10 Tricks to Prepare for Your Next Job Interview

One of the top reasons for not getting hired is unpreparedness. When a company brings in a job candidate for an interview, they want to see that you have done your research on the company, and that you're prepared for what you'll be asked. If you truly want the job, doing the legwork to prepare for the interview should be no problem. Use these tips and tricks to help you maximize your chances of getting the job.

1. Bring a list of references and contacts. Often during a job interview, you'll be asked to fill out an official application, and you'll likely need to list out your references and phone numbers or addresses of previous employers. Rather than waste time digging in your phone to find the information you need, come prepared. Make a list of job references and personal contacts, along with their emails and phone numbers.

2. Look at LinkedIn. You can learn a lot from LinkedIn, not only about a company, but also about the person who's interviewing you. If you know ahead of time who your interviewer will be, look her up on LinkedIn. Knowing a little bit about her can help you guide the conversation and show you did your homework.

3. Come with questions. Many job seekers get paralyzed when they're asked if they have any questions. It's certainly not a requirement, but coming prepared with a few well thought-out questions about either the company or the position can make you seem inquisitive and interested.

4. Follow the company's news. If the human resources manager mentions the company's recent acquisition and you stare at her blankly, she might consider you less deserving of the role than another candidate who has read up on the (major) company news and can speak on it intelligently. It pays to read the company's News tab, and certainly makes you look smarter.

5. Follow your interviewer on Twitter before the interview. Not only will this give you another opportunity to connect with her, but you might also learn something useful for your interview. And you can flatter her by mentioning something she tweeted. Everyone likes it when people pay attention to what we say.

6. Bring extra copies of your resume. Sometimes you'll be interviewed by more than one person, so having extra copies can ensure everyone sees your skills firsthand.

7. Get directions in advance. Especially if you have to navigate the inside of a parking deck and multi-story office building. The last thing you want to do is waste valuable time trying to find parking and then locate the floor your interview is on, only to arrive late and out of breath.

8. Bring money for parking. Speaking of that parking situation: you never know when you'll need quarters for the meter or bills for paid parking. Stressing out because you don't have cash on you can affect your interview negatively.

9. Be nice to everyone you meet. From the parking attendant to the secretary, you never know who might have influence with the hiring manager. The last thing you want getting back to her is how you snapped at the receptionist upon arriving for your interview.

10. Follow up by email and snail mail. We're so accustomed to instant communications, so either the same day or the day after your interview, send a quick email to your interviewer thanking her. This is also your opportunity to ask any questions you didn't ask in the interview. You should also consider sending a snail mail thank-you card. These are rare these days, so they are always positively received.
You'll likely be going on several job interviews in your lifetime, so learn from your mistakes and find what works best for you.

Source: usnews

Jobseekers: Beware of Background Checks

So, you swear you have nothing to hide? That's a good thing these days, because more likely than not, your potential employer will be digging into your past.

     According to a study released last winter by the Society for Human Resource Management, an astounding 80 percent of HR professionals say they conduct criminal background checks to screen potential employees. That's up 26 percent from 1996, an increase driven in part by increased concern over workplace violence after the 2001 terrorist attacks.    

     Who can blame employers for wanting to be careful? Two Wal-Mart employees were recently convicted of fondling children in their store and both were registered sex offenders. Wal-Mart has announced it will now subject all new employees to a criminal background check a costly move for a company that Hoover's Online estimates has 1.5 million employees.


     Know your rights:

     When employers run their own background checks on applicants, they can commit errors that could cost you the job. By typing in the wrong Social Security number or confusing you with a candidate with a similar name, employers conducting background checks could dig up a whole host of information that isn't yours and some employers won't ever tell you why you didn't get the job.    

     According to the Federal Trade Commission's Fair Credit Reporting Act, employers must inform you and get your written permission before they conduct a criminal or credit check. If something pops up on your report that makes an employer decide not to hire you, the employer is required to notify you of what's on the report.


     Check your history first:

     Just imagine if you were applying for a job and your employer received a sheet brimming with debts and convictions that you never accrued. You can contact credit agencies to work out the dispute, but the fastest way to solve the problem is to prevent it altogether.    

     Experts recommend checking your credit report yearly to catch any errors or identity theft early. Now, job seekers can check their credit and criminal history, then pass it directly on to their potential employer. Job site CareerBuilder.com offers SureCheck, a way for job seekers to verify their criminal, civil and address history -- and their Social Security number -- then securely display it to employers who request access.   

     Candidates can also verify their education and employment histories, which may be especially useful to employers in light of recent reports that up to 60 percent of people fib on their resumes. Coming in with pre-screened background and reference checks gives job seekers an extra edge by ensuring the potential employer's trust.

Source: careerbuilder

How To Find A Mentor When You're Over 40

work mentor over 40

When you hear about someone looking for a mentor, you probably think about young people seeking an older and wiser, senior person to show them the ropes. Today, the definition of mentorship includes people at all ages and experience levels; mentors aren't just for twenty-somethings anymore.

If you're in your 40s, can a mentor help you? University of Georgia professor of industrial-organizational psychology, Lillian Eby, Ph.D, noted, "Obtaining a mentor is an important career development experience for individuals.... Research indicates that mentored individuals perform better on the job, advance more rapidly within the organization, and report more job and career satisfaction."

No matter your age, it can't hurt to find someone who will encourage and you in your professional goals, help build your confidence, remind you what you're good at and suggest ways for you to improve.

How can you find a mentor in mid-career? Unlike young interns, fresh out of school, you'll probably need to do a little more work to identify the right mentor for you. Follow these tips to get on the right path to a positive mentoring relationship:

1. Identify your goals and mentoring needs.

You don't want to be the "lost soul" seeking guidance and direction. At this stage of your career, you'll want to narrow down your targets and decide what you want next. Until you wrap your mind about your goals, it will be difficult to identify a mentor who can successfully help you accomplish them.

2. Know what you offer.

You should know a thing or two about what you offer. A mentoring relationship should be mutually productive, or even reciprocal. You have something to offer a mentor in return for his or her ideas; make sure to solidify this in your mind before you seek someone to partner with you.

3. Create a plan.

Before you ask someone to meet with you on a regular basis, plan out some discussion topics. While people tend to enjoy talking about themselves and sharing their own expertise, be sure to make it clear you envision the meetings and relationship will be a two-way street, with each party learning and contributing.

4. Don't limit yourself to mentors inside your organization.

While it would be great to learn from a mentor in your workplace, consider working with someone who is outside the four walls of your office. Be sure to cast a wide net for your ideal mentor. Try to find someone who will energize you with ideas and be able to help you realize your own potential. Don't forget to check with your alumni association. Sometimes colleges and universities have formal mentoring programs, and you may be able to sign up to be matched with a suitable contact.

5. Recognize that mentors come in all ages.

When you identify topics where you need mentoring, you may realize that you will benefit from a mentoring relationship with someone younger than you. This type of mentorship has become very common. The Wall Street Journal reported that companies institute programs to pair their more senior workers with younger employees who understand "technology, social media and the latest workplace trends." Spending time with younger workers may be just the thing to help energize you with new viewpoints and new skills.

6. Ramp up your networking.

If finding a mentor isn't a slam dunk, be sure to increase your networking efforts, both in person and online. If you haven't been attending professional meetings or mixers, now is the time to start. If you've been thinking of volunteering for a cause you believe in, get started! These opportunities to meet people in person could expand your pool of potential mentors.

However, don't forget virtual networking is a great way to meet new people, too. Consider jumping into social networking if you haven't already done so. You may be surprised by how generous your networking contacts who don't even know you in person can be when it comes to providing support, encouragement and mentoring. With Skype and online technology, your mentor can be halfway around the world, or in your own neighborhood.

Remember, we are all busy. If you want to work with someone, you need to follow up. It's up to you to keep in touch, schedule (or re-schedule) meetings and make times to touch base to discuss topics of interest to both mentor and mentee.

7. Give back.

Look for opportunities to serve as a mentor to other people. It's a great way to continue to learn and grow, and it is always nice to take a leadership role and to help someone else succeed.

8. Be appreciative.

While most people who agree to advise you and boost your career are not looking for trinkets or gifts, it can't hurt to consider donating to your mentor's favorite charity, sponsoring him or her if he's raising money for a cause, or agreeing to volunteer with him or her at a charitable event. Most people will appreciate these gestures.

Source: AOL

Four Big Lies Recruiters Tell Job Applicants

By now, we should all know that it’s dangerous to lie on a resume. But you know what? In the job search conversation between employers and candidates, a bit of fibbing sometimes happens on the employer side, too.

Often, there’s no ill will intended. While there are a few bad apples in the bunch (as with the rest of humanity), most recruiters and HR folks are motivated by the desire to put the right people into the jobs they have to fill. The trouble is that overwork and overly large candidate pools can thwart good intentions -- so those little white lies meant to spare a job seeker’s feelings end up not doing the candidate any favors.

We asked some recruiting experts to name the biggest lies recruiters tell, so you can spot the untruths and be ready to deal with them.

1. “We’ll keep you in mind for future opportunities”:

Recruiters meet a lot of people. And most of them have huge candidate databases. Often when they speak this untruth, they mean it: They are keeping your resume on file. Just know that they’re doing so in a gigantic filing cabinet, and that out of sight often means out of mind.

How to Handle: 

Don’t assume that “no” means “never.” Once you’ve started a conversation with a recruiter, don’t let the conversation end just because you’re not offered one job. Stay in touch via professional networking sites, and stay abreast of goings-on at the company so you can be aware of opportunities before they’re posted.

Just remember that there’s a fine line between “staying in touch” and “stalking.” So contact the recruiter only when you have a genuine reason to do so. And as with all professional contacts, don’t just look for favors to ask -- also look for ways to be of service.

2. “Salary depends on experience.”

Usually, the company has a ballpark figure in mind. If a recruiter asks for your salary requirements or expectations, he’s trying to see whether you’re in that ballpark.

How to Handle: 

In general, it’s better to wait until a job offer is on the table before moving onto salary negotiations -- but recruiters sometimes use salary requirements as a way to thin out the candidate pool.

In this case, your best defense is having done thorough research. Make sure you know what’s competitive for the position, the industry and the region, combined with what’s appropriate for someone with your background. That way, you can answer the question in terms of what your research has uncovered (not in terms of what your specific needs are), and then you can add something like, “But of course a conversation about salary makes more sense when we’re discussing a job offer.” Don’t low-ball your number, but perhaps let the recruiter know that you’ll weigh non-salary compensation (vacation days and other perks, for example) with the actual salary offer.

3. “You’ll hear from us either way.”

The truth is that you might never hear -- or you might not hear when you expect to. The reasons vary, but a lack of communication after an interview can indicate indecisiveness on the part of the hiring team.

How to Handle: 

Tackle this lie pre-emptively. Always leave a job interview knowing when you can expect to hear from the hirers. That way, you won’t torture yourself wondering whether it’s too soon to call them back. If they say they’ll get back to you by next Friday and they don’t, send a friendly email to check in. You can even use this check-in email as a chance to continue selling yourself as a candidate. If you’ve had any further thoughts about issues raised in the interview, now is a great time to touch on them again. If they need more time, give it to them -- but be firm and friendly about following up.

As for a company that never follows up with you after an interview -- even to say “no thank you” -- that could be a sign that something is wrong at the company. Smart employers know that treating candidates as well as customers is the right way to do business.

4. “We aren’t finished interviewing yet."

Sometimes this is true. Sometimes this means you're the company's "Plan B" candidate. But this statement makes it sound as if the company has at least settled on a solid group of contenders, and that's not always the case. Sometimes recruiters use this line as a stalling tactic when they’re still looking for someone more perfect than anyone in their current candidate pool.

How to Handle:  

Look at this statement as an opportunity to prove yourself. If your post-interview wait time is being extended because the hiring team is “reviewing other candidates,” ask questions like, “Do you have any specific questions or concerns about my ability to handle any aspect of the job? I’d love to address them and demonstrate that I’m the perfect candidate.”

Every interaction with a recruiter or hiring manager is an opportunity to persuade them that you’re the right person for the job. If you’re getting mixed messages, asking direct questions and staying focused will help you understand what’s really going on.

Source: Monster

5 Ways that Baby Boomers Can Overcome Age Discrimination

You probably know that baby boomers are having a difficult time finding work in this economy. But it's worse than you might think. In a new report by my company and Beyond.com called "The Multi-Generational Job Search," we compared job search behavior among a total of 5,268 boomers, Gen X and Gen Y workers. And we found that 25 percent of boomers have a job search of over a year, compared to just 17 percent of Gen X and only 10 percent of Gen Y.

From what I've seen, many employers unfairly tar baby boomers as being irrelevant, lacking up-to-date skills and being too expensive to hire. A whopping 65 percent of Boomers feel like they suffer from age discrimination, followed by only 22 percent of Gen X and 21 percent of Gen Y. So what can the over 50 worker do? Here are some tips:

1. Become adept at social media.
One of the best ways to become more relevant is to learn the tools that younger job seekers are using. Even though in our study it showed that 29 percent of boomers are using social media in their job search, slightly more than even younger generations, but more boomers could be ensuring that they stay relevant by embracing social media networks, especially LinkedIn.

2. Don't list everything on your resume.
Instead of promoting your thirty years of work experience, trim your resume down the last 15 years. Put your greatest achievements at the top because studies show, on average, recruiters spend less than ten seconds on each resume.
3. Network as much as you can.
Older workers should tap their network as a competitive advantage in their job search. They have been around the workforce longer so they know more people and people lead to jobs. Use your LinkedIn network, your offline contacts and family and friends to find out what jobs are available. Also, senior level jobs are rarely advertised. You usually have to have a contact in order to get your resume seen.
4. Consider temp work.
Another way to find employment as you age is to contact local temp agencies that can help place you in companies based on your skills. Once employers see how valuable you are, it will be easier to convince them to hire you full-time.
5. Start a consulting business.
If you're unemployed, a good way to keep your skills fresh is to consult. As a consultant, years of experience and track record will be a major asset, helping you land contracts. Instead of applying for jobs at companies, pitch them. Find different ways that companies can leverage your skills and constantly market yourself so people know that you exist and what you can do.

Source: AOL

Six Tips to Get the Interview

Be Proactive Before and After You Send Your Resume

You find a promising job listing online. Excited, you send a customized resume and tailored cover letter and wait for a response. Six weeks later, you're still waiting, your enthusiasm has waned, and you've concluded your resume has fallen into a black hole.

A proactive approach to your job search can improve your chances of landing interviews. These six tips will help maximize your success.

1. Make Contact Before Sending Your Resume
Unless you're responding to an ad that requests "no phone calls," try to contact the hiring manager before you send your resume. Even if you don't know the name of the person handling the search, you can do a bit of investigation to locate the correct person, if you know the employer.

Once you get the person on the phone, be brief. The purpose of your call is to express enthusiasm about the opportunity, and that you can positively contribute to the team. Be prepared with an elevator pitch about your qualifications and the ways you could benefit the employer. Keep the focus on the employer, not you.

If you don't get to speak with the hiring manager, find out who the recruiter is in charge of hiring for the position as well as the correct spelling of his name.

2. End Your Cover Letter with a Promise of Action Conclude your letter with something like, "I will follow up with you in a few days to discuss the possibility of an interview. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me at ______." If you say you will follow up, make sure you do.

3. Follow Up Quickly on All Resumes You Send

Follow up within three to five business days. You can follow up by phone, or by email if replying to a blind ad or the ad specifies no calls.

When following up by phone, try saying something like, "Hi, my name is ______ and I submitted my resume for your ______ opening. I'm extremely interested in this opportunity, and I just wanted to touch base with you on how I can benefit your operation..."

If you are following up by email, your message should be brief. Here's an example:

Dear Name (or "Hiring Manager" if name is unknown):

I recently applied for your ______ opening, and I just wanted to follow up to make sure my resume was received. My strong background in ______, ______ and ______ appears to be an excellent match to the qualifications you are seeking, and I am very interested in your opportunity. I realize you may not yet be at the interview stage, but I am more than happy to answer any preliminary questions you may have, and I can be reached at ______. Thank you for your time and kind consideration.



4. Be Purposeful in Your Subsequent Follow-Up Contacts

If several weeks pass after your initial follow-up without word from the employer, initiate another call or email. Your purpose for following up could be to find out if a timeline has been established for interviews or to leave an alternate contact number if you will be traveling. As always, be polite, professional and respectful.

5. Keep a Contact Log

Your follow-up attempts will be much easier if you keep a contact log of all positions to which you apply. Your log should include a copy of the ad for the position (don't rely on a job posting URL, as jobs can be removed from the Web), the file name of the resume and cover letter you sent, contact dates, names of hiring managers and a summary of information you gleaned during your contact with them.

6. Don't Be a Pest

Repeated follow-ups are tricky. Unless you are confident that you can walk the fine line between being persistent and becoming a pest, exercise restraint after your third or fourth follow-up contact. Don't give up hope if your follow-up efforts don't yield immediate results. Depending on the employer, industry, specific job and number of responses, the time between the application closing date and the day interview invitations are issued can be as long as several months.

Source: Monster

How to use a headhunter effectively

Some job seekers are reluctant to use a professional recruiter. Yet using a headhunter can give you a leg up, because he has inside information and the knowledge of jobs before they are advertised. Here is how you can work successfully with a headhunter.

Consider using a specialist: If you work in finance, find a headhunter who deals with finance folks all day long, as she will have a solid understanding of what you are talking about, what the prospective employer is looking for and how to coach you.

Be careful: Do not give out confidential information about yourself or your employer on the phone without having met the headhunter or knowing for which company he works. Also, find out how your headhunter works: If she shares résumés without asking the candidates first, that could be an issue.

Don't spread yourself too thin: Try to stick with a maximum of three headhunters. Headhunters may not be as willing to share your information if they know you're working with their competitors too. On the other hand, working with too many recruiters may give the impression that you're desperate.

Be prepared: Some candidates come to the interview late, badly dressed or with an outdated résumé, with the excuse of, "Yeah, but that is only because you are the headhunter. I would never do that for the real interview." This is not how you will motivate a headhunter to find you a job. Prepare for the headhunter meeting as you would for an interview.

Be honest: Just as with a prospective employer, don't try to hide anything or lie. If a headhunter finds out that a candidate is lying, he will likely stop the interview and may even blacklist the candidate. You should be completely transparent, and if there are bumpy parts in your career, your headhunter can help talk you through how to explain them to the prospective employer.

Like us or leave us: If you are not on the same wavelength as your headhunter, the headhunter is likely feeling the same way. You want to find someone with whom you feel comfortable going to bat for you. If you don't trust or like your recruiter, don't be afraid to keep looking.

Keep in touch: Even if you do not get the first job you applied for through a headhunter, that doesn't mean you won't get the next one. But remember that headhunters do have other clients, so you shouldn't be afraid to follow up if you haven't heard from them after some time. Remind them in a gentle yet persistent way every other week -- alternating between a phone call and an email.
A good headhunter can help you be more efficient in your job search and has valuable information that can help you succeed.

Source: careerbuilder

6 Career-Killing Email Mistakes

email tips spam

Email is a crucial communication tool, both at work and during job search. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to make a detrimental email mistake that has the potential to kill your career or bring your job search to a halt. Don't let these happen to you.  

1. Unprofessional email address.
No, HotMama@gmail.com is not an appropriate address to use to send your job search correspondence. In fact, it's probably dead-ending possible opportunities. Create a professional email account name for all professional interactions online. If possible, choose some version of your name, or your name combined with your professional title. For example, JohnSmithSales@gmail.com

2. Sending emails with too many links.
This isn't dangerous until you need to make sure your crucial email lands in someone's "in" box. Be aware: some companies have very sensitive spam filters that may identify emails with a lot of links as trash. If you use a fancy email signature including lots of links, it's not a bad idea to delete or simplify it when you apply for a job or when you try to touch base with a new networking contact. When your intended recipient doesn't receive your message, it certainly puts a damper on future communication!

3. Failing to respond.
How often do you check email from your phone and fail to file or mark it as an item to revisit later? In a busy day, it's too easy to see an email (even an important one) and plan to respond later, but forget to follow up. If you have a tendency to forget details and receive a lot of correspondence, make sure you review the your "seen" email at the end of each day so nothing gets lost.

4. Forgetting the attachment.
This doesn't sound like a fatal error, but when you've just applied for a job indicating how detail oriented you are, but forgot to attach your resume, it could be the end of the line for your application. Consider attaching documents before you compose the email so you'll never send an email saying, "see attachment" without the accompanying documentation.

5. Not monitoring your email inbox.
If your social networking notifications go to an email address you don't check, you could be missing opportunities. Be sure you know where those important messages will land, and if it isn't in email boxes you normally check, make a note to change the email or have them forwarded to an address you monitor closely.

6. Accidentally sending an email to the wrong person.
It happens. You use the touchpad on your Smartphone to select an email and reply to it, only to receive an immediate auto reply – from the wrong person! Oops – you realize your phone pulled up the wrong message. If you're lucky, the content you accidentally sent was non-confidential or neutral and a quick note saying you're sorry to have sent a misdirected email takes care of it. But, what if it was an email meant for a friend complaining about your boss – that went to your possible next boss? Can you say "career killer?"

How can you avoid this problem? Even when you're rushed and replying on the run, be sure to double check the TO: line of your email. Try to avoid composing emails on the run, or when you have only a few seconds to respond, since that will naturally make you less inclined to verify the recipient. If at all possible, consider waiting until you can use a computer or tablet (with a screen bigger than your Smartphone) to send highly sensitive or confidential emails.

Source: AOL

7 Lessons That Older Workers Should Learn From Generation Y

Generation Y is constantly criticized for having a poor work ethic, displaying a sense of entitlement, and having weak social skills. They are known to sit at the dinner table with their heads in their phones; they undervalue face-to-face communication. However, as someone who works with this generation and is a member of it (I'm 28), I've noticed Generation Y workers also possess traits and work habits that are incredibly useful -- and could help older workers' careers.

Here are 7 habits of Generation Y workers that could make older workers more successful.

1. They focus on work satisfaction, not the paycheck.
Studies are continuing to show that Gen Y cares less about money and more about being happy in their careers. They look for jobs that challenge, motivate and educate. They aren't interested in jobs that will only act as "jobs" and not further them mentally and emotionally. If you focus on work you enjoy, you'll likely be more productive and less stressed.

2. They are adept at multi-tasking.
You may find it annoying that they drive their cars while eating sandwiches, talking on their Bluetooth and making Fantasy Football trades. You may be mystified by how they check their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr accounts within seconds each morning. They are juggling more things both professionally and personally than any other generation. But this flexibility has enabled them to launch successful freelance careers and startups, an increasingly important skill as we move into a "gig" economy. The ability to juggle multiple gigs means that you'll be able to thrive in a 21st century economy and you won't have to be stuck in a job you hate.

3. They know how to be productive anywhere.
Young people know how to get their work done from coffee shops, planes or their homes. As more companies are reducing office space, being able to stay productive while working virtually makes you an asset to the team.

4. They are comfortable reaching out to top executives.
You may hate the fact that they don't seem to respect authority or the hierarchy; when you were entering the workplace, it was verboten to reach out to the head of the company. But not being intimidated by position or ranking means that they are more likely to establish relationships with powerful people who can boost their careers. As a result, they are more likely to get what they want out of the workplace.

5. They embrace connectivity.
Gen Y workers don't remember a time when you networked without social media. As a result, after they've chatted with someone at a meeting, they automatically connect -- over Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. They build relationships online -- which means they know about job opportunities first and have more contacts who can help them get jobs.

6. They're in love with their smartphones.
They use it for everything and it is a tool that enables them to multi-task, increase productivity, and stay in touch faster and more frequently. Mobile is becoming the new force in the economy, driving how companies and consumers affect it; those who don't embrace it will be left behind.

7. They are job hoppers.
Unlike the baby boomer generation, Gen Y expects to move from one employer to the next, in pursuit of better opportunities. They've seen their parents get laid off; they know that there is no such thing as company loyalty. They seize opportunities to grow their skills, which means they're much more likely to stay employable throughout their career.

Source: AOL

5 Worst-Case Interview Scenarios

You thought you were prepared for that interview. But sometimes even the best laid plans can't ward off unexpected disaster. Besides having a getaway car waiting to quickly whisk you away from an awkward situation, there are ways to overcome even the most embarrassing interview situations.
Certified career counselor Susan Guarneri says to keep in mind that you are only human, as are your interviewers, and everyone knows that stuff happens. When the unthinkable happens in an interview, what's most important is how you manage the situation.

Here are some suggestions on how to handle unforeseen interview mishaps.

You're Late.
Whether you overslept or your train stalled on the tracks, either way, you know you're going to be late for your interview.
Solution: "If you can see you're going to be late, immediately call ahead and let them know," Guarneri advises. That way you won't keep your interviewer waiting and you give them the chance to call the shots -- squeeze you in for a later appointment or reschedule for another day.

You Forgot Your Résumé Materials.
You grabbed your briefcase, but left your portfolio stuffed with your beautifully printed résumés, letters of recommendation and work examples sitting on your kitchen table.
Solution: "This can be easily handled if you planned ahead properly," Guarneri suggests. "Don't rely on just a paper résumé. Have your résumé available online somewhere, such as a blog, personal Web site or in your e-mail. Then it can be instantly retrieved from the interviewer's office."

You Have a Wardrobe Malfunction.
Somewhere between your house and the interviewer's office your smartly pressed suit ends up looking stupid. This happened to one of Guarneri's clients who was splashed by a passing cab right outside the building of the company with which he was going to interview.
Solution: Guarneri recommends continuing to your interview and briefly explaining what happened. Almost everyone has had a wardrobe malfunction occur at an inopportune time -- your interviewer will likely be empathetic to your mud speckled trousers.

You Forget the Name of the Person You're Interviewing With.
You're nervous during an interview and it's common for your mind to go blank.
Solution: If you didn't write it down on, don't see a nameplate on the desk, or can't read it off of certificates adorning the walls, don't fake it, Guarneri warns. Find an opportune time to ask the interviewer for his or her business card, by saying something like, "Before I forget, could have one of your business cards?"

The Interviewer is Distracted.
Another of Guarneri's clients entered an interview only to find the interviewer sitting with his head in his hands and didn't even look up when her client entered the room and sat down.
Solution: If they're not listening when you're talking, are they bored? Are they stressed with other projects?
"Pick up on the emotional cues the interviewer is delivering," Guarneri says. "Then recognize the situation and get their attention." In this case, her client said, "If this is a really bad time, I can come back."
It ended up the interviewer had just found out his dog had died. Although it wasn't the ideal situation, this gave her client, who has a dog, a chance to connect with the interviewer and they both began sharing dog stories. (He ended up getting the job with just that one interview.)
Guarneri says job seekers often stress when something goes wrong in an interview, but how you manage a challenging situation can say a lot about you. She had a client who flew to Buffalo, New York for an interview and was snowed in by a winter storm. He ended up arriving at the interview three days late, with a rumpled suit (the only clothes he had to wear for the three days) and mismatched shoes (he lost his shoes and had to buy new ones at a nearby thrift store). His perseverance and genuine interest in the position -- along with a healthy dose of humor about the whole situation -- landed him the job.

Source: careerbuilder

11 Surprising Ways to Hurt Your Career

While most career advice focuses on how to succeed, we can all learn valuable lessons by dissecting career failure as well. Workplace experts offer insights into some of the top ways workers undermine their own careers and jeopardize their career development.      

1. Not Taking Your Education Seriously

If you party too much in college and end up with a run-of-the-mill 2.5 GPA, you’ll be passed over for the best entry-level jobs, says New York City-based executive recruiter and coach Brian Drum of Drum Associates. Not finishing your master’s degree is another way to hurt your career development goals, adds Anne Angerman, a career coach with Denver-based Career Matters.

2. Not Having a Plan

In the current poor job market, you may have defaulted into a career you aren’t crazy about. That’s OK, as long as you develop career plans to get where you want to be. “Think of every job you take as a stepping-stone to your next job,” Drum advises.

3. Lying

You’ll lose professional credibility in a hurry if you lie, from exaggerating on your resume to getting caught fibbing on Facebook. “If someone calls in sick to work and then that evening posts a photo on Facebook of their extra day vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, that’s a big problem,” says corporate etiquette specialist Diane Gottsman of the Protocol School of Texas in San Antonio.

4. Sullying Your Reputation on Facebook or Twitter

Social media can harm your reputation in other ways, too. Personal posts and tweets from work -- when you’re supposed to be doing your job -- can tag you as a slacker. And the content of your posts or tweets can come back to haunt you as well -- you never know who might stumble upon those bachelor-party photos. “You need to assume that every boss and potential employer knows how to use Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, and post from the standpoint that everyone is watching even if in reality they’re not,” Gottsman says.

5. Not Respecting Professional Boundaries

Sharing TMI about your personal life with colleagues is unprofessional. “Your coworkers don’t want to hear about your fights with your husband,” Angerman says. On the other hand, if you’re ultraprivate and work with a chatty group, join the conversations occasionally so coworkers don’t resent you.

6. Gossiping, Slandering, Excessively Criticizing

If you publicly bash fellow employees, the boss, the board of directors or even your competitors, you’ll be perceived as negative at best and a troublemaker at worst. The ramifications can be broad and long term, Gottsman says. “Industries are tight,” she says. “You don’t want to be the one who started that rumor about the head of your industry.” As far as bad-mouthing competitors -- what if your company merges with a competitor, or you want to work for one someday?

7. Carrying on an Inappropriate Relationship with Your Boss

A romantic entanglement with a boss can do real damage to your ability to collaborate with peers. "When you get involved in a drama or in something unethical that can be brought out in the open, you're asking for trouble," Gottsman says. Even getting too chummy with a boss can cause jealousy (as well as other potential problems). When it comes to your boss, keeping things professional is always the wiser choice.

8. Not Controlling Your Alcohol Intake or Libido

Getting drunk at the office party or on a business trip damages your credibility. Ditto a romantic, ahem, “indiscretion” that your colleagues know about.

9. Job-Hopping Just for the Money

Job-hopping -- in moderation -- may not automatically disqualify you from a position. “But it gets to the point -- like if you have seven or eight jobs by the time you’re 35 -- that employers are not going to want to invest in you,” Drum says. Also, if you have leadership aspirations, keep in mind that the top dogs of many large corporations have been with those organizations for long periods, he says. Additionally, many companies have “last in, first out” layoff policies, which could leave you out of a job if you never stick around long enough to build tenure anywhere.

10. Losing Touch with References
You’ll kick yourself later if you leave a job without collecting personal contact information from colleagues who can serve as professional references for you in the future. “If you were forced to leave a job and you can’t ask your boss for a reference, hopefully you’ve built up some rapport with a colleague and can ask them,” Angerman says.

11. Leaving a Job on Bad Terms

Don’t become a lame duck when you’ve got one foot out the door, Drum says. “The employer only remembers about the last five minutes you were there,” he says. Give proper notice and don’t leave a mess behind. And by all means, do not make a huge dramatic production of it when you quit, complete with cursing, slandering and throwing things, Gottsman advises. “It’s very difficult to get another job when you’ve left destruction in your wake,” she says.

Source: Monster

Dos and Don'ts of Handling Interview Silence

You?re at a meeting or job interview. You?ve just answered a difficult question or made an important point and are met with an unmovable silence. You wait, growing a bit uneasy, but the room remains deafeningly still.

What would you do? According to executive coach Mary Kay Scarafile, most candidates rush in to fill the void by talking a blue streak. "Most people are so intimidated by the silence that they slip into the role of someone who has goofed and is trying to recover. They?ll do anything to end the silence, so they begin to qualify and expand on their previous answer hoping to hit on something that will fix the problem.

"This most often results in candidates offering more information than they need to - information that is irrelevant, even damaging, to them and their cause."

A senior advertising copywriter says her panic over an interviewer?s silence cost her her dream job.

"When asked whether I?d still work if I won a $10 million lottery, I said that if I worked for this agency, yes, because I would be doing what I loved. It was an honest answer and I thought a good one, but the creative director just stared at me suspiciously."

"After a while I got so nervous, I began conceding that there were a number of changes I would make if I won the money... It was all down hill from there."

Whenever you are confronted with silence, the best strategy is to refuse to be intimidated by it. Remember, some people use silence as a test to see how you respond under stress. And if you actually did goof, remaining calm will do more to defuse the situation than a stream of chatter.

Scarafile recommends that if you ever encounter the silent treatment, you should keep quiet yourself for a while and then ask very sincerely: "Is there anything else I can add to fill in on that point?"

This puts the responsibility back on the interviewer, and if you have said something that is troubling him or her, will give you a better idea of how to recoup.

Knowing what to say is important. Knowing when to stop is vital. To keep from talking yourself out of a job remember these Do?s and Don?ts.

Do your homework beforehand. Anticipate questions that are likely to be asked and prepare brief (two minutes or less) compelling answers to each.
Don?t spend time talking about dates, chronology or other information readily available on your resume unless asked to do so.
Do pause briefly before answering a difficult question to gather your thoughts. It not only helps you organize what you want to say, but will make you appear more sincere.
Do pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues from the others in the room to gauge their reaction and adjust your responses accordingly.
Do bring along a portfolio of successful projects (if applicable to your line of work) so that the interviewer can see and get a feel for the breadth of what you can do and ask about the projects which interest him or her.

Become comfortable with silence. Remember, eloquence is saying the proper thing... And then stopping!

Source: careerbuilder

8 tips for getting great job references

With more companies researching job candidates online and through social media, it may seem as if traditional references are less useful than they used to be. Have they become obsolete?

Far from it. For hiring managers, there's still no substitute for discussing you and your work with the people who know those topics best. References are a great way to distinguish professionals who have made a lasting impact on their employers from those who merely look good on paper.

Hiring managers hear lots of vague praise. A recommendation that seems halfhearted or generic can actually hurt your chances of receiving an offer. Ho-hum references can suggest not only that you haven't knocked the socks off previous employers, but also that you didn't put much thought into preparing your reference team.
While you can't control what your references say about you, you can set yourself up to receive powerful endorsements. Here are eight tips for doing so.

1. Don't wait. Start preparing your list of references before you send out your résumé. A last-minute scramble to put references together can lead to incoherent or irrelevant recommendations. Employers expect three to five references; it's a good idea to line up more than you need and then choose the most pertinent ones for each prospective position.
2. Choose wisely. Choose your references based on their ability to provide meaningful impressions about you, not the prestige of their title. A busy chief information officer who remembers you fondly but struggles to recall any of your specific achievements may be less helpful than a colleague who has worked alongside you on numerous projects.
3. Round out your team. Hiring managers understand that candidates in the early stages of their career may not have a deep pool of managers and colleagues from which to choose. Former professors or fellow members of a professional association can work fine as long as they know you well and have strong communication skills.
4. Ask first. No matter how confident you are about someone's appreciation for your work, never list a reference without permission. Even if the reference isn't miffed by your presumption, she's unlikely to deliver a convincing endorsement during a surprise phone call.
Note how long it takes each potential reference to respond to your request. If you don't hear back promptly, chances are a hiring manager won't either.
5. Keep in touch. After someone has agreed to serve as a reference, verify his contact information and provide your up-to-date résumé. Follow up whenever you think the person is likely to receive a call. This gives you a chance to confirm your reference's availability and to brief him on the key requirements of the position. Ideally your contact will start thinking about specific reasons you'd be a good fit.
6. Be thorough. On your reference list, include each person's name, title, company, email address and phone number. A sentence or two about your work history with each reference can help the hiring manager ask the most pertinent questions. Hiring managers assume that references are available upon request, so you don't need to include that phrase on your résumé.
7. Be upfront. If you don't want your current boss to know you're looking for a new job, mention that to the hiring manager when you provide your references. Otherwise, the omission of your direct supervisor might look like a red flag. A trusted, discreet colleague at your company may make a suitable replacement.
8. Come prepared. You shouldn't provide your references until they're requested, but it's a good idea to bring a hard copy to your interview. Presenting a complete list on the spot suggests confidence and strong organizational skills.
Building and maintaining a reference list shouldn't be confined to your job search. If you treat it as an ongoing part of your professional networking efforts, you won't have to sweat the process each time you're on the market. Stay in touch and let your most valued contacts know that you're available to provide  references, too. Your endorsement might be the deciding factor for someone whose work you appreciate -- and for that person's fortunate new employer.

Source: careerbuilder

The Best Ways to Close a Job Interview

"Do you have any questions for me?"

This is a very typical way for an interviewer to wind down a conversation. It gives the illusion of a level playing field, with each side having a turn to query the other. The employer well knows the questions for which you really want to know answers, but you lose a precious opportunity if you ask any of these:
  • Do you love me yet questions: How did I do on this interview? Will I be invited back for another round of interviews?
  • Process questions: What happens next? When do you expect to make a decision?
  • What's in it for me questions: When would you like me to start? How much will you pay me? What benefits will you offer me? How much vacation time will I get? Can I still take a pre-planned vacation scheduled for one week after I start work?
Of course you will ultimately need the answers to these questions, but now is not the time to ask. Any information about what the company can/will do for you is not relevant until after the hiring managers have decided that you are the best match for the job.

Moreover, taking precious face-to-face interview time to talk about these things means that you aren't using that time to seal the deal, asking questions that demonstrate your interest in contributing to the company's success and highlighting some of your skills or other qualifications that haven't yet been touched upon.
There are, of course, many appropriate questions for you to ask.
  • Earlier in this conversation we discussed X. Would my experience doing [fill in the blank] at [fill in company name] be a strength that you would want to draw on for the department/organization?
  • What are the most pressing problems that make hiring someone for this position so important right now? When you get the answer, you then have an opportunity to mention things you've done that demonstrate your ability to fill that need.
My all-time favorite closing question is this: "Let's flash forward and assume that I've been working for you for a year. Imagine that you have just given me a stellar performance review. What are the things I will have done during the next year to earn such great praise from you?"

The beauty of this question is multi fold. First, it helps the interviewer to visualize you being both hired and successful. That perception is crystallized when he begins his response, "I think that you will have done….".
On another level, regardless of what has been said up to this point, the answer will parse out the basic job requirements from the things that a stellar performer will accomplish. With this knowledge, you can then circle back with a story, past accomplishment, or something else that demonstrates your ability to be that top-performing employee. And here's the icing on the cake: when you get the job, you'll know exactly what you need to accomplish to be the most valued member of your team.

Source: money.usnews

Mishandling Salary Negotiations

Many people think that once they have landed and aced an interview, all of their work is done. But, sometimes deciding whether or not to accept a job offer can be just as stressful and time-consuming as getting to that point in the first place. One point of contention is salary negotiation. This process can be overwhelming, particularly for job seekers without a great deal of experience. Negotiating a fair and practical salary is a critical step in the job search process, and one that can be navigated smoothly if you know what to do -- and what not to do. Beware of common mistakes.

Not doing your homework.
Before you go to an interview, you need to determine your desired salary range. It is impossible to do so if you do not know your industry. Research typical salaries for someone with similar experience in your industry. There are a wide variety of resources available that can help you determine median salaries and ranges for your position and years of experience. Without doing this, you will be virtually unarmed to present a case for the salary you request.

Neglecting to think carefully about your needs.
Just as researching your industry is important, it's also vital that you do a bit of self reflection. If you never stop to think about what income you need, you may end up taking an offer that leaves you pinching pennies. Before interviewing, ask yourself some important questions. How much do you need to pay your basic expenses, such as rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities, and car payment? What kind of salary do you need to live a comfortable life that allows you to enjoy yourself? What is the lowest salary you will consider? How much do you need to be able to save for the future?

Laying all of your cards on the table.
Negotiating a salary is like playing a card game. You need to gauge the other person's intentions without giving away all of your secrets. While job applications and interviewers may ask you to name a salary requirement, always avoid providing a number. However, many prospective employees feel pressured into doing so in an interview. That's why you need to be prepared to answer the question: "What kind of salary are you looking for?" Try to use answers such as "I'm sure that if I do receive an offer, it will be fair and reasonable," or "I will consider any reasonable offer." If pressed for a number, give a range rather than a specific. The bottom of your range should be the minimum you must make, with the top being a bit higher than your ideal.

Forgetting about other benefits.
When you receive a job offer, it is important to consider the offer in its entirety. This means paying attention to the company's medical and dental plan, vacation package, retirement benefits, and other perks. If the company cannot meet your salary requirements, it may be able to make it up to you in other ways, such as stock options or additional vacation time.

Believing that you don't have the right to ask for more.
A company is not going to offer you the highest salary they'd be willing to pay right off the bat, and most companies expect candidates to come back with a counter offer. If you have done your research and have supporting information to back up your salary wishes, don't be afraid to let the company know that you would like something higher. However, don't make the mistake of playing hardball, thinking you are irreplaceable, or being unwilling to negotiate. If you receive a low offer, thank the company for the offer, let them know that you are excited about the position, and politely and respectfully request a higher salary. The worst the company can say is no, and you never know what will happen until you ask.

The bottom line is that salary negotiations, like anything else, need to be done respectfully and kept in perspective. But if you do your research, set your boundaries, and always know how to handle the tough questions, chances are you will end up with an offer that works for you and the company.

Source: careerbuilder

Job searching for the average worker

Would you say that you're just working for a paycheck right now? Are you not sure where your career is going or what path you want to take? Maybe you've had ideas about what you want to do, but you haven't found the right opportunity to kick start your career. One thing is certain: You're looking for a new job but don't think you'll stand out from the competition.

What do you do if you haven't yet excelled in your career and don't have huge successes to highlight in a résumé? Here are some tips on job searching for the average worker.

Look for positions in which you can gain experience
If you're new to the working world or are changing fields, look for an entry-level position or a job in which you can gain experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great tool for exploring your next job move. You can select occupations to learn more about them and narrow down your search by salary, education level required, on-the-job training provided and projected growth rate. Honestly assess where you are in your career, and decide where you'd like to be.

Take a class or training program
A lack of experience or the absence of impressive accomplishments on your résumé doesn't have to be a deal breaker if you can demonstrate that you're finding other ways to acquire knowledge. Look for classes in your focus area that will perk up your résumé. The recession has been tough for job seekers, but it has also provided opportunities for getting more education. Including training on your résumé shows that you are ambitious. Hiring managers look for job candidates who add value to the company and are always trying to better themselves. Use your cover letter to elaborate on how you've taken courses to build your skills.

Volunteering is not only a great way to give back to your community, it's also a great way to add to your résumé. Decide what type of job you're interested in pursuing, and seek out volunteer work in that field. For example, gain public-relations and event-planning experience by helping a charity group organize a fundraiser. Even if you don't get any relevant experience out of a volunteer job, you can still network. Talk to those you're volunteering with and share your career goals with them. You may meet somebody who can point you in the right direction.

Develop an eye-catching résumé
When updating your résumé, include the new classes or training programs you've taken, as well as any freelance or creative projects you've accomplished. But if you need to start your job search before you've accomplished all of your goals, don't worry. Put together a flawless, eye-catching résumé that will make you stand out from other applicants. Not sure where to start? Check out CareerBuilder's infographic on how to make a résumé shine, and you'll be a step ahead of the competition.

Source: careerbuilder

5 job-search tips for career changers

You've hit a turning point in your career. Whether it's because your job has slowly become less satisfying over the years, or you woke up one morning and realized you hated going to work, you've decided it's time for a change.

If only you knew what you wanted to do next. Details.
The "I don't know what I want to do, but I know it's not this" predicament is confusing at best. Besides the issue of figuring out what you want to do, there's also reality to consider. You might  think you'd make a great marriage counselor, but do you really have the time, energy and means to get the necessary training? Will your career change require you to relocate? How will you convince potential employers that, after 10 years in one career, you have the necessary experience for a new one?
Because the career-change process is complicated, it's important not to rush into anything. Take time to explore your options and answer all of the questions you have about the career paths you're considering. Or, as "What Color is Your Parachute?" – the best-selling career guide – puts it:

"Good career choice or career planning postpones the 'narrowing down' until it has first broadened your horizons and expanded the number of options you are thinking about. For example, you're in the newspaper business, but have you ever thought of teaching, or drawing or doing fashion? You first expand your mental horizons, to see all the possibilities, and only then do you start to narrow them down to the particular two or three that interest you the most." Continue reading -- 5 job-search tips for career changers

Once you've got a short list of potential careers, it's time to begin your job search. Mark C.D. Newall, senior vice president at Keystone Associates, a career transition and management firm in Boston, offers the following quick tips for job searching in a new field.

1. Play the game. As newbie, you're going to have to put in a lot of footwork. "Intensively networking, utilizing technology, honing your interviewing skills -- all of these things are important and need to be done," Newall says.
2. Identify your edge. Since you won't be able to rest on your experience, it's important to identify other selling points that will make you stand out to employers. "Everybody is smart, everybody works hard, everybody has a good degree -- differentiate yourself from all of the others by having an edge," Newall advises. "If you have global expertise, call it out. If you have outstanding and demonstrated interpersonal skills, let interviewers know that you will connect with and take care of their clients."
3. Be willing to move. Flexibility can go a long way when breaking into a new career. "Expanding your geography will also expand your opportunities," Newall says.
4. Speak to your passion. "Know what is important to you -- what really gives you that sense of accomplishment -- what gets you out of bed in the morning. Hiring managers will see your passion and how it relates to their business, and they want to hire that," Newall says. Given the amount of self-reflection career change usually requires, rattling off a list of things that make you tick shouldn't be too hard.
5. Have a solid methodology. Like in any job search, you'll need a game plan, Newall says. "Organize your time, your contacts, your approach, and conduct your job search in a planned and thoughtful manner. Then be ready to toss aside your plan, and be able to react to that last minute call."
Want more tips on career change? Check out:

Source: careerbuilder

Common interview questions -- and how to answer them effectively

Every hiring manager has a different set of go-to interview questions. In a recent survey by our company, we asked more than 650 managers in the United States and Canada to name the single question they ask that provides the most insight about a job applicant. Responses ranged from classic queries ("Where do you see yourself in five years?") to less-traditional ones ("How would you describe yourself in five words?").
While there's not always one right way to answer an interview question, some approaches are better than others.

Here are some questions from the survey that you may face in your next interview, along with tips on how -- and how not -- to answer them...

"Can you tell me a little about yourself?"
Do: Prepare for this popular question -- which is often the first one asked -- by developing an incisive summary of your career. Your sound bite should be succinct but include enough detail about your pertinent skills, work experience, accomplishments and goals that the hiring manager can quickly see what you bring to the table.
Don't: Give your life story, discuss leisure pursuits or describe aspects of your professional background that aren't relative to the position you're interviewing for.
"Why do you want to join our company?"
Do: Walk into the interview with beyond-the-basics knowledge of the firm. Read the company's website, marketing materials and relevant news stories to gain a good grasp of its mission, history, reputation and corporate culture. The more information you collect, the more specific you can be about why you're an excellent fit.
Don't: Answer in the context of your financial needs. Saying "I hear you provide good pay and benefits" or "Frankly, I need a job" won't score you any points.
"What's your biggest weakness?"
Do: View this as an opportunity to demonstrate your self-awareness, sincerity and problem-solving prowess. Mention an area where you could improve and spotlight the steps you've taken to do so.
Here's an example: "In the past, I sometimes overextended myself. Reading time-management books has helped me, though. Now, I make prioritized to-do lists, I've learned it's OK to delegate and I volunteer for extra projects only when I'm caught up on core responsibilities."
Don't: Offer a transparently fake flaw ("I care too much about my work!") or pretend to be perfect ("Weaknesses? None come to mind."). And, of course, don't be your own worst critic by citing countless shortcomings.
"Where do you see yourself in five years?"
Do: Position yourself as an ambitious but flexible realist. One way to do this is to speak of your desire to continually take on broader responsibilities and grow professionally no matter what role you're in. You also might emphasize your commitment to lifelong learning by mentioning your interest in attaining advanced industry certifications.
Don't: Focus on an overly lofty objective. For instance, boldly proclaiming you intend to be the firm's next CFO when you're an entry-level accounting candidate certainly shows drive, but it's not a practical five-year objective. In addition, steer clear of fanciful daydreaming ("I'll be counting my lottery winnings on a Hawaiian beach").
"Why are you looking to leave your current employer?"
Do: The interviewer is trying to figure out if you truly want the position, or if you're looking for any way out of a bad job. As such, reiterate what you like about the role you're seeking rather than gripe about the one you hope to vacate. Make it clear you're chasing a great opportunity, not running away from an unpleasant situation.
Don't: Speak ill of your current employer. Regardless of how unhappy you are with your job or company, never act bitter or resentful in an interview. Hiring managers seek candidates who are loyal, positive-minded and team-oriented. They aren't inclined to hire people they perceive to be potential headaches.
Finally, despite your best efforts, you can't anticipate every question you'll be asked.
"How would you define your personality in one word?" or "How will you behave if you get blamed for something you didn't do?" were just two of the unique questions that popped up in our survey of hiring managers.
If an interviewer throws you a curveball, maintain eye contact, take a deep breath and pause to consider your response. Many of your competitors will fluster easily. Set yourself apart by keeping your cool in the hot seat.

Source: careerbuilder

Online job search 101

The Internet has completely transformed the job search, with job seekers moving from circling newspaper ads to searching online job boards and using social-media tools. In addition, many companies now recruit and research job candidates using online resources. But the new online job-search process can be intimidating.
While the World Wide Web may seem like the Wild, Wild West, there's actually order and reason to it. There are also job opportunities aplenty. Learn the basics of online job searching here, and you'll be applying for jobs in no time.

Create a plain-text version of your résumé
Upload your résumé to a résumé database, where submissions are pooled and organized so employers can search for viable candidates. If your résumé has images or sophisticated formatting, create a text-only version that can be uploaded easily as a Word document, text document or PDF. If the résumé has too many bells and whistles, it won't upload properly or be formatted correctly -- major turnoffs to potential employers.
Use keywords from the job description in your résumé
In the "summary of qualifications" section on your résumé, include keywords taken from the job description. Most companies that post jobs online use applicant-tracking systems to narrow down possible candidates. Incorporate keywords naturally throughout the résumé; don't just copy and paste the job description.

Learn the job-search terms
There are plenty of ways to approach the position you want through online job searching. Once you're on an online job board, you can widen or customize your search as much as you like.
  • Location: Unless you're open to relocation, select your target location and how close to that location you'd like to be.
  • Keywords: If you're new to online job searching, starting off with a general search, such as "sales" or "administrative assistant" will return many results and can help you become more familiar with job postings. As you become more accustomed to keyword searches, you can customize your search further.
  • Industry: If you want to work in a specific industry, you can select that industry in your search to narrow down your results.
  • Job category: Besides location, this is the most important selection to make. Choose the category in which your job title (past, current or future) is organized, i.e., "education" if you're a teacher or "entry level" if you're new to the workforce. You can also select multiple categories for more results.
Use social media
If you already have or are interested in creating a social-media presence, understand that sharing personal information online can affect your career. Many companies now research candidates via social networks, so make sure your pages are clean and professional, and change your privacy settings so you control who views your pages.

Researching the company you're applying to is simple and essential. Peruse its website and social-media pages to understand the company's personality and mission. This will give you plenty to write about in your cover letter and help you answer that inevitable interview question, "Why are you interested in our company?"

Details matter
You'll likely apply for more than one position online. Because submitting job applications and résumés online is so easy, it becomes equally easy to mess up. Don't send the same information to every potential employer, because you risk accidentally sending a cover letter mentioning a previous application/competitor. Take the time to proofread everything.

Source: careerbuilder

Leave This Info Out of the Interview

Everyone knows someone privy to sharing too much information – the TMI, if you will. TMIs have no boundaries and no shame. They will tell you any and every piece of personal information, whether it's filling you in on her latest try at the fertility doctor or the dream he had about your boss last night.

Sharing too much information with your co-workers is an office no-no; sharing too much personal information during the interview is an entirely different ballgame.

"The No. 1 risk of offering up too much information is losing out on the second interview," says Linda Lopeke, a career advancement expert and creator of SmartStart Virtual Mentoring Programs. If you say something that inadvertently touched the interviewer's hot buttons, you've automatically characterized yourself as a bad fit, Lopeke says.

"You always want to leave them wanting just a little bit more of you," she says. "Employers are looking to hire people who generate goodwill for the company and who make a good first impression on those they meet."

Need help deciding what information crosses the line and what doesn't? Here's a list of what personal information Lopeke says is safe, borderline and absolutely forbidden in your interview.

Green light: Go ahead with the following personal info.

- Goals. It's OK to talk about what you want in your next assignment and what inspired you to apply for the position. "This is the 'what you want, why now, why them' conversation," Lopeke says.

- Growth. You can and should talk about the things you've done up to this point to invest in yourself and your professional development.

Highlights. "Relate the highlights of your greatest professional achievements to date without exaggerating or pontificating," she says.

- Motivations. Talk about what motivates you, excites you, what brought you to that particular industry and what attracted you to that specific employment opportunity.

Yellow light: Discuss with caution.

Vacations.  If you can chat about a past vacation in relation to the company, it might be OK for your interview.

"For example, if you know the prospective employer is a big supporter of Habitat for Humanity and you vacationed in the same spot where a new housing initiative was just built, it could work for you," Lopeke says.

But, if you're bragging about the six month trip around the world you took during your unemployment, you should probably refrain.

Allergies. "If the interviewer is suffering from allergies and you do too, it could be a bonding moment," Lopeke says. But, "if you use the moment to declare you're allergic to stupid people, you'll get tagged as arrogant."

Pets. Talking about your furry friends at home can work for or against you. Dogs and cats shouldn't get you into too much trouble, but exotic or high-maintenance companions can be perceived as an issue.

All skills. It's not necessary to possess every quality the employer has put on its wish list. If you mention only a couple of skills, it shows you have both initiative and growth potential.

"It also lets the interviewer feel there is something the company can offer you as well. Reciprocal relationships are the most satisfying," Lopeke says.

Red light: Do not delve into these personal topics during your interview.

Lifestyle choices, politics, religion or family plans. "Controversial topics may make for stimulating conversation but an attractive employee does not stimulate water-cooler frenzy among the masses," Lopeke advises.

Endless name dropping. You can establish that you know some of the same people as the interviewer to build rapport, but don't think you're upping the ante by upping the volume.

"While you may know certain people who work for the company already, you don't always know how they are perceived by their employer," Lopeke says. "If they're on the hit list for any reason, you could be painted with that 'birds of a feather' brush instead of being evaluated on your own merit."

Health history. Stay away from your health history – mental and otherwise. "You're supposed to be positioning yourself as dependable and reliable; not as a candidate likely to spike the bell curve on benefit-related expenses," Lopeke says.

House problems, nanny drama or rehab trips. Employers don't want to know much about your life except as it relates to what you've done professionally and what you're likely able to do for them.

Bosses from hell. Simply put, no prospective boss wants to hear a litany of "boss from hell" stories. They'll hate you for it.

Boomers into Business: How to Turn What You Know Into Dough

I think that the best way to get your mind going in the right direction for determining how to turn what you know into dough is to provide you with some inspirational examples. I encourage you to have a pen and paper handy because as you read, you are likely to come up with ideas for yourself that you will want to jot down.

Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been A...
Corporate HR Executive: You can become a Consultant and "HR Topic Expert" who advises small and medium-sized businesses that don't have an HR person on staff, on proper HR practices, rules and regulations. You can also offer your services as an interim (freelance) HR Manager for companies that need your knowledge and services on a part-time basis until they have grown enough to require a full-time, permanent employee in that role.
And you can make additional income by conducting seminars, webinars and workshops for small business owners on important HR practices they need to know to avoid legal issues with employees. Business owners are not born with this knowledge, so you can be the expert that educates them... and they'll pay you!

Plumber: You can expand your offerings outside of just providing your normal fix-it services by becoming a "Do It Yourself Plumbing Expert" for homeowners. And, if you want, you can even choose to drill that down to an even more targeted niche of "Do It Yourself Plumbing Expert for Female Homeowners."
As such, you can conduct do-it-yourself presentations, as well as private training for individuals, on how to make basic repairs or upgrades in their home (i.e., installing a new toilet, putting in new faucets, repairing a dripping shower, etc.).
There are many homeowners and new rental property owners with tight budgets. They would be willing to pay to attend your presentations or hire you for private training sessions because it would save them money in the long run because they wouldn't have to hire someone to do the job for them!
Also, you can gain recognition and generate income from your "topic expert" branding by speaking at home improvement expos and at local hardware or home improvement stores in your area.
This can also lead to developing products to sell such as how-to videos, books, e-guides, etc.

Gardener/Landscaper: This is a true story. A colleague told me about an elderly man who had been a gardener for 35 years. He was the typical neighborhood gardener who had simply "mowed & blowed" yards for homeowners throughout his town.
But during his career, he had come up with his irrigation and fertilization strategy for lawns that were brown. He could get just about any sad-looking lawn green and lush fast. And whenever he improved one neighbor's brown lawn, all the other neighbors who had brown lawns hired him to make theirs green again, too.
One of his clients suggested that he start conducting presentations for homeowners, rental property owners, and other gardeners on his amazing method. So he took this advice, and it led to speaking engagements at large gardening and irrigation industry events and home and garden expos, as well as being interviewed by industry and home improvement media.
Basically, this man went from being a neighborhood gardener -- who was starting to struggle physically (thus financially) due to aging -- into becoming a "rock star" in the gardening, lawn care, and irrigation worlds. And, it was all because he leveraged his "fixing brown lawn" expertise and promoted himself as THE expert for fixing them.
Sound a little odd? Well, he tripled his income in one year, left behind the daily physical grind of being a gardener for other people, worked less hours, became a celebrity in his industry, and was able to continue as an in-demand expert, speaker and consultant until he was in his 80's. Why? Because many people were willing to pay him, handsomely, for his knowledge and expertise.

College Professor or School Teacher: You can take your expertise and expand it outside of the classroom. Perhaps you have been a second grade teacher for 25 years and have an uncanny ability to teach and motivate kids that other teachers, faculty and parents have deemed impossible. And, you've noticed over the years, that a lot of colleagues and parents have sought your advice.
You can package your expertise into a topic expert brand platform that can attract other teachers to seek your consultation. And this can also lead to conducting paid workshops for teachers and paid speaking engagements at industry conferences.
Plus, you can offer private consultation services for parents wanting your advice about their impossible child. Sure, there are child psychologists who do this, but YOUR focus can be on the child's issue in the classroom. And this can result in child psychologists wanting to partner with you or referring clients to you.
In short, your expertise can supplement the therapy other professionals are providing to parents and/or children. You've worked IN the classroom... many child psychologists haven't. That makes your front-line experience valuable. And people will pay you for it.
College Professors can focus on becoming a known expert on their subject matter. Let's say you're an American History Professor. You can leverage your knowledge on American History in general, or in one specific area of American History (i.e. the Civil War). By promoting yourself as a leading expert on the Civil War you can attract paid speaking engagements, media interviews, and lucrative consulting opportunities with the entertainment industry on movies, documentaries and books on that topic. You can even make additional income for paid tutoring sessions with college students seeking help with their term papers and coursework.

Homemaker: Some very successful female entrepreneurs were stay-at-home moms who came up with amazing ideas to simplify or improve different childcare or homecare tasks, and then marketed their solutions. Others are women who were very career-focused prior to having kids, but chose to become stay-at-home moms and then developed ideas to create a business they could run from home.
But, what if you're in your late 50's or 60's, your kids are now adults, you have been a homemaker for the past 30+ years (focused on everyone else except you all those years), and you now want, or need, to generate an income?
Needing to generate an income becomes a serious reality for many Boomer homemakers due to divorce; retirement accounts taking a dive; investments not yielding their anticipated projections; unexpected emergencies draining savings and/or assets; or due to becoming a widow.
So what can you do? Aside from going back to school or enrolling in a vocational program to learn a new skill set (which can take a lot of time and money), you can focus on the skills you've acquired as full-time homemaker and as an intelligent woman.
Perhaps you are an amazing cook; have a flair for home decorating; are brilliant at running a house and raising 3 kids on a tight budget; are known among friends and family as a terrific time management and scheduling pro; or have grown the most amazing vegetable garden, or rose garden, in your neighborhood.
Any skills such as those can be turned into a topic expert platform where other people will pay you for your expertise!
Take a minute to think about The Food Network. Several of the stars on that network did not go to culinary school, didn't own, or even work in, a restaurant, and didn't have professional careers in "food" prior to auditioning. Some of them just had a passion for food and cooking, and decided to audition for the network with the hopes of turning their passion into a profession.
Look back at the example of the gardener I mentioned earlier. Yes, he had been a gardener for a long time. But what ended-up being his topic expert brand platform was his creation of a solution to make dead lawns healthy again. He could have just as easily been a weekend gardening enthusiast who developed an amazing solution to revive a lawn or grow fabulous roses.
There are many people out there who, out of a passion for a hobby (not an occupation), came up with a solution while doing their hobby, and then promoted themselves as an "expert" to teach that solution to others.
Heck, there are women in their 50's, 60's, 70's and 80+ who are scrapbook junkies and market the ideas they come up with to other scrapbook enthusiasts.
The key here is focus on your strengths and interests, and realize that you can "brand" yourself as an expert people will pay to learn from... even if you haven't had a professional career in the workforce for decades!

Final Thoughts
Everything I discussed in the examples above is applicable to any career or background: lawyer, dentist, CPA, realtor, consultant, web designer, corporate employee (in any position, from any industry), farmer, short order cook, logger, truck driver, bookkeeper, pastry chef, pilot, scuba diver, homemaker, parent, etc.
Again, the core concept is that you focus on your strengths and interests, and realize that you can create a brand, or expand your current brand, and people will pay you for what you know. And, yes, professionals such as lawyers and CPA's already get paid for their "knowledge and expertise," but I know many with private practices struggle financially or are bored with what they do. So, they, too, want to expand their brand into an expert platform to generate more income by speaking or developing products, and (oftentimes) to attract more notoriety.

Source: quintcareers

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