student said, 'Do you mean to say that, in this day and age, anyone cares about integrity?'
"While it is relatively painless to find competent people who can do the work required for a position, it is much harder to find good people with integrity that you can count on. If you want to stand out among the others, practice being the best possible person you can be; don't lie, say what you will do, then do what you say."

5. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence -- the ability to manage emotions -- is the most important factor that will determine a student's success after graduation, says Tim Elmore, founder of Growing Leaders, an international nonprofit organization focused on developing young leaders.
"As students transition from backpack to briefcase, intelligence plays a smaller role than you may think," Elmore says. "Success in school is made up of 75 percent intelligence (IQ) and 25 percent emotional intelligence (EQ). Success in the real world is just the opposite -- 25 percent IQ and 75 percent EQ."
Learning to reduce stress quickly is a valuable EQ skill, Elmore says. "It allows you to stay balanced, focused, in control and in the moment, even in the most challenging situations."

6. Help out wherever possible
Successful people are those who work hard and go above and beyond whenever possible. No one ever got promoted or built a successful career by doing the bare minimum.
Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of "The 11 Laws of Likability" and founder of Executive Essentials, a corporate training and coaching company based in New York, suggests that recent graduates build relationships at every level of the organization and always offer to help.
"Don't narrow your focus just to colleagues at your level," Tillis says. "Pursue the relationships that feel authentic to you to expand your resources, knowledge base and support network, and offer your help. If you don't have anything to do, find something. Build your brand as someone who pitches in."
Always maintain a positive attitude as well, Tillis suggests. While you can teach technical skills, you can't teach attitude. "Approach every situation openly with a willingness to learn, and don't act as if anything is below you."

Source: careerbuilder

8 certifications that can boost your career

In some fields -- medicine and teaching, for example -- certifications and accreditations are the "entrance ticket" to the profession. In others, certifications may not be mandatory but can significantly improve chances of landing a job, moving up, getting a raise or taking on new responsibilities.

The vast majority of professional certificate programs are for people who are already working in a particular field and are not for people with limited work experience or who are just out of high school.

Here are eight in-demand professional certificate programs. Some are industry-specific, while others can help ignite careers in a variety of fields:

1. Professional project management. Project managers can be found in just about any company or industry that has projects, from information technology to construction to government. While PMP certification, administered by the Project Management Institute, is now an expectation for project managers, it has become a bragging right for anyone who might have managerial duties.
2. Foreign language. In many occupations, especially customer service, knowing more than one language can provide a significant career boost. Proving you're proficient in those languages is easier with a certificate of foreign languages. There are many tests and certificates offered through community colleges or distance learning programs.
3. Corporate training. Corporate training is an in-demand business-management specialty that can be lucrative. If you're in management or human resources and want to specialize, move up the company ladder or just want to extend your knowledge and skills, the Certified Professional Trainer degree offered by the American Training and Seminar Association can give you a boost.
4. Desktop support administration. IT support specialists have a variety of certifications that can expand their portfolio of skills. The Windows operating system, however, is ubiquitous, and even if you're working in a general support position, having a Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Support Administrator certification can be a big plus. The certification provides the knowledge to install, maintain and manage the Windows 7 desktop operating system.
5. Personal fitness training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this booming career field is experiencing faster than average job growth. In theory, anyone who understands fitness could be a fitness trainer, but having a certificate -- or two or three -- will prove to employers and clients that you know what you're doing. Certification programs are offered by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, National Academy of Sports Medicine and American Fitness Professionals & Associates, among others.
6. Professional sales. You're unlikely to find a college degree in sales, but a variety of certificate programs can give you the skills and experience to prepare for a career selling goods and services. Many of these programs are industry-specific; there are nearly as many professional sales certificates as there are professions, but the National Association of Sales Professionals is a place for sales generalists to get started.
7. Web design and development. Nearly every business has an online presence. Professionals who design, develop and maintain company websites have many opportunities. For people who don't want to specialize as Web designers or developers, but may occasionally pitch in to help with Web-related tasks, there are many certificate programs. Some even qualify for government financial aid.
8. Certified clinical medical assistant. If you have general skills and experience but don't have the time or money to get a bachelor's or associate degree in a health-care field, there are certificate programs that can provide a boost to your career. A certified clinical medical assistant understands clinical and laboratory procedures, as well as many administrative roles. For those with an administrative background, CCMA programs can be door openers for working in doctor's offices, clinics and hospitals.

Source: careerbuilder

How to ace the 10-minute interview

Every job seeker knows there isn't much time to make a positive impression during an interview. But have you ever stopped to consider how short your window of opportunity actually is? According to a survey from Robert Half, it may be 10 minutes or less.

Sixty percent of human-resources managers polled say they form a positive or negative opinion of candidates within 10 minutes. And some make impressions even more quickly. Eighteen percent of respondents claim they need just five minutes to draw conclusions about an interviewee.

How can you make the most of the little time you have? Here are some tips.

Arrive on time. Although no one tries to be late, it's easy to find yourself scrambling around the morning of your interview as the meeting time draws closer.
One way to ensure you're not late is to aim to arrive half an hour early. You'll give yourself some leeway in case traffic is worse than expected or you get lost.
If you find you have time to spare, use it to review your résumé, check your appearance in the restroom and make sure your cell phone has been turned off before stepping into the employer's office. Show up five to 10 minutes before the interview is scheduled to start to prove that you're punctual.

Bring reinforcements. Don't arrive to the interview empty handed. Bring extra copies of your résumé and any work samples you submitted or were asked to provide. Also prepare a list of references in case the interviewer requests this information. Compiling this document ahead of time is a good way to show you're prepared.
Also pack a notepad and pen before heading out the door. During the interview, jot down key points about the job or company. These details will come in handy when crafting a thank-you note to the hiring manager and when evaluating the opportunity if you're offered the role.

Shake hands like you mean it. It sounds cliché, but a firm, confident handshake is important. In a CareerBuilder survey, more than one-quarter of hiring managers say a weak handshake is a mark against potential hires.
Not sure if your handshake passes muster? Practice with a friend ahead of time. Another tip: Smile as you shake hands. It'll reaffirm the self-assured attitude you're trying to convey.

Don't skip the small talk. One of the best ways to build immediate rapport with a potential employer is with small talk. Make a point to comment about the traffic, the weather or your weekend plans. Avoid sensitive topics and jokes.
Also be sure you don't ramble on. As the name implies, small talk should take up only a little of the total conversation. Look to the hiring manager for a cue that it's time to talk business.

Assess your surroundings. Once seated in the interview room, take a moment to survey your surroundings, especially if you're meeting in the hiring manager's office. Photos, diplomas, mementos, tchotchkes and other items can tell you a lot about the person on the other side of the desk. You may learn of shared interests or experiences that you can reference to establish a more lasting connection. For example: "I see that you attended State University as well. I bet you miss Tony's Pizza as much as I do."

Slow down. If you're like most job candidates, you'll be a nervous wreck -- at least on the inside. And one result of all that adrenaline is that you may talk more quickly than normal, causing your words to jumble together.
If you find your mouth moving 100 miles per hour, force yourself to take a breath and calm down. It does no good to give the perfect answer if the hiring manager can't understand a word of it.
Give yourself a moment to compose your thoughts before responding. Then, speak clearly and at a comfortable pace. Try to maintain as natural a tone as possible. Take another breath if you start to speed up again.

Watch your body language. Body language plays a significant role in the message you convey. For example, wiggling your foot, biting your nails or frantically clicking the pen in your hand will make you seem nervous, bored or distracted -- and likely annoy the hiring manager.
Instead, strike a confident pose. Look the interviewer in the eye when speaking, and lean forward in your chair to show you're engaged. Just don't overdo it. An exaggerated or unnatural pose can come across as, well, just plain weird.

Source: careerbuilder

How to leave a job but keep your career intact

Big news: You've decided to accept an attractive job offer and leave your current employer. Now that you're poised to launch the next phase of your career, the last thing you want to focus on is the previous phase. In the long run, however, the way you finish a job can be just as important as the way you start one.
Slamming the door shut on your current company -- or even trying to sneak out without a sound -- can close off future opportunities and waste months or years of goodwill you've built up with your co-workers and boss.

Making a graceful exit takes some effort, but it's well worth your time. Aside from the obvious benefit of maintaining strong references, you never know which colleagues you'll cross paths with again one or 10 years down the road.

You only have one chance to make a last impression at work. Here's how to make it count:

Tell your boss first
Regardless of how well you and your manager get along, he should hear the news from you directly. Casually mentioning to a co-worker that you're moving on can create an officewide rumor that reaches your supervisor before you do, causing him to feel disrespected or even misled. Don't disclose your intentions to leave with anyone at work until you've notified your boss.
In all but the most formal situations, dropping off a resignation letter is unnecessary and may even offend your manager. Instead, set up a face-to-face meeting. Keep in mind that losing a productive employee creates a high-priority, time-intensive project for your boss. Don't delay, but choose the least stressful time possible to break the news, especially if you think your decision might come as a surprise.

Explain but don't justify
Whether or not your company has a formal exit interview process, the amount of information you share about why you're leaving is up to you. Providing too much detail about all your reasons can be perceived as insulting, while sharing too little can leave an employer feeling mystified.
When considering whether to share a criticism, ask yourself if it might help the company improve or whether you mostly want to take a parting shot at the company for some perceived slight. If it's the latter, keep your discussion polite, general and short. Holding your tongue might be difficult, but it's easier than rebuilding bridges you burn by offending former colleagues or supervisors.
Always frame the matter in terms of your own experience and goals. For example, say, "I'm looking for a wider range of advancement opportunities than the company can give me right now," rather than "You're going to lose all your best workers if you don't promote more people."
Above all, remember that you're not obligated to justify the move, no matter how much anyone pushes you to reveal your motivations.

The long -- or short -- goodbye
Once you provide notice, your company may have valid -- and even legal -- reasons for having you clear out of the office as soon as possible. On the other hand, it may want you to stick around to tie up loose ends or help to hand off some of your responsibilities.
In either case, do your best to meet the company's needs, within reason. Being helpful and courteous on the way out can make a difference down the road. That said, you also need to be fair to your new employer and not push out your start date too far.

Network softly
The interval between jobs opens an important networking window. Before leaving, be sure to make contact with current colleagues, securing references if you haven't done so already. If an employee expresses envy that you're leaving, resist the urge to commiserate.
Don't ignore colleagues with whom you didn't work closely. Let them know that you're moving on and that you enjoyed working with them -- if you did. Simply stopping by for a brief chat can affect the way someone remembers you for years.
On the other hand, don't try to conjure a relationship where very little existed or pledge to keep in touch if you don't really intend to do so. An empty promise makes a worse long-term impression than a clean, honest break.
Whether you leave your employer reluctantly or with glee, devoting some care to your departure can help keep your work history working for you, not against you. It's also great preparation for forging fresh relationships in your new role.

Source: careerbuilder

Google Is Hiring: The Secret To Getting A Job At Google

get job googleThere's the woman who designed her cover letter like the Google's ad materials (she got an interview, no job). There's the man who created an entire website to land a job there (he got an interview, no job). Forums are filled with frustrated applicants to Google, with Ph.D.s and decades of experience, who did the dance for months, only to get a "no thank you" message in their inbox.
Tales of "world-shaking innovation" and "free sushi" lure a million applicants a year, but only 0.5 percent of them make it through Google's mystical gate. Some applicants have had multiple interviews, only to be told that they'll be contacted when a job becomes available -- sitting for months on the waitlist for the hippest party in town.
It's a party with golden goody bags: Software engineer interns at Google can earn between $5,000 and $8,800 a month, according to Glassdoor.com, and those engineers who go on to become employees can earn as much as $250,000 yearly. Even less-technical jobs, like those of account manager and AdWords associate, are handsomely compensated ($68,000 and $53,000 a year, respectively).
To find your in, Google hopefuls should scan their alumni networks for current employees or try to hunt down recruiters on LinkedIn -- the personal touch never hurts when a company receives thousands of applicants a day. And Google has a soft spot for the unconventional resume and cover letter, if it's done well. Just don't make it "too big, too bulky and too boring," advises Gayle McDowell, a former Google recruiter and author of "The Google Resume."

The process usually involves two phone interviews, followed by one or more interviews on-site -- although sometimes applicants go through five or six rounds of grilling. In the earlier stages applicants are lobbed Google's notorious brainteasers, like "How many cows are there in Canada?" or "How many tears are shed between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the Southwestern United States?"
Fearlessness is the key to these questions, according to McDowell. There's no point stuttering and squinting and squeezing your brain for the right answer -- there isn't one. Applicants should just open their mouths and start talking through a reasonable way of solving the puzzle.
Yes, Google has a predilection for Ivy Leaguers, and a stellar grade point average will give you a bump. But McDowell emphasizes that Google just wants to know that you're smart and hardworking, and a lofty GPA is just one way to prove that. Another former recruiter, writing on Indeed.com, says that applicants from top tier schools need at least a 3.0, and from less well-known institutions, grades that are a notch higher.

"It is frustrating to find the 'perfect' candidate," the former Googler writes, "only to be told by the hiring manager to not even bring the person in to interview because a 3.2 from San Jose State is not hireable."
Depending on the position you're vying for, you may receive a writing and logic test, or be asked to scribble up some code in a Google doc or on a whiteboard, so your interviewers can watch the way that your brain cogs turn. And unless you're a wunderkind software engineer, ushered into the fold on a unicorn-led chariot, you also need to prove your "Googliness" -- an intricate combination of quirkiness, passion, ambition, wacky creativity, and obsession with Google.

Interviewers will often ask applicants to give examples of a time they led a team or influenced people, according to McDowell. "I led through fear and threats of violence" and "I influenced my team by running to upper management" are not Googly answers.
Not all Google employees wax romantic about their time there. There's the ex-Google engineer who slammed the company on Microsoft's blog, and it's evolution from an "innovation factory" to "an advertising company" fixated on competing with Facebook. And there's the former contractor who was traumatized after a year of watching the most heinous, illegal smut on Google products, only to be given one free therapy session and shown the door.

But your average Google employee is very happy, and getting happier. Employee satisfaction there in fact leapt up by over a third last year, according to CareerBliss, more than at any other U.S. company. This may be partly due to a generous new death benefit -- paying 50 percent of the deceased employee's salary to the spouse for a decade -- and changing it's maternity leave from three months partial pay to five months full pay.
They say the acceptance rate at Harvard is so impossibly small that scores of qualified applicants won't make it out of sheer bad luck. The same could be said of Google -- except the company's acceptance rate is nine times smaller.

Source: AOL

7 Soft Skills You Need To Get Hired In 2013

soft skills get a job

Landing a job requires a lot more than just the right degree, experience or series of technical skills. "Soft" skills, otherwise known as emotional intelligence, may make a difference between an employee who can do the job and one who does it well. Soft skills include: leadership, written and verbal communication, problem solving, motivation, interpersonal skills and creativity. They aren't usually skills we learn in school (although some business schools now have programs to try to help their students improve in these areas).

When it comes right down to it, soft skills are characteristics that make us more likable. Whether or not anyone wants to admit it, likability is an important factor in the hiring process. A Harvard Business School study from several years ago found, "Generally speaking, a little extra likability goes a longer way than a little extra competence in making someone desirable to work with." In other words, when given a choice between competent jerks and lovable fools, lovable fools won out.

It's not surprising that soft skills continue to play a big role in hiring decisions. Employers realize that they can teach hard skills, such as how to use a software program, but it's virtually impossible to retrofit employees with soft skills. A recent study from Millennial Branding showed soft skills topped the list of "must have" skills that employers want, with 98 percent of employers saying communication skills are essential and 92 percent naming coordination skills.

Mark Miller, author of Hiring for Attitude, notes for Forbes that 92 percent of employers believe attitude is key, because candidates need to be "motivated to learn new skills, think innovatively, cope with failure, assimilate feedback and ... collaborate with teammates."

What are some important soft skills you want to be sure to try to develop? Consider this list and make a point to pay attention to where you rank with these key soft skills:

Listening. No one wants to work with someone who isn't a good listener. If you can't follow instructions, it doesn't matter how brilliant or talented you may be; you're going to mess something up. How can you show you're a good listener? Follow directions carefully when you apply for the job. Practice listening actively when you talk to people. Could you repeat most of the details of a conversation you just finished? If not, try to focus more carefully on your everyday interactions and you could improve this important skill.

Adaptability. No one loves change, especially at work, but today, being flexible and having a good attitude while welcoming the unexpected is a valuable skill. Are you the first to complain if plans change? Do you sulk and brood when things don't go your way? If that's you, think about how you can be a little less rigid. It will make you a more marketable job seeker.

Teamwork. It's hard to find a job description that doesn't mention working with a team and collaborating cross functionally. It might as well say, "Must play well with others." You can practice being a team player by actually joining a team outside of work. Consider joining a sports team or volunteer to work for a nonprofit organization on a joint project to practice and improve your teamwork stills.

Judgment. You can't teach someone to have good judgment. This is why using social media sites to illustrate you know what to say and what not to say online can work in your favor. This is tough to self-assess, but if you've ever posted something on Facebook and lived to regret it, you could probably use some extra practice on the good judgment front. Think before you act, and you'll be on your way to improving in this area.

Integrity and work ethic. Your reputation is everything when it comes to getting a job. What do people say about you? Are you willing to work until the job is done? Do you pitch in and show initiative, even when it's not necessarily your job? If so, you probably don't need to worry about your reputation because you have a strong work ethic. If that doesn't describe you, think about how you can change.

Communication. Probably the root of all soft skills, if you can communicate well, you are halfway there to many jobs. Employers evaluate this from the start. How do you handle yourself on the phone? What does your application look like? Can you send a strong email message? The interviewer will know right away if you can communicate well by how you introduce yourself and how you address questions. You can practice by preparing what you will say in the interview. Think about ways you can communicate succinctly, because this is an important skill, even for people seeking highly technical jobs.

Positive demeanor. It's just another way to say "nice to be around." If you're rude to the receptionist and don't hold the door for the person walking behind you, it's likely you aren't winning a lot of "nice" points. If you're the office complainer, the "Negative Nelly" who always sees the glass half empty, your attitude and behavior are probably hurting your job search.

Source: AOL

Unfair dismissal: Has your employer broken the law?

Being dismissed unfairly can be traumatic, not to mention financially damaging. It is well-known that most people employed in the U.S. are subject to "dismissal at will." However, this doesn't mean that your employer has unrestricted freedom to fire you. In some circumstances, an employer may act unlawfully in dismissing someone. This is called "wrongful dismissal," "wrongful termination" or "wrongful discharge."
Just being dismissed unfairly isn't enough to claim wrongful dismissal. You must have been fired for a reason specifically deemed unlawful. Situations that may constitute wrongful dismissal vary among states, but here's an overview.
  • Retaliation: Your job is terminated in response to your taking steps protected by public policy in your state. For example, reporting your employer for illegal activity, making a legal claim against your employer, whistle blowing or refusing sexual advances.
  • Discrimination: Your dismissal is motivated by something such as age, race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, religious belief or disability.
  • Breach of explicit or implied contract overriding dismissal-at-will status: For example, your employment contract or the human-resources handbook might set out a specific disciplinary procedure that must be followed before dismissal.
  • Character defamation: The basis of the termination was an untruthful allegation made maliciously by the employer, which makes it hard for you to find new work.
  • Breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing: Your employer dismisses you to avoid dealing with you in good faith or in a fair, ethical and honest way. For example, to avoid giving you a promised raise. This is not recognized in all states.
  • Constructive discharge: You're forced to resign because your employer has made working conditions intolerable.
What you can do
If you think you have been wrongfully dismissed, you can pursue a legal claim against your employer. In some states, this needs to be done directly against the employer as a civil lawsuit, whereas in others you need to file a claim through the government agency responsible for labor laws. If you think you have been wrongfully dismissed due to discrimination, it's normally necessary to make an initial complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
If your employer is found to have wrongfully dismissed you, the solutions depend on the state in question. In some cases, it might be a set penalty, and in others the company might be required to reinstate you or pay damages for your lost wages and expenses. In some circumstances, the employer might have to pay additional punitive damages.
Labor law varies significantly from state to state. In addition to finding out whether you have actually been wrongfully dismissed, it's important to consider the chance of making a successful claim, because wrongful dismissal can be hard to prove. You can find information about each state's labor laws via the federal Department of Labor and your state's labor department; however, you may want to consult an employment lawyer about unfair dismissal in your state.

Source: careerbuilder

How to Conquer the First Impression

When you walk into an interview, remember this: It only takes 30 seconds to make a lasting impression.

Research has shown that the first impression you make on an interviewer really sticks. In one study, untrained subjects were shown 20- to 32-second videotaped segments of job applicants greeting their interviewers. When the subjects rated the applicants on attributes like self-assurance and likeability, their assessments were very similar to the interviewers' -- who had spent more than 20 minutes with each applicant.

Fortunately, there are some actions you can take to help master the first impression:
Few things give a worse impression than showing up late for an important meeting. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview in case you have trouble finding the office.

But earlier isn't necessarily better. If you arrive more than 15 minutes early and beeline for the reception area, your interviewer might feel rushed and you might appear desperate, according to Emily Post's book "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." If you arrive early, go to the restroom to freshen up or have an espresso and muffin at a nearby coffee shop.

Ideally, you should check in five to 10 minutes early, and always be courteous and professional to everyone you meet -- you never know how much influence the receptionist may have on the hiring decision.

Like it or not, people make judgments on appearances, so it's important to arrive at the interview looking like a seasoned professional. But if you dress too formally, you'll look stuffy, and if you dress too casually, the interviewer may think you're not serious about the job.

Never wear anything sloppy, tight or revealing to an interview. High-quality, tailored business suits are always appropriate for both men and women. And don't forget the details: Make sure your shoes and any other accessories are clean and polished. Clothes may make the (wo)man, but hair and hygiene are crucial. You never want an interviewer to smell you before they see you, so always bathe the morning of the interview, use a good-quality bath soap and deodorant, and avoid wearing perfume or cologne.

Be sure your hair is clean and well-groomed -- nothing spiky or wild -- and keep your makeup minimal. Cover any tattoos, and limit visible piercings to one in each earlobe.

According to Emily Post's book, your grip speaks volumes. Offer a limp hand and your partner will think you're hesitant or meek. Give a bone-crunching squeeze and you can appear overly enthusiastic or domineering -- and it hurts! But when you shake with a medium-firm grip, you convey confidence and authority.

Extend your hand and grip when the webs of your palms touch. Then, pump your hand a couple of times.

Body language
Don't underestimate the importance of your posture and subtle movements. A study by Albert Mehrabian of UCLA found that 55 percent of communication is received from body language.

To ensure your body language signals your confidence, sit up straight with your shoulders back. Avoid crossing your legs and don't adopt a casual pose -- even if your interviewer does.

Even if you're nervous, try not to fidget. Don't play with your jewelry, twirl your hair or cross your arms, and try to maintain eye contact with the interviewer. If staring straight into the interviewer's eyes makes you uncomfortable, look at the bridge of his or her nose instead -- it looks like you're still making eye contact, but might be less distracting.

Source: careerbuilder

How To Bomb A Sure-Thing Interview

The best (and only) verbs you want to hear on the job hunt are "finding," "interviewing" and "getting." Unfortunately, it's not always that simple-even when the stars align and you think you're an overqualified shoe-in.
And yes, I'm speaking from experience. I thought I was a sure thing for a position, but when it came time to interview, I bombed the most basic questions of all.
Here are my worst offenses. Learn from my mistakes and follow these tips so you'll have a success story to tell.

Mistake No 1: I couldn't describe myself
You'd think I'd know myself, since I am myself. Yet for some reason, when that question emerged in the interview, I froze and struggled to think of any identifying features that might set me apart.
Avoid this mistake by drafting an elevator pitch that sums up who you are as a professional and as a human being. Here are a few good examples to start with. Just add your own details and a life experience or two:
"For the past 15 years, I was a supervisor at ABC Manufacturing. You might wonder why I want to move into sales at this stage in my career, but much of my time has been spent negotiating with vendors and meeting with CEOs. Although the industries might be different, the skills are the same."
"I just received my B.A. in marketing with a 3.9 GPA. My courses in account management give me a strong foundation to begin my career with XYZ company, and I'm excited to learn from the industry leaders here." (Examples from CNN.)
Don't talk about your current job or your husband (that was my mistake). Instead, tell a clear, compelling story that highlights significant experiences in your life that led you to the moment when you're sitting in front of the interviewer answering this question. If you can creatively incorporate some personal history and humor, all the better.

Mistake No. 2: I did the hard prep, but not the easy prep
When I sat down to interview for this social media position at a large radio company, I had statistics, figures and ideas for growth for the social media of the company I was interviewing with-and I was excited to share my ideas. But during our small chit chat and socializing, it became clear that I hadn't actually listened to the radio station.
When it comes to interview preparation, start small and build up. Play around on the company website. Test out their products (if applicable) and talk about the pros and cons of the company with a close friend. Prepare a small summary about what the company does and who their primary market is-and then get some experience with that primary market by role-playing as a customer.

Mistake No. 3: I wasn't a smooth player
Hopefully you've gotten beyond feeling super-nervous midway through the interview. But even if you are comfortable, there's still an ultimate interviewee level known as the "smooth player."
No, this is not someone who brings baked goods to the interview. Smooth players are confident and put-together interview candidates who ask game-changing questions like, "If you were forced to say yes or no to hiring me right now, what would be your biggest hesitation in offering me this position?" and "Can you offer me a tour of the office?"
Smooth players do not awkwardly shake hands and thank the interviewer for their time.
When the end of the interview approaches, assess how you think you did. If you feel strongly that you're still the prime candidate, ask any one of the following analytical questions (or more, if appropriate) to be seen as a slick character:
  • "May I have a tour of the office?"
  • "If you were forced to say yes or no to hiring me right now, what would be your biggest hesitation in offering me this position?"
  • "May I ask why you are interested in me for this position?"
  • "What are the most important characteristics you are looking for in the person you plan to hire for this position?"
And if you need more ideas about questions to ask, don't forget the basics like "What would a typical work day look like for someone in this position?"
What's the worst thing you've done during an interview? Did it cost you the job?

Source: AOL

I want you back: Getting rehired by a former employer

People leave jobs for a variety of reasons: They find better opportunities, they're offered higher salaries or they get fired or laid off, to name a few. But what if a job seeker wants to go back to a former employer? While it may seem out of reach, there are benefits to considering a previous place of work, such as already understanding the company culture and how the business functions.

If you're not sure where to look next in your job search, a look back at a past company may be the answer. Here's how to get rehired by a former employer:

Consider why and how you left before asking if you want to return
If you're considering a former employer for a job, will your old boss be interested in hearing from you? "The answer is, it depends on who you are  -- [your] skills, capabilities, etc. -- and the manner in which you left," says Mitchell D. Weiss, adjunct professor of finance at the University of Hartford and author of "Life Happens: A Practical Guide to Personal Finance from College to Career."
"I've owned and run commercial-finance companies, and I've served as an executive officer at several banks," Weiss says. "I've also hired back former employees. Not only were the folks we rehired competent and productive employees while they were on board the first time, but they also conducted themselves honorably and responsibly on the way out -- they transitioned their responsibilities, cleaned up outstanding issues and made themselves available for follow-up questions. In contrast, those who attempted to leverage the offer they had in hand for a counteroffer that beat it were invited to leave -- the sooner, the better."

Proceed with professionalism and keep an open mind
If you're convinced you should rejoin your old team, where should you start? "You will need to reconnect with former co-workers and bosses to let them know that you are interested in coming back," says Cheryl E. Palmer, career coach and owner of Call to Career. "It's a good idea to start by putting out feelers to see if there are any positions that open that you would be qualified for. You can also take a former co-worker out to lunch to re-establish the relationship."
Palmer also suggests setting up a networking meeting with a former boss to see how open the company would be to your return. "In addition, you can join any alumni groups that the company has on LinkedIn to reconnect with people in the organization."

Offer proof they'll be better off with you on the team
Whether or not you think a company will want to take you back, it will likely come down to what makes good business sense. "Regarding how to return to your old company and why they would be willing to take you back, it is actually a very simple proposition, and it doesn't matter how ugly the separation may have been," says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of "The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide."
"Offer a solution to a problem that no one else has solved and one which is both visible and important to the company," Cohen says. "You have an advantage. Having worked there once before, you know their needs and challenges as well as what resources may or may not be available. In a world where companies and bosses are struggling for answers, imagine the relief to be delivered one with few, if any, strings attached. An even better option -- show them how you will generate immediate guaranteed revenue and that you will do so legally and without creating conflict with your former colleagues. This is a crowd pleaser. It will get you rehired."
Returning to a former employer is possible. It can be a good business decision for the company and a smart career move for you if you can prove that the relationship will be beneficial for everyone.

Source: msn.careerbuilder

How high-school decisions can affect your career

High school is a time of pep rallies, prom and teenage rebellion. It's also a time when students start making decisions about getting into college or pursuing postsecondary education. Yet perhaps they should be thinking even further ahead to their careers.

While many people consider college as preparation for the real world, the decisions made during high school can have the biggest impact on their career success.

"The problem for many students, and even parents, is that they fail to think of high-school education as an investment good," according to the book "College Majors Handbook with Real Career Paths and Payoffs."

"Despite the fact that they can receive a free high-school education that will cost taxpayers an average of about $40,000 over four years, nearly one in three students won't graduate ... The gap in labor market success between those who choose to finish high school and those who drop out is large and has risen sharply over time."

The book provides insight into the four key issues that need to be addressed in high school to help set students up for career success.

1. Basic skills and economic success
According to the book, access to employment has become strongly connected with the attainment of basic skills such as reading, writing and mathematics. "Firms are more likely to employ and try to retain and pay a higher annual salary to those college graduates with the strongest basic skills than to those graduates with the same degree level but lower basic skill proficiencies."
The book notes that workers who have high basic skills levels benefit in a variety of ways, including:
  • Increased chance of being hired
  • More hours of work over the year
  • Higher hourly or annual earnings
  • Increased benefits offerings, such as health insurance
  • Greater employment stability
  • Better upward mobility
  • Increased chances of employer-supported training
"The most rapidly expanding industries in the U.S. are dominated by occupations that require strong basic skills. If students fail to develop these skills by the end of high school, they will essentially be locked out of access to the best employment opportunities."

2. Investing in work experience
Many high-school students consider an after-school job as a way to make some extra cash. Yet working during high school pays off in many other ways.
"The gains to students working in high school go well beyond the earnings they generate for themselves and their families," the book notes. "Working at an early age is a developmental activity akin to developing basic skills or occupational proficiencies in a school setting."
According to research cited in the book, high-school seniors who worked 20 hours per week had annual earnings as young adults that were 25 to 30 percent higher than those seniors who didn't work. Much of this is due to the soft skills learned on the job. The skills that are developed -- willingness to learn, respectfulness toward other workers or supervisors, strong work ethic, capability to communicate effectively, the ability to follow simple work rules such as punctuality -- are all characteristics that employers look for in job candidates.

3. Deciding to pursue higher education
The decisions high-school students make about their education cause a ripple effect throughout the rest of their lives. If a high-school student doesn't have a foundation of basic skills, it can cause him to fall behind, making him more likely to drop out of high school. If he drops out of high school, he won't have access to a college education. If he doesn't receive a college education, he may have a harder time finding employment or securing higher-paying jobs.
Pay levels can also vary based on how much higher learning is obtained. As the book explains, graduates of two-year degree programs earn 22 percent more per year than high-school graduates with no degree. Bachelor's degree holders earn about 66 percent more per year than their high-school graduate counterparts.

4. Developing and investing in occupational skills
Although majors are determined once a student is in college, decisions such as the kinds of pre-college courses to take or the type of college to pursue are made during the high-school years. And as the book notes, "The choice that students make about their major field of study is a key component of developing their career plan."
The book points out that due to the changing economic landscape, certain majors offer more post-college opportunities than others. Companies are increasingly seeking workers with high-level occupational skills or those with skills in newly emerging fields. According to the book, "The choice undergraduates make about their major will have widely varying impacts on the kinds of careers they can pursue after graduation. For example, students who choose one of the very demanding engineering majors will find they have a much broader array of employment as well as educational options, than say, a student who chooses a social sciences or humanities field."
Students who pay close attention to the decisions made in high school -- from elective courses to after-school activities – will find that it helps them in not only their pursuit of postsecondary education but in their pursuit of a fulfilling career.

Source: msn.careerbuilder

4 Ways To Use Twitter To Find A Job

Dan Finnigan loves Twitter. As the CEO of Jobvite, a six-year-old company in Burlingame, Calif., he sells software that enables companies to identify and source job candidates through their employees’ social networks. Jobvite works through Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter, so those social media sites are essential to Finnigan’s business. But he also strongly believes that Twitter is gaining on LinkedIn as a great tool for finding employment.

Part of his conviction stems from a yearly survey Jobvite does that polls Americans about how they use social networks in their job searches. While job seekers are increasingly using social networks to look for work, Finnigan is especially impressed by the growth in Twitter use. Last year 26% of job seekers said they were using Twitter to find work. This year, the number jumped to 34%. Finnigan is convinced that percentage will continue to expand.

Even though I write about careers and leadership for Forbes, where we promote the use of social media to spread our journalism, I am embarrassed to say that I have been in the dark about how people use Twitter in their job searches. Dan was generous enough to share his wisdom. I’ve boiled down his advice to four points.

1. Create a Twitter account that showcases your professional profile. Finnigan recommends putting together your Twitter account as though it were your online business card. I realize I’ve failed to do this myself. When I created my account a couple of years ago, a friend helped me compose this clever-sounding line: “Old media hand swimming with the new tides.” But Dan points out that I would be better served by saying something like, “Senior Editor at Forbes where I cover careers and leadership.” I’ve also squandered the profile by including only Forbes.com instead of the link to my personal contributor page.
If you are not a journalist, but, say, an accountant, the same rules apply. Make your account information as specific and professional as possible, and on your profile, link to your own blog if you have one.
One of the reasons I have failed to do these things is my confusion about whether I am using Twitter for personal or professional reasons. What if I’m tweeting something about my teenager’s upcoming jazz combo performance? That’s not information I want to send to my professional network. Dan recommends an obvious trick that was lost on me: I can create another account for my non-professional interests. If you have a hobby, like raising English bulldogs or running triathlons, you can make an account that is devoted to that purpose, and keep your professional Twitter feed separate. Or simply maintain two accounts, one for personal and one for professional use.

2. Start following people and institutions. Figure out who the relevant people are in your field and become their follower. I admit to doing a poor job of this as well. It would be wise of me to pay attention to editors at the publications and websites where I might want to work someday and to become their follower.
Once you have identified some key people, Twitter makes it easy for you to find more people to follow. Click on the “who to follow” tab and you will get a list of people and institutions followed by the people you already follow.
Finnigan advises that if I were an accountant instead of a journalist, I would think about companies where I wanted to work, and look for accounting professionals there. Another way to find folks to follow is to go to LinkedIn and use the “advanced search” option, which allows you to search for people using keywords including company, title and geographic location. Note to self: Spend some time increasing the number of people I follow.
Once you’ve built up a good roster of people to follow, start retweeting (forwarding) intriguing tweets by those people. You can also write notes to them, using the “@” symbol and their Twitter handle. This is a good way to build relationships.

3. Create content. This is the one thing I do, albeit inconsistently. Of course I create content for a living, so it makes sense for me to tweet out my articles. This is easy, since Forbes has a Twitter button directly on my contributor page. But I am poor at tweeting content other than my own. This is an important part of being a strong Twitter user. I should be reading widely and tweeting links I find intriguing.
If I were an accountant, I could also tweet out interesting observations and articles. For instance, I might have just read about transitioning from client-server financial software to cloud-based software. I should tweet that article to my followers. Or if I worked in energy, I could tweet an article about natural gas extraction. The more interesting and relevant your tweets, the more likely you are to attract followers.

4. Send private notes to potential mentors. This may be the toughest tip to follow, since it requires maximum confidence. But a great way to find a job is to reach out directly to someone in your field and let them know that you are looking for new opportunities. It’s best to do this after you have interacted with someone through retweets or responses to tweets they have made.
Finnigan has experienced this himself. “If someone reaches out to me out of the blue, I ignore that,” he says. “But if someone has said, two or three times, ‘I watched your talk at South by Southwest and thought you were dead on,’ or ‘Here’s another article you might like on the same topic,’ and that allows me to make my presentations better, I might be receptive.” Much of Twitter’s strength is based on the assumption that participants will reciprocate.
An example of someone getting a job using Twitter: At Jobvite, the head of design was being followed by a number of people, including a designer in Canada. The design chief writes a blog, gives talks, holds meet-ups and publishes a lot of content. After following the design chief for some time, the Canadian designer sent him a message, using the “@”symbol, saying, “I like what you’ve been saying on Twitter and I agree with your approach. If you’re ever looking to hire someone, give me a shout. I’d love to work for you.” The design chief was indeed looking to hire a designer and wound up giving the job to the Canadian.

Source: forbes

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