Intro

Make the best of every job you work at. Consider it a learning opportunity. Offer to take on additional responsibilities and prove yourself a valuable employee. Going to the best school does not guarantee that you are going to get the best job. Schooling is only one part of your quest to get a job. This is because there are so many factors that go into choosing a job candidate for a given position. Having a good education can help get an applicant a job, but there are a lot of other reasons why someone might get the position. When people like you it can be just as valuable as having an Ivy League education.

Take Off Your Career

Enjoying a successful career requires both dedication and hard work. Regardless of whether the job market is good or bad, there are several basic career tips everyone should consider to both achieve and maintain a successful career. Age is nothing but a number. Follow these tips to make yourself marketable regardless of your age.

When and How to Start?

When should you start your first job? As early as possible! Don’t wait until you get a high school diploma or a college degree to start looking for a job. The earlier you start working, the more job skills you will develop along the way and the more marketable you will become when applying for jobs in the future.

Take an Opportunity 

Ideally, you should learn new skills at each job you work at. In addition to job-specific skills, you should also develop valuable transferable skills needed for most jobs, such as good job performance, good time management, leadership and communication skills, the ability to work with others, the ability to meet deadlines and the ability to contribute to the company’s bottom line.

Develop your work history early on. After age 16, more job opportunities will open up but until then there are many things you can do. Start a lawn mowing business, dog sit, house sit or babysit. Be a camp counselor or volunteer. Prove yourself a good and dependable worker no matter what the job.

All jobs offer the opportunity to develop job skills. If starting your own babysitting or lawn business, you will learn how to develop a customer base and how to manage earnings and expenses. You will learn the importance of providing excellent customer service to keep the business going and growing. If you work with others, you learn how to function as part of a team.

Regardless of what you do, if you do it well, you will gain a reputation as a dependable worker who does a good job. This early experience will look great on your first resume and will impress employers when you interview for jobs. These early customers and employers may also come in handy as references down the road.

While in high school or college, look for part-time, volunteer and intern positions. If related to the career path you plan on pursuing, all the better. You will get some good work experience and a possible foot in the door of some companies who may be interested in hiring you after graduation.

Once you do graduate, don’t hold out for that dream job, especially in today’s tight job market. Look for something decent but get a “real” job as soon as possible. Develop your skills, gain additional experience and continue to increase your marketability. Get more training and education if necessary.

Do your best to remain employed, as hiring managers are typically more impressed with job candidates who are employed compared to those who are out of work. Being employed also puts you in a better position to develop a strong network of friends, co-workers and contacts who may prove useful to you in future job searches.

Think while Studying

For many students, the furthest thing on their minds is their careers. Between assignments, mid-terms and finals, and an active social life thinking about a career after college may not be a consideration. However, in a slow economy it can be difficult for new applicants to find employment. Businesses are not able to hire for permanent long-term employment and there is stiff competition for vacancies. It is important for college students to prepare early for their choice of career and how to pursue it.

Research Your Major

One first step in consideration of a career is for students to research career options with their resume. Students should look at industry related sites and government publications to learn more about job opportunities. Look at what kind of job choices you have with your major. If further training is necessary, consider continuing study for an advanced degree.

Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.

PAUL J. MEYER

Career Services

One place to begin is the Career Services office of the college. This office specializes in providing students opportunities and career direction after graduation. These offices set up Job Fairs on campus where several employers discuss opportunities with students. The office also arranges for individual organizations to set up for interviews for specific opportunities. These offices have information on companies that are hiring and trends in different occupational areas.

The Right Resume

The development of a proper resume can be critical to getting job interviews.  Resumes for college graduates can be limited due to lack of experience.New graduates need to emphasize their education firs and any related accomplishments. Outside activities can be included if they are relevant to career goals. Employment while in school can be included. This can be viewed favorably by employers by showing that students worked while attending school.

Internship or Volunteer

One more great way to explore career options is to do an internship. An internship can be paid or unpaid. Many businesses seek interns to help with basic tasks without having to hire employees. For the intern, practical business experience is gained as well as a possible reference. If an internship is not available, students can volunteer for an organization or in a function similar to their career goals. Many organizations need assistance through volunteers. Certain skills such as web site development or generating revenue can be in demand with organizations.

Volunteering benefits everyone, including those being helped and the people volunteering. Not only is it a great way to build a strong community, but it can help you create social bonds, assist you in career exploration, help you develop important skills, and it looks great on your resume. Many people want to volunteer but simply don’t know where to start. Consider participating in the following volunteer activities, all of which will help you learn important skills and give you something great to put on your resume.

Give Blood

Giving blood is probably one of the easiest volunteer activities you can take part in. It usually only takes about an hour from the time you walk in the door to the time you leave, depending on how busy the facility is. All you have to do is answer a short questionnaire about your health and spend a few minutes sitting through a relatively painless process. In addition to receiving free food, you can save up to three lives each time you donate. To get started, research upcoming blood drives in your area and make an appointment. In most states, you must be 17 years old, at least 110 pounds, be in good health, and show valid picture I.D.

Habitat for Humanity

Perhaps one of the most well-known volunteer programs in the country, Habitat for Humanity has chapters all over the United States that are constantly accepting volunteers. Plus, they offer a variety of programs for any age and skill level, so you don’t need experience building houses in order to help. For example, you can join a program called “Women Build”, which allows women to work together, learn about construction, and improve their skills. Not only is this a great volunteer opportunity that you can put on your resume, but it is definitely one that will teach you valuable skills. Visit their website for more information on chapters in your area and how you can volunteer.

Join a Club

If you are looking to get a lot of volunteer experience, sometimes you don’t have to search far. If you join a club such as 4-H, girl scouts or boy scouts, YMCA programs, or other clubs that often volunteer, the opportunities will come to you. Even though many of these clubs are geared toward young children and teens, adults can join as leaders and participate in the same volunteer opportunities as the younger members do.

Set Up a Volunteer Opportunity Yourself

Whether you want to go big or would rather keep things simple, there are plenty of activities you can do around your community to volunteer. Some ideas include cleaning up the park, organizing a food drive to donate products to the local food pantry, and making blankets for a nearby children’s hospital. There are plenty of things you can do to help others, but make sure that you encourage other volunteers to join you as you organize a volunteer opportunity.

How to Be Successful at Every Age

Enjoying a successful career requires both dedication and hard work. Regardless of whether the job market is good or bad, there are several basic career tips everyone should consider to both achieve and maintain a successful career. Age is nothing but a number. Follow these tips to make yourself marketable regardless of your age.

Nurture Your Career

Once you receive and accept a job offer, don’t stop there. To protect your job security and future career, you need to remain competitive and marketable. It is essential that you continuously upgrade your skills, your training, and also your resume.

Prove Yourself

While on the job, contribute to your company’s bottom line. Go above and beyond your duties. Take on additional assignments. Avoid settling yourself into a narrow slot that discourages growth and quickly renders you unmarketable. Get along with your bosses and co-workers. Demonstrate leadership qualities and prove yourself an asset to the company.

Remain Actively Employed

If you are not able to find your dream job, don’t hold out. Find something that will work for you, at least temporarily. Actively employed job candidates are usually more attractive to future employers than unemployed candidates.

Develop a Current Skill Set

If you are returning to the workforce after a significant period of time it may be necessary to adapt your skill set to the world as it is today. Technology has become the ruling class with computers holding court as king. It may be beneficial to take classes to develop a working knowledge of current computer programs and internet usage. Research the technological aspects of your chosen field and learn all you can about recent developments. Tailoring your skill set to your desired career can pay dividends when looking for work after 50.

 A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him.

SIDNEY GREENBERG

Be Flexible & Look to the Future

Always remain flexible. Reach for your dream but remain open to other opportunities as well, especially when the job market is tight. Take advantage of every job as an opportunity to learn new skills and make new connections. Consider each job a stepping stone along your successful career path.

Don’t stagnate in your present career and become obsolete. Keep an eye on emerging career fields and new job opportunities. Avoid career paths that are showing signs of decline. Upgrade your education and training if necessary. Prepare yourself to tackle whatever the future brings and the job market demands.

Network

Networking is one of the most important components of a successful career. Many jobs are gotten through someone a person already knows. Continue to meet new people and make new connections. Establish lifetime relationships with friends, co-workers, bosses and mentors. You never know when they may be of help. Also join professional organizations to keep current in your field and to remain in the loop for job opportunities when they arise. Always remember that networking works both ways – you help others and they will help you.

Although not as prevalent as it once was, ageism is still a concern. It can be difficult to overcome and immensely frustrating for those experiencing it. When you are looking for a new job, it is important to be prepared. Developing a current skill set, having a strong resume and being ready for anything an interviewer throws at you can increase your chances of landing a great job exponentially. When you are good enough and can behave accordingly, age really is nothing more than a number and success is not only possible but practically guaranteed.

Schedule or NO Schedule?

When looking for a job, think about your needs and lifestyle. Most people do not work a typical eight-hour workday anymore. Schedules vary depending on what the needs of the business are. You may work during the day on Monday while working at night on Tuesday. Schedules have become flexible to meet the changing demands of 21st century life. See both their advantages and disadvantages below.

Scheduled Hours

The best reason to work a set schedule is you can plan ahead. Knowing what hours you work on a given day can help you schedule an appointment to go see the doctor. Grocery shopping and other errands can be planned for a time when you do not have to work.

Making Your Own Hours 

Working whenever you want allows you to schedule work around your life. It can be fun to schedule a dinner date before scheduling yourself to work. Some employers realize that reason you have employees is to delegate the work. Employees who do a good job shouldn’t be told what hours they have to work. Good work is good work regardless of when it is done. Of course, this assumes that you are not under any specific deadlines.

Structure Is Important to Some Workers

Even freelancers consider having a set schedule at certain times. Determining what hours you work ahead of time allows you to focus on the job that needs to be done. Working the same hours each day allows you to get into a routine that can be comforting and encourage productivity. Other obligations in your life may require you to work a set schedule even if you work for yourself.

Others Feel Structure Kills Creativity

You never know when inspiration is going to strike. Locking yourself up in an office may not inspire you to create anything. This can be a killer if you are a writer or artist. Books about people who stare at the computer screen all day are rarely best-sellers. Creativity is often fueled by the chaos created by not having a set plan for the day.

Should you have a set schedule each day? It really depends on what industry you are in. Artists may not want to work the same eight hours each day. Employees for the local grocery store may not have a choice as to what hours they work. Some workers may enjoy the stability provided when you work the same hours on a regular basis. It really all depends on your personality and employment situation.

Useful Tips 

10, 20 years ago, you would do a job interview and then you had the job and that was that. Today, things have changed. Today, when you ace a job interview you’re really only being granted the opportunity to interview for the job with pay for a little while. There are more qualified people than ever before looking for fewer jobs than ever before. This means that those first few days on the new job are very, very important. But what about the importance of your education?

Advice for New Recruit

For about a century, mediocrity reigned supreme. Companies were looking for mediocre people to fill mediocre positions. This was pretty much unquestioned. It’s what our schools, industry, and media were all based on: Encouraging and rewarding mediocrity. Well, that doesn’t work anymore.

Today, the job does not belong to the person who can do it, but the person who can love it, because if you don’t love your job, there’s somebody else out there who will. Those first few days need to be used to prove how much you love that job. Here are a few tips to making the most of your first week:

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Your employer didn’t hire you so that you could sit at your desk, keep your head down, and collect a paycheck. They hired you for who you are, your ideas, your abilities, your special history and experience, and if you’re afraid to speak up and offer that up to the people you work with, then they made a mistake. Don’t be afraid to pitch an idea in the first week. The worst that can happen is they shoot it down and send you to start on your next one.

Socialize

Get attached to your fellow employees right away. Nobody wants to be the guy to fire everybody’s new best buddy. Besides the fact that you can instantly embed yourself into the work place by warming up to the people there, it lets you know if these are the kind of people you want to work with every day, as well. Remember, they’re not just trying you out, you’re trying them out. If you have the skills to get a great position here, you can get a great position elsewhere, too.

Desperation is a running theme with today’s job hunters, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Have confidence in yourself and in your abilities and you should have a much better experience at your new job.

However, when it comes to the hiring process, you shouldn’t overestimate your skills at all.

Are You Really as Good as You Wrote in Your Resume?

Regardless of your career position, standing out in the throng of job seekers is the ultimate goal. Emerging professionals with little work experience to showcase, seekers of mid-career changes as well as senior executives all have the same goal in common: getting the attention of hiring managers and recruiters, nailing the interview and getting the job. In order for these things to happen, however, an impressive resume is in order.

In the competitive market of today, making an impression is everything.For many of us, the most difficult product to sell is ourselves. We know the importance of tooting our own horn, but how much is sufficient? We know that when it comes to creating an effective resume, we just can’t be shy about our accomplishments. Yet on the other hand, we don’t want to overcompensate either. Padding the facts, a wee bit, or downright misrepresenting ourselves are critical actions that will sooner or later come back to haunt us. Job seekers need to always remember that when it comes to developing a meaningful, successful career, integrity is the most fundamental ingredient. Whether deliberately or innocently falsifying on a resume, the risk is too great. Even exaggerating about skills and abilities can follow a person and negatively affect a career.

When actively seeking new employment, ask yourself if you are really as skilled and accomplished as you claim to be on paper. Unsure about the answer? There is a way to test this out. Wise job seekers will not only take stock of everything they’ve achieved and personally have to offer, they will seek input from family, friends and working peers as part of the resume making process. Surveying others for their perspective on how we perform is valuable beyond measure. Comparing feedback from others with our own self-assessment can help gauge the accuracy of the resume. Ideally, this should be done periodically throughout one’s career, especially when it’s time for those all-important resume makeovers.

Another good source of information can be pulled from letters of reference. This, along with listing concrete examples and demonstrated abilities, is essential when composing cover letters and discussing during job interviews. These important points should be thoughtfully planned and matched up with the resume.

When writing you resume the first thing that you need to remember is that it is ok to brag about yourself. This is all about you and you do want to shine. At the top of the resume make sure that you put your contact information, so it is not difficult to find. Next, write a quick summary about yourself and let the employer know who you are. Talk about your achievements in former jobs, your goals, and what you have done to improve the overall outcome of other companies. This should be a fairly short summary and not the same as your cover letter.

Next detail your job experience beginning with your most recent job. Make sure you include the title of the job and your specific duties. Then take a minute to let the employer know how you made the company better by being an employee. Let them know your accomplishments and you met your goals.

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.

MALCOLM FORBES

Next, add your education. Make sure you tout your best subjects and grades. This used to not really matter but with today’s competition it does. Take a few minutes to talk about your favorite hobbies and things you like to do. Yes, you are looking for a job, but it is important for your future employer to know that you are also human and have a sense of humor.

Finally, even if your employer does not ask for them, add at least two references. This can be the most nerve wracking part of a resume, but you need to find at least two people that could say something good about you is they were called. It is possibly they won’t be, but it shows your future employer that you are confident in who you are and not afraid f anything in your past.

In short, be sure to promote yourself well in the job market but do be careful about going too far when describing who you are and what you’ve done.

 Do You Need School?

Is there any correlation between doing good at school and doing good at work? There is no doubt that getting a good education gives you an advantage,but many ways exist that can allow a worker who was not good in school to become a success at work. Your success at work has more to do with your willingness to work hard on a regular basis.

Some People Are Not Book Smart

Not being able to memorize a fact in a book does not mean a person is not smart. There are many different ways in which a person can learn and understand the world around him. A person who is mechanically inclined is going to do much better at a body shop as opposed to someone who is better suited to memorizing a page of text. It should be noted that Albert Einstein was not a very good student in school. Would anyone consider him to be dumb?

Personality Matters

The ability to draw customers into a store has nothing to do with getting good grades in school. Doing well in the classroom does not accurately replicate the situations that you can find yourself confronted with in the real world. An employee who can look an irate customer in the eye and solve her problem is going to be rated quite highly. Proper temperament on the job cannot be taught in school.

Experience Can Trump Education

Experience counts a lot when it comes to getting a job. Employers want to know if a candidate has been battle tested already. A candidate with experience will also cost less to train in many circumstances. The ability for an employee to be successful from day one is going to tilt the scale in the favor of that job applicant. An employee who has been on the job for 11 years can beat out the employee who just started yesterday. Education is nothing more than the learning of theories. Theories do not teach you how to actually deal with people in the real world or do your job correctly. Experience is often your greatest teacher in whatever you do in life. Therefore, it can be the person who has the most experience who does a better job than the person who has all the education.

Quality References

A good reference means a lot in the business world. Networking with other people in your field can be a great way to get a job. The ability to drop the name of a trusted employee already with the company can make you seem like a sure bet as well. All the schooling in the world cannot overcome the fact that you know someone in the company who has the trust of the man making the hiring decision.

Interviewing Skills

Having a personality counts for a lot when trying to get a job. No one is going to want to hire somebody with a lot of knowledge and no personality. Co-workers and customers are not going to want to deal with someone who is dull and boring. If this sounds like you, take some courses that deal with communication and people skills. It can be just the thing that gets you into a good job in no time.

Undefined Intangibles

There might be something on a particular resume that really stands out to a recruiter. It could be that the company is looking to become a little more diversified. The recruiter might just decide that you are not a good fit based on a gut feeling. There are a million different reasons why a company would not hire you.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

ALBERT EINSTEIN

Having the best grades in school will not always make you the best employee in the office. Education can certainly help you become your best, but factors outside of your educational experience can really decide who does the best job at work. Never assume that just because you went to a good school that you do not have to work hard to get ahead in your career.