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6 tips for lazy workers to get ahead

On a recent flight I sat next to a businessman who told me that, even at that young age, his children were exhibiting very different personalities.

He saw signs of his wife’s overachieving tendencies in their son. In his daughter, he saw himself. In the first grade she was getting lectured for not applying herself enough. She, too, was a slacker.

He was frustrated by her slacking ways, but he also sympathized because she showed traits of his business mindset.

“She does her own little cost-benefit analysis,” he said. “She realizes that she can do just enough to get by and use the rest of that time for playing and having fun.”

I had never thought of slacking off in those terms, but he was right. I’ve known my share of slackers, and most of them are intelligent people who could easily upstage everyone else’s efforts if they applied themselves a bit more. They knew that. Yet, while everyone was in panic mode trying to get ahead, the slackers knew how to fulfill their obligations, get decent marks and enjoy a relatively stress-free existence.

I’m not saying we should all strive to be slackers. The balance between laid back and high strung workers is probably beneficial to everyone. But in this culture where we’re constantly being told to be better than everyone at everything, slacking off can be the right way to go for your health and your career.

Manic workplace
Once upon a time work was a busy place. You showed up, worked hard, stayed late during your busiest periods and then went home.

Today, many people don’t escape work. Before they even arrive at the office, they’ve already sent a dozen e-mails from their phones and held teleconferences with people all over the country. Once you’re actually at work, things are even crazier.

The workplace is different today than it was 10, 20 and 30 years ago, but you should be able to pull back in some areas. You don’t need to overextend yourself to the point that you never relax.

Here are some ways you can be a “slacker” at work and benefit from it:

E-mail can wait. No, really, it can. You don’t have to answer an e-mail the moment it pops up on your screen. Unless you’re waiting for that one message that could make or break your career, you should designate time to check e-mails so that you don’t get distracted while doing other tasks. You can even disable the new message icon and noise alert to help with this.

Saying ‘no’ won’t get you fired. If the boss or someone comes to you with a task that’s part of your core job duties, by all means accept it. If you’re drowning in work, however, telling co-workers that you just can’t get to their request right now won’t necessarily hurt you. If you tactfully explain that you’d like to help them but you’ve got too much on your plate shows you care about the quality and promptness of your work.

Don’t multitask. The ability to simultaneously talk on the phone, send an e-mail and heat up the meatballs for the monthly potluck is an admirable quality but not necessarily the most beneficial. Multitasking has become the de facto approach to daily operations in many workplaces. The problem is that we often end up doing a little of everything and never making much progress on any one task.

Give yourself a break. Literally, just get away from work for five minutes. Take a walk around the floor or step outside for some fresh air. Without Saturday and Sunday off, you’d probably go a little stir-crazy. Think of brief breaks throughout the day as small-scale versions of weekends. You’ll return with a clear head and produce better quality work.

Don’t eat lunch at your desk. Eating at your desk can be an occasional necessity, either because you’re close to a deadline or you’re in a productive zone that you don’t want to interrupt. Having your lunch in front of a computer every day, however, doesn’t give your eyes or your mind time to relax. You might feel like a slacker if you’re the only one taking your sandwich outside for 30 minutes, but your mental health is worth it.

Schedule some “me” time. Go into your calendar and block off a period of time for whatever work you need to do without interruption. Treat that time as if it were an important appointment with your boss and consider it non-negotiable. If someone tries to schedule a meeting with you, tell him or her that you’re busy but can try for another time. If possible, book a conference room so you won’t be interrupted by a chatty co-worker or a phone call.
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By Anthony Balderrama
CareerBuilder writer

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If you are serious about your professional career and want to pass your IT Certification exam in first attempt and don’t want to waste your precious time and money then visit http://www.ComputerTipsnTricks.com/ITcert.htm for Free Practice Exams, Free Study Material / Books etc.

Rate your Office/Work Etiuette – Practicing good manners at work may be important to your job

In theory, etiquette is a way for everyone to express mutual respect for one another. In practice, it’s a confusing set of arbitrary guidelines not everyone follows.

For instance, the next time you’re eating at a restaurant or even at home, notice how many people put their elbows on the table.

For some diners, an all-arms-on-deck approach to eating is an unforgivable transgression. To others, you’d look stuffy if you didn’t lean in to engage in conversation because you were more concerned with your posture.

Once you leave the comfort of your home, whether or not other people will conform to your expectations on various types of etiquette is out of your control. You might think “Sir” and “ma’am” are passé ways to address people, while others might think you’re rude if you don’t. And who knows if anyone still cares about where your elbows are when you eat?

Etiquette and manners still matter at work, but it’s not as cut and dry as not licking your knife while enjoying a steak dinner. The workplace etiquette you need to think about is more about consideration than it is about tradition. Sometimes we don’t notice little things that irk other people.

Here are some times throughout the day when you might want to stop and think about whether or not you’re being a good co-worker:

Waiting for the elevator
Don’t push the Up button when elevator doors are about to close just so you can make everyone wait while you squeeze in.

Do hold the elevator doors open if someone’s only a few seconds behind you.

In the elevator
Don’t stand uncomfortably close to someone, especially if there is plenty of space. Forcing yourself onto a packed elevator, thereby smooshing yourself up against someone, is just as bad.

Do cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. (Not just in elevators, but anywhere, really.) You might think this one is obvious, but no … it’s not.

In the lunch area
Don’t forget about the apple you left in the fridge two months ago. Sure, lunchroom nitpicking is the epitome of workplace banality, but the breakroom is one of the few places everyone shares.

In the mail room
Don’t forget that the mail staff is part of the company, too. If you walk in, get your mail, and leave as if it magically appeared and those people working in the room had nothing to do with it, you’re being rude.

Do say “thank you” to workers throughout your building. From the maintenance staff to the security guards and cafeteria workers, several people are making your daily grind easier. Whether it’s a quick “thanks” or small talk in the elevator, talk to the people outside of your work bubble.

On the phone
Don’t call someone, call back an hour later, call a third time in the afternoon to leave a voicemail, then send an e-mail, then call again to see if they got the e-mail. Not everyone is available when you need them to be, so give them some time to respond to you. Give people a day or a week (depending on the urgency of the issue) before following up.

In the hallway
Don’t ambush someone with a question. If you’ve been waiting for your boss to answer a question you had and you run into her as she’s walking rushing off to a meeting, don’t corner her to get an answer. For one thing, you don’t know if she has a pressing engagement.

Also, her answer might be more complicated than a simple yes or no, and she doesn’t want to give you a Cliff’s Notes version while heading to the elevator.

In a meeting
Do keep the snarky comments to a minimum. Sure, meetings can be boring and some people are way too excited about them, but snickering with your co-workers is rude to whomever’s talking and to the people trying to pay attention. Plus, your negativity won’t go unnoticed by the boss.

In the restroom
Do wash your hands. If you leave the restroom without washing your hands and someone sees, you will be the germy person of the office. Frankly, it grosses people out and makes them not want to ever get near your desk or you.

At your desk
Don’t complain about the weather, your workload, the boss, your pay and everything else that you encounter. Sure, blowing off steam is what people do, but a constant flow of negativity gets bothersome for those around you. Pretty soon everyone around you will be listening to their headphones to avoid listening to you. (Keep this in mind when you’re in the elevator, too. No one wants to ride down 10 floors with a crabby colleague.)
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By Anthony Balderrama
CareerBuilder.com writer

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If you are serious about your professional career and want to pass your IT Certification exam in first attempt and don’t want to waste your precious time and money then visit http://www.ComputerTipsnTricks.com/ITcert.htm for Free Practice Exams, Free Study Material / Books etc.

Hiring Trends for 2010: Where the Jobs Are

According to CareerBuilder and USA Today’s most recent Job Forecast nationwide survey of employers, hiring in the second half of 2010 is likely to mirror hiring trends of the first half of the year with hiring progressing at a moderate but consistent pace. Of the 2,534 hiring managers and HR professionals surveyed, 41 percent plan to hire new employees in the second half of 2010, 42 percent do not plan to hire new employees during this time period, and 16 percent are not sure.
Most in-demand jobs
Among the 41 percent of hiring managers that plan to hire in the second half of 2010, the focus will be in these areas.
  1. Customer service (25 percent)
  2. Sales (22 percent)
  3. IT (18 percent)
  4. Administrative (13 percent)
  5. Business development (10 percent)
  6. Accounting/Finance (10 percent)
Recruitment trends and concerns
The survey reports that three trends for the second half of 2010 are:
1. Increase in emerging jobs.
According to the survey, 24 percent of hiring managers will recruit for jobs in emerging markets including social media, green energy, cyber security, global relations and health-care reform.
2. Increase in company turnover.
Fifty-six percent of HR Managers surveyed are concerned that their top talent will leave for another job as the economy improves.
3. Lack of skilled labor.
Twenty-two percent of hiring managers reported that despite the large labor pool, they can’t find qualified applicants to fill their positions. Forty-eight percent of HR Managers reported a lack of skills in their organizations, particularly in IT, customer service, and communications.
Are more companies hiring than firing?
The survey suggests that hiring is outpacing firing with most companies not anticipating a major change to headcount.
  • 21 percent of employers will add full-time, permanent headcount.
  • 8 percent plan to downsize.
  • 65 percent don’t anticipate a change in headcount.
What parts of the country are experiencing the greatest job growth?
There is no significant difference in hiring full-time permanent staff in different parts of the country.
  • West — 22 percent
  • Northeast — 21 percent
  • Midwest — 21 percent
  • South — 20 percent
Are salaries increasing, decreasing, or staying the same?
  • 42 percent of employers do not plan any change in salary levels.
  • 31 percent expect to see an increase of 1 to 3 percent.
  • 12 percent plan increases between 4 and 10 percent.
  • 1 percent anticipate an increase of 11 percent or more.
  • 3 percent anticipate a decrease in salary.
The employee perspective
In addition, CareerBuilder surveyed over 4,400 workers to gain their perspective on their employers and the current job market. Employees’ perceptions of their employers as a result of their employer’s actions during the economic downturn vary.
  • 20 percent of workers admit to having a worse opinion of their employers.
  • 14 percent have a better opinion.
  • 61 percent have unchanged views.
Reasons employees want to leave
29 percent of workers surveyed reported they plan to change jobs once the economy rebounds and 25 percent plan to leave their organization in the next 12 months for the following reasons.
  • 30 percent feel overworked and resentful about layoffs.
  • 33 percent believe they are underemployed or overqualified for their positions.
  • 23 percent do not find their work engaging.
Salary raises, increased employee recognition, readjusted workloads, and better career pathing and training were cited as factors that could influence the employee’s decision to stay.
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Internet Job-Search Mistakes

The Internet can and should be a powerful component of networking and job-hunting strategies for most job-seekers, assuming you use it correctly. This article takes you through 10 mistakes you do NOT want to make when using the Internet to assist you in finding your next job.

Job-Hunting on Your Work Computer
For myriad reasons, the best thing to do is never use company time or equipment for job-hunting. Most job-seekers know to invest in a personal email account when job-hunting, but if you are checking it while at work, you are not only cheating your current employer of time during which you should be performing your job, but you also risk getting caught doing so as employers continue becoming more savvy at tracking Internet use on workplace computers.

Just as with all other aspects of job-hunting, do not use company time nor company equipment for any element of your job-search. Instead, job-search from home, use your laptop at the local free Wifi hotspot, frequent an Internet café, or use the Internet connection at your local library. (And just to reinforce this point do not ever use your work email account for job-hunting.)

Using Only the Major Job Boards
Yes, Monster’s and CareerBuilder’s advertising might be funny and inviting, and you could certainly choose to use one or both of them as part of your job-search strategy, but never limit your Internet job-searching to just a few of the major job boards. In fact, you’ll probably have much greater success skipping them entirely and focusing on the specific niche job sites that apply to your situation.

You can find job sites for just about every profession and industry. Thus, if you’re an HVAC professional, a site like MEPatWork.com should produce better results for you than a general job board. The same holds for location. If you are searching for a job in a specific city or region such as Colorado then using a site like ColoradoJobs.com should prove more effective than using a general job board.

Ignoring Company Career Centers
Over the last several years, organizations of all sizes have developed recruiting sites in which job-seekers can search current openings and submit a resume. Some of these sites are full of amazingly useful information, from company mission and values to benefits and perks. Some sites even provide job-seekers with a set of strategies for how to obtain a job within the organization. Others even have videos and podcasts in which you can learn more about the employer.

If you are unsure of any specific companies, you can use sites like Indeed.com and JobSniper.com, which do a very fine job of gathering and compiling job opportunities from thousands of job and career Websites. Once you identify a number of interesting job leads, instead of applying directly to the position, go to the employer’s Website and review the information in the careers/employment section. If you don’t, you will miss out on valuable information that could be critical to getting your application reviewed.

Not Actively Networking Online
Granted, the rapid increase in professional and social networking sites can leave a job-seeker with many user names and passwords and not nearly enough time to stay current. And yes, some job-seekers still have serious misunderstandings with the concept of networking in general. But these issues are not enough of an excuse to not use at least one or two networking sites to assist you in uncovering job leads.

Sites like LinkedIn, Orkut, and Facebook can be wonderful tools for making connections with people in your field some of whom may even work for a company in which you are seeking employment. Don’t spend all your time updating your profile and making new friends, but do take advantage of a couple of the sites that make the most sense to you and your job-search.

Applying for Too Many Jobs
A job-search should be a narrowly defined and well-crafted process in which you identify a number of job leads and apply to them. Even though you’re applying to only a small number of jobs, you’ll have much great success than applying to a large number of jobs, many of which may not be a good fit.

It’s not so much that it will hurt your chances of obtaining that great next job offer, but applying to a large number of jobs takes too much time and effort if you are doing it correctly and takes your focus away from the jobs that truly fit you. Instead, identify the jobs that fit you best and spend your energies submitting amazing job-search materials, and finding ways to follow up and actively seek interviews.

Sending Out Job-Search Emails on Weekends
While it makes sense that you might conduct a fair amount of your job-search on weekends if you are currently working, it’s a mistake to send out job-search emails over the weekend since that’s also the time when a lot of spam is sent and your email could easily become lost in a sea of emails in a hiring manager’s overflowing in-box.

You can still use your weekends to track down job leads and compose compelling resumes and cover letters but instead of emailing them over the weekend, wait until Monday or Tuesday afternoon to send your emails.

Not Following Employer Instructions
One of the worst things you can do as a job-seeker is to invest all your time and energy in tracking down job leads only to badly damage your chances of being considered because you failed to follow the specific instructions of each employer.

While it would be nice if there were one standard way to apply to online job postings, there is not. Thus, to make certain you are not immediately eliminated from consideration for failing to submit your materials in the proper format, reread the instructions. Once you’ve submitted your materials, it’s important to find ways to properly follow up such as asking a network contact who works at the organization to assist you.

Using a Generic Resume
One of the most fundamental developments in job-hunting is that the days of creating just one or two versions of your resume are long over. To succeed in today’s job market, job-seekers must develop tailored resumes for every job lead. Obviously, resumes you post as part of your profile on job boards cannot be as tailored as the ones you submit to prospective employers, but they can still be sharply written, focusing on relevant keywords, accomplishments, skills, and abilities.

When you do apply to specific job postings, you’ll greatly improve your chances by customizing your resume to both the requirements of the ad and to the culture of the organization. Whether your resume is scanned by a machine or viewed by a person, you want to give it the best shot at being plucked from the masses and placed in the short pile of potential candidates and customizing it is the way to do so.

Ignoring Basic Email Etiquette
Every time that it seems we are past having to discuss basic email practices and etiquette, I receive some crazy email in my in-box from a job-seeker that makes me realize that there are many people for which email is a new thing. Always use an appropriate email account (your name, and not “prettyprincess” or “studmuffin”), include a subject line (ideally one that grabs attention, although some employers simply want the job listing), avoid writing in all caps (which is seen as screaming), and write a clear, concise, and convincing cover letter (taking no more than three short paragraphs to deliver your message).

However, knowing the rules of etiquette is not enough you also need to know how avoid spam filters. The two main culprits for having your email identified as spam (and never seen again) are including any sort of attachment (unless specifically asked for) and using certain words that have been identified as spamming words (such as free, promotion, marketing, collect, amazing, loans, cash, affordable, insurance, unbelievable, etc.)

Relying Solely on Online Job-Hunting
As we mention in several articles on Quintessential Careers, the Internet is not the magic tool that suddenly gets you the job of your dreams. Finding that ideal job will take a lot of work on your part networking with your contacts, tracking down job leads, researching companies, composing resumes and cover letters, and preparing for job interviews. Parts of your job-searching can be accomplished online, but you still need to include traditional methods of job-hunting and personal contact with your network.

Successful job-searching is all about having the right balance of tools and techniques. Attend networking events and professional meetings, conduct informational interviews, and consider other methods for tracking down job leads so that you achieve maximum job-searching capacity. I’m still a firm believer in also conducting a cold-contact direct mail campaign often running parallel to an online campaign. Thus, send your text resume to the employer online, but also send your nicely formatted print resume to the hiring manager by postal mail.

Final Thoughts
Besides avoiding as many of these online job-search mistakes as possible, the one other thing you can do to strengthen your online job-search success as well as to assist you in building an online brand is to buy a domain name (YourName.com) and publish your resume on it. A simple and small Website is fairly inexpensive and does not take much Web authoring skills. Of course, if you realty want to build your online brand, you can buy a domain name and develop a Web-based career portfolio but this strategy also takes more money and more expertise than you may be willing to invest at this time.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

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You should be well equipped with these most in-demand I.T Certifications/Exams, Before searching any job, Visit http://www.ComputerTipsnTricks.com/ITcert.htm for Free Practice Exams, Free Study Material / Books etc.

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