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5.16.16
Your Professional Network: How to Use It Without Losing It
You didn't build relationships with your professional contacts just because you wanted people to party with. You did it because they might help you in your career at some point. But the way you ask for that help can kill the relationship. Here's what not to do.   Don't ask too much. The surest way to get refused or ignored is to ask for so much time and effort, even your best friend would think twice about it. If you're job hunting, request a referral to a specific company, not to have your hand held throughout the entire process.   Don't ask at the last minute. Nobody is obligated to drop their own agenda to take care of yours. Want an invitation to a networking event? Ask at least a month in advance. The bigger the favor, the more lead time you should allow.   Don't expect them to do all the work. Before asking someone to help you write your resume, make sure they understand that you've already put a lot of research and planning into it.   Don't ask too soon in...
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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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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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2.08.16
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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12.30.15
Why Hiring and the Holidays Go Together
If you hired temporary or permanent staff for the holidays, now is the time to assess how well it worked for you. And if you didn't, here are some great reasons to think about doing so next time.   Use — Instead of Lose — the Annual Hiring Budget If your budget is tied to the calendar year, you might have unspent reserves that you shouldn't let slip through your fingers. This is especially true if you're reasonably sure you'll need to do some significant recruiting in the near future; by starting in Q4, you can spread the expense over two budget years.   Get First — and Only — Crack at the Best Employee Material Many recruiters, and job seekers, go into a holding pattern for the holidays. Those candidates who don't slack off now demonstrate a superior work ethic; and if you are equally persistent, you can snap them up with virtually no competition.   Test Drive Temporary Workers for Permanent Positions Lucky you if your business needs to bring in extra help for the...
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12.21.15
Creating the Perfect Profile Picture
As we've mentioned before, almost all hiring managers now check a job candidate's social media pages before making an offer, sometimes even before asking for an interview. Do you want their first look at you to be: (A) you in your teeny tiny tank top partying the night away, or (B) you dressed and posed like the highly paid professional you hope to become?   We suggest that you invest a bit of time and money in getting a classic profile photo you can be proud of, and use for years to come. If it gets employers to take you seriously when they didn't before, it could pay for itself many times over.   Here are a few tips for the perfect profile picture:   No selfies. Bite the bullet and shell out for a professional quality portrait. Even a cheap passport/ID photographer has better lighting and camera equipment — and the knowledge to use them — than you do.   No wing men/women. This is one of the most frequent problems with your average Facebook profile photo. Having...
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11.23.15
An Easy Guide to Answering “So, Tell Me About Yourself”
Interviewers love to ask this question. Why? Because it reveals more about the job candidate than you might think.   If you can come up with a good answer, it tells them that you (A) can think on your feet, and (B) understand the needs of the job and company you're interviewing for. Read through the following tips and you'll see what we mean.   1. Be prepared. Hesitating or stammering when this question is thrown at you will give the impression that you lack awareness both of yourself and the job requirements. Memorize an opening statement that you can deliver quickly and confidently.   2. Keep it short. We believe your first response should be no longer than a TV commercial: 30 seconds. If the interviewer wants you to go into more detail about a particular point, he/she will ask.   3. Make it all about them. Remember, you're there to sell yourself as the answer to their problem: which candidate will be the biggest asset to their company. Information about your...
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