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4.04.16
How to Make the Most Out of a Boring Job
Even the most exciting jobs in the world have their boring aspects. (Athletes have to run drills. Brain surgeons have to do paperwork. Etc.) But what if your job is totally boring every minute of every day?    The easy answer would be to quit and look for a more interesting job. But if that's not an option right now, here are some things you can do to make that job at least somewhat more bearable.    1. Imagine how this job will look on your resume.  At some point you will add this position to your resume. What skills or experience will you highlight that could help you take the next step toward your career goal? Whatever they are, whether it's customer service, productivity rate or team support, find ways to achieve recognition in those areas from your current employer.     Why does it work? Keeping your eye on the prize and setting goals for those resume-oriented achievements gives your workday a new interest and purpose. (And it never hurts to keep your resume up to...
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3.28.16
3 Things I Wish I Knew Before My Interview
You thought you were well prepared. But once you got in there, you (and the interviewer too, no doubt) realized that some of your comments — or silences — showed a few bases you failed to cover.   1. I wish I knew more about the company. These days, you're expected to do some research on what the business does, who its customers and competitors are, and what sort of economic climate it's operating in at the moment. This will enable you to answer questions like, "How do you see yourself contributing to our company's success?" in a more relatable, solutions-oriented way. For example, you might highlight your experience with a technology you know the company has just implemented.   2. I wish I knew it was OK to ask questions. Don't just prepare answers. The interview is a two-way street and you need to learn whether you want to work there as much as they need to learn whether they want you. You both will be better assured of a good fit if you get a realistic picture of...
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3.21.16
Is Your Job Candidate Bluffing? 3 Ways to Find Out
Some people will fill their resumes and interview responses with whatever they think you want to hear, regardless of whether it's 100% true. They think you won't know the difference, but here's how to prove them wrong.   1. Background checks. We don't just mean criminal records. Also verify educational credentials and employment history; these are the two most common areas for "exaggerating," and even some of the nation's top executives have been guilty of it.   You can hire a service to do the checking for you. You can also do a little investigating on your own. See if a candidate's social media pages contain discrepancies: different schools, degrees or employment dates on different sites. Contact previous supervisors, not just the employer's HR department, for more honest reports of the individual's capabilities.   2. Real-world skills tests. It's easy for candidates to tick boxes on a list of job requirements. It's not so easy to demonstrate that they can actually...
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3.14.16
There Is an Easier Way to Get to Know Your Co-workers
Hanging out with them at the nearest bar after work is one way. But it's hardly the most professional. Here are 3 things you can do to build relationships with colleagues that will maintain your on-the-job image and promote your career growth.   1. Offer your help. Working together on a project will offer numerous opportunities to learn about each other's personality and work style. This understanding will naturally lead to a higher functioning team.   2. Strike up a conversation in the break room. People who dislike casual chat while they're working will be more receptive when they're off the clock. Just don't share too much: details about your love life, religious views, etc., are not appropriate for work relationships.   3. Invite them to an extracurricular activity. Again, take your corporate culture into consideration: in some workplaces, outside socializing is the norm but in others it's not. And make sure the occasion is "safe for work": a birthday lunch for a...
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3.07.16
Finally, a Few Great Questions to Ask Your Future Employer in Your Next Interview
You've already heard the most common recommendations: questions that are really designed to show the hiring manager what a great candidate you are. And you should definitely include them. But there's another great way to build rapport with your interviewer: change the focus from your skills and goals to the company's needs and wants.   These 4 questions not only open up discussions of how hiring you can help solve the employer's problems, they also give you a much clearer picture of what it's really like to work there.   1. What are the company's biggest worries for the present and future? You have (ideally) already researched their industry, competitors, etc. Now ask for their view from the inside, something you can never get from Google. You'll also learn what your prospects are for career growth.   2. What is the most challenging aspect of working here? If you're lucky, you might get an honest opinion about budget constraints, management weaknesses or customer...
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2.29.16
If It's Too Good to Be True, Your Job Offer Is a Scam!
The growth of the online job market has made it easier than ever to find your dream job. Unfortunately, it has also made it easier for scammers to find you. Here are 3 red flags that what sounds like a great buy-in is really a big rip-off.   1. You need to pay money for something. The "employers" might say they need an advance for work permits, travel expenses or training. Even sneakier, they might send you a cashier's check for a huge amount, tell you to deduct the expenses and send back the rest. Trouble is, the check is forged and when it bounces your bank will take that money out of YOUR account. A cashier's check is no guarantee of safety. And run from anyone who wants you to deal in untraceable moneygrams.   Real employers will never ask for money up front, or try to obtain your confidential financial or personal information.   2. The compensation is unrealistically high. $500 to work one hour as a secret shopper? Yeah, right. Scammers will try to lure you by...
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2.22.16
5 Ways to Take Your Social Media Recruiting Skills to the Next Level
With more than 90% of recruiters now using the Internet to find, screen and hire job candidates, it's not enough anymore to just post your available position on the job boards. To attract the best talent, you need to turn social media into a recruiting advantage.   1. Work your company's own social media pages. Everyone who visits your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages should be aware — and be able to share — that you have an opening to fill. Some large companies even maintain a separate page just for career opportunities within the organization.   2. Use the social media site's job postings. LinkedIn charges a fee for this, but it costs nothing to use your status box for a mass broadcast to all your connections that you are hiring. On Twitter, include a hashtag such as #job or #NAJ (need a job?) in your tweet to increase response from job seekers.   3. Do your own searches. The very best prospects might not even be looking for a job right now. Social media is a great...
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2.15.16
The Secret to Transitioning from an Intern to an Employee
Getting great experience is not the only — or even the best — reason for students and recent grads to go into an internship program. There's also the possibility that the company you're interning with will offer you a full-time job.   How can you maximize your chances of receiving that golden offer? Think of your internship as an audition for the job.   Act like you want to be. You want to be an employee with this company, so act like one. Dress professionally, be reliable, show teamwork and initiative — all the behaviors that prove you'd be an excellent permanent addition to the staff.   Go above and beyond. Show that you're flexible and eager to contribute by volunteering for projects outside of your regular duties. Create a niche for yourself doing something nobody else thought of or has time for, like expanding the company's social media presence. Make them realize that they can't get along with out you.   Communicate with your manager. If progress meetings aren't...
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2.08.16
5 Simple Ways to Get Noticed by Recruiters
You already use the Internet to find potential employers, but did you know that you can also use it to help them find you? These strategies will keep you from getting lost in the shuffle.   1. Complete and/or update all your social media profiles. This may seem obvious, but you wouldn't be the first to create a profile on LinkedIn, then forget about it for five years. Check that they all contain a complete work history, a professional looking photo and anything else you want recruiters to see. It's a pretty sure bet that they'll be looking!   2. SEO yourself. Search Engine Optimization is a trick that websites use to get search engines like Google to display their URL whenever people search for whatever that site sells. For example, a jewelry website would fill its content with words/phrases like "gold jewelry" and "diamond rings." You can do the same: sprinkle your resume, online profiles and posts with keywords and meta tags that match the ones used by the job postings...
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2.01.16
Are You Building a Bad Reputation at Work?
You may think you're getting by just fine. Nobody's complained, right? But if you are always passed over for important projects or promotions, maybe it's time to take a look at yourself from your co-workers' point of view.   Here are 5 bad habits that people often fall into without even realizing it.   1. Being the last one in the room. You're the one who's consistently a couple minutes late arriving at work in the morning, coming back from break, or getting to the staff meeting. You think: What difference does five minutes make? They think: I need someone I can rely on to be there as promised.   2. Being a distraction. You interrupt people while they're working to share a great joke or the latest dirt about Supervisor X and Supply Guy Y. You play your music loud enough to be heard by your neighbors. You put your phone on speaker for every single conversation, dial tone and busy signal. You think: I'm bringing some life into this place. They think: This person...
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