Monthly Archives: December 2007

New Year, New Job: 4 Tips to Keep Your Resolution

It’s that time of year when everyone begins to think about their New Year’s resolutions. Some may stick to their resolutions, but others may give up after a week. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to find a new job, here are a few steps to help you.

Write it down. You’ve already made the decision to look for a new job, so now you need to commit to it. Write this commitment down on paper and put it some place where you can see it daily. This will keep your goal at the top of your mind. Next, share your goal with someone else. This person can hold you accountable for accomplishing your goal and support you along the way. You are more likely to succeed with a written goal and a supportive person than you are without either.

Set a time frame. Set an estimated time frame for when you would like to have a new job. The key is to be realistic. For example, if you set a goal to find a new job in one week, you might not hit that goal, or you might end up in a job you don’t enjoy. To avoid wishing you had never changed jobs, give yourself time to ensure a good fit.

If you are looking to progress into a different or higher position, you might need to further your education. Completing an educational course will take time, so set your goal for farther down the road so you have plenty of time to successfully complete the courses before you start job searching. Examine your situation to determine when the best time would be to take on a new position.

Update your résumé. You probably haven’t looked at your résumé since you started your last job, so make sure to update it before applying for a new job.  Include any skills, activities and education you obtained while at your current job. Also, proof your résumé for spelling and grammar. If your outdated résumé doesn’t list your qualifications for the job, your résumé will probably be tossed aside.

Start the search. After you are committed to finding a new job and have updated your résumé, it’s time to start the job search. Make sure to follow your timeline. If you plan to be in a new job by the end of the summer, don’t wait until August to start applying for jobs. Because the application, interview and hiring process may take several weeks or more to complete, start applying for jobs two to three months before your time frame of landing a new job.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to keeping your resolution of finding a new job in the New Year.

Why are you looking for a new job this year? What steps are you taking to reach this goal?

3 Easy Ways to Widen Your Job Search

Getting a new job is a difficult task. Just finding the right job to apply for can often be the biggest challenge. It’s discouraging to not be able to find the perfect job you want, especially when you think you know what type of job you are qualified for and want. But, you may be limiting yourself by only considering job titles. Are you only applying for jobs in specific categories, fields or titles? If so, you could be eliminating a dream job without even knowing it. Try these tips today to expand your job search.

Look at different job titles. Job titles may not be the best indicator of what the job responsibilities include. The title may only describe one aspect of the job or it may not accurately portray the job at all. A job titled “special events coordinator” may concentrate on sales with little focus on actual event planning. If you want to coordinate events, the job may not be listed as party planner, but may be listed as meeting coordinator, event manager or facility director.

Read the full job description. Rather than reading the title alone, reading the full job description will give you a much better idea about the job. This description will often list skills needed, activities involved and experience required to complete the job. For example, if you are skilled at data entry and enjoy that type of work, look at many job descriptions, because many jobs consist of a lot of data entry, but have titles that do not even hint at that activity. First, know what skills you have and what type of work you enjoy doing. Then, concentrate on finding those items listed in the job descriptions.

Search other job classifications. Don’t limit yourself to one job category, industry, or field because it describes previous jobs you’ve had. Your ideal job may be listed in another field altogether. Your skills and education can be applied to different jobs, so don’t be afraid to explore new options. If you are looking for an administrative job, search under administration support, but also look in other areas because many departments have support staff, too. A potential employer may categorize a job one way and you may label it another. Searching other job categories and listings can take extra time, but it’s worth the effort when you’re looking for a job you want.

You can find the right job to apply for if you broaden your perspective on where and how to look for jobs.  Focus beyond titles, examine job descriptions carefully and look in different job categories that might be used to list the job you want. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Use these tips when you start looking for a new job, and you just may find exactly what you were looking for.

Do you focus your search on job titles? Have you found a job in a category that you wouldn’t normally look at?

“I’ve Got It Covered” – 5 Tips for Writing a Killer Cover Letter

If you’re in the market for a new job, you not only need a great résumé, but an eye-catching cover letter as well. A cover letter is your chance to explain the dates and facts on your résumé in a more personalized way. Failure to send a cover letter comes off as lazy or disinterested, so don’t skip this important step.

The following five techniques can help you create a letter that grabs employers’ attention and increases your chances of landing the job.

1. Know who you’re talking to. When drafting your cover letter, do a little research, and find out who the appropriate contact person is instead of just writing, “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom it May Concern.”

2. Introduce yourself. The first paragraph of your cover letter should concisely state what position you’re applying for and why you think you qualify. You should also include how you heard about the job.

3. Show interest and enthusiasm. When they’re sorting through piles of résumés one thing that attracts employers’ attention is an applicant’s excitement about the job opening. If you want to stand out from the rest, make sure your enthusiasm comes through in your cover letter. However, be careful to let your words show your excitement. Using smiley faces, excessive exclamation points, bolding or italics can come off as unprofessional.

4. Highlight important areas of your résumé. Your cover letter is your opportunity to expand on the facts in your résumé, not repeat them. To target your cover letter to the needs of each employer, compare the job posting against your résumé. You can then provide further detail on your experiences and skills that are most relevant to the employer’s job opening.

5. End on a high note. To wrap up your cover letter, reiterate your enthusiasm for the position and why you believe you are an excellent choice. State that you will be following up within a designated time period to ensure they received your materials and to discuss the possibility of an interview. Then be sure you actually follow up within the time period you listed.

A great cover letter gives you another opportunity to impress employers and grab their attention, so make sure you take the time to write a winning letter.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Accepting a Promotion

Promotion QuestionsReceiving a job promotion is a dream of many workers. But, professional advancement isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. If a promotion is on the horizon for you, you’ll want to carefully weigh the pros and cons of the offer before accepting it. Asking yourself the following questions can help you make a more enlightened decision.

Will you enjoy your new position? Just because a promotion offers a boost in title, more money or a few perks doesn’t mean it will increase your job satisfaction. To do that, the position must match your unique interests and strengths.

Before jumping into a new role, closely review your potential job description. Ask your supervisor plenty of questions about what your new job would look like. Will you still be able to work on your favorite assignments? What new tasks will be added? What type of training will be provided? The answers to these questions will give you a better idea of how much you’ll enjoy the work that comes with your elevated position.

Will you be good at the job? Once you have a clear understanding of what the role consists of, you’ll be able to decide if you’ll excel at the new tasks. There’s nothing worse than working in a job that makes you feel like a failure. That’s why you want to make sure your new role is one you’ll thrive in.

Think about tasks you’ve received positive feedback on in the past. Also, consider assignments that have been more difficult for you. After you have a good idea of the type of projects you’re likely to do well with, review the job description again. For your promotion to be a good fit, the job should rely heavily on skills you possess in abundance.

Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Most things in life worth having come with some degree of risk. The same is true for a promotion. But just because there’s an element of uncertainty doesn’t mean you should turn down the offer – it just means you should carefully evaluate the risks before rushing in. Consider the pros and cons of changing your current tasks, level of responsibility and role on the team.

If you’re only interested in the promotion because it means more money, be careful. You may find that the additional salary wasn’t worth it. However, if you’ve reviewed the offer and it seems like a role that would increase your professional satisfaction and personal contentment, then by all means accept it!

What factors would you consider when evaluating a promotion? Would you turn down a promotion if you didn’t think it was a good fit for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

3 Interview Mistakes to Avoid

You have been searching for a new job, so you’ve worked on your résumé, applied to a few places and have been offered an interview. Now it’s time to practice your interview skills. To be successful in the interview process and move you from the runner-up to the person who is offered the job, here are some key mistakes to avoid.

Being unprepared. Not being prepared gives the impression that you are not interested in the position or the company. Research the company and be ready to answer basic questions such as: “What do you know about my company?” or “What interests you about this position?” Write down a few questions for the interviewer, and then ask them at the appropriate time. Practice ahead of time how you will answer questions, such as those about your strengths and weaknesses. Role playing with a friend or family member can provide you with the practice you need for a smooth, and slightly less nerve-wrecking interview.

Inappropriate attire. Dressing appropriately is essential for a positive first impression. If you are not sure what to wear, check with the company to determine their dress code.  Then, dress one level above that. For example, if a company’s dress code is casual, wear business casual attire. If you are unable to determine the dress code or are in doubt, wear a suit, because it is always better to overdress than to underdress.

Poor timing. Don’t show up late for an interview; it’s inappropriate and gives the impression that you don’t take the interview seriously or value the company’s time.  Plan ahead, know the route to the location and leave early. If you are unfamiliar with the area, make sure you drive by the day before your interview to ensure you don’t get lost on your way. But, don’t arrive too early. Arriving more than 10-15 minutes early may make it appear that you have too much extra time, making you look desperate. Aim to arrive about 10-15 minutes before the interview, and use the extra time to stop by the restroom to straighten your hair and clothing. If you are going to be late, be courteous to the interviewer, and call them immediately to reschedule.

Preparing and practicing for your interview can help you avoid these common mistakes and can mean the difference between an awful interview and a successful one. You’ll be ready for any interview that comes your way by remembering to plan ahead, dress appropriately and be on time.

Have you made any of these mistakes in an interview? How do you think it effected the outcome of a job offer? What mistakes would you suggest others avoid during an interview?

Showing Respect at Work – Not So Common Courtesy

Common courtesy is becoming more of a pleasant surprise in the workplace than a common occurrence. With meetings, never-ending e-mails and deadlines to contend with, it’s no wonder that individuals are finding it more and more difficult to think of anyone besides themselves at work. And, some co-workers are so busy with there own objectives they don’t even seem to notice the lack of so-called “common courtesy.”

“I need this.” “Make sure you send that on time.” “Did you get my e-mail?” With so little time, courtesy in the workplace has taken a back burner to productivity. However, what most employers and employees don’t realize is that courtesy, or a lack there of, directly impacts productivity, satisfaction and retention. According to a recent article, Stop Workplace Incivility, studies show that 53% of employees’ surveyed who have encountered rudeness in the office lost time at work worrying about the problem, 46% thought about leaving the company to avoid the rude co-worker, and 94% described the incident to someone else or engaged in workplace gossip about the issue.

It’s up to each employee to take the necessary steps to stop the reign of rudeness. Here’s what you can do to help.

  1. Say “please” and “thank you.” It’s as easy as that! By simply saying “please” and “thank you” to people, you’re not only showing respect for that individual but you’re also showing that you value their time and input and who they are as a person. Try adding these two phrases to your conversations, and see the reactions you receive.
  2. Treat others how you want to be treated. If you like to be talked to with respect, chances are, so do the people around you. It can be hard to remember to always treat others respectfully, especially when you are in a hurry, but by approaching any situation in a calm, understanding state of mind, you will not only get more things accomplished but you will establish good rapport with your co-workers.
  3. Take a look at yourself. Many times people think they are acting in a courteous manner, but it isn’t so much how you view your actions that matters, but rather how your actions are perceived by others. That’s why it’s important to consider how your actions and comments might be interpreted by those around you. It takes just a few extra moments to show the courtesy that let’s others know you respect them and value their feelings.

By following these few tips, you can help change the dynamics of your workplace. A little common courtesy can help increase your productivity and job satisfaction, and it might just make you want to stick around for a little while. Try implementing these actions into your everyday work habits and see how your efforts make a positive difference in those around you.