Six Killer Newsletters To Power Your Job Search

Smart career advice delivered to your inbox daily

For decades the go-to job search guide was Richard N. Bolles' What Color is Your Parachute. Every job seeker and recent college grad had a copy. It's packed full of information on networking, discovering what you're good at, what you love to do and how to find your dream job. First published in 1970 and updated annually since 1975, Bolles' book was often the only job search reference guide necessary.

Then, the internet happened. 

While Parachute is still the definitive (and best-selling) guide to job hunting and career change, they haven't taken full advantage of technology and jumped headlong into digital leadership on the job search front. Yes, you can buy the 2014 edition digitally and there is an iPad app for the What Color is Your Parachute? Job-Hunters Workbook, but there is a lot of fresh competition.

This digital void has allowed countless sites, apps and career experts to jump into the job search advice arena. There is so much great stuff available out there. Rather than providing a comprehensive guide, let's focus on the daily and weekly newsletters doling out strategy and tactics on the career front.

Here are six of my favorites:

daily muse logo
You can't beat this daily newsletter from The Muse for smart news-you-can-use. Company profiles, career advice, job search tips and more in pithy, bite-sized chunks. Plus, they have a good job board as well as a growing site loaded with smart advice and great tools.

Killer Feature – The Muse offers Muse University, 7-day classes delivered straight to your inbox. Each day features a quick lesson and assignment. These are smart, fun and FREE. I've taken the Networking, Management and Work Life Hacks classes and highly recommend them.
brazen careerist logo
This is a bold newsletter that dares you to push harder and reach higher in your career. Life hacks, personal branding, job opportunities and opinionated career advice are just a few of the topics they cover with a gutsy style.

Killer Feature – Virtual Networking and Online Career Fairs. Imagine talking to a dozen or more recruiters in an hour from the comfort of your own home. I attended a Brazen Online Career event and met virtually with several recruiters from top companies that led to real life connections and follow-up conversations.
fast company logo
With six daily newsletters, Fast Company doesn't deal directly with job search, but they focus on career and personal development every single day. Leadership, creativity, self-improvement, expert advice and book excerpts are just a few of the topics covered.

Killer Feature – Fast Company Leadership Daily is packed with intelligent advice on that can supercharge your current job performance or make you better prepared for your dream job.

Careerealism logo
The folks at Careerealism want to be your career wingman with "daily career tips, cutting-edge tools & expert advice." This is one of the biggest (and best) newsletters out there.

Killer Feature – Everything. This is a deep site with tools and resources for every job seeker.

Cynopsis logo
For the cable and broadcast set, Cynopsis is a daily must-read with a daily job board. Plus, they've got specialized editions for what's happening in Digital, Kids and Sports. Don't let the decidedly lo-fi design fool you, Cynopsis is informative and comprehensive.

Killer Feature – Classified Advantage is a weekly Cynopsis email with career advice and excellent mid and senior level broadcast, cable and agency job listings.
mashable logo
Jobs and career are only a piece of what Mashable does. The daily newsletter is your front page to the internet. They cover everything you need to know about what's happening in entertainment, social media and online. If it's viral, they probably know before you do. However, before you ask what this has to do with job search, they do excellent pieces on career advice and how to get hired.

Killer Feature – Mashable's Job Board is loaded with marketing, digital and social jobs.

These are just a few of the many great resources out there. What are you waiting for? Make sure to sign up for a few newsletters. Remember, you can always unsubscribe. Please list some of YOUR favorites in comments.

And if you don't already have What Color is Your Parachute? it might no longer be the only guide to job search, but it is well worth the investment as a critical tool in your job search strategy.

4 Creative Job-Hunting Organizational Tips

Stay on top of your game by streamlining your search

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By Marian Schembari

GenY's social media fluency and drive to learn and adapt sets us apart from our older co-workers. We're the largest generation since the Baby Boomers, and we're on track to become the most educated generation in American history.

So why are you still hunting for a job the way your parents did? When will you learn that mass emailing resumes to every job opening under the sun is not the way to get hired?

Maybe you're just plain lazy - no one likes writing hundreds of customized cover letters. Or perhaps you lack self-confidence - why spend time working hard on an application when no one will even read it? 

Whatever the reason, it's time to put your tech-savvy skills to use and organize your job hunt.

You need to tackle your search for a job with the same enthusiasm and organization as you would a full-time job - because when you're out of work, job hunting is your full-time job.

Stop wasting time with canned emails and generic cover letters. Instead, streamline your job search with these four practical systems:

1. Create a "spreadsheet of opportunities"

Head to Google Drive or Excel to organize every job you've ever wanted, heard of or applied for. Be sure to include even those companies where you've only dreamed of working. I organized mine by Company, Position, Contacts, Job Application Link, Date of Application, Notes and Status.

Update your spreadsheet daily. It will help you keep track of when to follow up, where you might need to make a new contact and what homework you need to do to prepare for the next interview stages.

This also comes in handy if you're on unemployment. Having all this information in one place is a great reference guide when you need to prove you're actively looking for work.

2. Save answers to application questions

Job applications are significantly more complicated than they were just a few years ago.

Many applications now ask specific questions about a project you're most proud of or require a list of your most useful skills. Instead of just typing this directly into an online form, store those answers (proofread and spell-checked, of course) in a Job Hunt folder in Evernote.

For your next pesky phone screening, keep these questions open during the call so you can quickly reference your best answers. The more you do this, the more comfortable you'll get answering these questions. (I've memorized most of mine by now, which is a bonus since I began to sound really articulate during those calls.)

Evernote also has great a great tagging system, so it's easy for find responses pertaining to skills or project results when answering new questions on the fly.

3. Save your cover letter templates

Though you should submit a customized cover letter for every job, it's OK to start from a template. Each template should include your favorite accomplishments relevant to the role you want. This makes applying for jobs the right way easy as pie.

Save your cover letter templates and a PDF of your resume to Dropbox so you can access them from anywhere on any device. So if you meet a lead for coffee and the conversation goes well, you can send your resume right there.

While my title has pretty consistently been "Social Media Manager," that can mean different things to different people. Instead of limiting myself to roles with the same title, I applied to content strategy and community management jobs as well as more traditional marketing positions. When I sat down to write a cover letter for a position, it was helpful to have a few different templates to start from.

4. Become best friends with your calendar

Randomly applying for jobs will not get you hired. My biggest successes have always come from meeting people in person.

Whether it's at a formal networking event or meeting a friend of a friend at Starbucks, talking to humans always trumps applying online. Regularly talk to people who love their jobs. Buy them coffee in exchange for picking their brains about work, projects and valuable skills.

This means you need to invest time in organizing your calendar. And don't forget to pencil in valuable Parks and Recreation time so you don't go crazy - there is such a thing as too much networking.

Set a schedule for what you will do each day: Who you'll reach out to, what jobs you'll apply for and what action steps you can take. With an organized calendar, your job hunt will feel purposeful and productive instead of listless and hopeless.

The result of this obsessive job search? I landed an unbelieveable role at a successful startup in less than four weeks. *Brushes shoulders off.*

10 Websites That Are A Freelancer's Best Friend

Don't take on the cutthroat world of freelance work alone

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By Carrie Smith

Is one of your New Year's goals to make money as a freelancer? Or maybe you already have a few clients but want to propel your freelance business forward this year?

No need to grasp around in the dark. Instead, take advice from freelancers who have gone before you!

Here are 10 websites that will help you learn how to find clients, figure out what to charge and cover all the other bases you need to build a successful business this year. 

This new site was formerly known as Freelance Switch, a long-time resource for freelancers and solopreneurs. It offers high-quality and in-depth articles on everything it takes to become a successful freelancer, along with helpful tutorials. Plus, archives from the previous site are an absolute gold mine.

Founded by Sara Horowitz, the Freelancers Union is a free resource for independent freelancers and small business owners of all kinds. Lucky for you, you don't have to be a member to get all the helpful content on their blog. You'll find information on how to get health insurance, work with subcontractors, understand self-employment taxes and all the ins and outs of running your own business.

An invoicing product for small business owners and freelancers, FreshBooks also offers a blog, and it's an excellent resource. Quickly find advice from experts about much-needed topics like freelance taxes, financial organization, invoicing, contracts and more. Working with clients and getting paid is a huge part of being a freelancer, so this blog will no doubt come in handy.

This site is the ultimate resource for freelancers at all stages. Not only will you find free advice and tips on the blog; the community forums also provide an opportunity to connect with other independent workers. Enjoy new leads and job opportunities on the job board, along with a quick-start guide to getting started freelancing.

A lot of details go into becoming a successful freelancer, but your number one focus should be earning enough money to support yourself. This site will help you do just that! It offers in-depth training, courses and books to help you take your solo business to the next level. Plus, every year, the Academy oversees International Freelancers Day, a chance to learn from and connect with thousands of freelancers all over the world.

We can't leave Brazen off this list, especially since the blog has an entire section dedicated to freelancing. If you're looking to forge your own path, enjoy Brazen's tips on getting started, working with clients, being more productive and taking your freelancing full-time.

Not everyone wants to quit their job, start a business and travel the world. But if you're one of those go-getters who do, Location 180 is an awesome site for you. You'll find ideas on how to run a business from any location in the world, along with practical advice and real-life tested strategies for building what blogger Sean Ogle calls a freedom business.

This site will encourage you to get out of the daily grind and take the first step towards regaining control of your life. Jill and Josh are affiliate marketers, but their real-world advice on everything from making more money to dealing with unsupportive family members is helpful for all types of freelancers.

Taking the leap into freelancing requires guts, and Tom Ewer shares the story of how he boldly quit his job to become a successful freelancer. Dig through the archives of his income reports and see exactly how he brings in thousands of dollars each month. He firmly believes that anyone can do what he's done and become their own boss.

As one of the largest online resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs, this site provides essential tools and resources to start, grow and manage your business. You'll find expertise and practical advice from tons of small business experts and online freelancers.

What other online resources would you recommend to freelancers?

7 email etiquette rules every professional should know

Smartphones allow us to send and receive messages from anywhere. They’re convenient, and you aren’t afraid that you might be interrupting someone by texting or calling them on the phone.
But it’s this convenience that leads people to making embarrassing mistakes that may be detrimental in a professional interaction. For example, you could easily miss a spelling error while typing out an email on your phone or come off as too casual or unprofessional in tone or content.
Career coach Barbara Pachter outlines modern email etiquette rules in her latest book, “The Essentials Of Business Etiquette.” We pulled out the most important ones you need to know.

1. Include a clear, direct subject line.
Examples of a good subject line include: “Meeting date changed,” “Quick question about your presentation,” or “Suggestions for the proposal.”

“People often decide whether to open an email based on the subject line,” Pachter says. “Choose one that lets readers know you are addressing their concerns or business issues.”

2. Use a professional email address.
If you work for a company, you should use your company email address. But if you use a personal email account — whether you are self-employed or just like using it occasionally for work-related correspondences — you should be careful when choosing that address, Pachter says.

You should always have an email address that conveys your name so that the recipient knows exactly who’s sending the email. Never use email addresses (perhaps remnants of your grade-school days) that are not appropriate for use in the workplace, such as “diva@…” or “babygirl@…”

3. Think twice before hitting “reply all.”
No one wants to read emails from 20 people when it has nothing to do with them. They could just ignore the emails, but many people get notifications of new messages on their smartphones or distracting pop-up messages on their computer screens. Refrain from hitting “reply all” unless you really think everyone on the list needs to receive the email, Pachter says.

4. Use exclamation points sparingly.
If you choose to use an exclamation point, use only one to convey excitement, Pachter says. “People sometimes get carried away and put a number of exclamation points at the end of their sentences. The result can appear too emotional or immature,” she writes. “Exclamation points should be used sparingly in writing.”

5. Be cautious with humor.
Humor can easily get lost in translation without the right tone or facial expressions. In a professional exchange, it’s better to leave humor out of emails unless you know the recipient well. Also, something that you think is funny might not be funny to someone else.

Pachter says: “Something perceived as funny when spoken may come across very differently when written. When in doubt, leave it out.”

6. Know that people from different cultures speak and write differently.
Miscommunication can easily occur due to cultural differences, especially in the writing form when we can’t see each other’s body language. Tailor your message depending on the receiver’s cultural background or how well you know him.

A good rule to keep in mind, says Pachter, is that high-context cultures (Japanese, Arab or Chinese) want to get to know you before doing business with you. Therefore, it may be common for business associates from these countries to be more personal in their writings. On the other hand, people from low-context cultures (German, American or Scandinavian) prefer to get to the point quickly.

7. Reply to your emails — even if the email wasn’t intended for you.
It’s difficult to reply to every email message ever sent to you, but you should try to, Pachter says. This includes when the email was accidentally sent to you, especially if the sender is expecting a reply. A reply isn’t necessary, but serves as good email etiquette, especially if this person works in the same company or industry as you.

Here’s an example reply: “I know you’re very busy, but I don’t think you meant to send this email to me. And I wanted to let you know so you can send it to the correct person.”
Aside from these email tips, always make sure to proof your messages so that there aren’t any jarring mistakes that make you seem unprofessional. Pachter advises to always add the email address last so that the email doesn’t accidentally send before you’re ready.

Applying to a company that's already turned you down

Persistence is something we're taught at a young age. If we get rejected from a sports team, we're encouraged to practice until we improve and try out again. If we get a low grade in class, we're taught to study until we bring our grades up.
Persistence is an attribute that continues to be important as we get older, playing a part in everything from our relationships to our health to our careers.
When it comes to careers, persistence can certainly pay off -- employers want workers who are truly interested in and passionate about their jobs. But what about when a job seeker gets rejected from a company that he really wants to work for? Can he continue to pursue employment at that company, or could  his persistence work against him?
Joshua Siva, co-author of "BOLD: Get Noticed, Get Hired," says that job seekers shouldn't be discouraged from applying again to a company that's turned them down. "When an applicant has taken the time to understand the company, the people and the customers, getting rejected the first time around should never discourage that applicant from future prospects with the firm," Siva says. "Any number of reasons could have led to the rejection."

What to do before re-applying
Siva says there are three things applicants should do before applying again to the same company. The first is to understand the gap in their previous application. How? "Ideally this comes from the company through a contact involved in the hiring process, but if not, the applicant needs to be honest with themselves: 'Did I have the experience, did I speak the company's language, did I sell myself the right way?' Make a list of these things, and spend whatever amount of time is needed to close the gap, and be sure to have it documented and readily demonstrated."

The next move Siva recommends a job seeker makes is to connect with someone at the company in a related function. "[This is] in order to learn everything about their role, their background, how they got in, company trends, etc.," Siva says. "It's amazing how far asking questions can take the applicant, because at the end of it all, the potential applicant will likely get asked about their own ambitions, and when shared, who knows what doors may open via the employee."
Finally, Siva suggests following up periodically with the human resources manager involved in the hiring process from the original rejection. In your follow up, Siva says to remind the HR manager of your résumé on file, share what progress you've made since and reiterate your passion for the company. "It's always a favorable position when an applicant is on the mind of an HR professional involved with recruiting, because they constantly have visibility and support requests to fill roles."

When it's OK to apply again
After you've been turned down by a company, you may be tempted to re-apply right away, especially if there's another job that interests you. But it may be in your best interest to wait it out a few months, to ensure  that you're in a situation where it would make sense for them to potentially consider you again.

Lisa Rangel, managing director of Chameleon Resumes, an executive résumé-writing and job-search service, says that in general, it's good to wait a minimum of three to six months. "There needs to be enough time to allow for a possible change in the company situation and for the person to amass additional and/or relevant skills that are different than before."

Applying the second time around
Depending on what you're looking for, and how important it is to work at the company versus in a particular position, you may wait until a similar position comes along, or you may be willing to work in a different function or department just to get a foot in the door. Based on what type of position you're applying for the second time, you should adjust your application materials as needed. But regardless of whether the position is the same or different from the original job you applied for, you need to show the company that you've grown.

"To be taken seriously for the competitive and coveted positions in the marketplace, those who are and aren't currently employed need to be advancing and improving themselves as time goes on," Siva says. "If applying for the same role, that improvement needs to speak to closing the gaps in their previous application. If applying for a different role or function, that progress needs to demonstrate the pivot in knowledge and the commitment made to pursuing the new function of focus.
"Above all else, the applicant needs to be bolder and more creative the second time around in order to stand out from other applicants, in addition to their former self and application," Siva says.

Interviewing? You Need To Ask These 7 Questions

Gauge answers for red flags

Businessmen shaking hands across coffee table in lobby
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By Michael Kingston

At the end of an interview, you have the opportunity to pose your carefully prepared questions to the hiring manager. Since you're under enough pressure already, here's a ready-made list of essential questions to ask in an interview:

1. Why is this position vacant? 
It's important to understand not only why the job is open but for how long it's been vacant. The majority of vacancies are the result of an internal promotion or the departure of the previous post holder and are normally filled within a reasonable timeframe. If the job's been open for several months, you need to know why. Did a previous candidate turn it down? If so, you need to know why before you leap into a potential lion's den. Are the expectations of the job unrealistic? Is the compensation inadequate? If the job is a newly created one, you have an ideal opportunity to blaze your own trail.

2. What have your most successful candidates brought to the company? 
Another way of phrasing this is to ask about the characteristics of the company's top talent. This question is a statement of intent about your determination to join the company's elite performers. You may wish to emphasize your skills and achievements relevant to the role prior to posing this question. The answer will also give you an indication of company culture and help you to decide whether or not this job is the one for you. 

3. What does success look like in the first 90 days? 
Ambitious candidates are eager to hit the ground running, and this question puts you among that group. Again it will reveal the type of company you may be joining. If expectations for the first 90 days are unrealistic, what will the role look like after six months?

4. What challenges will the candidate face in the first 90 days?
Potential challenges may prevent you from achieving your agreed objectives in the first few months, so you need to be aware of them. Again, this question indicates your determination to succeed. It also gives the hiring manager the chance to come clean about the potential for internal conflict (and provides further insight into company culture).

5. What challenges is the company currently facing? 
Is the company making money? Has it had major layoffs in the past five years? How does it respond to a constantly evolving economic climate? How does it adapt to technological change? All of these issues are important to you as a potential new employee. If you were released from a recent job due to downsizing, you need to be confident that any company you move to is financially secure.

6. How do you retain your top talent? 
Successful companies implement career development programs for their employees with a clearly defined career path. This question reminds the hiring manager you are serious both in your application and your long-term commitment -- but that commitment needs to go both ways.

7. Why do you work for this company? 
A hesitant or vague response should raise a red flag. You need to be confident that the company you are moving to rewards its staff and provides the opportunity for you to achieve your long-term goals.

3 Steps To Walk Into An Interview Feeling Confident

You'll just need 45 minutes of prep time

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By Marc Miller

Confidence is the number one factor to having a successful interview. If you walk into an interview feeling good about yourself, it will exude from every pore. The one thing you cannot fake is passion.

I am going to give you three steps to take starting 45 minutes before an interview. Step 3 may sound a little crazy, but stick with me. 

Step 1

Arrive 45 minutes early for your interview and find a quiet place. This could be just sitting in your car. It could be sitting in the lobby of the company where you are interviewing. It could be a bathroom stall. Bathroom stalls have multiple purposes in life!

I want you to sit quietly with your eyes closed and go back in your mind to a very happy experience. This could be a great vacation, a winning moment in a game, getting your acceptance letter to college, college graduation, accepting an award at work...

Sit there for a full 10 minutes and soak up those good feelings.

Do you feel the confidence growing?

Step 2

If you have a close friend who is willing to help, call them and ask them for a pep talk. If not, give yourself a pep talk.

Do not do this in your head. I want you to say out loud that you are good, no... you are damn good, no... you are damn *&^%$ good! You can customize this to how you would say it, but I want you to hear the words.

Do this for ten minutes. Yes, if you are in a crowded area like a busy street, some people might think you are crazy for talking to yourself. Well, I talk to myself all of the time! I am one of the most interesting people I know!

Do you feel the confidence growing?

You are now 15 minutes from your interview. We are ready for step 3.

Step 3

Step 3 is based on the premise your body shapes who you are. Amy Cuddy was a TED Talk presenter and in her video Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are, she explains that, when you take on powerful and winning body shapes, it will increase testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain.

You will feel more confident.

For this activity, you will probably need to go into a bathroom stall. Stick your hands up like Usain Bolt when he won the 100 meter dash at the Olympics. Keep them up for two minutes and soak in that winning feeling. If you still do not believe me, read her paper, Power Posing.

Yes, I know this sounds crazy but it does work! Check this video...

You Won't Believe These 6 Nightmare Job Applicants

Recruiters dish on Reddit forum

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It's the fear of every job applicant -- making a complete gaffe and blowing the application process. But rest assured, for however poorly you've fared, it's likely someone's done worse. And now there's proof.

Hiring managers from across the country recently participated in a Reddit forum to share their most memorable nightmare experiences from job applicants. Suffice it to say catching job applicants engaging in workplace theft, or listening to the applicants admitting to drinking on the job didn't charm the managers. But awkward interview behavior wasn't always a barrier to a job offer, either. So see below for some of the most memorable anecdotes as shared by the hiring managers. 

Caught in the act of shoplifting
A former Blockbuster manager shared one experience in which a job applicant had just completed an "awful" interview. The manager didn't get into great details about why the interview was so "awful," but whatever did occur, there's no way it could have been worse than what happened when the manager walked the applicant out the door. As the applicant was making his way to the parking lot alarms went off; "it turned out he stuffed three DVD's in his suit jacket before being called back to the office," as Reddit user, "nicmccool," the former manager, described. "Blockbusted," commented Reddit user, "arleneb8."

Such a brazen and self-destructive manner of robbing is not without precedent, as has been reported by AOL Jobs. Last summer, an applicant for a gas station position at a Citgo gas station in Florida was caught by the station's security video reaching into the site's cash register to grab some cash after dropping off an application. In total, he walked away with $130, and no job.

Too much honesty?
Reddit user "MissyBat" had an all too identifiable experience from her time interviewing veterinary technicians. She noticed a long gap of several years between an applicant's college graduation and state license exam. So she asked the applicant what had happened. "It was pure laziness," the applicant admitted.

Full frontal for the hiring manager
Most of the hiring managers participating in the Reddit forum acknowledged that applicants with a criminal past faced a high burden to landing a job. And as AOL Jobs reported last year, job applicants with a criminal conviction are 50 percent less likely to be called back for an interview or receive a job offer. In the face of such an environment, hiring managers participating in the Reddit forum stressed the best strategy is to be upfront about a criminal record to show acceptance and the distance traveled since the wrongdoing. Which is exactly what one 40-something applicant named "Anita" did while applying for a floor sales position with a "retail company, that looks like a red bulls eye," as Reddit user "iJo3ly" noted in the forum.

"Anita" admitted to having just been released from prison three weeks before the interview after having served an eight-year prison term. The crime? "Selling an illegal substance," as "Anita" described it. Yet it soon became clear in the interview "Anita" was not trying to cover up the details behind the "illegal substance." Instead, she preferred to tell the story through a visual presentation. And so she "pulled down her pants and showed" her "burnt" private parts before explaining she was injured when her meth lab exploded on her in her trailer.

Making fun of the hiring manager's children
Reddit user "never_been_butta" participated in the forum but did so on behalf of his mother, who he said worked as a hiring manager for a car repair shop. And among the many memorable instances she shared with her son from her career was what happened with one applicant applying for a mechanic position. And as the applicant was being escorted out of the store, the applicant took a look at a young girl standing in the shop and said, "ew, what a pig." It turns out the girl was "never_been_butta's" sister, aka, the hiring manager's daughter.

Emergency worker drinking on the job
Knowing how to cope with stress is integral to every job. But when you are a 911 dispatcher it's understood you'll be trustworthy under any circumstance. So when Reddit user "10_96" asked an applicant what are some preferred stress-coping strategies, he was taken aback by this response: "I won't lie, sometimes I have to drink to make it through the day." Probably not the person you want on the end of the 911 emergency line.

Leaving it all on the table
Reddit user "50_MillionYearTrip" didn't share the workplace his most memorable hiring experience came from. But he certainly didn't forget one "crazy nervous" guy who came in for an interview, as he described him. "You could tell by the fantastic handshake the nerves were still there," the Reddit user recounted in the forum. And after motioning to him where he should sit for the interview, "50_MillionYearTrip" didn't even have time to ask a question before the applicant "barfed all over the table." But the incident didn't sink the candidate. "Funny thing was he was one of the better applicants, so he did get a call back."

Have any nightmare experiences from your career? Share in the comments section below.

Check This video: You Won't Believe These 6 Nightmare Job Applicants

Make A Brilliant First Impression In Just 3 Seconds

Your appearance and body language speak volumes

You're the best candidate for job!
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By Vivian Giang

The first time someone meets you, it takes them about three seconds to determine whether they like you or want to do business with you in the future, says Jean Baur, a career coach and author of the book "The Essential Job Interview Handbook."

This is crucial when it comes to meetings where that first impression makes all the difference, such as a job interview. From your posture to the jewelry you wear, key details can have a significant impact on how you're perceived.

Nicole Williams, a career expert at LinkedIn, tells Business Insider that "the problem with appearance is that it translates to performance. Even if your boss doesn't think that they're thinking any less of you, they will subconsciously think it." 

Here are a few ways to make a brilliant first impression in a flash:

1. Grooming

First and foremost, you need to look like you take care of yourself. This means paying attention to your fingernails, hair, and makeup. Baur says to make sure that your fingernails are clean and trimmed or nicely manicured. If you wear makeup, you should make sure it doesn't draw attention to itself, but is used to highlight your features.

Don't forget to also pay attention to your feet. Williams tells us that her biggest pet peeve is when when women wear open-toed shoes without getting pedicures. "If you're going to show your toes, make sure your toes are well-groomed," she says.

If you are a man who is interested in sporting facial hair, make sure that it works for you, says Adam P. Causgrove, CEO of The American Mustache Institute.

Think about it like a haircut - not every cut is going to look good on every person, he says. Regardless, your facial hair needs to be kept trim and tidy to maintain a professional look.

2. Clothing

Whatever you wear, make sure it's appropriate in your industry. "Everyone draws their lines differently," says etiquette coach Barbara Pachter. "For example, you may be able to wear shorts, but not cutoffs. If your company has a dress code, follow it."

Baur advises: "If you're in banking, wear a navy blue, gray, or black suit (pantsuits are fine for women). But if you're in marketing, training, or academia, you have a wider choice. I like to wear bright colors, such as a red or turquoise, as they complement my coloring and reflect my personal style."

It's also important to consider how your color choices will play in the environment, says Pachter. "Darker colors usually convey a stronger impression than lighter ones." If you're giving a presentation, make sure the color you're wearing doesn't blend in with the background behind you.

According to 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals who participated in a CareerBuilder survey, blue and black are the best colors to wear to a job interview, and orange is the worst. Conservative colors, such as black, blue, gray, and brown, seem to be the the safest bet when meeting someone for the first time in a professional setting, whereas colors that signal more creativity, like orange, may be too loud for an interview.

3. Jewelry

"Keep your jewelry subtle unless you're an opera singer or nightclub entertainer," says Baur. "And don't wear things that will clank when you rest your hand on the table or that make noise when you gesture."

Accessories are meant to complement your outfit, not overpower it. "I once met a woman who had a ring on every finger," Pachter tells us. "You couldn't look at anything else."

4. Posture

A good, straight posture conveys confidence and that you're worthy of attention. You should learn to sit in the front half of your seat with both feet on the floor, back straight, and shoulders back. Baur says this shows that you're fully there and interested.

Also, don't cross your legs or let your legs bounce up and down. These bad habits are distracting to others and make you appear immature and not serious.

5. Gesturing

It's OK to talk with your hands - it actually brings your message alive. "Try in your everyday conversations to build 'gesture awareness' and let your hands be descriptive," says Baur. This means that if you say the word "huge" in your conversation, practice gesturing what huge looks like. Whatever you do, don't lace your fingers together and play with your rings, as these are unproductive ways to release energy.

6. Facial expression

Make sure your face is pleasant by smiling often and maintaining eye contact at appropriate times. "If [you're] frowning or [your] face looks frozen in nervousness, the interviewer could easily get the impression that [you're] difficult or indifferent."

When you smile, make sure that you are giving off a genuine smile.

7. Handshake

Don't do anything out of the ordinary when it comes to the handshake. Simply grasp the other person's hand firmly, say something like "very nice to meet you," look at them directly in the eye, and smile warmly.

Best Way to Be Luckier in Your Career

How to create more career luck in your life

"I have the worst luck."
"I can't catch a break."
"People like me never have it easy."

If you are reading this article, I bet you've said one or more of the statements above about your career. You wouldn't have even bothered to click on the headline if you didn't feel you deserved more luck. Don't worry, you're in good company. Millions of Americans are feeling unlucky in their careers - and with good reason. We have 30M+ people who are unemployed or under-employed in the U.S. 70% of Americans are unhappy with their jobs, and 15% straight-out hate their work.

People Luckier Than You Do 4 Things Differently

They say you need to create your own luck. Turns out, there's some informal science proving the statement true.

In his new book, Be Luckier in Life, Craig Forman has distilled down four things professionally lucky people do differently. They:

  • Don't simply "communicate" with others, but find ways to authentically connect with others.
  • Use the right toolkit of people skills, conceptual skills, judgment and character that helps them succeed in finding new opportunities and re-framing setbacks to their advantage.
  • Swing for the fences when a big, fat pitch of opportunity comes their way.
  • Know when to lighten up and maintain perspective.

While I agree with all of these, I also know most people don't know how to execute them.

Develop Your Lucky Skills With This

If you want to be luckier in your career, you need to develop some skills. I built The G.L.O.W. Method years ago as a way to teach clients how to create their own career luck. Here's what you need to be skilled at doing to improve your career:

G - Gain Perspective
L - Luminate The Goal
O - Own Your Actions
W - Work It Daily


The AOL Career Luck Project (a/k/a Your Chance to Get Help!)

The best way to learn how to create more luck in your career is to see it in action. Here's my proposal to you: swing for the fences (like the lucky people do) and take a chance by submitting your career story to me. If I select you, you must be willing to let me show AOL readers your "before" and "after" career story. We need to be able to teach others how to give themselves an extreme career makeover like the one I'm going to give you.

Interested? Email me at and tell me your story. Be sure to include your resume and Linkedin profile too. If you are the lucky one chosen, I'll be in touch and do a one-hour coaching call with you for free (a $250 value). I'll also give you a copy of my book ($9.95) and one-month access to my exclusive DIY career coaching program, CareerHMO (costs $195). You'll leave the session with a clear game plan of what you need to do to create some career luck. Sound good? Great! Let's get started on your journey to being a luckier professional.

Ask The Work Buzz! I’ve got a degree in education, but no job

helpCourtney writes to us with a concern I’m sure many of you can relate to: I graduated college three years ago with a degree in elementary education. There are not very many teaching positions out there, so I’m looking to other avenues. I’d like something that would pay more than minimum wage but I am unsure of what I can do with a degree that doesn’t specialize in anything but education.

Well, there are other options!
When you’re looking to switch industries, you need to look beyond just the title of your degree or current profession. Switching industries can include switching from your educational background or from your work experience.  In most cases, employers will overlook those differences if you prove you’re a right match for the responsibilities of the new job. The best way to do that is to break down what experience and strengths you have. And if you don’t yet have a job on the horizon, it’s also a good way to discover what jobs you could be suited for.

Ask yourself these questions.
  • What are my strengths in communication–verbal or written?
  • Am I a leader?
  • What’s my customer service experience? (Do I normally deal with them one-on-one or am I behind the scenes?)
  • What about my last job/training did I like?
  • What career goals did I initially have and can I achieve them in another field?
  • On my resume, if I covered up my industry’s name (in this case “education”), what sort of jobs do I look prepared for?
Some of those questions might sound obvious or even silly, but they’ll get your mind thinking about your future beyond simply what you were trained for.
In the case of education, specifically elementary education, you probably have the following:
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Experience thinking on your feet
  • Creativity (seeing as you’re constantly thinking of new ways to engage the students)
  • Conflict resolution skills (education courses often involve various classroom re-creations)
Some jobs that encompass these qualities and are often good for educators:
  • Instructor for a business
    Businesses often hold in-house training sessions on a topic related to that industry or on continuing education. An education background makes you an ideal candidate for these positions.
  • Textbook editors and advisers
    Seeing as you are an educator, your brain is ripe for the picking when it comes to creating course texts. You know what works, what doesn’t work, what’s lacking, etc.
  • Admissions directors
    Your education experience also makes you a prime candidate for working with incoming students and aligning the admissions department with the school’s goals. (This could be at a variety of schools, including post-secondary.)
  • Sales in education-related jobs
    Working in any school, you’re aware that businesses are constantly approaching educators and institution about new products, tools and resources.  Many educators are able to tap into their experience and realize what teachers need and how they want to be communicated with in order to sell these products.
Depending on the specific organization, you might need more training for these jobs, or maybe just an additional certification. Or maybe not. Workers constantly switch industries and employers know that expertise doesn’t just come from a certification or degree title. You can’t count yourself out of any job because you think you’re only trained to teach elementary school and nothing else. Look at your qualifications and then look at the qualifications in job postings and you’ll be surprised.
Have you been in Courtney’s situation and made an industry switch? We’d love to hear how you did it.

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