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Lessons from the Expert

l.jpg We usually look to career coaches to teach us solutions and tips on how to search for top jobs. This can range from lessons on tweaking a resume to learning proper etiquette techniques during an interview. Since career experts can provide insight from the employer’s perspective, their opinions about trends in job-hunting can be viewed as valid and credible. Take Jeanne Knight’s take on the recruitment process. She acknowledges the frustration and arduous procedure of researching and applying for multiple jobs. Many times job seekers are left in the dark after an interview and are therefore unsure as to where they stand with the recruiter. Hiring managers should make the effort to contact the candidate if he or she will be considered for a second interview, or even if it may be a phone call letting the job seeker know that they do not fit the qualifications of the position. This doesn’t mean you are to sit and wait around for a response. Job seekers should take advantage of every opportunity, whether it be networking at events or sending a simple “Thank you” email after the interview. Most importantly, be prepared when meeting the employer face to face. Articulate your skills and contributions and make sure you do your homework about the company!
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Thinking of Quitting Your First Job Already?

4881470.thb.jpg When you are looking for new candidates fresh out of college, be sure to set exact expectations and goals to the job seeker. That new hire may not even last more than three months. An entry level position can require a bit more mundane administrative tasks and it may discourage an individual from feeling accomplished. Nicholas Aretakis, author of “No More Ramen”, provides career coaching for 20 somethings who might need some guidance after graduation. “Big companies used to offer formal management training programs and, while some still do, there are fewer of those now,” says Nicholas Aretakis. So even if the workload bores you to death, Aretakis says it’s about bringing inspiration and excellence to your work. This can allow room for internal growth, instead of hopping to the next available job outside of the company. So what if others who are soon to enter the workplace aren’t fortunate enough to receive Aretakis’ tips? Chances are the individual may not feel it necessary to stay in the current position and move elsewhere in short notice. Not only can this reflect poorly on his resume, but it may show lack of dedication and work ethic to the next employer. It’s good for hiring managers to set the standards from the beginning, emphasizing work related duties and explain how it will reflect the long term growth of the individual. Job seekers should also envision the overall career goal even if it may not bring immediate satisfaction. Take it from me, I’ve definitely made some of these mistakes when searching for jobs. Naive and inexperienced in the workforce, I think the book would have have taught me a thing or two.
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Nap Time is Not Just for Kiddies

So that fatigue you experience after lunch is not necessarily associated with laziness, according to an article from NYTimes. The “post-lunch dip” is a result of a combination of nature’s call for rest and the demands of modern workplace. CNN’s poll shows that out of 7907 votes, 47% have fallen asleep at work. For many, a short nap may not be feasible in the office, many employees use caffeine as an alternative (a method I admit to abusing). Others walk around or chit chat with someone in order to alert their body to snap out of it. Some American companies are acknowledging the need for rest, a survey from the National Sleep Foundation in Washington says that 16% of respondents said their employers allow them to take a nap at work. And according to Mark Rosekind, a research psychologist and principal investigator for the NASA, after a nap of up to 45 minutes, workers usually feel more alert and productive. As absurd as it seems to allow a nap time policy in the workplace, wouldn’t an employer want productivity to be at its highest?
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Applicant Gatekeeping

Are you a hiring manager inundated with resumes from hundreds of job seekers applying for the same position? Here’s a tip from Liz Ryan: Be an applicant gatekeeper. Take it for its literal meaning, managing flow and traffic of applicants that will actually be considered and entered on the list of people to interview. Aside from the usual cover letter and resume, a gate would be another request that asks a candidate to do something out of his/her accustomed habits. For example, you can ask the candidate to send a paragraph about the Company’s latest product. Surprisingly, the majority of people will not follow these instructions and so you are able to weed out unqualified individuals who are lazy or simply cannot follow instructions. This is the opportunity to screen basic writing/grammar skills before deciding to call the applicant as well. You can save time and guard the overflow of resumes that will not likely be what you are looking for.
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Benefit Programs and How to Make It Work

Providing a great benefits package is one of the key components in recruiting and retaining employees. It’s almost standard to expect a basic medical/401K plan when interviewing for a position, so it’s no wonder HR departments are continually researching ways to strategize and develop excellent benefits programs. It’s always good to plan ahead as well as being concerned about immediate needs. Creating a savings for retirement or emergency situations can provide a safety net for employees. Job seekers want to know that the company values their work and will therefore recognize the overall well being of its employees. That’s why there are added incentives in certain job listings, providing fitness discounts or recognition programs. Employers also agree on the effectiveness of these plans, 46% acknowledging the direct influence it has on retention, 36% agreeing that it is very effective towards risk management objectives, and 72% find it extremely important in building organizational culture. All these studies and more can be found on a Towers Perrin report which breaks down the tools that are needed to make benefit changes work.
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Corporate or Start-Up, Which Do You Prefer?

Whether you’re looking for a job in a finance, health care, or media company, all industries have positions that are offered under large corporations, mid-sized firms, or small start-ups. There’s debate over what type of benefits a large or small company can offer an employee. After all, you are devoting the majority of your time to this business and so it would be best to weigh your options carefully. What are some perks that a small company can offer? What are some benefits a large company can provide? Some may argue that a start-up gives someone the opportunity to wear different hats, providing challenging tasks that can vary or change frequently. On the other hand, some may refute by saying larger corporations can offer stability and a greater support system from the plethora of experienced senior level professionals who can give extensive feedback and training to a new employee. The Wall Street Journal created a forum to discuss the topic with CEOs of small companies explaining the reasoning behind their career choices. It’s really a matter of preference, but take a look at the forum if you would like to exchange opinions or read about what others have to say on this subject. It can be a life altering decision that can open doors to new opportunities in the future.
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Freelance Writers! Make Some Extra Dough With A Second Job

money.jpgWe’ve all heard rumors about big name actresses who, early in their career, posed for a batch of photos dressed in little more than a string bikini, if that. And while it’s less likely that you’ll find scandalous photos of a local freelance journalist plastered all over the Internet, it’s also unlikely that freelance writing is going to pay the rent, at least at the beginning. To start, there’s the catch-22 all new freelancers face, namely, that you need clips to get clips. To overcome that challenge, freelancers often pitch lesser-known pubs like community newspapers, or they might consider starting a blog. Both are great ways to showcase writing style and amass much-needed clips, but neither will pay the bills, at least not yet. In order to avoid finance-induced depression or worse, near constant laments that you didn’t major in finance or accounting, it’s a great idea to get a job that will supplement your writing income, while still leaving you time to write.
Since starvation and eviction are things I aim to avoid, I became a freelance mortgage closer. In essence, when someone takes out a mortgage on their home, I attend the closing to notarize documents and clear up title issues. I won’t pretend that closings are thrilling, but I console myself by thinking of accomplished writers, like Charles Bukowski, who started out doing less than gripping work. At times I consider going to work as an editorial assistant at a big-name publication, but also realize that it would leave little time for the exhaustive work of pitching. Beyond basic people skills, doing closings has very little to do with writing, but it does help pay my rent and buy groceries. Plus, I picked up a different skill set that has seen me through the early stages of freelancing and even a stint in graduate school. With a consistently paying position, I can afford to pitch lengthy features to smaller venues. That way, I get the beefy clip, and I can still afford to go out on weekends.
— Jaime Jordan
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Looking for a Job? Becareful what you post!

If you’re a recent grad, you should think twice about creating a Facebook or MySpace account. An article from MSNBC says that new college graduates are most likely to be the target of Web research from corporations who use this method of background checking for new employees. The booming popularity of online social networking has provided a convenient tool for employers to research candidates and scope out their personal networks and connections. One Human Resource company researched that 66% of Generation Y respondents weren’t aware that their online networking can play a role in the hiring process.

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A Different Technique to Pick Your Candidates

Imagine receiving a personalized gift directly from the CEO of a growing company, inviting you to join its team of skilled professionals? That’s exactly what happened to Scott Youngblood, an employee at Sony Corp.’s Sony Computer Entertainment America, who accepted a position at Red 5 shortly after receiving a package containing an i-pod shuffle. A personalized message was contained in the gadget, talking about the Company and about Youngblood’s own work. This recruiting technique benefited this start-up company, creating a stir in the industry about its hiring procedures. President and Chief Executive, Mark Kern, states that one reason for this method is due to his company struggling in the past to nail top talent. Larger, well-known companies have the budget and reputation to grab the top performers and that prompted Red 5 to let their creative juices flow. Don’t worry if your budget doesn’t allow such lavish gifts for each prospective employee, the article also mentions other ideas that’s easier on the wallet.

Professional Help Wanted

As the recruiting process has shifted to online, posting a few succinct sentences describing the position just does not cut it anymore. This is not an advertisement for a used car or part-time waitressing gig, and even those types of postings have come a long way. It’s important to create an appealing ad, attracting the most qualified individuals to feel compelled to apply for the position. Here’s a list of effective methods recruiters can look into when creating an online job ad. Although some points may seem pretty straightforward, you would be surprised at how a slight change to a job title can alter the amount of resumes that are received.

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