Archive for April, 2010

Thank you for not smoking during your interview

No matter what shape the economy’s in there never seems to be a shortage of advice that targets job seekers.

Having second thoughts about the wording in your resume? Here’s one that may help. Not sure how to find work “in today’s horrible economy?” Try one of the 49 strategies listed here.

Still think slamming your old boss is a good way to score points with a prospective employer? If so, you’d better take a long look at these job interview blunders. Also be aware that arriving late, wearing sunglasses and texting are still considered inappropriate by those stodgy establishment types.

Most of us couldn’t imagine chewing gum or losing our tempers during an interview. On the other hand, the majority of us can likely relate to the person who rambled on for too long or appeared anxious during an interview.

At worst, poor interviews create teachable moments, particularly for those who recognize their mistakes and make a conscious attempt to correct them.

What is the worst mistake …

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Summer job seekers should apply early

The past couple of years have been rough on those looking for summer work, particularly teenagers. The once-reliably hot market for both employers and applicants has been near frigid since 2008.

Unfortunately, it appears that young workers will again face an ultra competitive market this summer. Many will find themselves squeezed out of the work force entirely over the coming months. As in 2008 and 2009, they’ll be competing with older, more-experienced workers — not to mention other applicants their own age — for fewer openings.

An article recently published by U.S. News & World Report outlines several tips to landing a paycheck while school’s out.

With the teen unemployment rate reaching a record 26 percent, high schoolers searching for summer jobs face daunting tasks. Compared to the prerecession unemployment average of 15 percent for 16-to-19-year-olds in 2007, these recent numbers are the highest for this age group since 1948, according to the Bureau of Labor …

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Blog Break: Finding treasure among change

Heard about the guy who just sold his old Atari video game for $31,600? How about the man who paid $2.48 for an official copy of the Declaration of Independence a few years ago and flipped it for a $477,647.52 profit?

Does the name J. Decker ring any bells? Not to worry. It didn’t to a Los Angeles bargain-hunter either until he did some searching and discovered the signature at the bottom of his $5 garage-sale painting belonged to famed still-life painter Joseph Decker. The National Gallery eventually purchased the art for more than $1 million.

What does all this have to do with the subject of jobs? On the surface, you might say very little – especially since they’re fun stories. (How many times have “fun” and “jobs” shared the same sentence recently?) None of those lucky folks actually set out to uncover valuable treasures. Their discoveries were inadvertent. Exciting and profitable, yet unplanned.

In the job world, unexpected but fortuitous discoveries happen all the time. …

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Workplace survivors: How have you coped?

In a job market plagued by layoffs, buyouts and downsizing, plenty of warranted attention is paid to workers who leave their old jobs. But what about those who are left behind?

Some workers feel guilty. Others miss their longtime co-workers. Many are left with increased workloads and growing lists of unfamiliar job duties.

Have you survived layoffs? How have you dealt with being left to hold down the fort in the aftermath of downsizing? Has your job changed as a result? Do you feel survivor’s guilt or are you relieved?

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Most dangerous jobs: Do you have one?

What do logging, fishing, roofing and farming have in common? They’re all among the country’s most dangerous jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics*. Iron and steel workers, professional drivers, aircraft pilots and flight engineers, sanitation workers, and electrical power line workers round out the top 10.

Not a surprising list when you really consider the hazards associated with each job – or if you’ve ever watched an episode of “Ax Men” or “The Deadliest Catch.”

For most of us, fortunately, “potentially life-threatening” rarely describes our day at the office. (Unless you’re counting the drive to and from work. Or the break room-grade coffee you force down each morning.)

What’s the most hazardous job you have ever held? If it’s among the aforementioned most dangerous, how often did you feel unsafe while at work?

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*2008 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries

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Stagnant salaries: Are you working for less money or does it just seem that way?

The news on the job market has been bleak for the last few years. Layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs have been a reality for many American workers. Some people who lost jobs and managed to find new ones are working for less money. Many employers have frozen salaries for the last couple of years.

According to the Mercer 2009/2010 U.S. Compensation Planning Survey Update, the average pay raise was 3.2 percent in 2009 and is projected to be only 2.7 percent in 2010. And those figures are only for workers who actually got or will get raises.

Have you gone several years without a pay raise? Or even worse, has your pay been cut? What has it done for morale at your workplace? Does it make you less motivated, or are you just happy to have a job? Has seeing the rapid increase of certain executive salaries in this economy made you angry? Tell us about it.

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Best/worst career advice you’ve ever received

Chances are you’ve received plenty of career tips over the years, whether solicited or not. Like any “helpful” suggestions, job-oriented advice can range from the eminently sage (“Do what you love”) to the highly questionable (“Do what pays the most”).

Embracing the good advice can lead to a brighter, wealthier future. On the other hand, implementing those bad tips into your professional plan may lead you into a hard-to-reverse downward spiral.

What’s the best career advice anyone has shared with you? What’s the worst advice you’ve received?

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