Why You Need A Business Card In A Job Hunt

Ideas for creating a personal calling card



man's hand showing business...
One of the first things you lose when you lose a job is the relevancy of your business card, especially if you were lucky enough to have one. If you're tempted to hand out an old business card and write your new contact info on the back, stop. Ordering business cards is one of the least expensive investments you can make in yourself to present a professional demeanor when interviewing or networking. It provides an easy way for follow-up contact, and can provide a way to position yourself to prospective hiring managers.

Today, business cards are so easy to order with a fast turn-around time that there's no reason you shouldn't have one for your next interview or networking event. In fact, getting your own "personal" business card is one of the first things you should do the day after a layoff. In preparing for the new job hunt, you can easily arm yourself with a stack of calling cards for your very first outings at networking events. Here are four easy steps for ordering your new cards, and ideas for what to put on them.


businesspeople exchanging cards ...

Step 1: Get the cards

Every day there seem to be more and more choices for business card vendors. VistaPrint is one of the key innovators in the digital ordering space and is still one of the primary providers. Recently, they were offering 500 cards for $9.99, discounted from their rack rate of $20. But there are many new players in the field, from Moo.com, which offers different card shapes at a pricier $14.99 (per set of 50), to Gotprint.com.

If you're uncomfortable with digital ordering, march down to your local office supply store. If you need cards tomorrow, you may have to resort to printed cards off your computer, but only do this as a very last resort. Instead, try heading over to the printing center available at most Staples and Office Depot stores, and work with their printing manager. You'll find they can produce professional cards, sometimes in the same day, and usually no longer than 24 hours--frequently at rates that are competitive with the online vendors.

Step 2: Define your positioning
Don't skimp on your business cards. They are cheap enough in their basic pricing that it may be worthwhile to spend the extra few dollars for color, two-sided printing, or even for multiple sets. Business cards are part of making first and lasting impressions, so be sure that your card provides the right one.

Do invest in several sets, especially if you think you need different titles for different types of job interviews. Alternatively, give yourself a longer title that works across several different types of job searches.

In my case, I went with a two-line title on my card, which wasn't really a title at all, but rather a description of who I am in the business world. The top lines of my personal card appear as follows:
Rhona Bronson
Marketing Communications Executive
Digital Media Strategist

I made sure to include several key words in my job description, which reads a bit like a job title but also provides some information about how I view myself.
Step 3: Edit yourself
I do not recommend putting your home address on a card. It can serve to prejudice hiring managers who feel you live too far to commute, and provide personal information not needed to foster a business relationship.

Similarly, if you have a land line, don't put it on the card. Put your cell phone number on the card, and designate it as such by writing "cell" before the number. You never want prospective employers talking to your kids or spouse on a home line--and, if at all possible, you don't want to date yourself with a land line number. Additionally, using a cell phone allows you to easily check the incoming number before deciding to answer.


Finally, don't put cutesy graphics or religious symbols on your card. The card is about serious business-- helping people stay in touch. It may okay be to place a pithy motivational quote on the back as a conversation starter, but it is not the place for kitty pictures, smiling suns, or symbols of various affiliations.

Step 4: Use your cards liberally
Years ago, you saw "calling cards" used in old British movies when gentlemen and ladies came to call.
According to AmericanStationery.com, "Calling or visiting cards ... served a number of social purposes, such as a means of introduction, to further acquaintanceship, to express congratulations or condolences and to provide notices of arrival or departure."

Today, the term "calling card" has been usurped by the telephone industry to refer to paid phone plan cards. But the concept of the calling card is as relevant as ever, as people seek ways to maintain their connections and form new ones. Here are some modern ways to use a personal calling/business card while job-seeking:
  • Create an easy introduction. When you first meet someone at a networking event or any meeting, make it easier for them to remember your first name by giving them your card.
  • Provide positioning. With a given title under your name, you can quickly position yourself as a digital whiz, systems analyst, or any other descriptor you want associated with your talents.
  • Show relevancy. Today, a business card can provide your email, Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile URL, and other modern digital connections in addition to a standard phone number.
  • Create conversations. If you are willing to spring for a two-sided card, it can list projects you've handled as immediate examples of your work. Or if you have access to graphic services, it can provide pictures of projects that can also be conversation starters.
  • Show personality. If you're a graphics person, the card can show a design flair either through use of graphics, font design, or a unique size. My card was fairly plain, with blue lettering for my name (which matched my resume). Again, make sure that the graphics are professional and not "cute."
  • Add business panache. I attached my business card to requested samples of my work and to follow-up thank-you letters. It helped show that I knew how to make presentations both for myself and potentially on behalf of the future employer. It also potentially got me into managers' contact lists, rather than simply filed into a resume folder.
Long before you write your first resume, cover letter, or thank-you note, draft what you'll put on your personal business card. It can help you stay motivated, feel more professional, and put you in a better frame of mind for presenting yourself at networking events and parties--if not job interviews. And after you've perfected your resume, if your first business card doesn't match your desired profile, discard it. For just $9.99 to $25, you can have a whole new set printed up with a quick click of your mouse.    

5 Behaviors That Can Ruin Your Career

What not to do at work, from former GE CEO Jack Welch



Business people looking down at man lying on pavement, elevated view

By Jacquelyn Smith

If you seem to be on a downward spiral at work, Jack Welch, executive chairman of The Jack Welch Management Institution and former CEO of GE, says it may be time to take a "good look in the mirror" and figure out what you're doing wrong.

He says in a recent LinkedIn post that your behaviors could very well be to blame for your "stalled or faltering career."

He highlights 10 specific career-killing pitfalls - and says if you're guilty of exhibiting any, you should make it your mission to change them immediately.

Once you do, Welch says, "you're likely to see your career move from a stall to a soar."

Here are five of the behaviors you'll want to avoid:

1. Over-committing and under-delivering. All talk, no walk won't help you get ahead. Make promises you can keep.

2. Resisting change. Failing to embrace new ideas can seriously hurt your career. Be open-minded.

3. Always worrying about your next career move. You need to focus on the present. If you're always thinking, "What's next?" you'll seem distracted and not committed to your current tasks at hand.

4. Being a problem identifier versus a problem solver. Identifying problems sounds a lot like complaining if you don't do anything about them.

5. Being complacent. If you stop growing as a person and a professional, you'll stand still (or even take steps backward) in your career.

How to evaluate candidates' soft skills

By Mary Lorenz, CareerBuilder writer



Watch out, hard skills and technical know-how: You've got competition. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, the vast majority (77 percent) of employers consider soft skills just as important as hard skills when it comes to evaluating candidates for a job, and 16 percent even say they're more important.
What are soft skills? As my colleague pointed out recently, soft skills typically describe "communication, leadership, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, team skills, relationship management and a long list of other so-called intangible traits." Though they are hard to measure quantitatively, soft skills remain a sought after trait and recognized business differentiator among employers.
Perhaps the heavy focus on soft skills has to do with the fact that employers have been struggling to find candidates with the hard skills they need (particularly when it comes to technology skills and big data expertise). Many employers have even reported that they've started focusing on cultural fit and potential over skills, figuring they can train them on-the-job with the necessary hard skills.
According to the survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers nationwide, the top ten most popular soft skills companies say they look for when hiring include:
1.      Strong work ethic
2.      Dependability
3.      Positive attitude
4.      Self-motivation
5.      Team-oriented attitude
6.      Organization; ability to manage multiple priorities
7.      Ability to work well under pressure
8.      Effective communication skills
9.      Flexibility
10.   Confidence


Evaluating soft skills: The one type of interview question you must ask
Whether through pre-employment testing or during the interview process, using behavioral interview questions is one of the most effective ways to evaluate a candidate's soft skills. Behavioral interview questions are those that center around real-life experiences the candidate has had, as opposed to hypotheticals. For example, instead of asking, "What would you do if...?" ask "Tell me about a time when..." or "Give me an example of..."

There are two main reasons behavioral interview questions work: One, past behavior is a better predictor of future success on the job than potential behavior, according to workforce management expert Nancy Newell, because it helps predict future success on the job by looking into past behavior; two, when they hear questions shaped around potential behavior, candidates are more likely to say what they think you want to hear.
By asking for real-life examples, you'll get more insight into candidates' soft skills, such as how well they work under pressure, how they communicate and their work ethic. Some more examples of behavioral interview questions include:
  • Describe a time when you had a problem with a supervisor and what you did to resolve it.
  • Give me an example of how you handled a very tense situation at work.
  • Tell me about a time when you had difficulty getting others to work together on a critical problem and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about the best leader you have worked with, why you felt this way, and what you learned from that person.
  • Describe a problem you faced that was almost overwhelming and how you got through it.

Keep in mind, of course, that these questions are not full-proof -- there is no "magic bullet" when it comes to hiring, says Newell -- however, behavioral interview questions are your best bet for finding employees with the soft skills your organization values most.

Interviewing While Pregnant

"Will a hiring manager look at me differently if I'm pregnant?"


Finding a Job on Craigslist Carefully

Jobseekers, proceed with caution



Classified ads on Craigslist website

Craigslist is a unique site with 700 local sites in 70 countries offering 80 million classified ads to the people in those locations. On Craigslist, you can find everything from jobs to places to live (for sale and rent) and many things to purchase.

Craigslist Has Advantages

Craigslist is different from traditional job boards in four important ways:
  1. Jobs posted on Craigslist are often not posted elsewhere.
  2. Posting jobs is free or inexpensive (compared with a traditional job board) for employers.
  3. Small and very small employers use Craigslist more often than large employers.
  4. Craigslist jobs are presented in chronological order based on posting date and time.
Keep those characteristics in mind as you hunt for your new job on Craigslist.

Do a Search of All "Jobs"

The most effective way to find a job on Craigslist is to search the entire "jobs" category so you don't miss a job that was posted in a subcategory (e.g. "admin / office" etc.) you wouldn't check. Simply click on the "jobs" title at the top of the Craigslist homepage for your location. Then, type your query at the top of the "jobs" category page.

When you get to the results of your first search, you can fine-tune by clicking on the "search titles only" or choosing another option with choices like "internship" or "part-time." Check the left column on the search results page for these and more options. Craigslist will show you search results in the usual reverse-chronological order with the newest at the top. If the results are limited, Craigslist will also search "nearby" locations to find you more opportunities.

Caution!

Like most websites that accept postings from the public, some of the jobs you find on Craigslist are bogus, so keep your guard up. Be careful if:
  • No employer name is visible. Some legitimate employers do post "blind ads" with no indication of who they are to protect their intentions from competitors or even current employees. But be wary if the employer's name, address, and contact information is not given.
  • You need to pay them. The posting wants you to invest some money before "qualifying" for the job. Recruiters are paid by employers to find good candidates, and employees are paid by employers. So, no one should be collecting money from you.
  • They offer you a job without any screening or interviews. The employer is willing to hire you immediately, based only on your interest in the job, and wants you provide your Social Security Number and/or bank account number before even interviewing you for the job. That very important personal information is the last information provided, after you have interviewed for the job, are sure that the employer is real, and have been given a formal job offer.

Remember, if the job doesn't feel right to you or the people are a little scary, trust your instincts, and skip the opportunity!

Research Before You Apply

The Internet is your best defense. Don't be in such a hurry to apply for a job that you skip taking the time to be sure that the employer and the job are legitimate.

Who and where is that business? Look for postings that include the employer's name, address, and phone number. Then search on that information to be sure that the employer is "real." Is the address given for an office building or an empty lot or something else inappropriate?

Does that employer have a website that describes the business? If you only find job postings when you do the search, skip the opportunity. Legitimate businesses must do more than relentlessly hire people. They must generate revenue to pay those employees.

Apply Very Carefully

When you respond, use an email address specifically for your job search. Best is a a free email address from Yahoo, Microsoft, or Google--but, of course, not a "cute" address like HotMama@example.com or YankeesStink@example.com. Avoid using an address associated with your current employer (great way to lose your job or have a very uncomfortable talk with your boss).

Limit Personal Information Sharing

Don't share your home address or home phone number when you apply. Stick to your job search email address in your initial contact with the employer. Once you are sure that the job is legitimate, you can share more information, although I would protect my home address for as long as possible.

Meet Only in a Populated, Public Location

Even to meet someone who works out of their home, the first meeting or job interview should be in a populated public place, like a coffee shop or a public library. Don't meet someone in their apartment or house for your first meeting.

Bottom Line

Craigslist can be very helpful for finding a job. Many of the successful job seekers I speak with found their jobs on Craigslist. But be cautious with Craigslist--as you should be with any job posting, whether you find it online or on your local public library's bulletin board. The bad guys and gals are out there.    


Interview Etiquette: Before Meeting the Boss, Befriend the Secretary

Interview Etiquette: Before Meeting the Boss, Befriend the Secretary

If everything goes to plan, you've arrived at the recommended 15 minutes before your job interview. You've checked in with the secretary or receptionist, and now, the dreadful wait for the interview - the interview you practiced for rigorously, even talking to yourself in the car on the way there. What you don't know is, this waiting period is actually a blessing.
The 15 minutes before your interview not only give you time to relax your nerves, browse through some of the company's reading material, but this precious 15 minutes also gives you a one-on-one meeting with the company "insider" - the secretary or receptionist.
He or she knows the inside scoop about the company culture and they see interviewees like you day in and out and know the what the boss likes and dislikes. It is likely that after the interview, the boss will ask the secretary or receptionist for his or her first impressions of you. This person is your golden ticket.
So how do you go about chatting with the receptionist or secretary while seeming genuine and professional so you get their stamp of approval? Here's how:

Well, be genuine
Secretaries and receptionists can smell behavior that is "fake" or not genuine. If you get the job, this is the first and last person you'll see at the company every day. That being said, it's important to offer a genuine greeting (in and out the door) and smile.
Find a conversation starter
Unless they're busy, secretaries and receptionists are usually happy to partake in a human conversation (after being glued to the phone all day).
Try this. "Hi I'm here to see Mr. Jennings for an interview." "He'll be right with you." "Thank you so much for your help. So how long have you worked here?" Simple, polite, and approachable. 
Or try to find common ground with topics like current events or the weather. Once conversation takes place naturally, feel free to ask about the work culture or any tips he or she can give you about interviewing with the boss. OR, without creeping (this is key), if you notice anything, funny, peculiar, or personal on their desk, comment on it or ask about it. 
Real-life example: While waiting for an interview, simply commenting on photos of the secretary's children resulted in, not only in a great conversation, but she also provided tips on the boss's likes and dislikes. I later found out she put in a good word on my behalf.
Not a talker? Ask for reading material
Not all secretaries and receptionists are chatty. Rare, but it happens. In this case, remain polite and ask for any company reading material. You've still made a good impression because it shows your invested in the company. This also gives you good talking material in your interview. Interviewers like applicants who have done their research.
DO NOT stay on your phone
DO NOT sit there on your phone on Facebook updating your status about the big interview. 1. It's unprofessional and leaves nothing good to say about your first impression with the secretary or receptionist. 2. You don't know who's looking at your Facebook status (for all you know, the secretary or receptionist could be doing their homework on you right in front of you). You'd look pretty silly if he or she reported to the boss that all you were doing was tweeting the whole time.
Don't forget to say thank you and goodbye 
Whether the interview went poorly or great, make sure you make time to say thank you and goodbye. Don't be afraid to throw in, "I hope to see you soon!" Enthusiasm and positivity are always received well and you want to leave with as great of an impression as you had when you came in.

Thank you in the corporate world can go a long way so make sure you say it to everyone from your boss, to your peers, to the secretary, to the janitor. Why? It's kind, the right thing to do, and you never know who's buddy-buddy at the company. 

LinkedIn Reveals the 100 Most In-Demand Employers

And they're not all tech companies



Electric sign and logo greets visitors to General Electric home plant Schenectady New York


Quick! What are the most desirable companies to work for on the planet? Okay, Google...Apple...who else?

LinkedIn is here to save the day with their annual list of the 100 most in-demand employers on the planet. As you probably expected, a lot of them are in the booming tech industry (yes, Google and Apple claim the top two spots). Those crazy cafeterias have got to count for something. But you'll also find companies like General Electric and PepsiCo rounding out the top ten. Want to see who else is in the mix? Click through the slideshow below, or head over to LinkedIn for the full list.

Read more:  LinkedIn Reveals the 100 Most In-Demand Employers

Sticky Question for Your Boss? Here's How to Ask

Surviving those awkward conversations



businessman,career,power,boss

By Robert Half

In your career, there will inevitably come a time when you have awkward or difficult questions to ask your boss. Very few people like uncomfortable interactions, but in order to get ahead at work, you need answers to your questions if you're to do your job well - even the sticky ones. Bringing up delicate subjects requires finesse and diplomacy, not to mention preparation.

Here are some of the top touchy employee-boss topics, along with the right and wrong ways to broach them.

Getting passed over for a promotion
If you're upset or confused about the outcome of a job competition, you should absolutely talk with your boss. However, don't approach the subject by asking, "How come Chris got the promotion and not me?" This confrontational tactic will likely put your boss on the defense, and the resulting exchange will be less productive than it could have been.

The better approach: Focus the conversation on what you can do. Better questions to ask your boss: "I'm interested in advancing in the company. How can I make that happen?" or "I was disappointed that I wasn't promoted. Can we talk about what I need to do in order to reach the next level?"

Asking for a salary increase
Of all of the questions to ask your boss, the ones that involve money can be the trickiest. Before launching into any discussion about salary, research what others in similar positions at other companies are making. Robert Half's "Salary Guides" are good resources. But don't use this information in the wrong way. You can't, for example, just march into your boss's office and demand, "According to my research, I should be making more money!"

The better approach: In addition to showing your manager job market data, you have to make your case. Before you ask for a meeting, make a list of the extra responsibilities you've taken on since your were hired or your last promotion. Don't forget any training or certifications you've received. When discussing your request with your boss, you can approach it this way: "I really enjoy working here. In the past year, I've been asked to lead two new projects and have consistently exceeded my quota. Can we talk about increasing my salary to make it more in line with my performance?"

The promised raise hasn't materialized
If you were led to think you were receiving a raise or bonus and haven't received it yet, don't approach your boss asking, "Where is the raise you promised me?"

The better approach: When you talk to your boss, don't assume any wrongdoing on his or her part. Stay neutral and professional, and - most of all - ask for action. You might say something like, "We discussed the possibility of my getting a raise three months ago. Is there anything I need to do to make that happen?"

Alternative work arrangements
If your company offers some employees the opportunity to telecommute, this can be a very tempting perk. If you want this work flexibility, your approach shouldn't be: "How come half the office gets to work remotely but I don't?"

The better approach: Don't make it about other people. Instead, inquire about what's possible for your own particular situation. Be ready to demonstrate how this would benefit the company, such as how you could be more productive if you could work from home a few days a week. If your boss seems reluctant, propose a trial period. But be ready for pushback: Not every job can or should be done remotely, and many managers are hesitant to allow junior employees to work remotely.

More advice when you have questions to ask your boss

  1. Timing is everything. Don't suggest new work arrangements or spring tough questions on your supervisor when the office is undergoing major changes or is frantically preparing for a deadline. An appropriate time is during your performance review.
  2. Be professional. In all work-related interactions, but especially when you have sensitive questions to ask your boss, mind your business etiquette. This means staying positive, not getting personal and not comparing your situation to that of colleagues.
  3. Focus on action. Managers appreciate workers who suggest solutions and not just dump problems on them. When you approach them about a sticky question, be sure to have a plan in mind - not just a complaint.

Remember: You have every right to bring up tough subjects. Just be sure to ask your questions tactfully. So do your research, gather your courage and request a meeting.


6 soft skills every professional needs

careerbuilder



It's become more important than ever for young professionals to display strong interpersonal skills when looking for work.


Faced with rampant unemployment and stiff competition for the jobs that are available, many job seekers are struggling to find a way to make professional inroads. However, there are still those who manage to get hired or promoted not because of their degree or technical expertise, but because of their communication and interpersonal skills, often referred to as "soft skills."
According to the National Careers Service, soft skills are personal qualities and attitudes that help employees work well with others and encourage productivity within the workplace. And these types of skills may be more important than people realize. A recent study conducted by Millennial Branding and American Express showed that 61 percent of managers surveyed felt that soft skills were more important in new hires than hard skills, or even technical skills. In fact, the same study showed that the top three characteristics managers looked for when promoting millennials were the ability to prioritize work (87 percent), a positive attitude (86 percent) and teamwork skills (86 percent).

The fact that managers are prioritizing soft skills higher than other job-related skills makes sense. As an article from Mind Tools recently pointed out, most people don't choose their dentist based solely on his or her technical skills and expertise; they go with dentists who treat patients well and take time to answer their questions. The same thing goes for other professions, whether we're talking about doctors, accountants, social workers or secretaries. Despite this growing emphasis on soft skills in the workplace, they aren't traditionally taught in school, or even on the job. Workers often have to learn them on their own, either by observing and mimicking exceptional professionals who display these traits or practicing them like they would any other skill.

The soft skills employers look for
It's become more important than ever for young professionals to display strong interpersonal skills when looking for work. Here are six areas every job hunter should focus on:
1. Communication - As author Lauren Stiller recently pointed out in an interview with Fox Business, advances in technology have, in many cases, robbed young people of their ability to communicate effectively by encouraging the use of abbreviated emails and text messages. Stiller advises young professionals to demonstrate that they can communicate without technology by engaging co-workers and clients in face-to-face conversation and sending professional emails.
2. Teamwork - Being able to work as part of a team displays one's ability to get along with, and complete work-related tasks with, many different types of personalities. Team players also show their ability to cooperate and compromise with others, which is a trait often sought after by employers and hiring managers. Professionals who want to be seen as team players should take special care to mention situations when they worked effectively with others on their resume and be willing to describe those situations in-depth.
3. Flexibility - Employees who are flexible with their schedule and responsibilities don't just say they're a team player, they show it. That kind of can-do attitude is essential in the workplace, and can easily make an employee stand out when it comes to promotions, raises, and more. To ensure that this soft skill is on display, describe instances when you've been flexible that have benefited you and the company you worked for.
4. Positivity - Nobody wants to work with a grouch. To avoid being a negative nelly, don't criticize and don't complain, says author Laura Vanderkam in a recent article in Fast Company. Instead of harping on others' mistakes, show them the right way to do things and praise their improvements. The easiest way to give off a positive demeanor is to be receptive to others -- and smiling never hurts.
5. Time management - According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, time management skills are crucial for new hires since they're often juggling a variety of roles and responsibilities, especially in startups. To help your potential employer understand how well you manage your time, be prepared to explain the way you prioritize your daily tasks, and most importantly, "why."
6. Confidence - Confidence is key when it comes to winning over both clients and co-workers. However, displaying confidence in person, as opposed to on a resume, can be a difficult soft skill to master. Chloe Isabel, whose direct-sales jewelry company targets millennials for hiring, told Fox Business that she is often let down when meeting an interviewee in person, after discovering that their personality doesn't live up to the confidence they display on paper. "I find many recent college students and grads don't make eye contact, don't carry themselves well and don't speak with authority, which can be a little disheartening to the interviewer," she says.

Honing your soft skill set
Whether it's practicing effective verbal communication, being purposefully positive at work, or learning to work in teams or groups, any time invested into honing soft skills is likely a good investment. Even better news is that, unlike specific technical skills, soft skills are almost always transferable among jobs and even industries. So, take a look around at the most successful people you know and study the soft skills they have on display. There's a good chance those personality traits have helped them get where they are today -- and that the same skills could help you advance in your field as well.

INFOGRAPHIC: Which Job is Most Unique to Your State?

Explore the country's best career opportunities



state flags of the united states

By Matt Tarpey, CareerBuilder writer

The United States is made up of an incredible array of unique landscapes, climates and cultures. It stands to reason that regional economies exhibit a similarly expansive variety. An industry that is a major economic driver in one state may be almost nonexistent just a few states away. So how can you tell which jobs are the most unique to your home state?

One way is using a metric called location quotient, which is a measurement of job concentration. This is found by taking the percentage share of a state's workforce working in a given occupation and comparing it to the percentage share of the national workforce in that same occupation.

Put another way, LQ asks, "What percentage of workers in Texas are petroleum engineers?" then asks "What percentage of U.S. workers are Petroleum engineers?" and compares the two answers.

A LQ of 1.0 means that the occupation is exactly as concentrated in the state as it is at the national level. The higher the LQ, the more unique the job is to that state. Going back to the example above, the LQ for petroleum engineers in Texas is 6.39, indicating that petroleum engineer jobs are more than six times more common in Texas than they are in the country as a whole.

Industries and occupations that are more concentrated in one area are often a good indicator of what drives the economy in that region. In turn, this can shed light on career opportunities that may not be available in other parts of the country.

The following map, released by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. and designed by mental_floss magazine, uses LQ to reveal the most unique jobs in each state through 2013.


CareerBuilder

The following table provides a more in-depth look at the data behind the map.


State Occupation LQ Jobs 2013 Med. Hourly Earnings
Alabama Tire Builders 7.75 1,900 $24.55
Alaska Fishers & Related Fishing Workers 33.56 2,901 $16.85
Arizona Semiconductor Processors 4.19 1,640 $15.32
Arkansas Food Processing Workers 6.78 2,303 $10.59
California Actors 3.19 33,328 $29.23
Colorado Atmospheric & Space Scientists 7.76 1,510 $49.34
Connecticut Actuaries 4.16 1,141 $51.22
D.C. Political Scientists 86.61 3,197 $55.64
Delaware Chemists 11.65 3,050 $41.45
Florida Motorboat Operators 5.92 1,315 $14.17
Georgia Textile Winding, Twisting, & Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders 10.52 8,607 $13.03
Hawaii Tour Guides & Escorts 8.55 1,687 $12.82
Idaho Forest & Conservation Technicians 14.2 2,273 $15.06
Illinois Correspondence Clerks 3.93 1,727 $19.88
Indiana Boilermakers 7.03 2,686 $31.66
Iowa Soil & Plant Scientists 8.94 1,574 $30.05
Kansas Umpires, Referees, Other Sports Officials 5.42 1,216 $11.16
Kentucky Roof Bolters, Mining 14.14 1,184 $25.65
Louisiana Captains, Mates, & Pilots of Water Vessels 17.2 8,857 $34.88
Maine Fishers & Related Fishing Workers 27.31 4,070 $17.52
Maryland Subway & Streetcar Operators 10.41 1,884 $25.43
Massachusetts Psychiatric Technicians 4.86 8,202 $17.52
Michigan Model Makers, Metal & Plastic 6.23 1,095 $24.72
Minnesota Slaughterers & Meat Packers 4.82 7,619 $12.80
Mississippi Coil Winders, Tapers, & Finishers 11.18 1,340 $18.87
Missouri Food and Tobacco Roasting, Baking, & Drying Machine Operators & Tenders 5.58 2,303 $12.37
Montana Forest & Conservation Technicians 19.41 2,200 $15.05
Nebraska Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters & Trimmers 9.92 11,453 $13.58
Nevada Gaming Supervisors 30.91 7,414 $25.40
New Hampshire Metal Workers & Plastic Workers, All Other 10.05 1,020 $14.40
New Jersey Biochemists & Biophysicists 4.71 3,628 $50.38
New Mexico Wellhead Pumpers 13.75 1,358 $22.50
New York Fashion Designers 5.18 7,164 $32.27
North Carolina Textile Winding, Twisting, & Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders 7.63 6,394 $11.12
North Dakota Derrick Operators, Oil & Gas 28.21 2,137 $26.65
Ohio Rolling Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal & Plastic 3.53 4,778 $17.21
Oklahoma Wellhead Pumpers 8.66 1,671 $20.51
Oregon Logging Workers, all other 21.24 1,400 $16.57
Pennsylvania Survey Researchers 3.54 2,776 $13.09
Rhode Island Education, Training, & Library Workers 3.04 1,062 $20.42
South Carolina Textile Knitting and Weaving Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders 10.99 3,220 $13.70
South Dakota Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers 9.42 14,827 $12.78
Tennessee Conveyor Operators & Tenders 4.25 3,486 $13.73
Texas Petroleum Engineers 6.39 21,457 $66.80
Utah Forest & Conservation Technicians 4.4 1,362 $13.46
Vermont Highway Maintenance Workers 3.99 1,364 $16.88
Virginia Legal Support Workers, All Other 5.75 9,039 $43.50
Washington Aircraft Structure, Surfaces, Rigging, & Systems Assemblers 14.21 13,535 $23.09
West Virginia Roof Bolters, Mining 66.29 2,129 $26.84
Wisconsin Foundry Mold & Coremakers 5.47 1,351 $15.72
Wyoming Rotary Drill Operators, Oil & Gas 28.0 1,566 $27.05

Strategies for Successful Interviewing

Robert Half Legal




The job interview is a brief, but crucial, component of the employment process.  If you are thinking of re-entering the working world after a hiatus or starting to look for a new opportunity after a long tenure with your current firm, it's wise to brush up on what to expect during an interview.
Especially if the position you're interviewing for involves managing a large office and juggling numerous administrative responsibilities, the ability to present yourself well and inspire confidence is critical. By taking note of these key interview strategies, you can make the best possible impression and land the position you seek.

Understand the importance of the first minutes. When it comes to interviewing, the first minutes are often the most decisive, according to a survey by our company. Hiring managers polled said it takes them just 10 minutes to form an opinion of job seekers, despite meeting with staff-level applicants for 55 minutes and management-level candidates for 86 minutes, on average.
This finding underscores the importance of getting the interview off to a good start. From the moment you meet your interviewer, project enthusiasm, professionalism and confidence, both in your appearance and demeanor. Be prepared to extend a firm handshake, make eye contact and -- though it's admittedly difficult -- interact in an engaged but relaxed manner. Because the opening minutes are so influential in hiring decisions, be especially aware of your initial comments and actions. Although you want to come across as enthusiastic, don't be overly effusive. One job seeker, for instance, came across as insincere -- and even a little desperate -- by gushing excessively over personal photos in the hiring manager's office.

Ace the predictable questions. Carefully plan what you're going to say – or not going to say – to likely questions, which usually come at the start of the interview. Your goal should be to satisfy the interviewer's curiosity with your answers without raising any concerns. Following are some frequently asked questions and tips for responding:

  1. Tell me about yourself. Concisely discuss your professional achievements and qualifications as they relate to the job opportunity.

  2. What do you know about our firm? Research the firm beforehand and be prepared to describe how your skills and experience will help you contribute to its success.

  3. Why do you want to work here? Whether it's the organization's values, reputation for integrity or history of success, cite the specific reasons why you want to work for the employer.

  4. Why are you looking to leave your current position? Be ready with a diplomatic response that doesn't disparage other employers. Then, turn the focus back to what appeals to you about the position for which you're interviewing.

  5. What is your most significant professional accomplishment? Cite an achievement that highlights your abilities and shows you value results.


Demonstrate a beyond-the-basics knowledge of your employer. Develop a broad understanding of the prospective employer by looking beyond its website and other standard marketing materials for information. Conduct an online search for articles and other public mentions of the firm. Industry publications, professional associations and your networking contacts may also be able to provide details about its culture, history, competitors and any recent challenges or controversies.
Your research will enable you to ask more insightful questions. And if your interviewer can tell you've acquired more than a superficial knowledge of the company, he or she will be more likely to respond with candor and depth.

Help the employer understand the value you bring. You can stand out from other candidates by giving answers that explicitly outline why you have the right qualifications for the job.
For example, if you know from your research that the firm plans to open additional offices, describe how you've been involved in managing expansion plans in your current position. Or, if the interviewer is looking for someone to review and re-negotiate vendor contracts, play up your experience in this area.

Be yourself. This is easier said than done, since an interview is not an entirely natural situation. Although you should never let your guard down and risk coming across as unprofessional, take care not to seem overly programmed. Remember that an interview is really a two-way conversation and should allow for some spontaneity.
Let your personality come through in your responses by conveying a sense of humor when appropriate, as well as your individual strengths and interests as they relate to your work. Interviewers want to get a sense of how you would fit into the office culture.
Regardless of your experience level or how many times you've been interviewed in your career, a successful interview always depends on thorough preparation. By observing these strategies, you should be able to remain calm and confident while persuading the hiring manager that you're the right candidate for the job.

How to Navigate FMLA Leave

Taking personal time off doesn't have to mean sacrificing your career



Maternity Leave


Are you starting a family or taking care of a sick family member? There are career steps you need to address before you take your leave.

Before you leave, do this. Speak in "us" language, not in "me" language, and have solutions in mind before you sit down with your boss. Every company and employer handles family leave differently, so do your research and get up to speed on the typical practice of your office. Anticipate what your employer's fears are and be prepared to mitigate them from the outset. Your leave can have a potentially negative impact on your employer, so you have to help them ease into it. There's no set time frame, as every office operates differently.

Customarily, two weeks is the common norm for anyone leaving a position. Be fair and honest to your employer about your wants and needs -- before you officially leave. Remember, The Family and Medical Leave Act could be an option for you (aside from quitting altogether). If you are covered, you are entitled to an unpaid but job-protected leave for twelve weeks. This includes birth of a child, taking care of a sick family member, adoption of a child, personal health conditions or military service.

Another method to slowly ease yourself out of a job but keep positive ties to your company is to learn how to pitch working from home as a win for your employer. Consider all your options (working part-time, taking a year off or telecommuting) and then ask for your ideal schedule. With the push to create family-friendly work environments, employers are more flexible than ever as long as you demonstrate you can and will produce great work.
How to handle a resume gap. Not all employment gaps are due to layoffs or getting fired. You may have taken time off to take courses, have kids, freelance, or travel, and all of those things can make you a better candidate for the job. List the courses you've taken and explain how they will help in this new position. Talk about your freelancing experience and what you learned and accomplished during that time. Discuss the volunteer programs you've been a part of, like the PTA or Cub Scouts. Share your travels with your prospective employer. At the very least, they may find comfort in knowing you've "been there, done that" and won't be taking off to travel the world again!

Never let go of your network. While you might not be 100 percent in the industry right now, you should always stay in touch with your former colleagues and clients. Whether it's liking a post they shared on LinkedIn, attending networking events, reaching out to them via email or even meeting for coffee every few months. Maintaining your relationships will offer insight into how the industry is adapting and keep you abreast of the changes and developments. These tools and industry know-how can serve you well when you are ready to test the waters again.

Where your colleagues are concerned, it'll also keep you fresh in their minds. Those lunch dates and email exchanges will showcase the fact that you've still been actively involved in the industry -- even if it was from a backseat view. If a job opens up down the line, they'll be more open to recommending it to you. Use LinkedIn Pulse to read the most relevant industry news that your professional community is reading and sharing, so you're in the know when you return to work.

Post Interviewing Tips: How Not to Follow Up

Show enthusiasm, not mania



You just interviewed for a position you really want, and you think it went really well. But before you sit back and relax, waiting for that phone to ring, there's one more step you should take: following up with the hiring manager. Getting in touch after an interview shows good business etiquette, reinforces your interest in the position and could mean the difference between getting a job offer and never hearing back from the employer again.

But if you do it incorrectly, you could hurt your chances of landing that job. Here are some post-interviewing tips on the do's and don'ts of following up:

Don't rush it.
Hiring managers neither expect nor want a follow-up five minutes after the interview. Texting a "thank-you note" from the parking lot can make you come across as demanding, impatient and overly eager.

Do: Give yourself time to process what took place during the interview so your follow-up is not only gracious, but also thoughtful about the position and the conversation you had with the hiring manager.

If you're sending a note via U.S. mail or email, try to get it out the day after the interview. If you're planning to place a follow-up call, wait two or three days. Just make sure you don't wait too long. You want your note or phone call to arrive at the company before the hiring committee has made up its mind about whom to hire.

Don't make typos.
Many hiring managers disregard applications that contain mistakes, and they likewise won't think much of a candidate who sends a follow-up note with grammatical mistakes or autocorrect fails.

Do: Check and double-check all of your correspondences with the people who interviewed you. Strong written communication abilities are a highly valued soft skill, and even one spelling error can make you look unprofessional. Remember that the purpose of a follow-up is to further convince potential employers to hire you; you don't want to sink your chances with a poorly written message.

Don't make it all about you.
The follow-up shouldn't be about how well the job would mesh with your lifestyle or boost your career. As much as interviewers want to know more about you, what they're really after is how you can benefit the company.

Do: In the note, show that you're continuing to think about ways you would add value to the company if you were hired. Thank the hiring manager for her time, and say that you enjoyed meeting her and learning more about the position. Refer to a few things discussed during the interview and perhaps add more commentary or details. And finally, reaffirm your interest in contributing to the growth of the company.

Don't be overly familiar.
You and the interviewer may have hit it off, but remember, this is still a business relationship. Don't let yourself get too informal or chatty, or you'll risk looking unprofessional.

Do: Be friendly in your follow-up, but maintain a professional demeanor. Start any written correspondence with "Dear so-and-so," and end with "Best regards" or "Kindest regards." Refrain from making jokes, and don't use emoticons or casual abbreviations.

Don't go overboard.
Whether the interview was a smashing success or a total bomb, avoid extreme emotion in your messages - it will only make you seem unstable and off-putting.

Do: Show enthusiasm, not mania. And while you want to communicate that you're persistent, don't pester. Two follow-ups are enough: one written message and perhaps a phone call a few days later. If you think you flubbed the interview, briefly explain that you weren't at the top of your game and that you'd be grateful for the chance to try again. If you have nothing else to lose and you really want the job, it can't hurt to ask graciously for a second interview.

There are no sure things in a job hunt. But by practicing these post-interviewing tips, you have the opportunity to make another great impression on a potential employer - and to help tip the scale in your favor.



4 things to watch out for in an employment contract




Employment contract

By Emmie Martin, Business Insider

The pile of paperwork that comes with starting a new job may be overwhelming, but it’s imperative that you read the fine print.
When signing a new contract, phrases such as “non-solicit of employees” or “noncompete” may look like standard legal jargon, but these clauses can restrict where you work or who you can hire at your next position if you’re not aware. According to Brad Newman, chair of Paul Hastings’ International Employee Mobility and Trade Secret practice, and author of “Protecting Intellectual Property in the Age of Employee Mobility: Forms and Analysis,” clauses that restrict your options when you leave a position are the most important ones to look out for when signing a new contract. “If you don’t look at this on the way into your job, it’s oftentimes too late on the way out,” he says.
Clauses such as these, aimed at protecting companies’ intellectual property, are becoming increasingly common in employment contracts to ensure that when employees depart, they don’t take confidential information. “It’s never been easier from the technological standpoint to take data inadvertently or intentionally,” Newman says. However, if you sign a contract without reading these clauses carefully, you could be complying to something you don’t agree with.
Newman suggests every employee understand restrictive clauses before signing — and negotiating anything they aren’t on board with. “It’s very much like sports teams going after the best players,” he says. “If you’re that player right now, you can negotiate a very lucrative contract for yourself, provided you haven’t signed anything that prohibits you from doing it.”

Look for these four key clauses before signing your next contract — and make sure you understand the implications of each:

1. Noncompete clause
Noncompete clauses prohibit employees from working for a competitor for a certain length of time or in a certain geographical area after leaving their current jobs. Companies include these to protect confidential projects or information, but they can end up hindering you from being able to move positions or leave a job you don’t like if you don’t read the specifications carefully. “The company wants it to be as long and broad as possible, and the employee wants it to be as short and narrow as possible,” Newman says. He recommends negotiating to tighten noncompete clauses in order to give yourself more potential for job mobility and prevent you from trying to sign a new contract, only to realize you’re barred from working in a related field for a year.

2. Non-solicit of employees
When you leave your employer, you may want to continue to work with the best people from your old company, Newman says. However, non-solicit agreements restrict employees from poaching former co-workers or clients from their previous job after transferring companies. These clauses ensure that businesses won’t lose all their top people to a competitor at once, but can hurt you if you try to hire a former co-worker or entice a friend to join you after starting your own business.

3. No-hire
Similar to non-solicit clauses, no-hire agreements prevent you from hiring people who have worked for competitors, such as if someone were to call you after you leave and try to get a job at your new company. These clauses became controversial after several software companies, including Apple and Google, allegedly used them to keep wages artificially low. Signing a contract with this clause in it can restrict your job mobility by automatically making certain companies unable to hire you.


4. Invention assignment agreement
Invention assignment agreements require new hires to disclose any inventions they created before starting their employment at a new company. These clauses protect companies from losing patents by preventing employees from taking projects they worked on to a rival, but can also allow them to claim ownership of your original work. “If you, the employee, is somebody who thinks you’re going to come up with an improvement or invention, you should disclose what you’ve already done beforehand so that there’s no issue of who owns what you’ve already done,” Newman says.



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