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What You Haven’t Learned in School? How to Survive at Work

No one can discredit the importance of education, but schooling only gets you so far. Even if you worked part-time during college or completed an internship, you have no idea what you are in for once you start working full-time. College or specialty schools only give you the skills and information that you need to complete specific tasks in your job. College does not prepare you for what you actually encounter and face in your job. If you want to survive at work, you need to learn the tricks that make you the best employee possible.

The first thing you should learn is to dress appropriately for your job. Some people say that you should dress for the job that you want and not the job you have, but this is potentially risky. If you wear suits on a regular basis, while your co-workers wear jeans, you might draw too much attention to yourself. Take note of how your co-workers dress and present themselves at work and use that as inspiration. Spend time in the morning making yourself presentable and present a professional front. If you wear the wrong type of clothing, your supervisor might overlook you for any potential promotions.

Forming relationships is an important part of surviving in a new job. Even though you might not hang out with your co-workers after work or on weekends, you should still form relationships with those people. You should also attempt to form a relationship with your supervisors or bosses. The only way to get through the day is if you can work comfortably with others. When you set yourself apart from the group, you risk alienating your co-workers. The next time that you need support for a new idea, those co-workers might just look the other way.

I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.

NEIL GAIMAN 

College teaches you skills and how to complete tasks, but it does not teach you how to promote yourself. The only way that you can get ahead in your career field is by promoting your talents. The way that you promote yourself depends on your exact field. You might promote yourself by seeking out new clients or bringing sales from new clients into your business. You might promote yourself by making yourself available to customers and answering any questions that they have. You can even get ahead by taking the initiative and doing the jobs that your co-workers do not want to do.

To gain success in your career, you must take responsibility for your actions. You cannot expect to succeed if you simply do what your supervisor assigns to you. You must be willing to step up to the plate and go beyond your basic tasks. When your supervisor points out something particularly good that you did, make sure that you explain you did it yourself or with help from your co-workers. Only take responsibility for the things that you did and do take away from the work of your co-workers. Do not be afraid to take responsibility for the things that you did wrong either, as your supervisors might view it as a learning experience.

What You Shouldn’t Do When Writing Your Resume

Ideally, a job seeker’s resume should be a comprehensive, accurate account of that person’s skills, education, and work experience. However, it appears people are increasingly being tempted to fudge key resume details or concoct outright fabrications to embellish their personal stories. Some experts put the instance of inaccuracies on executive’s resumes at upwards of 20%, while the FBI is on record stating that approximately 500,000 Americans claim college degrees they have not earned. A recent high-profile technology company CEO was abruptly terminated for the transgression of lying on his resume. Here are some examples of resume falsehoods that are under increasing scrutiny from employers:

Education

Job seekers often lie about the level of education they have attained, perhaps stretching a Bachelor’s degree into a Master’s, or even claiming a college degree where none exists. While it is possible a prospective employer will not verify the accuracy of educational achievements, it is extremely risky to make that assumption. Another common example of educational truth stretching is dressing up one’s grade point average, or claiming honors (Dean’s List, etc.) that the individual didn’t achieve.

Job Responsibilities

There is often a fine line between putting oneself in the most favorable light and fudging past achievements. Certainly, the job seeker should be willing to market themselves aggressively via their resume, but falsifying skills and experience levels can come back to haunt an individual if they wind up getting hired and can’t deliver against the job requirements. The unethical job seeker may win in the short term by getting hired, but ultimately their long-term employment marketability will be diminished if they’re terminated quickly for poor performance.

Salary

Lying about compensation at previous jobs is also common among job seekers. People are tempted to embellish previous salaries in the hope that the inflated numbers will provide them with leverage when negotiating pay levels with their prospective employers. However, an increasing number of employers are now requiring that job seekers back up their salary history claims by providing W-2 copies.

Duties and Achievements

Don’t write about your duties, mention achievements. Achievements are individual accomplishments that stand out and tell your future employer about your skills. Duties, on the other hand, merely rehash day-to-day minutiae; all the low-level activities that every person holding a similar job title deals with every day. To give an example: If you are a sales professional with a $5,000 per month quota, reaching that quota is your duty. Reaching $10,000 a month is an achievement and represents the kind of information that makes a difference.

Professional Licenses

Some unscrupulous job seekers try and claim professional licenses they have not attained, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), nursing board certification, and Certified Financial Planner (CFP). There are also a myriad of certifications for special skills within disciplines that are erroneously claimed by unethical job seekers. The bad news for these dishonest applicants is it’s relatively easy for employers to check with the accrediting agencies to ensure the veracity of their claims.

Your value lies not in status or title, but in the roots of your character and depth of your compassion.”

Mollie MartI

Avoiding the temptation to take liberties with a professional resume is clearly in the best long-term interests of the job seeker. Today’s employers are doing much more due diligence on applicants by verifying resume information data. Taking the high road and maintaining your personal integrity is more important than attempting to exploit a short-term employment opportunity.

A well-written resume is important for any job seeker. Too many people think that for example senior citizens are not able to contribute to the economy just as much as anyone else. The truth of the matter is that there are now more seniors on the job hunt than there ever has been. Considering this, those who do fall in this age group are going to want to learn how to write a resume for the modern economy jobs they seek.

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