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How Tech Changed the World: Job Searching In Today's Market
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The job search process changed considerably in just a few short years. The traditional way of doing things with paper resumes and a personal approach has gotten a digital makeover where the important connections you need to make are done more so through Facebook than face-to-face.

Making this quick adaption isn't easy for everyone, especially those who have been accustomed to doing job searching the traditional way or haven't had to do a job search in years. The fundamental principal of "survival of the fittest' applies to the job market, too, being that it is a competition after all. In order to be successful, job seekers must be able to prove their market value to the potential employers.

To help you make your way back up the job ladder, here are some of the ways that job searching has changed and how you can make the best of these new developments:

1) Google is the new resume.

A resume and cover letter is the official way for job seekers to apply for jobs and provide the necessary information to hiring managers. But it's not the only way for them to see what kind of talent is out there. Hiring managers and recruiters often search Google or LinkedIn for potential candidates. If your curiosity hasn't already led you to Google yourself, do so ASAP. Take a look at the links that come up on the first page and see whether the results that match you are things you are comfortable with hiring managers seeing.

2) Your work history, in a nutshell.

A simple summary of your work history is sufficient. With the overwhelming amount of applicants there are for an open position, hiring managers are limited to the amount of time they can spend looking at each resume. LinkedIn allows you to summarize yourself and your work history, a valuable feature not to be neglected.

3) Your objective is their objective.

It used to be common for applicants to include an objective in their resumes. This was at a time when the employer cared more about the job seeker's needs. Today, companies only care about how the job seeker can fulfill their needs. An employer has to be interested in your not because of what you hope to achieve by being hired, but what you have achieved and how your contribution will benefit their goals. You have to prove that you are valuable in their pursuits, not the other way around.

What we're experiencing in the present day is what was considered "futuristic" not long ago. The rapid advances in technology has completely morphed the way we do many everyday things, especially job hunting. Job hunting can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be hard. Having the ability to adapt quickly to these and upcoming changes will allow you to keep from getting trumped by the competition.

How Seeing the Good From a Bad Decision Can Help Your Career
Friday, May 03, 2013

Seeing the "bright side" of a detrimental career mistake sounds more like a joke than a piece of advice. When you've got a number of financial obligations weighing down on your shoulders, putting your career on the line is one of the worst things that can happen in these economic times.

Throughout one's career, he or she may come across enticing opportunities for investments or making more money that they eventually agree to. Taking these kinds of risks can either come with great reward or great regret.

Looking back and trying to pick out the positives from a career-ruining decision can seem challenging, impossible even, but doing so can actually provide helpful insight. This will serve as as learning experience that will help you when making your career moves from that point on.

We all make mistakes at work and there are some who makes career-costing ones. Take for example the firing of A.J. Clemente, a local news anchor who was caught of guard swearing on air on his very first day. Even though that job was gone before it even began, that blunder got him nationwide recognition. He may not ever get another job as a news anchor but losing his job as one could be the catalyst for getting the career he was meant for.

The state of current job market and economy raises the stakes for making risky career moves. People simply can't afford to make a mistake since bouncing back is so difficult. The key to being able to see positives from anything you would have done differently is how you're able to use the knowledge you have now. You can't change the past, but you can definitely change your plans for the future.

Experimenting with your career choices can often be the best way to find the right one. This is absolutely easier said than done, especially nowadays when securing a roof over your head comes before landing your job of choice. But that doesn't mean you have to forfeit it.

Life has a way of testing people's strength and resilience in different ways. Sometimes the rewards for our risk aren't the kinds we were expecting, but are just as worthwhile.

Job Hunting Tips for The Job Market Veteran
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Companies merging, downsizing, reorganizing is nothing new. And neither is the fact that those who are often most affected are older employees. 

The unfortunate reality is this: older workers who lose their jobs will typically spend more time looking for another than younger ones. Older job seekers have been off the hunt for a while and it's a different job market they have to cater to. It's not easy having to market and sell yourself again after you've already been settled in. 

People who have had established careers understand what it takes to make an impression on a employer. They've been there, done that. The issues that they face now have more to do with job market conditions and the new type of competition out there. 

Gen X has quickly caught up to Gen Y, meaning younger generations have acquired comparable skills to those who have been in the industry longer. This makes it more difficult for seasoned professionals to have an edge as many employers are looking to refresh their organization. Experience doesn't count for nothing, however. Here are some valuable tips that can help you in your job search that most younger seekers won't have:

Put your contacts to good use. There are plenty of available job openings that aren't widely advertised to the public. Much of the time, when a position opens up it's shared with the employees to see if they have any good referrals. Make sure that you're putting yourself out there for friends, family, former colleagues, etc. to reach out to you in case any openings should come up. Even if you're out of work, you should still be in touch with the people around you and active in your industry.

Prepare your elevator pitch. It's always good to have a pitch ready at any given moment. You want to be able to sum up off the top of your head exactly what you've accomplished in the past and what you are looking to accomplish from this point forward. It's also important to highlight the major achievements you've made while illustrating the kind of job you have your eyes set on.

Be overly prepared in your interview. Along with doing extensive research on the company's past, present, and future, you should also look into its personnel. You want to get to know the type of people that work there before going in so that you can get a feel for whether you will fit in. Also get a sense for the types of people that have applied there to so that you know what to expect from your competition. Being able to think quickly on your feet is another great way to impress the interviewer.

Your first impression matters more than you think. Interviewers are evaluating you from the minute they learn your name so the first meeting has to play out flawlessly. You only get one first impression and once it's done there is no going back. Make sure that you'll not only meet their expectations but can also exceed them in unexpected ways, whether it be a stylish suit or an innovative resume. As an older worker you have the advantage of your experience on your side. Think of everything else as a bonus. Be confident in what you have to offer a potential employer and you'll be able to compete with anyone else from any generation.

How to Explain Being Fired to Your Interviewer
Monday, January 28, 2013

Losing a job is tough. Getting fired from one, though, can feel like a death sentence. This is just one of those things in life that are hard to control. That doesn't mean it's impossible to recover from, however. One of the biggest obstacles of overcoming this career mishap is when you have to explain the your termination to a potential employer.

Interviewers will inevitably ask for details which makes it all the more important to have a well-scripted answer. With strategic wording, you can minimize the damage and give yourself a fighting chance. The following tips will help you handle the situation and talk yourself out of an unfavorable circumstance:

Plan and prepare.
Getting yourself ready for, not only this interview, but this particular question is the key to successfully pulling off a good interview. You shouldn't wait for the interviewer to ask you the question hoping that they might forget to ask and then think about your answer in that case. Think the incident through and verbally practice your explanation. Listening to your answer repeatedly beforehand gives you time to modify it until perfect.

Be on the same page as your references.
Finding references can be especially difficult after being fired. Reach out to those you know will positively vouch for you and get an idea for what they plan on saying about you. Ask them what they have in mind when the interviewer contacts them and be sure to have them focus on your qualifications, performance, and overall character. If you can muster up the will to do so, reach out to your previous manager and try to come to copacetic terms with them. As difficult as it may be, it can help prevent past employers from costing you future jobs.

Be straight-forward and transparent.
Lying about or attempting to cover up areas of the truth will only backfire. If possible, steer clear of the incident itself and instead direct the attention to where you've gotten to since. Give them examples for what that experience taught you and how it helped you grow. You want to emphasize that you were able to turn a negative into a positive. The interviewer needs to see that you appreciate their willingness to hear your side of the story by maintaining your integrity. A little honestly will go a long way.

Write it down and memorize it.
As you put your answer together, continue going over it until it's time for the interview. Frequently editing it will let you catch things that you think could use improving. You want to prepare yourself enough so that by the time you walk in through the office doors, you'll have the confidence to manage this question without a hiccup. Be sure that nothing you say will reflect any bitterness, anger, or hard feelings. Showing the interviewer that you were able to pick yourself up from such a fall will let them see you as a resilient person and a strong team player.

Job Search Success Tips for Baby Boomers
Friday, January 11, 2013

The baby boomer generation holds a special group of individuals who have been around long enough to see and experience how our society has changed over the years. As employees, they are some of the most resilient around being able to adapt to how different the job market is now from the one they grew up in. Their adaptability has been especially tested in recent times with competition being tough across all industries.

This has caused many to feel pushed into retirement as if the towel is being thrown in for them. Your career is a major defining aspect of your identity and unless you're ready to redefine yourself, you shouldn't have to. As a baby boomer conducting a job search, sometimes all it takes is some revitalization to get back in the game and pick up speed.

A good starting place is making sure that your job skills and experience are updated. Baby boomers can feel at a disadvantage because to them the technological world we live in now seems to have sprung up overnight. Meanwhile, younger generations were practically raised by technology.

Potential employers take the technological skills on your resume into consideration before generational gaps. If circumstance hasn't made you as technologically savvy over the years as you hoped (through previous on-the-job training, for example) then it's a good idea to take matters into your own hand. Getting caught up through books or by taking a course can familiarize you with the skills that younger generations have been bred to learn. Another benefit of taking skills courses is being able to earn certification.

Getting your skills updated and perhaps earning additional certifications are just the first step. Showing off these improvements and new developments in your resume is key to order to catching the hiring manager's eye. Imagine doing a side-by-side comparison of your resume and that of a recent college graduate. In what ways would they resemble one another? Anything come to mind?

Your resume is most competitive when it has as much to offer the job market as someone with recent education while retaining the advantage of being a seasoned working professional. Browse through your LinkedIn networks and connections and take a look at some of your younger colleagues' profiles. Check out their resumes, and any other links available, and use this research material as inspiration when giving your resume a makeover.

Another useful tip is to leave out dates that age you. Make sure that the experience you include is relevant to your field and the positions you apply to. You might want to show off an extensive history but you don't want to seem out of touch. Resumes today tend to be short and sweet so make sure that yours can still be distinctly impressive without having to say as much. Remember, less is more!

The last tip has to do with an update to your appearance. You don't have to make any drastic changes but  taking some measures to look well-kept will help keep you from sticking out of the crowd in the wrong way. Often times, people will blame their age as the reason for why they've lost the zest in their life when really it's their confidence level. Don't let your age make you feel less confident.

Whether it be eliminating the grey in your hair with some dye or getting back in the gym, a few lifestyle improvements here and there can do wonders in boosting your confidence level. This rejuvenation of life can help you conquer your job search and continue on the path to the success you deserve.

New Year, New Trends in Leadership
Friday, December 28, 2012

The onset of a new year makes us evaluate the highs and lows of the one on it's way out. We take with us the good memories and leave the bad behind. In the work world, we do the same kind of evaluations. We look back on the things we did right and find ways of making them even better in the upcoming year.

Leadership is a vital professional skill that always has room for improvement. The best leaders lead by example because they practice and prove what they preach. Everyone has what it takes to put their ideas into action, it just comes down to whether they do or not.

Here are some of the changing trends in leadership approaches that are expected to become more prevalent in 2013:
 
The perfectly balanced combination of leadership and people skills will be valued more than leadership alone. The best kind of motivation is when the employee feels prompted to do something out of want rather than obligation. If you've ever experienced this kind of leadership, you'll realize that you're doing your job well and with pride because your leader has made you enthusiastic about it.

Leaders who lack these people can often make their employees feel like their work is more of a chore that they are being told to do rather than feeling happy to do so.Training for this people-leadership skill combo focuses on areas such as: coaching a team, thinking like a leader, others producing the company desired results, and getting others engaged.
 
When you have a group of people working together, the glue that keeps them together is the leader. But a leader without a cooperative group is not a leader. It takes the contributed effort of the entire team in order for the operation to function properly. Essentially, the leader cannot expect to do everything himself nor expect to take all the credit either. Leaders are still just as much a part of the team as anyone else and must pull the weight for which they are compensated for.
 
Now that the world is more directly connected, there is no reason why anyone should feel alienated especially those in the workplace. Leaders can more easily reach out to their team and get the necessary feedback for building a stronger group--which starts from the top down.
 
Another trend that among leadership roles is that more leaders are being made from within as opposed to being brought in. The best candidates for taking on more responsibility are those who have honed their skills from that same company. Internal perspectives are often more insightful than someone from another company who has been working in the same position longer.

Whichever way the trends in leadership turn out in 2013, there is one core principle that is sure to stay the same: a good leader can successfully build trust with his team, increase productivity and help an organization grow.

How to Get the Holiday Bonus You've Earned
Thursday, December 13, 2012

Amidst all the holiday spirit, the end of the year signifies a time for giving and receiving. Many well-deserving employees look forward to receiving their holiday bonuses in order to do some giving of their own.

Sadly, this trend among companies has dwindled due to the rough economic climate. If you work at one of these companies where bonuses aren't given, don't despair just yet. Even though bonuses won't be handed out, you can still get your hands on one. The following tips might just help you make your own miracle this year:

Ask and you shall receive, hopefully. This tactic is similar to asking for a raise. It's necessary to prepare a plan of approach and execution. Since rewards and bonuses are meant to motivate you to work harder, it's a good idea to step up your performance in anticipation for this time of the year. Gather all the material and supporting evidence of your work performance that demonstrate how you've earned this bonus. Give your boss every reason for giving you a bonus and  you just might get one.

If you must, settle for the next best thing. Sometimes, companies can't give out bonuses even if they wanted to. You should always be fair in what you're asking but if that doesn't work, you still might be able to work out an alternative. Depending on how negotiations go, you could try to get some extra time off or make use of a company perk such as event tickets.

Avoid turning into a Scrooge. Bonuses are a way for companies to give recognition for a job well done so don't feel entitled to getting anything that you ask for or bitter if you don't. Rewards are given to those who are worthy and still show humility. If getting this bonus is what's keeping you with the company, don't resort to threatening them with that. You won't have to worry about being kept around and you can say goodbye to your bonus and your job. Instead, stick to the making a solid case for yourself to show what they would be missing if you no longer worked there.

The holiday season brings with it many things to rejoice about. Celebrations, family, presents, and of course the hopes of getting a little extra cash. What is important to remember during the holidays is the spirit of giving regardless of getting something special for it, as much as we would like to. Rewards can often in other ways at other times, and sometimes be better than expected.

How to Relocate For a Job Successfully
Monday, December 03, 2012

Relocating for a job isn't easy especially when you have to consider how it will affect your family members. But when it comes to putting food on the table and getting the bills paid, a move doesn't seem like such a bad sacrifice for a worthy job offer.

Picking up and moving after you've settled down for some time is a tough change that can cause a lot of stress. The excitement for the new job is hard to celebrate when you have to think about having to start fresh in a new location.

In situations where the spouse also has to switch jobs the stress level can double the challenges. There's no sure-fire way to have a smooth transition, but these are some of the things you can do to lessen the strain on yourself and your family:

Get acquainted with your new environment. If you have some time before you move to make a visit with the family, this is a good way to get to the know the place so that everything doesn't feel so unfamiliar once you settle in. Doing ample research before heading into new territory helps you ease into the place little by little.

Test things out before making any commitments. Before you decide to buy a new home, find a temporary living situation to start. As a new person to the area you should explore your surroundings for the first few months of living there before settling down anywhere that you might change your mind on later. See if your company offers living arrangements as some will set it up for a certain amount of time to let you get your bearings.

Your moving expenses may be tax-deductible. Your new employer may not compensate your for the necessary costs of relocating, but the government might. There are certain requirements that you have to meet in order to qualify for the deductions which include: your new home being at least 50 miles away from your old home and job; and you work full time at least for 39 weeks during the last year after your move. For more details on this, see the IRS Tax Topic 455.

Expand your social network. Using social media such as Facebook and MeetUp can help you find others in the area with similar interests. Making this sort of transitions can make you feel like a fish out of water so building a network of can help you meet locals easier. It's not easy to be happy with a decision that you feel was necessary to take even though circumstances were not ideal. Surrounding yourself with welcoming faces can reassure you that you made the right choice. A happy person makes for a better worker.

How to Use LinkedIn As An Effective Career Tool
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Social media and online profiles have become an extension of most people's identities. While it was once something that people were still catching on to, today it's hardly considered optional.

An online presence is especially important for making a professional impression on others within an industry. Showcasing your skills and experience to the world opens up the lines of communication.

Being active on LinkedIn is one of the best ways you can help you career. Most importantly, it creates an all-inclusive environment for people to connect with others they share common career interests with. There are, however, major differences in how others see you if you aren't using the site like the pros. The following tips will help you polish up your profile and stay current with the changing job market:

Got questions, find answers.
LinkedIn houses all kinds of groups across nearly every industry which serve as platforms to open discussions for anyone within it to chime in on. Whether you want to look for answers to questions others have already asked or ask one of your own, the Answers section is a perfect way to gain some clarity and insight.

Get acquainted with a new field.
When you enter your skills and expertise in the search box, LinkedIn provides a list of others that are closely related. Are there some that you don't have yet? Having as many skills that relate to one another works greatly in your advantage. It's taking that step toward becoming an expert in the subject. Depending on your personal goals, you may only want to go after learning a select few of these skills. Think about who you should reach out to who can help you in that area.

Stay in the loop.
It can be hard to keep up with the different publications you read in order to find out the lastest in your industry. LinkedIn does the hard work for you, delivering all the top stories and headlines to you right on their homepage. You can see who's posting what and other topics that people are discussing. This way, you can log in, catch up, and search on.

Endorse and recommend.
Part of solidifying the relationships you build within your network is supporting your connections. It's a system of scratching each other's backs. LinkedIn has a recently added feature that allows you to endorse the skills your connections list on their profiles. Recommendations take it a step further by letting you write recommondations for your them based on their performance whether they request it from your or not. It shows that you aren't afraid to voice your genuine interest for their professional success. It's more than likely that they will return the favor.

Follow the leaders.
Just like you might follow your favorite celebrities on Twitter, you can do the same with industry and thought leaders on LinkedIn. LinkedIn's Today's News section lets you keep up with what's going on in the industry and what the people at the forefront are saying about it. You don't have to connect with them, but you can comment on their updates to demonstrate your own thoughts and leadership abilities.

Important Things Not to Forget In An Interview
Wednesday, November 07, 2012

It's essentially impossible to enter an interview without having done any preparation. Those that dare are in for one of the shortest interviews of their lives. Remembering all there is remember for an interview can be challenging. It's like cramming for the ultimate test and you either pass or fail. Interviews are nerve-wracking for many reasons, this is just one of them.
 
Whether you have an amazing memory or not, the truth is that you don't have to worry yourself with a great deal of rules and do's and don'ts. Instead, make these few important things clear in your mind  and you won't have to fumble through anymore interviews:
 
1) Understand what the job entails.
 
This is more than just going through a check-list of job duties. People often go into interviews under the impression they are there for a certain job that turns out to not be what they were picturing at all. It's really embarrassing to be in an interview for a job that you had mistaken for something else. Not knowing the details thoroughly can make you look foolish and unconcerned for the interviewer's time.
 
2) Know what it will take to succeed at the position.
 
Even while you may know what it takes to get the postion, that can be very different from being able to do it well. Companies will have certain expectations for new hires and one of them is exceeding those expectations. There's a major difference in the kinds of workers who work acceptably and the those that do exceptionally. See things from their perspective and evaluate yourself for the position. Identify areas you think may need improvement and go from being good for the job to perfect for it.
 
3) Outline why you are right for the job.
 
Make a list of your strengths, achievements and goals. Do they match what it will take to do well in this position? You want to give the interviewer plenty of reasons for why they should not only hire you, but why it would be a mistake not to. What are you equipped with to do this job better than any other candidate? This question is a very important one to be able to answer as it will heavily weigh on the interviewer's decision.
 
4) Have an idea of the areas you may struggle with.
 
Nobody's perfect. There may be some areas of the job that you aren't as familiar with. Don't let this get you down. If you believe that these are things that you want to tackle then be sure to do your research before the interview. If you're hoping you can get through the job and bypass these trouble areas, that won't be the case.
 
5) Will you mesh well with the company's culture?
 
Everyone company has its own culture and vibe. How well a candidate will fit in with theirs is usually what employers look for most in candidates. You'll be expected to match the way they do things and how they conduct themselves. Compatibility in this sense is often the dealbreaker since a bad match will result in an unhappy situation for both parties.
 
6) Eliminate the fear in the question you're most afraid of.
 
Most job seekers have a particular question that they dread, one that no amount of hoping will prevent the interviewer from asking it. It could be about why you left your last job, how much you expect to get paid, or even if you've ever been fired. Think of all the potential quesitons they could ask you and which one trips you up. Preparation is crucial to a good interview so there is no point in avoiding it. Arm yourself with an answer that you both will be happy with.

Important Questions to Ask Yourself When Changing Careers
Thursday, October 18, 2012

"If it ain't broke don't fix it." "Why mess up a good thing?" These kinds of sayings are meant to stop people from taking risky actions. And yet, success is usually the triumphant result of trial and error.

Some of the biggest innovations of our time were created by those that listened to their instincts and took a chance on themselves. You don't have to hate your job to want to change careers, you simply have to know that you want to.

Considering making a career change is a decision that will change your life in many ways. People can spend their entire lives going back and forth and never end up taking any action. Instead of wasting time idling on the fence, you can ask yourself a few questios to help you figure out what your plan of action is:

1) Is the problem you're having at work keeping you down and you can't seem to resolve it?

There are plenty of people who go to work day in and day out struggling with the same issue and continue to bite the bullet. Over time, that bullet is going to wear them down. This can be a problem that springs up in more than one workplace or situation. For example, it could be that you're a male or female working in a field or position that is predominantly that of the other gender. Things like that make you feel like you're being overshadowed for reasons beyond your control are a good way for you to start thinking about ways to take control.
 
2) Does your problem have to do with someone that you work with or your environment?
 
It's not uncommon for many employees to work for harsh or overbearing bosses. In an economy where jobs are hard to come by, people are grateful for any job with any boss. However, being miserable at work is pointless. Why spend the majority of your life working to survive when you can't even enjoy it? There are some industries where you're bound to work under demanding people, like high fashion, for instance. These intense environments can be unforgiving. And while it may have fueled you in the beginning, there comes a time when shifting gears is in order.
 
3) You may have considered the job you really want, but do you have what it takes to pursue it?
 
Life would be much easier if we could just change careers by simply quitting your current job and applying for the one you want. In reality, it requires a great deal of energy, research, money, and time. Think about what it is you prefer to be doing and try reaching out to someone who currently holds that position. If they are willing to partake in somewhat of an informational interview with you, then by all means take advantage of getting to pick their brain. They'll be able to provide some insight as to what it took for them to land that career.
 
Change is the only constant in life so you should embrace rather than fear it. The reason that changing careers can be so intimidating is that once you take the leap it can be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse your decision. The push forward to your new career can be tough but for some the destination is well worth the money, time, and effort spent. No job is worth a lifetime of feeling unsatisfied. In the end, the biggest question you should be asking yourself is: Am I satisfied? 

Does Following Your Passion Work in Today's Job Market?
Monday, October 08, 2012

By Mark Winslow Contributor
 
Most career advice is loaded with motivational language to keep your spirits high throughout an often discouraging process. But this has to make you wonder, am I just being told what I want to hear or is this really going to help me in the real world?

First off, ask yourself: what exactly is your passion? Without a clear, solid answer, this can lead you down a tricky career path. By trying to find your passion by pursuing careers based on your various interests, you could easily find yourself down a job hopping trail to no end.

Instead, a more effective approach would be to narrow down your best or most valuable skills and work on honing them. Turn your strengths into your passion rather than the other way around. Becoming an expert in a niche market has always been one of the top ways to finding success. Experts are always valuable no matter the field and are therefore more desirable candidates.

Job seekers that are starting anew--but not from scratch--need to look their value from the outside in. Evalute your skills and think about what your selling points are. Challenging yourself adds to your value when you branch out of your comfort zone. People who stick to what they're comfortable with limit their reach for finding success in an area where they would otherwise gain a knack for.

A Hobby Is Not A Career

Let's make it clear. What you do on during your off-hours should remain what you do during off-hours. A hobby is something that most people enjoy doing because they rarely get to, which makes it all the more enjoyable. Of course, if it's a craft that you've noticed you have a real talent for, like photography or designing, then there may be some potential for making a living from it.

But when your goal is to find something that will suit your interests in the long run, you should focus your efforts toward a place that will benefit from your most valuable skills. When all is said and done, your best skills might just align with what you enjoy doing on a daily basis.

It can be hard to determine what your one true career love is, but the trick to finding it is going after something that you like, that gives you meaning, and you are excellent at doing. And yes, this may sound like another piece of motivational job search advice, but the following statement does hold true. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to pursuing a career driven by the idea of passion. Ultimately, when you play to strengths your careeer can turn into your passion.

3 Necessary Steps for Makng a Career Change
Thursday, September 13, 2012

Doing the same routine day in and day out would bore anyone even if they didn't have any issues with their job. Most people at some point in their lives develop a desire to seek out other ventures.

If a career change is something you've been considering, whether you want to just move into a different position or an entirely different field, being adequately prepared is crucial to making it happen and work out successfully.

Making such a big move can be hard and hard to do which turns a lot of people off. Some simply can't handle the pressure of the stakes. These worries and stresses can be combated by properly thinking the decision through. You'll be surprised at how achievable they are for just about anyone. Here are 5 tips to help get you started:

1) Paint yourself the "Big Picture"

Daydream, yes, daydream about what changing careers will do for you. Imagining it in your head allows you to go through with your thought process and outline a mental road map. When you think about it terms of practicality and therefore make it seem less of a fantasy and more of a realistic goals. Laying out a clear vision before making any sort of decisions or actions is extremely important. Being able to see where you're headed is the first step.

2) Weigh out other options.

There is no clear cut path to most things and the same goes for a career change. Have alternative routes planned out in case you run into blocks with your first choice. Exploring different avenues can also expose you to things that you may not have considered otherwise. For example, perhaps you wanted to transition from a teacher to an administrator. Along the way, you might discover that perhaps you were more suited for counseling. Life is a learning process so keep an open mind throughout all your experiences.

3) Take initiative.

Once you've weighed out the options get going. All the planning and daydreaming won't mean anything unless you put it into action. This is usually the hardest part since diving into uncharted waters can be scary. But it can also be easy to get stuck in the planning process, thinking and rethinking things over. Just because you make a plan doesn't mean they can't change. If you feel unsure about what your initial decisions, go back and re-evaluate your next moves.

6 Ways to Prevent a Meltdown From Life Imbalance
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In an ideal world we would have our own clones and 3 pairs of arms. Well, this may not actually be the picture of  an ideal world but it would definitely serve for a more efficient one.

Sometimes, when our hands our full and life hands us lemons, we just have to let some drop. Meeting the demands of your work, family, friends, and more can make most people not even want to get out of bed.

Prioritizing the many important aspects of your life is not an easy feat and can build up a lot of pressure, pressure that will end up bursting if left ignored.

1) Focus

With so many things requiring your attention, focusing your undivided attention on anything seems impossible. But whatever it is you find yourself occupied with at any given moment, giving it all your effort will actually make life easier. Doing things halfway will only slow you down. If you end up trying to juggle more than your can, things will come crashing down. Take things one step at a timem, give it 100%,  and keep a steady momentum going.

2) Limit business trips.

Business trips can seem so important when they arise but imagine how little you would actually be able to do if you were constantly traveling. Nowadays, most business can be handled via telecommunications. Keep in mind that mainting a balance between making sacrifices and making it to family events is equally important. The miles usually aren't worth spreading yourself paper thin.

3) Morning ritual.

We all have one but most of them entail getting ourselves physically ready for the day. For some, it's heading to the gym and others it might be taking the dog out before making breakfast. What people rarely do, however, is create a ritual that includes work tasks. Create a to-do list that will help you jumpstart productivity early which will give you great momentum for the rest of the day. Give yourself a deadline, like before noon, so that you don't hold off on getting started.

4) Family first.

No matter how important or busy your work life can be, you family is forever so they should always come first. Missing out on priceless memories for a business deal is something you will not be able to go back and fix whereas your career is an ongoing work in process. Make sure that they know they are your number one client and you should treat them as such. Harmony in all areas of your life will provide for success in each as well. When you can, combine work and family time such as taking the family along on a business trip.

5) Keep the doors of your life open.

Incorporate your career, family, friends, and other parts of your life with one another. Separating these areas can be challenging and create unnecessary stress. Keeping the lines of communication open help allows your responsibilities in life to mesh and form cohesive bonds. It's understandable to shut your phone off during a meeting or while out with your family, just as long as you don't check out completely.

Could Your Career Be Killing You?
Monday, July 30, 2012

Our bodies were not made to withstand some of our daily life's routines. Many common health problems arise after years of an arduous and repetitive lifestyle. Usually, once we develop these bad work habits, the consequences of them will stick to the end of our careers and beyond retirement.

As a good employee you take it all for the team but is it really worth it? Luckily, there's a middle ground between being good to your work and being good to your body. Find out which habits you may be guilty of and how you can start changing them for the better:

1) Commute.

In a weak job market, having an inconvenient job is better than not having one at all. Those who spend their days sitting at a desk already have it bad by being sedentary for the majority of the time. Adding more sitting time during your commute makes it worse. A sedentary lifestyle actually takes a bigger toll on your body even though it may seem less strenuous that being on your feet all day. To be healthy, your body needs a good balance of activity. Try to find ways of incorporating exercise into your day like taking the stairs or a gym class after hours.

2) Footwear.

This is aimed more toward women but it applies to everyone. We all want to dress to impress at work but usually the nicer looking an outfit is, the more uncomfortable it is to wear. Even though you might not be on your feet as much, shoes that weren't meant for comfort will put some strain on your feet. Think of the arches in high heels, your feet aren't going to be happy stuffed into the shape of a shoe that puts all the weight on the toes. In any case, if you're going to wear shoes that aren't comfortable, bring a pair to have in the office that are. Your feet will thank you.

3) Neglecting breakfast.

This has become an increasing issue in today's society. It seems that the morning just doesn't accomodate the time to sit down and have a meal. Or some simply don't have an appetite for it in the morning. This is one of the factors as to why so many people are less healthy than they could be. People who make the time to have breakfast take the initiative to balance out their lifestyle. So why is breakfast so important?

The thing about eating habits is that meals should start early and end early. After a night of sleeping (fasting) your body needs a jumpstart of energy. This doesn't mean eating a big meal, it just means eating something substantial. Stretching your nightly fast until lunch could lead to you binging and doesn't allow your brain to perform at optimal level when you get in to work in the morning.

4) All-nighters.

Staying up all night just sounds as bad of an idea as it is. Sure, they're hard to avoid when the gravity of an assignment calls for it but all-nighters are a last resort and should not become a regular habit. Depriving yourself of sleep on a regular basis is putting you down a slippery slope. The mind needs rest and a good amount of it in order to function properly. You might think that you're being a champ by pushing yourself but there's no victory is giving it anything but 100%.

5) Eating out.

Why more people don't pack their own lunches is a mystery when you think about its benefits. Putting your own lunch together makes you put more thought into what you'll be putting in your belly. Plus, it's much cheaper when you buy food from the store or pack leftovers than spending $10-$15 on eating a or from a restaurant. For someone who works at a desk for the majority of the day, you only have to worry about pacifying your hunger rather than burning off fuel.

6) Posture.

This is one of the harder problems to prevent and correct. It's easy to get used to sitting a certain way, usually the wrong way, and bring on the back problems down the road past the point of no return. The really is no point of no return unless you've thrown in the towel. Work on relaxing your muscles and sitting up straight. You want to put as little strain on your body as possible so the goal is to sit a position that feels natural.

No matter how great your posture is during the day, sitting for long periods of time is not good for your circulation. Make it a habit to get up and stretch or walk around throughout the day get your blood pumping and loosen your muscles.

Why a Lack of Job Opportunities May Not Be the Problem
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Since the beginning of the recession has had people across the nation wondering the same thing: what jobs are left and where can they find them?

For those who have been on the job hunt for a while and still on it, it may seem like all the jobs have disappeared without any sign return.

The problem may not be as simple as that, however. According to a recent survey done by staffing firm ManpowerGroup, 49% of employers in all industries are having trouble finding qualified candidates to fill open positions.

The unemployment rates remains at a little more than 8% with thousands of job seekers still looking for income. More than 1,300 employers in the U.S. were surveyed to see which positions they were having the hardest time filling.

The survey revealed that these positions required essential skills and training to carry them out, skills that are becoming scarce to come by in the job market.

Trades such as electricians and plumbers and other craftsmen-type work are those where individuals develop skills through experience from apprenceticeships and on-the-job training.

Also on this list are jobs in the accounting, nursing and IT fields. Current changes in the job market has shown is that the available talent hasn't adapted to meet employer demands.

During the recession, many employers made cuts in their workforce in areas that other ones had to make up for. Cutting costs meant having to make due with what you could afford to keep on.

So while those who stayed on expanded and developed new skills, the ones who were let go were left with positions that really had disappeared--usually for good.

Trade vocations, on the other hand, have had other factors contributing to why their open positions remain unfilled.

One factor is the older demographic of current skilled job holders who are reaching the end of their careers. As they enter retirement, the wave of newcomers to take their places big isn't enough to keep up.

Popular emphasis for younger generations has been geared toward obtaining a college degree rather than certified training for a skill. This funneling of education has had much to do in creating a void in the trade workforce.

Solving this begins with a shift in how vocational training and careers are viewed. Bringing in new blood to rejuvenate the skilled trade workforce will help portray it in a better light.

Whichever educational route young people choose to follow, it's important to remember that the best chances of finding a job stems from have the skills to match demand.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Communication Style
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Speaking styles can be a tricky thing to master. They are always altered based on each particular person and setting to maintain propriety. It can be especially difficult for people who don't know each other well to bridge communication gaps.

The thing that employers look for in candidates is that they are able to live up to what they claim about themselves on paper. An ideal candidate is one that is well-rounded and quick to adapt.

There are ways to develop a standard speech style that can be used when speaking to anyone that doesn't have to completely alter your personality.

Communication among colleagues and superiors is important to how you represent yourself. Your ability to communicate effectively can make or break your career success.

Here are some ways for you to get the most out of your interactions at work:

1) AAA: Alive, awake, assertive. No one wants to hear anyone talking that sounds like a zombie or doesn't sound like anything. When you want people to actually listen to you, the words coming out of your mouth have to be audible and meaningful. Above all, you have to sound like someone they want to hear and wants to be heard.

2) Eyes on the prize. Eye contact and speech tone go hand in hand in effective communication. It can also indicate to the listener signs of truth. Constantly looking away or down shows that you might be uncomfortable or lack conviction in what you are saying. Keeping eye contact keeps their attention.

3) Avoid fillers. This remains a common speech hinderance as people are so used to filling in the gaps with words such as, "like," "um," and "uh.". This is hard for anyone to listen to so imagine being in the interviewer's shoes having to listen to a prolonged version of filled speech. Instead of using those words to fill the gap, simply allow yourself to pause and follow up with the rest of what you wanted to say.

4) Be responsive. Being actively engaged can be demonstrated in a multitude of ways from asking questions to using body language. Good communication has a lot to do with your ability to be a good listener as well. A conversation goes both ways so each person should have an equal amount of command.

5) Say what you mean. Beating around the bush rather than just coming out directly with your point can be annoying. People don't want to have to figure out what you're saying. Turning conversations into puzzles is frustrating and uneffective. People will think that you don't know how to get your message across or are too afraid to.

6) Follow their cues. This is a little trick that you can use mirroring someone else's body language keeps you both on the same level. For example, if they lean in, you should follow suit. It should not be obvious so make sure to do it without looking like an exacty copy cat. Remember, it's an interview, not a game of "simon says."

7) Take turns talking. This might sound silly, but people are often quick to interrupt and aren't aware that they are cutting someone else off. In an interview, you want to let the interviewer say his or her piece in full and allow them to reciprocate the courtesy. This is polite and effective.

8) Use names. Remember to use names when introduced to someone and at the end of the meeting. It's a good professional move because it shows that you are sincere and have a genuine interest in the people you meet. It also leaves a good impression on the person as they'll feel like you actually cared about remembering his or her name.

One Of the Safest Careers People Fear Most
Wednesday, May 09, 2012

We might all like to hear ourselves talk (even if we won't admit it) but only those with nerves of steel can handle doing it in front of an audience which is why public speakers make big bucks.

Public speaking is actually one of the top ranking fears for people. In some surveys it surpassed the fear of flying and even terrorism.

Speaking to a large group of people, listening only to the sound of your own words with all eyes on you can give a rush comparable to the thrill of, say, skydiving. But many are still not up to taking that leap.

Careers in public speaking range from teaching a class to being broadcasted to thousands of viewers. The following are some of the common career options involving public speaking and what it takes to succeed in industries that many wish to be a part of.

1) Spokesperson
Spokespeoples' jobs are to deal with inquires to the media and give public service announements. Acting as the organization's representative, spokespeople provide the face and the voice on the outside. They make sure the company's image isn't tarnished while accurately informing the public. On average, they make between $31,000-$95,000.

2) Speech Writer
In this job the writer isn the one acutally doing the speaking. However, speech writers have to do their job as if they did. They need to understand the technical aspects of the interacttion between the audience and the speaker. The style and language written in the speech they compose is done with a reason behind it. Working the crowd is hard, and can often be even harder when doing it indirectly. Their average salaries are $31,000-$95,000.

3) Professor
College classes are typically considerably larger than ones in secondary educational institutions. Depending on the class and school, some professors can have over a hundred students just in one period. This can be tough because your lessons need to engage the students which means keeping them awake. Average salaries for professors range from $30,000-$129,000.

4) Religious Leader
Speakers in religious settings are usually expected to give inspiring speeches. These orators often show passion in what they do as it is more than a job to them. Religious leaders have a lot of influence on their audiences and some people even travel great distances to hear them speak. It can be a fulfilling career but as head of a congregation it can also be a huge responsibility. They make on average $24,000-$77,000.

5) Politician
As a public figure, politicans need to not only be comfortable with but work well in the public eye. In order to be in good favor of the people they represent they need to know how to relate to the public in campaigns. Support from constituents gives them votes and keeps them in their position. Average salaries for politicians varies.

6) News Reporter/Anchor
News anchors and reporters talk to a vast audience of viewers that tune in to hear the broadcast. Most local news stations report on similiar events, the difference between which one to trust is in part on the professionalism of the reporters and anchors. Stumbling over words and making frequent corrections will be an anchor's and reporter's downfall. People want to hear the news read clearly and accurately so stations favor putting people on air with impeccable reading and speaking skills. On average, anchors and reporters make $128,000-$146,000.


7) Motivational Speaker
This job is as close to the top-tier of public speaking jobs as you can get. if you've ever watched a motivational speaker, they're essentially given a performance. Their words and voice not only have to move you, but their body language as well. A motivational speech is meant to put you into you action. The speaker has to be able to get inside your head and spark a fire from within. They can make anywhere from $23,000-$86,000.


Health Care Jobs Gaining Strength
Monday, April 23, 2012

The demand for health care jobs has proven to hold up strong in an economy on the mend. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 10 of the 20 fastest growing occupations are in the health care field.


Even with such a high demand some employers are still under the misconceptions such as all jobs requiring extensive work with patients or take place in hospitals.


While some health care jobs do require a having a four-year degree, many other areas of the industry require less than one year of training or an associate's degree.


Places like Goodwill Industries have implemented initiatives to provide their local communities with job training and social services. People participating in these programs can then find opportunities to earn in-demand jobs.


Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Good Prospects initiative allows for customized services to help people within 84 rural, suburban and urban areas get back in the work force and provide for their families.


People looking for jobs can look into more than 80 different job types ranging from nutrition and massage therapists, administrative careers, and work as home health aides.

With job growth in the health care industry staying strong, initiatives like these give people the skills and preparedness they need to fill the expected
4 million new jobs by 2015.



Keep Your Life Without Losing Your Job
Monday, April 09, 2012

When it comes to having a social life, or any kind of life outside of work, people often feel that it's a sacrifice they have to make in order to accomodate their careers.

That doesn't have to be the case. There's no rule that says it has to be one or the other. People who work hard should at least be allowed to have a part of their lives dictated by choice.

This balance can be understandably hard to achieve, however, due to the fact that many businesses are choosing to cut back employment and reallocate the workload to the employees still on board.

There are solutions to maintaining a healthy balance between steady productivity and leisure activities. All it takes is a few simple lifestyle changes and by incorporating them into your daily routine, making time for work and play no longer has to be a struggle.

Set An Internal Schedule
You probably already have your body clock set to your work schedule with every minute accounted for. If that's the case, you need to start shifting things around during your day or the week where you can fit in the things you want to do. You also want to apply this method for work. Set out certain times or hours that you are most revved up and arrange your workload accordingly. The least challenging work can be set aside for other times in the day when energy runs lower.

Takes Breaks Only When Needed
If you're having a hard time focusing and find yourself constantly taking frequent breaks, this is going to slow you down. This may contribute to that overwhelming feeling you have toward work. The effects of too many breaks and not enough work getting done when it should be starts to spill over into other areas of your life thus making it harder to find time for the fun stuff. Instead of giving in to your lack of concentration, fight it at every moment it comes upon you. Make that a habit and the intensified productivity will feel all the more rewarding come 5 o'clock.

Separate But Balanced
A good way to make sure you do make the most of your working hours is to restrict yourself to doing it only when you're there. If you have to take work home with you that cuts into your own time and isn't a good way of managing time efficiently. Leave work where it is both physically and mentally. Even at the dinner table, try to keep the conversation off work-related topics. Remember that the time you get to spend at home are your opportunities for valuable bonding or unwinding.

Work Ends On the Weekends
Unless absolutely pertinent, leave work for the weekdays. If you have work to do on the weekends, set out a specific time to do it when it will not interfere with other activities. If it's a lot, spread it out during the two days to relieve some of the pressure of getting it all done at once. Weekends are only two days while you have five during the workweek. Whatever you can't get to during your time off can always be dealt with when you're at the office. Give yourself a chance to refresh and reboot so that you can tackle the workweek with a clear head. The less stress you feel toward getting work done the easier you make it on yourself to accomplish your tasks.

Vacations Are Given to Be Taken
Taking a few weeks out of the 52 there are in a year is not going to cause your company to have a meltdown. You've earned your vacation and by all means you should take it. It's best to take them in gaps as it makes more sense financially. A good chunk of time away from work may help get you ready and looking forward to your return to work. Vacations don't feel like it when you take time off only to stay at home with your mind still on work matters. Recharge yourself and go back to work with full force.

Personal time is just important as the time you devote to work. Creating an even balance between the two makes you a better employee because you're able to manage your time well. This is hard for many people as it seems like there is never enough hours in the day to do everything that life demands. All it really takes is good prioritization. With your time spent wisely where it should be, you'll get to enjoy the best of all worlds.