The pros of part-time jobs

For many recent graduates, life may not be going exactly as planned. The rocky job market has many wondering when they'll put their education to use at a real, full-time job. But rather than accept unemployment until things turn around, they should consider taking a part-time position.

There are a number of reasons recent grads should look more seriously at part-time jobs. Chief among them is money. It never hurts to have a little income, and it'll get your parents off your back. Student loan debts may be due soon, plus the sooner you're able to start saving money, the sooner you'll be able to move out of your parents' house. Not to mention that having an active social life requires cash.

Filling a résumé gap
But the benefits go much deeper than funding weekend partying and staving off financial problems. A part-time job shows prospective employers that you can take life seriously and be proactive. Employers may question gaps in a candidate's résumé, especially ones that stretch over a long period of time. Show employers that you're responsible by taking a part-time job to help pay off your student loans while looking for more permanent employment.

Gaining experience in your field of interest
When researching part-time positions, look for ones that would give you experience in your desired field and possibly introduce you to professional contacts that may be useful down the road. For many employers, a candidate's prior experience is an important factor, and professional referrals remain one of the most trusted and widely used methods among hiring managers for filling vacancies. A part-time job in a related field is often more beneficial than a full-time position in an unrelated one.
Even if your part-time job isn't in your desired field, it is still a good way to round out a résumé, as well as prove you're a driven self-starter. It may also lead to letters of recommendation, which will be invaluable in your job search.

Improving time-management and organization skills
Taking a part-time job will also help in your quest to find sustainable employment in less-direct ways, such as improving your time management. With nothing to do each day but fill out the odd job application and make a phone call or two, it's easy for an unemployed job seeker to get distracted and disorganized. A part-time job can help create structure that is likely to spill over into the rest of your life and prepare you for a full-time schedule.
A part-time job makes a great transition into the hustle and bustle of the daily work force. So, while it may not be what you originally wanted, any chance to put yourself to work, fill résumé gaps and build worthwhile experience should be looked at as an opportunity.

Unhappy at Work? Ask Yourself These 7 Questions

You're sitting in another agonizing meeting and glancing at your watch. "I can't believe what a waste of time this is," you say to yourself. "I've got five phone calls to return and probably 25 new e-mails in my inbox. Guess I'm staying late again. I just wish I cared more about what I'm doing here anyway."

If you notice that your complaints about work are becoming frequent and serious enough that you're questioning your willingness to stay, here are seven essential questions to ask before deciding whether to leave your position. Answering these questions is the first step in taking charge of your own career.

1. What do you enjoy and what don't you enjoy about your job?

This is a basic yet essential exercise. On a sheet of paper create two columns. In the first list all of the aspects about your job that you enjoy. In the second, detail your complaints. Be honest and specific. Now compare the two lists and notice any patterns. How meaningful are your likes and what are the impacts of your dislikes?

2. How long have you felt the way you do?

Every organization experiences good times and rough times. Are you hating your job because it's budget time or review time? Are you in a good phase only because sales are up in the summer? Have you been complaining for two solid years? Get some perspective about your overall satisfaction level.

3. How does your job align with your strengths and your values?

People are usually happiest when they are encouraged to play to their strengths and values. Make a list of your strengths and values and consider them in light of your current job and organization. How well does your job fit you? Are you an extroverted leader in a job involving a lot of data analysis? Are you committed to a particular cause and work for an organization whose mission runs counter to your ideals?

4. What is your job costing you?

Even those of us in lucrative positions face some degree of "opportunity cost" in their lives. Others face real emotional suffering. How mild or severe is the cost of remaining in your current position? Be honest about the impact your job has on your health and sense of well-being.

5. Will this job get you where you want to go?

You need to have a clear vision before making a dramatic decision about your current position. What would you love to be doing one, five and 10 years from now? How will this job get you there? Is this job a natural stepping stone or a dead end?

6. How is your boss supporting you?

Your boss's skill as a manager is a critical factor to your job satisfaction and success. She can give you challenging assignments and assist your career progression. Or she can ignore you, dump unappealing projects on you or undermine you. If your boss is intolerable, it may be time to move on. Fighting to have your boss removed or waiting for your boss to change or get fired are rarely successful tactics.

7. What's keeping you where you are?

Now it's time to be brutally honest. What are your primary motivating factors for working in this position? Perhaps you've made lifestyle choices that depend on your salary level. Maybe you spent many years and thousands of dollars obtaining an advanced degree to get where you are. Maybe you have convinced yourself that there is no better job out there. What are you committed to in your life? How does your job support those commitments?

Take some time to analyze your work experience in light of your answers to these seven questions. By noticing your desires and honoring your aspirations, you can achieve more clarity about what you want and what is in your way. With clarity, you can transform your vision into a plan for action.

If you still feel stuck, consider hiring a professional coach. A coach can help you clarify your vision, remove obstacles, create an action plan and follow it. With coaching, you can more readily take charge of your career and move closer to achieving your dreams.

Source: careerbuilder

12 Tips for Making Small Talk

A study at the Stanford University School of Business tracked a group of MBAs 10 years after they graduated. The result? Grade point averages had no bearing on their success -- but their ability to converse with others did.

Being able to connect with others through small talk can lead to big things, according to Debra Fine, author of 'The Fine Art of Small Talk.' A former engineer, Fine recalls being so uncomfortable at networking events that she would hide in the restroom. Now a professional speaker, Fine says the ability to connect with people through small talk is an acquired skill.

Fine and her fellow authorities on schmoozing offer the following tips for starting -- and ending -- conversations:

1. As you prepare for a function, come up with three things to talk about as well as four generic questions that will get others talking. If you've met the host before, try to remember things about her, such as her passion for a sport or a charity you're both involved in.

2. Be the first to say "hello." If you're not sure the other person will remember you, offer your name to ease the pressure. For example, "Charles Bartlett? Lynn Schmidt... good to see you again." Smile first and always shake hands when you meet someone.

3. Take your time during introductions. Make an extra effort to remember names and use them frequently.

4. Get the other person talking by leading with a common ground statement regarding the event or location and then asking a related open-ended question. For example, "Attendance looks higher than last year, how long have you been coming to these conventions?" You can also ask them about their trip in or how they know the host.

5. Stay focused on your conversational partner by actively listening and giving feedback. Maintain eye contact. Never glance around the room while they are talking to you.

6. Listen more than you talk.

7. Have something interesting to contribute. Keeping abreast of current events and culture will provide you with great conversation builders, leading with "What do you think of...?" Have you heard...?" What is your take on...?" Stay away from negative or controversial topics, and refrain from long-winded stories or giving a lot of detail in casual conversation.

8. If there are people you especially want to meet, one of the best ways to approach them is to be introduced by someone they respect. Ask a mutual friend to do the honors.

9. If someone hands you a business card, accept it as a gift. Hold it in both hands and take a moment to read what is written on it. When you're done, put it away in a shirt pocket, purse or wallet to show it is valued.

10. Watch your body language. People who look ill at ease make others uncomfortable. Act confident and comfortable, even when you're not.

11. Before entering into a conversation that's already in progress, observe and listen. You don't want to squash the dynamics with an unsuited or ill-timed remark.

12. Have a few exit lines ready, so that you can both gracefully move on. For example, "I need to check in with a client over there," "I skipped lunch today, so I need to visit the buffet," or you can offer to refresh their drink.

When should you exit a conversation? According to Susan RoAne, author and speaker known as the "Mingling Maven," your objective in all encounters should be to make a good impression and leave people wanting more. To do that, she advises: "Be bright. Be brief. Be gone."

Source: Careerbuilder

Get-ahead strategy: Build your listening skills

While you'll need to learn plenty of skills throughout your career, none is as important as one: listening. Listening is beneficial no matter what you're doing. Whether it's talking with your boss, going on an interview or networking with former colleagues, knowing how to comprehend what others are telling you without interrupting is always valuable.
"Listening is a greatly undervalued skill," says Adria Firestone, a career coach. "Everybody talks about being a great speaker, but even more than being an excellent presenter, you need to be an excellent listener."
Here's how your listening skills can help you advance your career:
Notice subtleties
While words are important, understanding nonverbal cues in the workplace is just as essential and comes from top-notch listening skills. "A good listener even notices what another person may not be saying," Firestone says. Reading the physical cues of your co-workers can help you gauge a reaction to a project or find clues about what your boss really thinks about your latest work. Listening carefully and paying close attention can be a huge benefit when figuring out workplace dilemmas.
Give more thoughtful responses
Have you ever known people who give quick, snappy responses that don't necessarily address the point? Really taking time to understanding a co-worker can help you craft a more intelligent answer to a tough question or put together a thoughtful plan for tackling a work problem. "We spent a great deal of our time preparing what we are going to answer next so that we look good," Firestone says. "The sad thing is, listening skills have really gone out of the window."
Build a dialogue with your boss
There's probably no one worth listening to more than your boss. Being engaged in what she has to say can help you build a positive working relationship. One trick Firestone suggests is squeezing your toes two times in your shoes before answering any question. Having those extra few moments of thought can help you craft a response. "Well-thought-out answers are so much more impressive than careless ones," she says.
Prevent misunderstandings during a meeting
Even though you may not get the chance to say everything you'd like, listening during a meeting saves time in the long run, experts say. Hearing what others at the meeting are saying, instead of thinking about your own words, can help you analyze the real problems that need to be addressed. "You will impress [your co-workers] because you have really listened to the questions being asked, the problems brought to the table and you will have legitimate solutions," Firestone says.
Help in the job search
When it comes to networking, listening to the subtle hints of those in your network can be a game changer in terms of finding work. "If someone senses you are truly interested in them, they will be far more likely to remember you," Firestone says, adding that listening is a critical skill to aid your job search.
Paying attention to the people others recommend to you or the opportunities that don't seem applicable at the time can also pay off in your job search. For example, if you listened to someone talk about a position that seemed out of your league a year ago but you now want to work at the company, recalling that conversation can be simpler after having a meaningful discussion.
It can be easy to forget to listen to others when trying to get your point across, but this skill is especially helpful in your career. Next time you're in a career-related conversation, Firestone suggests, "Don't forget to breathe, to think, listen, listen and listen some more, and then speak."

Source: careerbuilder

How to get your creative career started

Creative positions such as graphic designer, writer and Web designer may seem like unattainable dream jobs, and jumping into the creative professional world can seem intimidating. However, these jobs are attainable. If you're interested in pursuing a creative job but aren't sure where to start, here are some tips to help you get organized and begin your search:
Create a portfolio
Having a digital portfolio is essential for creative individuals. Not only is it a great tool to keep your work organized and easily accessible, but it makes it easier to show your work to potential employers. Including a link to your portfolio in your cover letter and résumé is more secure and professional than including attachments for the hiring manager to download. Check out free websites such as Coroflot or Behance to start organizing your work.
Know and use industry terms
Whether you're formally trained or self-taught, it's important to be comfortable using industry terms for your work. If you're a designer, you should be familiar with popular software programs, in case the company you're interested in uses a different one than you. If you want to write for a living, learn about the different writing positions for which companies hire. Most creative jobs also require working knowledge of Internet publishing, an important subject area to research.
Develop a personal brand
Just as creative individuals help a business develop a company identity and share it with the public, creative professionals can also establish their own personal brand. Decide what professional identity you want, what direction you want your career to go in and any special focus or concentration you want to pursue. This step may be a lot of work, but it can also be fun, especially when customizing your résumé, business cards, social media profiles and portfolio to match your brand.
Use social media as a career tool
Social media are a great resource for networking and staying involved with your industry. You can share your creative work with your social-media community and participate in industry conversations. Take advantage of the resources available to creative workers and use the tools to their full potential.
Treat volunteer opportunities like entry-level gigs
If you're new to your field and don't have much experience, you can expand your portfolio and add to your résumé by doing free creative work for local nonprofits. Reach out to local businesses, and include your portfolio and a project pitch. Offer to create or redesign their website, write and publish a newsletter, photograph and create videos of an event or help with publicity. These businesses will appreciate the complimentary services, and your portfolio will continue to grow.

Source: careerbuilder

Is Now The Right Time To Ask For A Raise?

Would you rather stay at your current pay level or get a raise? The answer is obvious -- who wouldn't want a bigger paycheck? While you may be ready for a boost to your bank account, don't be so sure that your boss agrees. Your supervisor will consider many factors before giving your bigger paycheck the green light.

How can you figure out if it's the right time to ask for a raise, as well as the odds of getting it? The following tips will help you determine if now's the time to meet with your boss or if you're better off waiting.

Do your homework. Just because you want a raise, it doesn't mean that your company believes you deserve it. No matter how well your company is doing, its leaders have to make smart decisions about money and can't always offer the lavish thanks you may believe you deserve.

How can you make your case that a raise will make everybody happy in the long run? First, do your homework. Know how your salary compares with the market value compensation for your role. Are you being fairly compensated, or are you being undervalued?

Next, read your company's compensation policies. Have you met its criteria, or can you find a policy in your favor? Take notes while you peruse the information to put together a solid case for yourself. Are there minimum compensation adjustments or a maximum amount you can earn? Do performance evaluations serve as the basis for determining raises?

If your company doesn't have a compensation policy –and many don't -- you may have more wiggle room. The average raise can range from 3 to 5 percent. While you may want to jump for the 5 percent raise, can you prove that you deserve it?

Create your own self-evaluation. It's essential that you not only know what you're worth when you want a raise, but that you can back up your request with proof. Whether you want a raise now or in a few months, keep a list of accomplishments that you update regularly. That way, you don't have to scramble to come up with them on the spot.

Your boss will be most convinced by numbers and facts. What extra duties are you taking on that would otherwise go unfinished? What work are you doing that would otherwise have to be done by hiring a new employee? Work out the numbers of how much your work costs and whether or not you're being fairly compensated.

Plan your approach. Once you've assembled your materials, get your pitch ready and choose the right time to meet. Consider all factors when picking the right moment. Did your company have a good quarter? Are raises being planned for the near future?

Also consider your boss's performance. If your boss has been slacking lately or didn't receive a strong performance review, it's unlikely that she'll be able to sign off on a raise. Even small factors such as how your boss has been feeling can matter. Avoid bringing up a raise right after your boss was out with the flu or is dealing with a client crisis.

Allow yourself enough time with your boss to present your case and have an open conversation about getting a raise. When you are able to make a fair and well-presented case for yourself, you can confidently expect a positive outcome.

Be ready for 'No.' If your request for a raise gets turned down, don't get caught by surprise. Your boss will most likely share her reasons for denying the raise, so listen up. The company may not have the money, or she may believe your performance doesn't justify a raise. Take her response as constructive criticism. It will help you plan how to improve your work performance and help you prepare for the next time you ask for a raise.

Source: AOL

The best and worst states for job seekers

The states with the lowest and highest unemployment rates

Recent signs have pointed toward economic growth. The national unemployment rate in December was 8.5 percent, a rate that has continued to trend down since February 2009.
Yet not all states are created equal when it comes to economic recovery. Some states weathered the recession better than others. And while most states have seen a decline in unemployment post-recession, others have dealt with fluctuating jobless rates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' recent breakdown of regional and state unemployment numbers for December, the most recent figures available, "Twenty-four states reported jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 8.5 percent, eight states and the District of Columbia had measurably higher rates, and 18 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation."
In taking a closer look at which states are on the road to recovery and which ones are still hitting speed bumps, we first reviewed each state's unemployment rate as of December. We also examined trends in joblessness -- whether it's been on the decline and the rate at which it's declining -- and other factors such as foreclosures and household income. Here's a look at some of the best and worst states for job seekers.

Best state unemployment rates:
1. North Dakota
Why: During the recession, North Dakota's unemployment rate peaked at 4.3 percent in 2009, a rate that was still significantly lower than the national average. The rate hasn't gone above 4 percent since April 2010.
Unemployment rate: 3.3 percent
2. Nebraska
Why: Nebraska was the state with the second-lowest unemployment rate in December, at 4.1 percent. It also experienced statistically significant employment changes from December 2010 to December 2011, with a job gain of 13,100.
Unemployment rate: 4.1 percent
3. South Dakota
Why: South Dakota had one of the lowest pre-recession unemployment rates in the country -- just 2.8 percent in December 2007. Its current jobless rate is still well under the national average. In addition, it saw a statistically significant employment change from November to December 2011, with a job gain of 4,600.
Unemployment rate: 4.2 percent
4. New Hampshire
Why: New Hampshire's unemployment rate is 3.4 percentage points lower than the national average. What's more, according to statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau, New Hampshire has the highest median household income in the U.S., at $66,303**.
Unemployment rate: 5.1 percent
5. Vermont
Why: Vermont's December unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, and it has experienced a statistically significant year-over-year unemployment rate decrease of 0.7 percent. It also ranks in the top 15 in median household income, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Unemployment rate: 5.1 percent
6. Iowa
Why: Iowa's unemployment rate of 5.6 percent is at its lowest level since June 2009. According to the state, Iowa has added 13,300 total jobs compared with a year ago.
Unemployment rate: 5.6 percent
7. Minnesota
Why: This Midwest state has experienced a statistically significant year-over-year employment change from December 2010 to December 2011, with a job gain of 26,300. Its current unemployment rate is the lowest it's been since September 2008.
Unemployment rate: 5.7 percent
8. Wyoming
Why: After the unemployment rate peaked at 7.7 percent in late 2009, the rate has continued to trend downward and is currently 2.7 percentage points lower than the national average. Additionally, Wyoming has the lowest unemployment rate in the Western region.
Unemployment rate: 5.8 percent
9. Utah
Why: Utah saw a statistically significant employment change from December 2010 to December 2011, with a job gain of 36,000.
Unemployment rate: 6 percent
10. Oklahoma
Why: Although Oklahoma's unemployment rate has hovered at 6.1 percent since October 2011, it did have a statistically significant employment change year-over-year from December 2010 to December 2011, with a job gain of 41,600.
Unemployment rate: 6.1 percent
Worst state unemployment rates
1. Nevada
Why: Nevada has the worst unemployment rate in the country, at 12.6 percent. It also saw a statistically significant employment loss of 9,800 jobs from November to December 2011. To rub salt in the wound, Nevada topped RealtyTrac's list of state foreclosure rates in 2010.
Unemployment rate: 12.6 percent
2. California
Why: While California's unemployment rate did decrease by 0.2 percentage points from November to December 2011, its rate of 11.1 percent is still 2.6 points higher than the national rate. According to RealtyTrac, California's December foreclosure rate was one of the highest in the nation.
Unemployment rate: 11.1 percent
3. Rhode Island
Why: Rhode Island has the worst unemployment rate in New England. It's also one of the three states where unemployment increased in December.
Unemployment rate: 10.8 percent
4. Mississippi
According to the Census Bureau, Mississippi has the lowest median household income, at $36,850. Its unemployment rate also experienced an increase from a year prior.
Unemployment rate: 10.4 percent
5. District of Columbia
Why: While the District of Columbia isn't a state, it's still worth including on the list given its high unemployment rate, which increased from a year earlier, going from 9.6 percent in December 2010 to 10.4 percent in December 2011.
Unemployment rate: 10.4 percent
6. North Carolina
Why: North Carolina has the highest unemployment rate in the South Atlantic region, excluding the District of Columbia. Its December unemployment rate of 9.9 percent is 1.4 percentage points above the U.S. average.
Unemployment rate: 9.9 percent
7. Florida
Why: While Florida's unemployment rate is on the decline, it's still the seventh-highest in the country. Plus, it had one of the highest 2010 foreclosure rates, according to RealtyTrac.
Unemployment rate: 9.9 percent
8. Illinois
Why: According to Business Insider, Illinois is one of the top 10 states with the most foreclosures in 2010, with 151,304 last year.
Unemployment rate: 9.8 percent
9. Georgia
Why: While the state's unemployment rate was down in December for the third consecutive month, the state labor department disclosed that metro Atlanta's unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent from 9.2 percent in November. Georgia also experienced the third-largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment of 0.4 percent.
Unemployment rate: 9.7 percent
10. South Carolina
Why: South Carolina's median household income of $42,059 is the seventh-lowest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau. Its unemployment rate hasn't been below 9 percent in three years.
Unemployment rate: 9.5 percent




Source: careerbuilder

7 Reasons You Didn't Get a Promotion

didn't get promoted
If you're stumped on why you didn't get the big promotion you've been pining for, read these seven reasons to adjust your expectations and attitude:

1. You asked too soon. Employers want to promote you to keep you happy -- it's in their best interests -- but it's possible that you asked for a promotion too soon and before you were ready. Are you sure you're mature enough in your job to take on a higher title? Do you have the leadership and teamwork skills that such a position would require? Before you get upset at being passed over, take an honest look at your answers.

2. You did your job. And only your job. You don't get promoted for doing your job, you get paid for it. Getting promoted is about doing more than expected, discovering opportunities, and providing immense value. If you meet expectations, feel free to pat yourself on the back, but don't be surprised when you don't climb the ladder. To get ahead, you don't need to be a workaholic, but you do need to go above and beyond your current responsibilities.

3. Your desired title doesn't exist. When you ask for a promotion, you're asking your employer to create an entirely new position, and sometimes that position isn't available, plain and simple. The increased workload associated with the position may not be necessary or there may not be room in the budget. Either way, decide if you're willing to wait it out, or if you should job-hop to get the challenge you desire.

4. You're entitled. Promotions aren't based on how long you've been at a company, but your career development within the company. If you think you're God's gift to your employer, chances are you're not. You need to have a team attitude. Try expressing interest in the company's wider goals instead of your own individual success. Do work because you're interested and dedicated, not just as a reason to get ahead. Employers can sense the difference.

5. You want a significant raise. A better title doesn't always mean a better paycheck. If your company can't afford to give you a raise, they may turn down your request for a promotion altogether. If you're only interested in more challenges and responsibility, make it clear that you're willing to forgo a potential salary increase at the start, and request a three-month review after you've proved yourself.

6. You have a horrible attitude. Yes, you get the work done -- you may even bring fantastic results -- but you do so grudgingly. You believe you know better than anyone else at the company, and make sure everyone knows it. Likability at work is just as important as crossing tasks off your to-do list; managers and employees alike want to enjoy coming to work and if you make that difficult, expect a long road ahead.

7. You're unemployable. You have vision, drive, and initiative, but just can't seem to work under other people. If you're a motivated high-performer who is consistently unhappy and not satisfied in your current position, consider that it may not be a promotion that you want, but the ability to work for yourself. Try consulting on-the-side or building your own company. At the very least, you'll gain respect and understanding for the challenges your former managers faced.

Losing out on a promotion doesn't have to be a roadblock; ask for feedback, do an honest assessment on your skills, abilities and attitude, and cultivate a genuine understanding of your company's position to continue your journey up.

Source: AOL

5 Secrets to Working With a Recruiter

As any professional who has ever been out of work knows, finding a job is no small feat. Locating positions of interest and convincing employers you are the one to hire appears simple. In reality, it can be unnerving and frustrating, particularly if the search has been a lengthy one. Enlisting the assistance of a specialized recruiter can ease some of the pressure and help you target your efforts to only the most promising opportunities.
1. Sometimes it is about who you know
Professional recruiters have deep networks of business contacts within a wide range of companies and industries. While you are diligently scouring newspaper and Internet ads, they can uncover leads and vacancies that have not been advertised or even announced, thus giving you an advantage over job seekers who rely solely on information that is posted in the public domain. Recruiters also can serve as career advisers. For example, in Louisville, Ky., a recruiter with Robert Half International recently partnered with an information technology professional who, despite years of relevant industry experience, had been unable to generate any employment interviews of note. The recruiter helped the individual rewrite his résumé to better highlight the candidate's experience with servers and the .NET platform, leading to immediate interest from employers. In addition to working with you to refine your application materials, a skilled recruiting professional can offer guidance on everything from answering tough interview questions to negotiating the best compensation package to how to dress for your first day of work. They also can help you navigate career crossroads and explore new fields.
2. Not all recruiters are created equal
When selecting a recruiter, it's important that the individual is an expert in his or her field. For example, if you are hoping to find work as an accountant, someone who has experience in the accounting and finance field will be better able to understand your needs and the expectations of potential employers. Ask friends and colleagues for referrals. Also consider contacting a few recruiting professionals in your area to gauge the level of rapport you have with each. Above all, you must be comfortable with the person with whom you have partnered and confident that he or she has your best interests at heart. In addition, remember that you should receive a recruiter's assistance free of charge. These individuals are paid a fee by companies to locate qualified candidates, so view with suspicion any recruiter who asks you to pay for job-search services.
3. The more information, the better
When meeting with a recruiter for the first time, be open and honest about your background, experience and career aspirations. He or she needs to know as much about your professional life as possible to find the right position for you. Are you looking for a tax accountant role in a corporate or public setting? What are your salary requirements? Do you prefer working for a large or small firm? Are you willing to travel? The information you provide may prompt the recruiting professional to suggest promising positions or career paths that you had not previously considered. You also should disclose to your recruiter any aspects of your work history that may generate concern from prospective employers, such as a long period of unemployment or termination. The more upfront you are, the easier it will be for a recruiter to assist you.
4. Follow up, follow up, follow up
After each employment interview your recruiter arranges, call to let him or her know how the meeting went. Your feedback can provide information that can be leveraged in follow-up communication with the employer. This could pave the way to a second or final interview. By following up, you also may receive valuable insight into your interview skills and learn about any concerns expressed by the hiring manager. Throughout the relationship, be forthright in communicating any changes in your career needs or availability. If you're interviewing for other jobs that you've set up on your own, let your recruiting manager know. He or she may have contacts at the company and be able to help you secure the position.
5. Patience
Although using the services of a skilled recruiter can significantly improve your odds of locating employment, even the most successful recruiting professionals need time to find the perfect position for the job seekers they represent. So, don't get discouraged. Recruiters continually mine their sources for job leads and may suddenly discover an opportunity that is right for you. If you'd like a status update, don't be afraid to call your recruiter with questions. Checking in with him or her on a regular basis ensures both of you remain focused on the best opportunities for you. A skilled recruiting professional can help you find the right job faster and open doors to new opportunities. By researching firms and maintaining communication, you'll be in the best position to locate and secure your next position.

Source: careerbuilder

25 Weirdest Interview Questions

answering weird interview questions"If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?" What would you say if an interviewer asked you such an off-the-wall question? Forrester Research asked this of a candidate for a research associate position; it's No. 1 on Glassdoor's list of "Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions for 2013."

Glassdoor compiled these questions from the tens of thousands of interview questions job candidates shared on their site over the past year via their Interview Reviews feature. The weird questions are in no particular order, but were chosen by a team of Glassdoor data scientists who analyzed submitted questions. According to Glassdoor, to date, they have collected more than 235,000 interview reviews and 300,000 interview questions from around the world. Interview Reviews include details from actual job candidates about the entire hiring process, including the interview format, how the interview was achieved, the average interview length and overall ratings on the overall interview experience.

If the thought of facing oddball questions in an interview makes you want to pack it all in and give up your job search, don't despair. One of the best things about questions like this is that there is no right answer. Employers who pose this type of inquiry are usually trying to assess your thought process.

Sometimes, they can pick up important feedback that really helps distinguish you from the crowd. For example, No. 5 on the list (asked of a Dell consumer sales candidate), "What song best describes your work ethic?" elicited some interesting replies on Glassdoor's person on the street interviews. One man said, "Nine to Five,' because I work nine to five." In this 24-hour economy, that's not as good an answer as one woman's comment, "Under Pressure,' by Queen, because I work really well under pressure." (For more advice, see how to ace even the strangest interview questions.)

Below is a complete list of Glassdoor's 25 oddball interview questions:
  1. "If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?" -- Asked at Forrester Research, of a research associate candidate.

  2. "How many cows are in Canada?" -- Asked at Google of a local data quality evaluator candidate.

  3. "How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?" -- Asked at JetBlue of a pricing/revenue management analyst candidate.

  4. "A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?" -- Asked at Clark Construction Group of an office engineer candidate.

  5. "What song best describes your work ethic?" -- Asked at Dell of a consumer sales candidate.

  6. "Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?" -- Asked at Amazon of product development candidate.

  7. "What do you think about when you are alone in your car?" -- Asked at Gallup of associate analyst candidate.

  8. "How would you rate your memory?" -- Asked at Marriott of a front desk associate candidate.

  9. "Name 3 previous Nobel Prize Winners." -- Asked at BenefitsCONNECT, Office Manager candidate.

  10. "Can you say: 'Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper' and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?" -- Asked of a MasterCard call center candidate.

  11. "If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?" -- Asked of a Trader Joe's crew candidate.

  12. "How would people communicate in a perfect world?" -- Asked at Novell of a software engineer candidate.

  13. "How do you make a tuna sandwich?" -- Asked at Astron Consulting of an office manager candidate.

  14. "My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend?" -- Asked at PricewaterhouseCoopers of an advisory associate candidate.

  15. "You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on 'Iron Chef.' How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restaurant?" -- Asked at Accenture of a business analyst candidate.

  16. "Estimate how many windows are in New York." -- Asked at Bain & Company of an associate consultant candidate.

  17. "What's your favorite song? Perform it for us now." -- Asked at LivingSocial of an Adventures City manager candidate.

  18. "Calculate the angle of two clock pointers when time is 11:50." – Asked at Bank of America of a software developer candidate.

  19. "Have you ever stolen a pen from work?" -- Asked at Jiffy Software of a software architect candidate.

  20. "Pick two celebrities to be your parents." -- Asked at Urban Outfitter of a sales associate candidate.

  21. "What kitchen utensil would you be?" -- Asked at of a marketer candidate.

  22. "If you had turned you cell phone to silent, and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me?" -- Asked at Kimberly-Clark of a biomedical engineer candidate.

  23. "On a scale from 1 to 10, rate me as an interviewer." -- Asked at Kraft Foods of a general laborer candidate.

  24. "If you could be anyone else, who would it be?" -- Asked at of a sales representative candidate.

  25. "How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet?" -- Asked at Petco of an analyst candidate.

Source: AOL

10 Things You Should Never Tell Your Boss

Keep Personal Info Personal

Discrimination in the workplace is illegal. It's also despicable and certainly not anything we condone. In an ideal world, the details of our personal lives wouldn't matter nearly as much as our performance and productivity on the job. But the cold, hard truth is employers may still make decisions based upon details of an employee's life.
From judging workers based on Facebook photos to thinking twice about promoting someone with kids or a chronic illness when another employee is free of those obligations or difficulties, there are kinds of potential pitfalls. By revealing some private information to your boss, you could set yourself back when it comes to a raise or promotion.
Obviously every workplace is different and bosses will vary. If you have an understanding manager who sees the value in knowing employees on a personal level, this article probably won't apply to you. But if you're not that lucky, you may wish to keep the following details about your life private if you want to maximize your success.

10. Night Life

Whether you're reading bedtime stories to your kids or hitting the bars every night, your boss shouldn't know anything about your night life unless it includes taking classes in your field or doing extra work from home or your favorite cafe.
If you can't complete an after-hours work task due to a hot date or helping kids with homework, it's best to simply indicate that you have other obligations at home. Keep the personal drama at home.

9. Religious Beliefs

It's against the law to discriminate against religious beliefs, but talking about religion too often at work is inappropriate (unless you work for a religious organization).
If your job duties entail something that violates a religious belief, you should speak up. You do not necessarily need to be specific with your boss; you can simply indicate that the task at hand violates one of your beliefs. If possible, present an alternative or workaround.
We're all entitled to our personal religious beliefs, but remember not everyone is religious and a workplace is not a church. It's all about common sense. A Bible quote on your cubicle is no big deal, but proselytizing and trying to convert your coworkers is going to ruffle a few feathers and could potentially put your  job security on shaky ground.

8. Political Affiliation

The quickest way to alienate people in a mixed crowd is to talk about politics.
Your political affiliation should remain private information. For a myriad of reasons. First of all, you risk offending coworkers and your boss while creating an uncomfortable work environment. But more important, once a boss knows about your affiliation, you could be judged as too open or closed-minded for a particular job. Even if your boss treats you equally, political prejudices still exist and could easily work against you.

7. Spouse's Income

You might be wondering why this is on the list, but trust us -- your boss shouldn't know about your spouse's income.
If your spouse is CEO of a successful company and a coworker vying for a job has an unemployed spouse your boss is aware of, you could lose out on a promotion even though you're equally qualified because it may seem as though you don't "need" the promotion. Even if your boss isn't conscious of that information playing a part in his/her decision, you don't want to take any chances where your career is concerned.

6. You're Working Another Job

Many people work second jobs, including freelance positions. But your other business should stay your business.
Companies often develop and expand non-competition agreements and policies instructing employees to retain only one job. As your company could implement such a policy at any time, you should avoid telling your boss about other work obligations so you can continue to fly under the radar and make ends meet.
Not to mention, if you have an annual review with your boss and he/she cites a decrease in your performance, your boss could easily point the finger at the time and energy you're spending working at the second job. Don't give anyone any excuses to question your work ethic.

Read more at 

Source: Salary

5 Critical Ways Job Search Has Changed -- And How To Make The Most Of It

If you're looking for a job for the first time in a long time, you're probably stunned by how much has changed. Successful job seekers embrace the changes and take advantage of new technological opportunities. If you want to be successful and competitive in today's market, make sure to consider the following factors when it comes time to do a job search:

Applicant tracking systems: This isn't a new phenomenon, but many job seekers don't realize how important it is to cater application materials to appeal to the computer systems that screen resumes. It's crucial that you target your materials specifically to address the jobs that interest you. Do not assume a human being will read and interpret your resume; make a very clear and specific case for why you are well qualified. Do not expect someone to read between the lines of your materials and to give you credit for skills you do not specifically mention. Take advantage of the lengthy job descriptions employers provide and include specifics about each of the details they request in your application materials.

Employer databases: In the old days, you could safely apply for a job, and if you didn't get it, apply for another position with the same company a few months later without the company having a record of the previous application. Today, companies maintain information about applicants and their hiring professionals will notice if you apply for a variety of different positions or try your luck by submitting different resumes over and over again. Job seekers who apply for every job available at one company can assume someone will notice they aren't focusing their efforts. Additionally, if you make a lot of mistakes on your application, it could stay on your record with the company, even if you update your materials. Be aware that you're creating a paper trail whenever you apply for a job.

Social media: Job seekers have never had more access to information about organizations and individuals than they have today. A click of the mouse or an easy Google search provides context about interviewers, details about company culture and streams of information from people who work in organizations where you want to work. Job seekers should learn to use social media tools. Today's networking possibilities are tremendous; you don't need to hope your brother-in-law's neighbor can introduce you to someone in a target organization -- you can connect with a networking contact directly via a few tweets on Twitter or via a group discussion on LinkedIn.
Employers are checking you out, too: While access may open doors, the flip side is that the onus is on job seekers to make sure to have optimized online profiles. If employers Google you and can't even find a LinkedIn profile, they may wonder if you are the type of employee they want to join their organization. It's up to you to make sure you create and maintain social media profiles and content that makes it clear that you have the skills and experience you say that you have on your resume. If you apply, indicating what a great collaborator and team player you are, but your social media updates are full of argumentative remarks, you're unlikely to land an interview for that job.

Competition and a shifting economy: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 40 percent of all U.S. workers now work part time or as contractors. People who study career and employment trends have been predicting this shift for years. The result? There are fewer full-time, traditional positions, and job seekers need to learn how to market themselves as freelancers in order to secure work. Luckily, social media and online tools make this easier than ever, but it's a trend many are slow to understand and appreciate. Even if there are still many full-time opportunities in your field, you may find this long-term trend catches up with you and your industry sooner than later. Smart job seekers think strategically about making a clear case for their skills and expertise online and to build a community of potential allies now. When you learn to market yourself online, you're more likely to succeed in this new economy.

What You Can Tell From Your Boss's Signature

CEOs big signature narcissistic Ever wonder what your boss's signature might say about him or her? A new study suggests that chief executives with outsized John Hancocks are more likely to be narcissists. Big signatures may also mean the CEOs are less capable and poor performing, though that doesn't mean they take home smaller paychecks.
In fact, the study of 605 U.S. CEOs, released by the University of North Carolina business school, found that those with large signatures make the most money -- regardless of how well or poorly they do their jobs. (Shown above is President Barack Obama's signature, which wasn't included in the study.)

In focusing on the size of the signature, ABC News reports, the study is believed to be the first of its kind, according to its authors, who defined narcissism as being conceited and having little regard for others. Narcissists, generally, have heightened opinions of their own capabilities and performance, and tend to dismiss the abilities and advice of others.

The hundreds of CEO signatures were mainly gathered from financial documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission as of July 2011, professor Sean Wang, one of the study's three authors, told ABC News. The signatures were then run through a software program to aid in comparison. "We standardized the measure by dividing the area by the number of letters in the CEO's signature," Wang said.

The researchers, he said, relied on findings from psychological literature that "a bigger signature means a bigger ego, on average, though other factors may also determine signature size."

Other experts expressed skepticism. Narcissism experts James Westerman and Jacqueline Bergman of Appalachian State University told the network that other factors can determine signature size, including, high self-esteem and an extroverted personality.

Wang said that he and his colleagues aren't claiming a direct correlation between big signatures and poorly run companies, but rather, on average, it appears to be true. One noteworthy example, first cited by Fast Company, compared Carly Fiorina, the (now former) CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co., and Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc. Fiorina has a larger signature than Dell, but HP underperformed its rival by getting lower return on its investments.

Which CEO has the largest signature? Wang said it was Timothy Koogle, who ran Yahoo Inc. from 1995 to 2001 and was the Internet company's chairman from 1999 to 2003. Koogle's tenure mirrored that of the dot-com bubble and its burst. But even allowing for that "relatively strange time," Wang said, Koogle very much fits the model.

From 1997 to 2001, Wang said, Yahoo paid no dividends, made "extremely high investments," and provided Koogle some of the highest compensation in Silicon Valley.

Source: AOL

Could You Be a Translator?

In the modern business world, the ability to communicate in more than one language can be a tremendous asset. The person who can speak and write multiple languages will be in greater demand, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that translator jobs will increase faster than national averages through 2014.

What's fueling this trend? Homeland security issues, large numbers of foreign-language speaking immigrants, and recent requirements for federally funded healthcare facilities to provide language services to non-English speaking patients, mean that people with the knowledge and familiarity with various languages are in-demand.

President Bush announced the National Security Languages Initiatives in January 2006, requesting more than $100 million in funding to develop the country's foreign language skills, especially in "critical need" languages like Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Persian, Hindi and Central Asian languages.

This increased attention to "critical need" languages puts translators and interpreters with these skills in the catbird seat. Language specialists working for the federal government earned an average of nearly $72,000 in 2005, and some specialized translators can earn more than $100,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"A translator or interpreter with security clearances and knowledge of a "critical need" language can make upwards of $140,000 a year with an assignment in Iraq," says Kevin Hendzel, spokesman for the American Translators Association.

While homeland security jobs may have a high profile, the increasing number of non-English speaking immigrants in America are creating a large number of jobs as well.

"In Alexandria, Va., the local schools need to provide services for people who speak 82 different languages," Hendzel says. In addition, demand for those who can translate, interpret and have certifications to do so rises exponentially within public services, like hospitals and court systems.

"A translator or interpreter working full time can make between $40,000 and $65,000 a year on average," Hendzel says. "But many choose to work as freelancers for $200-$500 per day."

Other opportunities for translators and interpreters come from the global economy. "Open any VCR and the directions are in five languages -- that's all work done by translators," Hendzel says. "Corporations operating in many countries require a number of translators and interpreters. The European Union spends over a billion dollars a year on interpretation and translation."

But just because you're fluent in more than one language doesn't mean you can do the job of an interpreter or translator. "If you're multilingual and think you can translate, it's like being able to type and calling yourself a novelist," Hendzel says. "Translators and interpreters deal with meanings, not just words. It takes creativity and the ability to process two languages simultaneously."

If you're multilingual but not qualified to serve as an interpreter or translator, careers as an ESL teacher or multilingual hospital worker are also growing fields. A student today who is fluent in more than one language would do well to study in a specialized field like medicine, sciences or law, as each of those fields have their own language of sorts, says Hendzel, whose own specialty is physics.

Though many people call translators and interpreters "linguists," the true definition of linguist is very different.

"Classic linguists don't even need to be fluent in more than their own language," says Anthony Aristar, professor of linguistics at Eastern Michigan University and moderator of the Linguist List, a listserv for linguists. "What they need to know is how language works."

In recent years, the demand for linguists has also been increasing. With an advanced degree in linguistics, one could pursue careers in such diverse tracks as pharmaceutical research and information technology.

"Languages are dying at a large rate," Aristar says. "While there are about 7,000 languages in use today, in another 100 years, there will likely be only 2,000." Pharmaceutical companies use linguists to identify how plants are used in healing by tribes, extrapolating clues for their use from language. For example, Aristar says one of the first drugs to come from this sort of exploration is quinine, which is used for malaria.

"Linguistics today is a very formal discipline, more like mathematics that anything else," Aristar says. Training a new generation of part-detective, part-mathematician, part-scientist scholars will provide fascinating challenges, if not the more attractive salaries of the private sector.

Source: careerbuilder

Intern Cover Letter

46 Jane Street, #7C -- New York, NY 10038 --
(H) 212-799-5000 --

February 10, 2013

Jill Worthington, Supervisor

XYZ Company

1251 6th Avenue

New York, NY 10036

Dear Ms. Worthington:

I read with great interest your job posting on CareerBuilder for an intern.

My experience in office, retail, and academic environments has given me the opportunity to master administrative, time management, and customer service skills. Despite the diversity of the jobs I have held during and after college, all the positions seem to share some common themes. In each role I was asked to interpret and simplify information and interact with others on a regular basis.

As a college student, I tutored several freshman and seniors in multiple subjects while successfully juggling a full-time course load. Over the course of two summers, I helped grade school children improve their language arts and math skills. Through administrative roles at two major New York area hospitals, I streamlined patient record information, automated data storage and retrieval processes, and managed receptionist duties as needed. As a crew member for Fast Food Express Restaurant, I learned how to manage cash register responsibilities, provide excellent customer services, and interact effectively with the public. In addition, I am proficient in the Microsoft Office Suite and I have a degree in Math from SUNY Oswego.

At this juncture I am seeking a new opportunity where I can apply the above-mentioned skills and add value to another organization. My resume is attached for your review and I look forward to a personal interview.


Ronald Glick

Source: AOL

Ready For A Career Switch? Don't Skip These Steps

career change tips
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. But how can you prepare yourself for a career switch? 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 resume writer. "A lot of people think they can tweak a few transferrable 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 consultation company with offices in Toronto, Ontario 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 we focus on include the following:
  • Communication -- This entails 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 will help align work efforts with company goals and objectives.
  • Partnership building -- Work rarely occurs in a vacuum, and the better their skills in deciding who they can best partner with to achieve desired results, based on their skills and knowledge, the better off we will be.
  • Conscientiousness -- Time and time again, conscientiousness proves itself to be among the No. 1 predictor of job performance. We hire individuals that pay attention to the details. Spelling and grammatical errors, lost and misplaced files or general disorganization can have major implications.
  • Technical skills -- We look for individuals with up-to-date and relevant technical skills. They are among the most desirable."

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 first 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 synergies between what you're currently doing 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're 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

Why Unemployment Stretches Are Getting Shorter

unemployment length

NEW YORK -- The average time Americans spent unemployed dropped a record 2.8 weeks in January ... but hold the applause.

The reason is likely because many people ran out of unemployment benefits so they stopped looking for work, experts said.

"People are getting frustrated and are giving up," said Adam Hersh, economist with the Center for American Progress.

The average duration of unemployment was 35.3 weeks in January, down from 38.1 weeks in December and 40.2 weeks a year earlier, according to the latest monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are other indications that the ranks of the long-term unemployed are thinning. The median duration of employment, which is less affected by those who've been out of work for many months or years, was 16 weeks in January, down from 18 weeks in December.

And the number of people out of work for at least six months fell to 38.1%, down a percentage point from the previous month. December was the first month this figure fell below 40% since the end of 2009.

The cause of the big drop likely stems from the fact that federal extended jobless benefits were curtailed in several states in January because their unemployment rates improved, said Claire McKenna, policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project. To receive unemployment checks, the jobless must look for work, which keeps them in the labor force. And since there was no notable uptick in employment, it's not likely that the majority of them got jobs.

Unemployment benefits last up to 73 weeks, but their duration in each state depends on its jobless rate. Residents in Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, for instance, are getting 10 fewer weeks of checks as of January because of the improving rate. Five other states also saw the duration of the benefits shrink in January.

Once they are no longer eligible for benefits, many may stop applying for jobs because they don't see any opportunities, McKenna said. So they are no longer considered unemployed under the Bureau of Labor Statistics criteria, leading to an improvement in the average duration of unemployment.

This phenomenon is one reason to maintain -- or even lengthen -- federal extended benefits, which have been in place since mid-2008, labor advocates said.

One school of thought believes that extended benefits keep the unemployment rate high because they discourage people from accepting offers. But the fact that the long-term unemployed are likely just dropping out of the labor force shows that they still need support, said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

"The benefits are not holding them back from taking jobs," Baker said. "You take away their benefits and now they aren't working. They have to struggle to get by."

Source: AOL

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