How To Use Your Friends To Get A Job

Job search: networking friends

If you want a job, and you aren't focusing on tapping into your network to try to win a referral into the company that interests you, it's time to drastically alter your strategy. As employers try to cut hiring costs, decrease turnover and improve new hire time-to-productivity, they are becoming more aggressive about encouraging their employees to recommend people who would be good candidates. A New York Times article reports that employees hired as the result of a referral are 15 percent less likely to quit and that they "perform better, stay longer and are quicker to integrate" on the job. What company wouldn't want to identify this type of candidate?

CareerXRoads, a consulting practice that studies recruiting technology solutions, conducts annual studies about how organizations source and hire employees. They found that nearly half of all companies make at least one hire for every five referrals they get. If you are not putting yourself in positions to be referred, you are missing out on one very key aspect of job search networking.

How can you get referrals and avoid the "resume black hole" that so many job seekers dread? The key is to expand the number of people who understand your background and who like and trust you enough to stake their own reputations on your expertise. Here are some tips to help you convince people to help you in your job search:

Let people know what you do. Don't be obnoxious about it, but especially if you are actively job searching, make a point to talk about your professional expertise with people you know. If you're at a party, it's natural to exchange pleasantries and ask, "So, what do you do?" When you have a chance to respond, don't delve into a diatribe about your job search -- simply mention your expertise matter-of-factly. If the person seems really interested, and especially if you share professional interests, consider steering the conversation to find out if the person may know anyone at some of your target companies. However, recognize, that if you've just met it's unlikely that your new contact will jump at the chance to refer you for a job. Think of the meeting as a steppingstone and make sure to follow up.

Grow your network and keep conversations alive. You can't get referrals before people get to know you. It's your job to put yourself in positions to meet new people and to keep in touch with contacts. Why do people refer candidates for positions? One reason is because they think they are competent and can do the job, but another important reason is because they like the person. When you meet people you like, or you might like to know better, follow up with them. Forward occasional links to articles that they may like and ask to meet for coffee. The more people who know you and like you, the better your chances to land a referral.
Demonstrate your expertise via social media. There's no better way to demonstrate what you know to people who don't already know you than via social media tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Pick your favorite network and share a steady stream of news and information about your field. Be a useful resource for people in your industry. Comment on articles, offer your own insights about key topics and start online conversations with influential people in your field. You may be surprised to find that someone you never met in person will refer you for a job because he is impressed with you online.

Volunteer for opportunities. Be known as someone who is always willing to pitch in. If you are employed, step up to take on challenging projects where you'll have a chance to showcase what you know. If you're between positions, look for places to offer your help. Ideally, you'll land volunteer gigs where you can use your work skills, but if you have a hard time landing the perfect volunteer job, find an organization whose mission you support and find ways to pitch in. You'll grow your network and your potential for job referrals simply by doing what you say you will!

Make seeking opportunities for referrals a priority and you are much more likely to land a job sooner than later.

Source: AOL

The 10 Countries With The Highest Unemployment Rates

10 countries with worse unemployment than the U.S.

America's unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 7.8 percent, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics, released in December 2012. But that figure represents a vast improvement from the worst of the recession, when the tally stood at 10 percent in October 2009.

But believe it or not, many other countries in the developed world are struggling far more, as the financial crisis was a global one, according to statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The OECD, which tracks employment rates in 34 industrialized nations, including the U.S., finds many other countries with higher unemployment rates -- with one as high as 21 percent.

Here is the list of the 10 countries with the highest unemployment rate.

1. Spain (21.8 percent)
2. Greece (17.9 percent)
3. Ireland (14.6 percent)
4. Slovak Republic (13.6 percent)
5. Portugal (13.4 percent)
6. Estonia (12.7 percent)
7. Hungary (11.0 percent)
8. Turkey (10.0 percent)
9. Poland (9.8 percent)
10. France (9.3 percent)
Source: AOL

10 important Twitter career resources

Follow these people and improve your job search:

Recently, a friend of mine returned from a two-year stint overseas, where his access to current technology was limited. He asked, "So, this Twitter thing -- is it a phenomenon?" After thinking about it, I realized that Twitter is beyond that stage. It's officially here to stay, or at least has outlived the possibility of simply being a passing trend.
Although Twitter began in 2006, it gained popularity in the 2008 presidential election and since continued to make news with its important role in political conflicts around the world. Somewhere along the way Twitter went from "What is it?" to "Are you on it?"
For those who don't know what Twitter is, or the stubborn who refuse to participate in peer pressure, Twitter is a microblog service. You write messages that are no more than 140 characters in length and let the world read them, all while you read theirs. If you're familiar with Facebook, it's basically like reading the Newsfeed: an endless series of pithy messages. Really, though, it can be so much more than that if you want it to be.
Why use Twitter during a job hunt?Twitter can be overwhelming when you log on because, if you're following many people, their messages roll down the screen quickly and you can't possibly read every single one. That's also what makes Twitter perfect for a job seeker. Playing online can feel like a waste of time when all you want to do is earn a paycheck, but it can augment your search rather than distract from it.
Think about some of the key elements of a successful job search:
· Find the right company culture for you
· Research the latest news and events for any company you apply to
· Know what's happening in your industry and the job market as a whole
· Understand current technology and trends (depending on your industry)
You can use Twitter to help you achieve each of these goals. With that in mind, we put together a list of people we believe you should follow on Twitter in order to improve your job search.

6 important accounts:@AskAManager (Alison Green)
Green, a former manager, left the corporate world to do her own consulting and started the Ask a Manager blog along the way. On the blog, she answers job seekers and employee questions, dishing out secrets that few non-managers are privy to. With topics like "My friend is applying for my job and I don't want to recommend her," Green is a valuable Twitter friend to have.
@CareerBuilder (CareerBuilder)
Of course we include ourselves, but it's because we keep you up to date with articles and blog posts (written by us and other experts) discussing job search tips, workplace issues and employment trends.
@careerdiva (Eve Tahmincioglu)
Tahmincioglu writes a workplace column for, maintains her own blog at, and even wrote a book . In other words, she's immersed in all things career, and her Twitter updates are proof. One way she also sets herself apart from other career Tweeters is by highlighting workplace issues unique to women in the workforce, which is often an issue largely ignored.
@heatherhuhman (Heather R. Huhman)
Huhman, founder and president of marketing organization Come Recommended, is an expert on hiring issues from an employer and job seeker standpoint. She links to new advice articles on her site and links to other helpful advice she comes across from other sources.
@SelenaDehne (Selena Dehne)
As a book publicist for Jist, a publisher devoted to career topics, Dehne closely follows work news and advice all over the Internet. When one of Jist's writers has an article published or she finds a helpful bit of advice from a blogger, she alerts her followers.
@usnews (U.S. News & World Report)
Longstanding newsmagazine U.S. News & World Report covers events of all sizes, but their Twitter feed does a great job of highlighting their job-related stories. Whether it's an article on salary trends or dishing out tough love on why you're not getting tired, the @usnews account is a job seeker's friend.

Other important people to follow:
Companies you want to work at:Researching the companies you're applying to is an essential way to show employers that you are interested in the organization, not just the job. Follow their Twitter accounts to see what information they're publicizing and to get a feel of their culture.
FriendsNetworking is essential to any job hunt because friends can often refer you to a position, and referrals are usually more valuable to a company than a résumé from a stranger. Twitter, like Facebook and LinkedIn, is an excellent way to keep in touch with friends and to let them know that you're looking for a job. Plus, it's nice to have some Twitter updates sprinkled into your newsfeed that aren't just about finding a job.
Industry expertsIn addition to the career-focused experts listed above, you should seek out experts in the industry you're looking to work in. The leading thinkers in your field will give you insight relevant to your specific job search, and people they follow are probably also worth looking at. Job search advice is good for everybody, but a graphic designer and lawyer can probably benefit most from following people in their respective fields.
News sites of your choice Job searching doesn't happen in a bubble. The economy is affected by more factors than can be counted, and you should know what's going on in order to understand the job market you're searching in. Plus, current events often weave their way into interviews, so you want to be well informed.

Source: careerbuilder

Interviewing the interviewer

During the job interview, your primary concern is what the hiring manager will think of your qualifications. But don't forget the interview is also an opportunity for you to evaluate a potential employer. In fact, it's the best chance you have to determine if the company and its prevailing culture are right for you.

Consider the situation if the roles were reversed. What would you want to know if you were interviewing the hiring manager? What would convince you that this is the perfect workplace for you?

Ask yourself the following questions during the interview to turn the tables on the hiring manager and get a true sense of what working for the company would be like:

How does the company's résumé stack up?
The hiring manager will be paying close attention to your résumé, so it only makes sense that you scrutinize the firm's, too.

The company's annual report can give you a good idea about the financial health of the organization, its stability and its future prospects. Press releases and marketing materials can provide insight into how the company differentiates itself from competitors and what is unique about the products or services it offers. These documents are typically available on the firm's website.

Also search the Web to get a more complete sense of the potential employer's reputation. Social media, in particular, can be revealing. What are people saying about the firm on Facebook, Twitter and similar services? Are the comments mostly positive or negative?
And don't forget to speak to those in your professional network, especially individuals who have worked for the company or might be able to put you in touch with someone who has.

How prepared is the hiring manager?
You arrived on time to the interview, brought extra copies of your résumé, and spent hours going over potential questions and answers. Did the hiring manager prepare as thoroughly as you?
If the interviewer keeps you waiting past the scheduled time, hasn't read your résumé or simply seems to be winging it, think about what it would be like to work for that person. Would he or she leave you waiting during meetings or provide only limited information on important projects?
You don't want to read too much into the actions of a hiring manager who may be busy or stressed. But several small slights could reveal a pattern.

How does the work environment align with my needs?
A hiring manager is trying to determine your personality and how you would fit in with other employees. You should do the same.
When visiting the company, try to get a sense of how people in the office operate. Are people rushing around, looking stressed, or is the atmosphere relaxed? Do people talk with each other in the hallways or keep their heads down? How employees work and interact with each other can be indicative of what the corporate culture is like.

How does the hiring manager answer my questions?
Before the interview concludes, make sure you have an opportunity to ask your own questions. Ask about any concerns you have. For example, you may want information about the professional development resources provided to employees or more specifics about the open position. You might also ask about the hiring manager's personal experiences with the firm. How long has he or she been employed there? Why does the interviewer like working for the company?
Pay attention not only to the interviewer's answers but also to the way he or she responds to your queries. When talking about the company, for instance, do you sense true passion and engagement? Or does the person seem to be rehashing standard marketing points?
Interviewing the interviewer doesn't involve actually switching roles with the hiring manager. But it does require you to think about the qualities you seek in an employer. By asking yourself -- and the potential employer -- the right questions, you can gain get a deeper understanding of the firm and be confident in your decision if you're extended a job offer.

Are you ready for a career switch?

Given the recovering economy, emerging jobs and pure human nature, career switches are common. What may have been a great job 10 years ago can be obsolete now, or you may simply be ready for a life change. But how can you prepare yourself for a career switch? The overwhelming advice from career coaches and human-resources consultants is to do your homework and play to your strengths. These experts share the following advice for planning your next career steps.

Understand the work involved in switching careers
Before you quit your job, know what you're getting yourself into.
"When people change careers in this market, the No. 1 thing they must be aware of is that they need to develop the new industry or role experience and knowledge," says Megan Fox, career coach and résumé writer. "A lot of people think they can tweak a few transferable skills and land their dream job, when in fact it takes strategic planning and re-education to make a successful career change. These kinds of activities not only make you more qualified for the new role, but they display a sincere passion for the switch.
"I also encourage my clients to pick either an industry change or a functional role change, one at a time, as it is much easier to do than trying to completely change your job and industry type at the same time. Take baby steps and you'll be able to make the change without sacrificing too much in salary."

Use transferable skills to your advantage
You may think you're ready for a career switch, but how can you convince hiring managers that you'll be a valuable employee?
"For job seekers dealing with career changes, we find it advantageous to conduct an assessment of the transferable knowledge and skills that were developed in the individual's previous career and how that may apply to the new career path they intend on following," says Lynda Zugec, managing director for The Workforce Consultants, a human-resources consultancy with offices in Toronto and New York. "Interpersonal skills, problem-solving ability and project management are all examples of knowledge and skills that can be applied in differing context and careers. We try to focus on these transferable skills to understand the benefits and applicability to our business."

Some of the skills on which Zugec's company focuses include:
  • Communication: The ability to communicate at all levels of an organization and across different generations.
  • Strategic thinking: The ability to determine and envision where an organization is going. This helps align work efforts with company goals and objectives.
  • Partnership building: The ability to choose the best partner with whom to achieve desired results, based on their skills and knowledge.
  • Conscientiousness: The ability to pay attention to details, ranging from spelling and grammar to personal organization. "Time and time again, conscientiousness proves itself to be among the No. 1 predictor of job performance," Zugec says.
  • Technical skills: Individuals with the most up-to-date and relevant technical skills are among the most desirable employees, Zugec says.
Be prepared before you leave your job
You can start making your career switch before you leave your current role. Krista Mazzuca, director of human resources at Community Renewal Team, a nonprofit human-services agency in Hartford, Conn., offers these suggestions:
  • Think carefully about the field you want to switch into and what it will take to land a job in that field. Don't assume that going back to school will guarantee that you'll obtain your desired position -- often you need both the credentials and the experience. Find out as much as you can before enrolling in a school program.
  • While you're still employed at your current job, get as much experience as possible that moves you in your desired direction. How can you volunteer in the community, change assignments at your company or find common ground between what you're doing now and what you hope to be doing?
  • If you're a manager, prepare for a potential change in status. You may have to start near the bottom in your new career, which may mean that you'll be working a defined shift in a cubicle and taking direction from someone younger than you. You might also have to take a substantial pay cut. The person interviewing you for the position will want to see that you have thought about this and have acclimated yourself to the possibility.
  • Prepare a good answer as to why you're changing fields. Be candid, but frame your argument around the hiring manager's point of view.

Source: AOL

Seven Creative Tips for Finding a Retail Job When Unemployment is High

Find Job Openings and Beat the Job-Seeking Competition:

If you're looking for a job, but you're limiting your job search to the obvious sources like newpaper want ads, job websites, and Craig's List, then you may find your application on the bottom of a really big applicant pile. If you don't want to get lost in the growing job search crowd, you'll need to find a way to outsmart your job-seeking competition. Use these tips to sidestep the competition, find job openings, beat the recession, and get off the unemployement line fast.

1. Socialize

It’s time to get all those friendsters, buddies, and cyber contacts you’ve been collecting working for you. Get as many locals as you can on your buddy list and then send out a note asking them who’s hiring. Surely somebody will know somebody who’s looking for somebody. Isn’t that what networking is all about?

2. Get in the Stack

If you're wanting to get into, or stay in the retail industry, keep in mind that there there are more candidates than positions. In an employer's market, retailers don't have to advertise their job openings because they already have a stack of unsolicited job applications. You’ve got to get yourself on the top of “the stack” if you want to get hired by these retail organizations. In your best interview outfit, walk into your favorite retail stores with your resume in hand, and tell them you’d like to work there. This type of cold calling works best with the stores that sell the stuff that you like to buy because then when you’re asked why you want to work there, you can honestly answer, “Because I love your…”

3. Think Small

If you're looking for a retail sales position, it may be easier to conduct your job in the climate controlled comfort of your local mall, but your efforts might yield better results if you focus on companies that receive less foot traffic. Less traffic and fewer applicants mean less competition for you!

4. Look Before You Weep

Don’t conclude that a company isn’t hiring just because there’s no ad in the newspaper and no sign in the window. Unless there is an urgent need, many companies will only advertise job openings on their own websites. Visit the company’s website and look for links like “careers” or “about us” or “company info.” Click around these pages until you find the listing of available positions in the company. When you use this strategy, hiring managers will get the impression that you found the job opening because you are specifically interested in their business. This is a good impression to give because every company thinks it’s special, and they want their employees to think so too!

5. Search By the Hour

If you're looking for a part-time, entry-level, hourly, or seasonal position, there are several websites that are specifically promoting jobs that pay an hourly wage. Since many hourly wage jobs are in the retail industry, a search of these hourly-pay sites will reveal positions that are not even listed on Monster, HotJobs, or CareerBuilders. If you know that you specifically want an entry-level position, it’s more efficient to go to these hourly-wage websites because you won’t have to wade through all the salaried jobs to find what you’re looking for.

6. Take Stock in Stocks

You don’t need money to get a great return from the stock market. When you invest some time reading the latest stock market news, your effort can yield some important job-hunting inside tips. While many companies in the retail industry are struggling right now, there are also many companies that are thriving. Focus your job-hunting efforts on the companies that are doing well, because they’re the ones that need employees and, most importantly, they're the ones that have the money to pay their wages. No matter how much Circuit City likes you, you’re probably not going to get hired there while the company is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

7. Make the Hop

If you want to work in the retail industry, but it doesn't have anything to offer you right now, don't be afraid to make the hop into another industry. Many of the most famous CEOs worked in jobs that were seemingly unrelated to retailing. Several of the largest retail organizations are currently being run by CEOs who had no prior retailing experience at all. It's important to remember that you take your experience with you wherever you go. You can learn, grow, and achieve in any industry. By hopping into a completely new job, and gaining new knowledge and skills, you will be even more valuable when the retail industry rebounds and starts hiring talent like you again.


What 6 rules should be guiding your career?

Daniel Pink’s The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need conveys a number of principles about the world of work that everyone should take note of.
Why? Though Pink doesn’t bog the story down with academic research, all of his core ideas are backed up by plenty of studies, many of which I’ve posted about in the past.
So what does he have to say? Six simply-stated concepts:
  1. There is no plan.
  2. Think strengths, not weaknesses.
  3. It’s not about you.
  4. Persistence trumps talent.
  5. Make excellent mistakes.
  6. Leave an imprint.
So let’s break these down and explore what they mean and why they’re so effective.

1) There is no plan.
As Pink explains, you can’t plan your career too far in advance because there are too many x-factors.
In the world of work we do things for two reasons: instrumental and fundamental. Instrumental reasons are things that get us from point A to point B — whether we enjoy it or not. Fundamental reasons are ones we consider inherently valuable — doing something we care about or believe in, even if we’re unsure where it will take us.
Which one is the better choice? Pink explains:
“The dirty little secret is that instrumental reasons usually don’t work. Things are too complicated, too unpredictable. You never know what’s going to happen, so you end up stuck. The most successful people — not all of the time, but most of the time — make decisions for fundamental reasons.”
What does the research say?
The most obvious type of person who would fit into the fundamental category would be artists. Despite despite low pay and high unemployment artists have higher job satisfaction than most people. And it’s not due to personality. In fact, if anything, artists are more likely to suffer from depression and other mood problems. And yet they’re happier with their careers.
It is hard to predict where life will take you: 35% of college graduates end up in a job that was not their major.
What’s the number one thing people regretted on their deathbed?
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
That’s a strong argument for acting on fundamental reasons.

2) Think strengths, not weaknesses.
“Successful people don’t try too hard to improve what they’re bad at. They capitalize on what they’re good at.”
What does the research say?
This is one of the primary points that management expert Pete Drucker, author of The Effective Executive, hammered home in his writings:
First and foremost, concentrate on your strengths. Put yourself where your strengths can produce results. Second, work on improving your strengths… In identifying opportunities for improvement, don’t waste time cultivating skill areas where you have little competence. Instead, concentrate on—and build on—your strengths.
Pink also directly references the work of Martin Seligman. His research has shown that people who use their signature strengths, those things they are uniquely good at, experience more “flow” on the job and are happier at work:
The more signature strengths were applied at the workplace, the higher the positive experiences at work. This study showed that character strengths matter in vocational environments irrespective of their content. Strengths-congruent activities at the workplace are important for positive experiences at work like job satisfaction and experiencing pleasure, engagement, and meaning fostered by one’s job.

3) It’s not about you.
“…the most successful people improve their own lives by improving others’ lives.”
What does the research say?
Those who are other-focused are happier.
Via Shiny Objects: Why We Spend Money We Don’t Have in Search of Happiness We Can’t Buy:
“Researchers have: they’ve found that happy people are ten times more likely to be other-oriented than self-centered. This suggests that happiness is a by-product of helping others rather than the result of its pursuit.”
Happier people are more successful — and that’s causal, not correlative:
Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:
We become more successful when we are happier and more positive. For example, doctors put in a positive mood before making a diagnosis show almost three times more intelligence and creativity than doctors in a neutral state, and they make accurate diagnoses 19 percent faster. Optimistic salespeople outsell their pessimistic counterparts by 56 percent. Students primed to feel happy before taking math achievement tests far outperform their neutral peers. It turns out that our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive.

4) Persistence trumps talent.
That one is pretty straightforward. :)
What does the research say?
How much does natural talent control what you can achieve in life?
In ~95% of cases, it doesn’t.
Via Mindset: The New Psychology of Success:
“After forty years of intensive research on school learning in the United States as well as abroad, my major conclusion is: What any person in the world can learn, almost all persons can learn, if provided with the appropriate prior and current conditions of learning.He’s not counting the 2 to 3 percent of children who have severe impairments, and he’s not counting the top 1 to 2 percent of children at the other extreme… He is counting everybody else.
What makes the best musicians? Nothing but hard work:
Via Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else:
One factor, and only one factor, predicted how musically accomplished the students were, and that was how much they practiced.
I’ve posted exhaustively on the 10,000 hour theory of deliberate practice, “grit” and what it takes to be an expert. The best resource for that is here and the best books on the subject are here.

5) Make excellent mistakes
“Too many people spend their time avoiding mistakes. They’re so concerned about being wrong, about messing up, that they never try anything — which means they never do anything. Their focus is avoiding failure. But that’s actually a crummy way to achieve success. The most successful people make spectacular mistakes — huge honking screwups! Why? They’re trying to do something big. But each time they make a mistake, they get better and move a little closer to excellence.”
What does the research say?
Making mistakes can be vital to improvement.
Via Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation:
“The errors of the great mind exceed in number those of the less vigorous one.” This is not merely statistics. It is not that the pioneering thinkers are simply more productive than less “vigorous” ones, generating more ideas overall, both good and bad. Some historical studies of patent records have in fact shown that overall productivity correlates with radical breakthroughs in science and technology, that sheer quantity ultimately leads to quality. But Jevons is making a more subtle case for the role of error in innovation, because error is not simply a phase you have to suffer through on the way to genius. Error often creates a path that leads you out of your comfortable assumptions. De Forest was wrong about the utility of gas as a detector, but he kept probing at the edges of that error, until he hit upon something that was genuinely useful. Being right keeps you in place. Being wrong forces you to explore.
Being guided into mistakes during training led to greater confidence and overall better learning than being taught to prevent errors.
Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:
In one experiment where 90 people went through a software training program, half were taught to prevent errors from occurring, while the other half were guided into mistakes during training. And lo and behold, the group encouraged to make errors not only exhibited greater feelings of self-efficacy, but because they had learned to figure their own way out of mistakes, they were also far faster and more accurate in how they used the software later on.
One of the best ways to improve is to keep making little risky bets.

6) Leave an imprint
“…when you get older and look back on your life, you’ll ask yourself a whole bunch of questions. Did I make a difference? Did I contribute something? Did my being here matter? Did I do something that left an imprint? The trouble is, many people get towards the end of their lives and don’t like their answers. And by then it’s almost too late.”
What does the research say?
Visualize your funeral and consider what you would want friends to describe as your legacy is an excellent way to clarify what is really important to you and what you want to achieve.
Via Richard Wiseman’s excellent book 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute:
Asking people to spend just a minute imagining a close friend standing up at their funeral and reflecting on their personal and professional legacy helps them to identify their long-term goals and assess the degree to which they are progressing toward making those goals a reality.
9 minutes in to his famous Stanford commencement speech Steve Jobs discusses the importance he placed on thinking about death during life:
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”
Scientists now agree he was on to something:
Thinking about death can actually be a good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us re-prioritize our goals and values, according to a new analysis of recent scientific studies.
Six lessons:
  1. There is no plan.
  2. Think strengths, not weaknesses.
  3. It’s not about you.
  4. Persistence trumps talent.
  5. Make excellent mistakes.
  6. Leave an imprint.

Source: bakadesuyo

The Trick To Getting A Job At A Hot Startup

get job at startup

Q: What's one interview tip you have for a job seeker who is looking to work at an entrepreneurial startup?


Demonstrate how you pivot

"Entrepreneurs like to move quickly, so offer examples that show your flexibility. You can't be afraid to fail in a startup, so demonstrate how you've implemented, tested, failed, pivoted and improved in the past, and you'll stand far above other candidates."

- Kelly Azevedo | Founder, She's Got Systems

Fill the table with ideas

"When hiring, we don't just want someone who will be competent at the particular job we're hiring for, but someone who is going to bring fresh, creative ideas to the role and think critically about our business. When interviewing, it's important to come with ideas you have for how to improve the business so that they know that you're an innovator."

- Stephanie Kaplan | Co-Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Her Campus Media

Show your startup passion

"Startups want to hire someone who loves the product and is a great fit for their team and culture. Do your homework on the startup and the founders before your interview, and discuss why you would be great fit and why you believe in their product. Most importantly, you'll likely be working longer hours for a smaller salary, so be honest with yourself about whether that belief is genuine."

- Doug Bend | Founder/Small Business & Startup Attorney, Bend Law Group, PC

Don't B.S. it

"Most entrepreneurs have very defined BS detectors. If you're asked a question and you don't know the answer, say, "That's a great question, I don't know, but I'd be happy to research it and get you the answer." Don't make something up! It's the fastest way to get passed over in my company."

- Nathan Lustig | cofounder, Entrustet

Bring strategic questions

"A job seeker should do enough research on a startup to know that business and have great questions to ask about how that business operates. Ideally, the job seeker could even make suggestions about what the startup can be doing to succeed more. Whether those ideas are something the founders never thought of doesn't matter, because it shows that person understands the business."

- Victor Wong | CEO, PaperG

Show off some initiative

"Entrepreneurs and young startups hire for the "ability to get stuff done" -- with a minimum of hand holding, supervision or instruction. Demonstrate this skill. Do lots of homework before your interview, and be willing to do a small project to show your abilities if you make the candidate shortlist."

- Matt Mickiewicz | Co-Founder, Flippa and 99designs

Polish your portfolio

"Portfolios aren't just for creatives anymore. When I'm hiring someone, I want to see examples of their work in action. That could be a series of planning documents for projects, bullet points of savings you created for a past employer or something else entirely. Show me what you've accomplished in similar positions in the past."

- Thursday Bram | Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting

Make an impression beforehand

"Show the startup what you've got beforehand. A great way to make an impression before the interview is by tweeting the startup, writing on their Wall, etc. Make sure you stand out!"

- Ben Lang | Founder, EpicLaunch

A unique personality matters

"Show your personality. Obviously, entrepreneurs are looking for skills and qualifications, but startups are usually close-knit teams that need to work well together (for long hours), so knowing that the candidate will fit in is very important."

- Nicolas Gremion | CEO,

Available upon arrival

"A job seeker should have as many materials (resume, portfolio, etc.) as possible upon arrival to a phone, in-person, or virtual interview. Traditionally, resumes would include "Available Upon Request" for references, but have previous employers and teammates leave you a review on LinkedIn. Then, copy and paste these reviews and bring them to your interviews to give the interviewer insight."

- Nancy T. Nguyen | President & CEO, YMH, Inc.

In it for the long haul

"Make sure you explain that you're not in it for the immediate payoff. That will show dedication and an alignment of interests."

- Brent Beshore | Owner/CEO, AdVentures

Can you solve the problem?

"Startups are usually small teams faced with big problems. Demonstrate how you are a scrappy problem solver who can think of creative solutions to any problem thrown your way."

- Tim Jahn | Co-Founder, matchist

Be a believer

"If you're interviewing at a startup, you're likely speaking to the person who has poured their entire life into the company. Show them that you believe in their vision and are equally committed to making it happen by doing your homework, asking them smart questions and congratulating them on whatever success they have achieved to date."

- Christopher Kelly | Co-Founder, Principal, Sentry Conference Centers

Learn everything you can

"Most startups today have a Twitter account, Facebook Page, website, YouTube account, etc., so use all of these resources to your advantage! Soak up as much information as you can prior to the interview to really "wow" them with your knowledge. It also helps in understanding your fit at the organization and determining if it's the right next step for you."

- Heather Huhman | Founder & President, Come Recommended

Cut the cliche

"Strong record, results-driven, fast learner? Please stop the buzz words. Instead, be unique -- explain why you really like what the company is working on, and touch on how you could contribute to it."

- Christian Springub | CEO and co-founder, Jimdo

Source: AOL

Cover Letter Mistakes That Will Kill Your Chances

cover letter tips mistakes

Face facts: Some people will never read your cover letter. The rest of the people may trash your resume if it does not include a cover letter. Others will value the cover letter over all other application materials. Since you can't know for sure which type of employer or recruiter will receive and review your materials, assume the cover letter is a crucial piece of your application package.

Don't make these 13 cover letter mistakes and you will be ahead of the game:

1. Forgetting to include a cover letter.
For reasons noted, the cover letter is important, especially if the job description requests it. When you leave it off, you may look lazy (at best) or appear to be someone who cannot follow instructions (at worst).

2. Addressing your cover letter generically.
"Dear Sir" is totally out of the question, since it is sexist and "To whom it may concern" makes it clear that you didn't think it was important enough to try to identify the person in charge of the search. It may be difficult to identify the correct person to address your letter, but you should try. Make a valiant effort to identify a name to include. Contact the company to ask for the correct name and use your Internet research skills to see if you can confirm a specific person to send your letter. As a very last resort, "Dear Hiring Manager" may not keep you totally out of the running, especially if the company has gone to great lengths to shield the exact name from the applicant pool.

3. Adding your cover letter as an attachment and writing a brief note in the body of the email.
If you apply via email, include your cover letter's contents as the body of the email you send. That way, it is very easy for the hiring manager to decide whether to open your attached resume or press delete.

4. Sending a boring or terse cover letter.
If you're going to include a letter, it might as well be good enough to give you a better chance to land the job. If you send a formulaic sounding letter with nothing more interesting than the fact that you are applying for job No. 123 and that you saw the ad in, you won't pass the cover letter test for those sticklers who demand a cover letter. Make sure you write a letter that is interesting enough to read.

5. Missing an opportunity to make a great connection or to tell an interesting story.
Not everyone has a great story or reason for applying for a position, but if you do, use the cover letter to tell it. Was it the company where you launched your career, and you are ready to come back? Say so. Did you always admire the organization's television ads growing up, and now you are applying to help create new ones? That's a great story, and the cover letter is the place to share it.

6. Being self-centered.
The cover letter should not be a note detailing what you want. If you appear self-centered, that delete key is always handy.

7. Including errors or typos in your letter.
This is the kiss of death for many job application materials. Even if the job does not require you to wax eloquent regularly or to or create written materials for the company, if you misspell words or send a letter with typos and grammatical errors, it's a mark against you in a competitive field. Edit your own note carefully and ask a trusted friend to review it. Read it out loud to be sure you haven't left off words or made a typo that spell-check doesn't pick up -- for example, if you've said, "I'd be a terrific manger" instead of "manager."

8. Not targeting your letter.
Just as you should target your resume for every job so you're most likely to pass the company's computerized resume screening system, you should also target your cover letter to each position and organization. Include specifics about the company and describe why you are a good fit for their job. Use the job description and information you can find out about the job and organization online to choose the best details to include. If you send the same cover letter to every company, you are missing an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

9. Writing a novel.
No one needs a three-page cover letter, no matter how interesting or perfect the candidate may be for the job. Just as you don't want to be too terse, don't think you need to tell your life story. Write the equivalent of about one typed page at most.

10. Using the cover letter to repeat everything in the resume.
While you should make sure to include everything important in your resume (in case this hiring manager does not read cover letters), don't just summarize your resume in your cover letter. Take the opportunity to make direct connections between the job description and your skills. Consider creating three headlines based on information in the job description the employer wants and listing under each topic why you are a good fit. The more you can make a direct correlation between their needs and what you offer, the better your letter will be.

11. Exaggerating.
Don't say, "I'm perfect for the job" if you know you are not. Be honest in your cover letter and identify the best matches between your skills and their needs.

12. Being too humble.
The opposite of the braggart, who is "ideal" for every job, the overly humble job seeker may actually apologize for applying and explain the skills he or she does not have for the job. Hopefully, it's obvious why the "why I'm not qualified" strategy is less than optimal! You may be applying for jobs that are a reach, and when you do, focus on what makes you a good fit and don't dwell on the negatives.

13. Going overboard with the sell.
Unless you are actually applying for a sales job, think twice before including language such as, "I'll call you on Friday to schedule an interview." This may be a turnoff for some hiring managers. Is it appropriate to indicate that you hope they agree you're a good match and that you will follow up as of a certain date, but you could lose the interviewer's attention if you act as if you are in charge of the process.

Source: AOL

3 Things Every College Student Needs To Do To Nail A Top Internship

college student internship

I will say this unequivocally: All college students need to have an internship. I promise many other job candidates will. Employers expect it. More than 90 percent of employers say that students should have at least one internship on their resume, one recent study found. And the summer internship search starts now -- in January.

Here are 3 things every college student needs to do to kick off the internship search:

1. Create a resume and cover letter template.
Deadlines are going to come and go quickly. The same "generic" materials shouldn't be sent out for every opportunity. But you can use a template and customize it for the internship. The trick is to read the job description and then revise your resume and letter so that you connect the dots for the employer. The letter and resume need to explain why you're the perfect candidate.

2. Stay organized.
When I was applying for internships, I made sure to keep one sheet of paper with all of the companies I was applying for (10 per semester), the contact information, company website, application dates, required materials, and the date I submitted my applications. This document was crucial during the internship search, as sometimes you start applying for things late at night and forget you applied in the first place. Keep this document handy, just in case an employer calls.

3. Visit the college career center.
So many students have not visited their college career center. Today, many high schools have someone on staff acting as a career counselor. Your child needs to go into the career center, a few times over the course of a semester, and create an internship strategy with the staff. The career centers work so hard to develop relationships with potential employers and internship coordinators for students. It's a missed opportunity if the student doesn't walk in the door. They should also be going to the career center to get a second opinion or help with their resumes and cover letters and to do a practice "mock" interview. Career centers are FREE for students, it's one of the most useful resources on a campus.

Look, the message here is to get involved in your highschool or college kid's internship search. Yes, your child might think you are "overbearing" but at the end of the day, this is their career. You already know how bad the economy is and what your young ones are getting themselves into once they graduate. Internships are a solution for helping your kids find and land jobs after college. Do everything in your power to get them interning and making the most of their experiences.

Source: AOL

An introduction to intros

There's a certain art to meeting and greeting people. For a select few, introductions are effortless. If, however, you're one of the many individuals for whom initiating conversation does not come naturally, the following greeting guidelines can help:

Master the handshake
Almost every professional interaction begins with a handshake, and a good one can help you make a positive first impression, whether you're meeting a potential employer or a new colleague.
Avoid vigorous arm rattling, a double-handed upper-arm grip or a wince-inducing squeeze, which will make for a bumpy beginning. Instead, aim for a firm handshake and pair it with a pleasant smile and good eye contact. You'll communicate both friendliness and self-confidence. A proper handshake lasts about three seconds -- two or three pumps -- starting and stopping crisply.

Embrace formality
To hug or not to hug is becoming a common question in the workplace, especially in offices that have a casual atmosphere. But it's still best to play it safe by favoring handshakes over hugs when in business settings.
Hugging is often considered an intimate gesture, and not everyone may welcome it. While a quick hug may be appropriate or instinctive in some situations -- when you run into a close business associate unexpectedly, for example, or after your best friend in the company receives a promotion -- it's generally best to err on the side of caution when you're not sure of an "open-armed" welcome.

Sidestep space invaders tactfully
Do you dread meeting with colleagues or clients who are "huggers"? One technique for protecting your personal space is to extend your hand early to indicate you'd prefer a handshake.
Of course, some hugs are impossible to dodge without embarrassing the other person. As manners guru Peggy Post notes: "Sometimes you can't avoid the contact, and it's best to grin and bear it; backing away a bit once the person has released you should signal your feelings."

Introduce in the right order
If you're meeting with a group, be courteous by introducing yourself to new contacts before exchanging pleasantries with those you already know. Also, always introduce junior-ranking employees to senior-level people, mentioning the person of higher rank first ("Director John Doe, I'd like you to meet our new intern Carl Coffeefetcher.").

Win the name game
Have you ever been introduced to someone at a busy networking event only to forget his name five seconds later? You're not alone. To commit the name to memory and guard against goofs, restate the person's name ("I'm so pleased to meet you, Charles.").
To help others remember your name, speak slowly and clearly. If you're at a conference where a name tag has been provided, stick it near your right shoulder; when you shake people's hands, their eyes will go directly to the tag.

Show you're interested
Knowing how to make a perfect introduction does little if you're not adept at the chitchat that typically follows. Have ready some standard topics that anyone can relate to -- weather, traffic and weekend plans are perennial winners.
Also pay sincere attention to what the other person is saying, and make sure your body language reflects your interest. You're not sending signs of engagement if you're compulsively checking your smartphone, looking at your watch or scanning the room for others to talk with.
Finally, be mindful that appropriate business greetings vary significantly from country to country. A series of cheek kisses is common in some nations, while bowing is customary in others. Nuances abound. In Japan, for instance, it's considered impolite to immediately put a person's business card in your pocket without first studying it.
Before heading into a meeting with international colleagues or embarking on a trip abroad, research the prevailing greeting culture so you don't inadvertently commit a faux pas.
The bottom line: Whether you're meeting business contacts from across town or the other side of the globe, use good judgment and do your best to make them feel respected and comfortable in your presence.

Source: careerbuilder

3 Great Reasons To Pursue Work Outside of Your Field

how to change careers

When we graduate college, we hope that the job fairy will give us a high-paying job at a great company-the day after we get our loan-financed diplomas, no less.

Unfortunately, what usually happens is that we find ourselves sitting in our parents' basements, lamenting the cruelty of fate and resigning ourselves to a part-time job as a barista while we hope for the economy to return to its fabled 1990s state. You know, that time when six-figure jobs fell into the laps of even the most liberal of liberal arts majors-right?

Actually, the world never worked that way, and the way to get ahead now, just like it's always been, is to claw your way forward.

One of the most widely ignored methods of developing yourself professionally is pursuing work in fields that need labor, regardless of whether your qualifications match.

Here are a few reasons why you might want to get one of those jobs, and a few reasons why it will benefit you in the long run:

1. You'll grow your confidence
You want your potential employer to think of you as a go-getter, meaning you should look like-and be!-that kind of person. An excellent way to project this kind of attitude is to bring your mismatched skills to your interview and to show how you would apply them to your target job.

Learning how to sell your skills not only allows you to get other jobs in the future; it will also help you actually feel confident about how marketable you are for an employer.

2. You'll develop your general career skills
An important part of working at a "real job" is that you get tangible experience that's important to potential future employers. An interviewer needs to believe that you weren't stuck in life's doldrums, hoping to get swept up by a lucky break. Any job will go a long way toward teaching you how to interact and deal with coworkers, bosses, meetings and bureaucratic power structures.

You'll learn a lot of useful things about the working world and, more importantly, about yourself. What type of company do you not want to work for? What makes a good boss or a bad boss? How do you negotiate a pay raise or a promotion? These are skills that are transferable to a variety of careers.

3. You'll gain unique qualifications
Consider this: receiving your degree and then getting experience in exactly that field doesn't distinguish you from everyone else who took those same two steps. Higher-level job listings can come with random caveats like "Design Coordinator: Need graphic designer with project management experience" or "Engineering Manager: Masters in Physics with at least two years of management experience."

Wherever you look, you'll find that employers want more skills from you than you could have gathered at school. Broadening your skill set by taking an atypical job will give you qualifications that will allow you to stand out as a candidate for your next job.

Source: AOL

Got A Last-Minute Phone Interview? How To Prep -- Fast

phone interview tips
Have you ever had a hiring manager call you and ask if you're available for a phone interview right now? Sometimes interviews sneak up on you – literally.

Phone interviews are commonly used by hiring managers to contact job candidates who aren't local. But, it's not always about location. Employers frequently use the phone interview to conduct a pre-screening for the job, answer resume questions, and establish your basic qualifications and company fit.

Whether you're asked to interview on the spot or in less than 24 hours, don't panic! Before you stumble over your words or become flustered, there are a few tips that will prepare you for a last-minute phone interview:

1. Identify the best and the worst of your resume. The first thing you should do to prepare for a last-minute interview is collect your thoughts. This employer is obviously interested in you and possibly on a strict deadline, which is great news for you. However, you need to determine what job experiences and skills are most relevant to discuss with this employer.

So, take a look at your resume. If you're afforded enough time, jot down two or three experiences and skills you'd like to highlight during your interview. Also, highlight weaknesses in your resume (that you can hopefully turn into a strength). This will help you answer questions with more confidence and detail.

2. Perform a quick search online of the company. Hopefully you're already familiar with the company that just gave you a call. But, if you somehow haven't done your homework yet, do a quick search online. If possible, jot down the company's main purpose and values and at least one relevant case study or work example on their website. Also, perform a quick LinkedIn search of the company to see if you're connected with any insiders.

3. Clear your mind. The true ploy of a last-minute interview is to gauge your ability to think on your feet. So don't let your nerves or lack of preparation get the best of you. If you don't know everything about the company or don't have questions prepared for the interviewer, it's not the end of the world. Focus on first impressions and detailing why you're the best fit for the job.

If you're truly unprepared for an on-the-spot interview request, ask if you can schedule an interview for the next day. Hiring managers can't expect you to automatically be free for an interview without prior notice, so if you aren't available, just say so!

Have you ever been interviewed last minute? How did you prepare for the interview?

Source: AOL

What You Should Know About Working With A Recruiter

work with recruiterIn today's competitive job market, many job seekers would welcome additional job-search assistance. While some job seekers know exactly what they want to do or where they want to work, others need some direction. Recruiters can be a great resource, yet some job seekers aren't aware of who they are, what recruiters do and how best to work with them.

The following Q&A with DeLynn Senna, executive director, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, provides insight into the advantages of working with a recruiter.

Q: What does a recruiter at a staffing agency do?
Senna: First and foremost, recruiters help people find jobs. Staffing professionals identify matches for candidates with client companies, looking for a fit from both a skills and a corporate culture perspective. Because they have a thorough understanding of what their clients look for in applicants, recruiters make the job search quicker and more efficient. Through their networks, recruiters also are able to target specific companies where candidates would like to work. The services recruiters provide don't end there, however. For instance, they help candidates hone their résumés, prepare for interviews and manage salary negotiations.

Q: Why would a job seeker use one?
Senna: Recruiters can be candidates' eyes, ears and advocates in the job market. They often know of opportunities yet to be advertised and help professionals throughout the job-search process as an adviser, coach and confidant.

Meeting with a potential employer can be a daunting prospect for many people, but recruiters can help job seekers quickly build rapport with hiring managers. Recruiting professionals provide advice on interviewing with each contact, including questions to ask and not ask. In addition, recruiters have insight into current salary trends, what a company is likely to pay and how to navigate compensation negotiations.

Q: Does this usually cost the job seeker anything?
Senna: A reputable staffing firm will never charge a job seeker a fee.

Q: How should a job seeker prepare before enlisting the help of a recruiter?
Once you're ready to work with a recruiter, make sure your résumé and online profiles are current and they project the image you want people to have of you. Hone your elevator pitch about the type of position you want and why you are a good fit for it, and line up your references.

Q: What does the process of using a recruiter generally look like? How do they work with each other throughout the process?
The job seeker-recruiter partnership can begin a couple ways. In some instances, a recruiter, through her network, may reach out to a professional to discuss career opportunities. Other times, job seekers will register with the staffing firm. In both scenarios, the next step is for the candidate to discuss his career objective, and the recruiting specialist will then review the person's résumé to see if there is a potential fit with an opportunity at a client company. If there is, the job seeker will be invited for an interview, at which point the recruiter also will conduct a skills assessment and ask for references.

Throughout the process, candidates should keep their recruiter apprised of their search. For example, if you think you'd like to work at a specific organization, tell your recruiter, who may have a contact there and be able to secure an interview for you. Also keep in mind that this is a partnership. Stay in touch, letting your recruiter know what's working and what's not, and be open to her doing the same.

Q: How does a job seeker find a recruiter?
To find the recruiter that is right for you, research the staffing firms in your area, just as you would any employer. Review local business publications and websites, and tap your network for their recommendations. When evaluating your options, look for a firm that specializes in your field and has a history of success.

Q: What myths would you like to dispel about recruiters?
A recruiter is your job-search partner. This is not a simple transactional business relationship. Recruiters want to help you find a great job and can be a valuable resource throughout your career.

Source: AOL

13 Ways To Kick Off Your 2013 Job Search

new year job search in 2013

"I'll wait till after the holidays to start my job search." Well, the holidays are over; no more excuses. It's time to look for that job.

Here are the 13 job search strategies that work best.

1. Narrow your job search.

You can reduce the chances of feeling overwhelmed by targeting only your dream employer or your top two or three dream employers. Use Google, LinkedIn and human sources to educate yourself about the organization's priorities and where you might fit. Then answer ads, of course, but also pitch yourself to appropriate hiring managers that haven't placed an ad. If you're impressive, you'll become an inside candidate when a job gets posted. And the hirer might even create a job for you.

2. Reframe your pitch.

Instead of, 'I'm desperate to find something, anything," frame your search in positive terms. "Finally, I've decided to look for a job I'll really like rather than just take what falls in my lap. I'd like to find a job doing (insert your goal)." You'll feel better about your search -- and others will respect you for it.

3. Create a 5-to-10-second pitch.

A 30-second spiel risks your appearing self-absorbed or desperate. You can say plenty in just five seconds. For example, "I'm an accountant and always got good evaluations, but the company sent all our jobs to India." If a person wants to know more, s/he'll ask. The less you say upfront, the more room for questions. And with each question, s/he's more engaged and thus more invested in you.

4. Cast a wide net.

It's unlikely that your close friends and family will be able to help you land a job. So you need to expand your list to more distant ties: old friends and colleagues, your hair-cutter, cleric and neighbor down the block. Distant ties are surprisingly often willing to help, as long as you give that brief pitch that reassures that you'll be a good employee. And because you have many more distant ties than close ones, the odds are greater than one of them will give you a good lead.

5. Think coffee, not cloud.

Yeah, the Internet cloud is hot, but nothing replaces human connection. Make your goal to have two coffees, lunches, whatevers a week with people who could offer good career advice, hire you or know someone who could.

6. Love LinkedIn.

Your LinkedIn profile is the modern-day resume. Of course, complete it, including at least three strong recommendations. And don't forget the photo. People want to see a face connected to the resume. (Your photo should be a relatively recent headshot, so people don't feel misled when they meet you face-to-face.) Job listings on LinkedIn allow you to see how you're connected to them. And LinkedIn''s JobInsider toolbar, an add-in for Firefox and Internet Explorer, enables you to see your LinkedIn connections to jobs that are listed on Monster, Simply Hired and CareerBuilder. You can then request an introduction to the hiring manager.

LinkedIn's company profiles enable you to conveniently learn about a company -- for example, what other positions they're trying to fill -- that's helpful in crafting your cover letter and preparing for interviews.

7. In answering ads, use the point-by-point cover letter.

Make sure that your letter spells out exactly how you meet every requirement detailed in the ad. That makes clear that you're qualified for the job. If you're not, don't waste your time applying. If an employer goes through the trouble of placing an ad and wading through oodles of applicants, you won't be selected unless you meet at least most of the requirements. If the employer wanted to hire someone unqualified, s/he would have hired challenged cousin Gomer.

8. Practice, practice, practice.

Practice telling your story in 10-, 30- and 60-second versions. Also practice answers for the questions that you're most afraid of, like, "Why have you been out of the job market for so long?" When you're ready, phone a dozen people with the power to hire you for a job you'd crave. That tactic is low-risk and I've seen it pay off many times.

9. Storify.

Add success stories to your cover letter, interviews and resume -- yes resume. As I wrote in this AOL article, resumes filled with jobseeker-speak tend to make employers roll their eyes and turn your resume into a paper airplane. Adding two or three brief anecdotes describing a problem you faced, the impressive way you approached it, and the positive result, makes your resume more likely to sail to the top of the pile.

10. Offer to fill in on a Sunday, holiday or last-minute.

When employers are desperate, they're more willing to give you a shot. Give an employer a sample of you and s/he might want to buy the whole enchilada.

11. Think of a job interview as a first date.

You're both checking each other out. If you sprinkle a few questions throughout the interview and even offer to demonstrate something -- for example, if you're a salesperson or trainer, explain or sell something -- you'll appear confident, not desperate. Also, you may get information that can help you decide whether you want to work there. My favorite question: "What would you want to see me accomplish in the first 30 days that would make you say, "Wow, I'm glad I hired this person?"

12. Follow up.

After you've responded to an ad, asked a friend for a lead, or requested a meeting with a hirer who hasn't placed an ad, make a follow-up phone call. Keep it brief and positive and you'll more likely be perceived as pleasantly persistent than as a pest. Example: "Joe, I appreciate your having offered to keep your ears open for me. I can't expect you to keep me top-of-mind so I figured that now, after a month, I'd call to follow up. Have you heard of anything?"

13. Be more resilient.

Recognize that job seeking is that rare game in which, if you fail 99 of 100 times, you win -- but not if you quit early. Wallowing after some failures tends to lead to more wallowing. Keep at it and you'll likely land a job and thus not have to read any more of these job-search articles.

Source: AOL

6 Career Myths You Shouldn't Fall For

career myths
You've probably heard the same bits of career advice tossed around over and over from well-meaning friends, relatives, and even bosses. But plenty of the maxims that we hear repeated actually aren't true. Here are six of the most popular career myths that you shouldn't fall for.

1. A college degree will get you a job.
Generations of students have been told that if they get a college degree, they'll easily find a job afterward. Unfortunately, it's no longer so clear-cut. Degrees no longer open doors the way they used to, and too many new graduates are remaining unemployed or under-employed for months or even years, as employers opt for more experienced candidates. This is frustrating and confusing for graduates, who often feel that they did everything they were supposed to and they're not getting the pay-off they were promised would come.

2. Do what you're passionate about and the money will follow.
In reality, not all passions match up with the realities of the job market. If you're passionate about poetry or painting, you're going to find very limited job opportunities for those things. In fact, the people who get to do what they love for a job are the lucky ones; they're not the majority. A better goal is to find work that you can do reasonably happily; it doesn't need to be your passion.

3. If you can't find a job, just start your own business.
Starting your own business is hard, and it's not for everyone. It's not as easy as just having a skill and selling it. You have to have something that people want to buy from you more than they want to buy it from your competitors. You also have to be able to market yourself, deal with financial uncertainty, have some savings as a launch pad, and overcome plenty of other challenges. It's not a cure-all for anyone who can't find a job or is unhappy in their career.

4. Your major in college will lead to your career.
Students often come out of school thinking that their major will lead them to their life-long career path directly, but it's very often not the case-especially for majors in the liberal arts. You might have an English degree but end up in HR, or a sociology degree but end up selling ads, or a music degree but end up as a professional fundraiser. On the other hand, degrees in the sciences, technology, engineering, and math are more likely to end up pointing you toward a more defined career path.

5. If you're not sure what you want to do, go to grad school.
Grad school makes sense when you want to follow a career path that requires an advanced degree. But it's a bad use of time and money if you're hoping it will somehow point you down a career path, or if you're going because you're not sure what else to do. Many people who go to grad school for lack of a better option come out a few years later saddled with large student loans, and not any better positioned than they were before they enrolled. Which leads to...

6. Grad school will always make you more marketable.
Grad school generally will not make you more marketable unless you're going into a field that specifically requires a graduate degree. In fact, it can make you less competitive, by keeping you from getting work experience for that much longer and requiring you to find a higher-paying job than you might otherwise need because you need to pay back school loans-and even worse, if you apply for jobs that have nothing to do with your graduate degree, many employers will think you don't really want the job you're applying for, since it's not in "your field."

Source: AOL

Why You Aren't Getting Job Interviews

getting a job interview: how-to tipsIf you've sent out dozens or even hundreds of resumes and haven't heard anything back, you might be wondering what the problem is. Is it your resume? Is it just the job market? Could a former employer be blacklisting you in your industry?

If you're like most job seekers, the problem is one of these four reasons.

1. Your resume doesn't indicate that you'll excel at the job.

This is easily the No. 1 reason most job seekers aren't getting interviews. Most people's resumes simply list their job duties at each job they've held (like "processed bank transactions" or "filled customer requests"). That only tells the hiring manager what jobs you've held -- it doesn't reveal anything about how you performed at those jobs. The candidates who are getting the most interviews list what they achieved at each job (like "increased Web traffic by 20 percent over 12 months" or "regularly recognized for highest number of customer compliments").

Hiring managers don't care much that you held a string of jobs; they care what you accomplished there, and your resume needs to show them that. So if you're wondering why you're not getting calls for interviews and your resume doesn't list accomplishments, that's the first place to start.

2. Your cover letter is bland and uninspiring.

If your cover letter basically summarizes the information in your resume, it's not accomplishing anything for you -- you almost might as well not send one. A cover letter that helps your candidacy adds something new to your application about why you'd be great at the job; it doesn't just recite your employment history. Job seekers regularly report that when they start adding personality to their cover letters, they start getting phone calls for interviews.

3. You haven't asked for feedback from the right people.

I regularly hear job seekers with bad resumes say, "I've had my resume reviewed dozens of times, and everyone has told me it's fine." First, in a crowded job market, "fine" isn't enough; it needs to be great. But secondly, if the wrong people are reviewing your resume, their feedback doesn't matter. Friends, family, and even campus career counselors don't always know what they're doing; instead, you need people with significant hiring experience to give you feedback. After all, you wouldn't ask a friend with no auto-mechanic experience to tell you what was wrong with your car; you'd ask someone who knows cars. And with your resume, you need to go to someone who knows hiring.

(One good test: Give them a resume that's full of duties rather than achievements and see what they say. If they tell you it's a good resume, you'll know that their advice isn't useful on this topic.)

4. You're applying for jobs that aren't connected to your job history.

If you're applying for jobs that are very different from what you've done previously, you need to explicitly demonstrate for employers why you'd be a great match -- don't rely on them to figure it out on their own. Also, keep in mind that in a tight job market like this one, employers have plenty of well-trained candidates who meet all the job's qualifications and have already worked in the field. That means that even though you might feel that you could excel at the job if just given the chance, employers don't have much of an incentive to take a chance on you. As much as you might want to change fields, it's generally very hard to do right now.

Source: AOL

10 Questions to Dazzle Would-Be Employers

Your suit is crisp -- you look impressive. Your résumé is flawless -- you seem great on paper. Now, for the last piece of the successful job search puzzle -- "wowing" them at the interview.

How do you do it? Try asking questions. Besides showing your interest in the position and the company, asking questions gives you an active role in the interview and lets you steer the interview into areas where you shine.

To make sure your next interview is as smooth as your freshly pressed suit, try these 10 questions on for size:

1. "What type of growth and advancement opportunities does this position and the company offer?"
This tells the interviewer that you have a long-term vision for your professional future and that you're not just looking for a paycheck; you're looking to secure a career.

2. "How do you see me benefiting the company?"
Finding out why you were selected out of possibly hundreds of other candidates gives you a chance to expand on the qualities that caught their eye, further making the case for your hire.

3. "What would my first project be if I'm hired?"
This will give you a specific idea of what you can expect when you walk into the office that first day after being hired. It also can give you a heads up as to what will be expected of you, allowing you to build on those attributes during the interview.

4. "Are continuing education and professional training stressed?"
This shows your willingness to learn new skills and adapt to new challenges or initiatives. Adaptability is very important in today's fickle economy and could be key to retaining your job in a reorganization.

5. "Why did you choose this company?"
Hearing why a current employee opted to work at the firm can give you some insight into some of the strengths and opportunities within the organization.

6. "What is the company's culture?"
This will reveal those "intangibles" of a company that have nothing to do with professional experience or required education. If you need a traditional, office/cube environment to stay focused and get the job done, a more creativity-driven workplace which allows music streaming from computers, nerf hoop tournaments and ultraflexible schedules may not be conducive to your productivity.

7. "Who will evaluate me if I'm hired?"
Ask this question, and you'll discern the company and departmental structure under which you will be working. For instance, will you report directly to the vice president or will there be a succession of middle managers between you?

8. "What exactly are the job responsibilities?"
Job ads usually list the general areas of responsibility for a position. It's always good to confirm what the actual duties will be. You don't want to start your new job as an engineer and find out you're responsible for the weekly doughnut run.

9. "When will a decision be made on the successful candidate?"
Knowing this helps you determine the timing of your interview follow-up activities.

10. "May I contact you if I have other questions?"
It's always good to wrap up the interview with this question. It keeps the door open for further communication, giving you one last chance to make your case.

Source: careerbuilder

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