Saturday, January 31, 2009

How to Get Back at Your Boss?

MSN Money
CHICAGO, January 27, 2009 - They lie, they cry, they yell a lot. They’re bad bosses and 43 % of workers reported they have quit a job to get away from them, according to a survey of more than 8,000 workers by CareerBuilder.com, the nation’s largest online job site. Workers who are dealing with problem supervisors will be happy to hear that help is on the way.

CareerBuilder.com just launched a new online Anonymous Tip Giver tool that enables you to provide "constructive" criticism or fun advice for bosses or co-workers without revealing your identity.

By logging onto www.anonymoustipgiver.com, users can select from one of four outlandish characters and choose a unique voice to deliver a tip for the recipient. You can write up your own advice or select from a list of pre-made tips such as "One out of 10 people think your barking dog ring tone is funny, that one person is you." You can even record your message over the phone. Without revealing your identity, in an instant the fully animated tip is delivered right to the recipient’s e-mail box. Voilá! Bad boss problem solved. Annoying co-worker situation addressed.

"Anonymous Tip Giver is part of CareerBuilder.com’s new national marketing campaign, which is officially launching at the Super Bowl," said Richard Castellini, Chief Marketing Officer at CareerBuilder.com. "The campaign is a lot of fun and is chock-full of tips to help workers ‘start building’ better work experiences."

CareerBuilder.com’s survey found women (48 %) are more likely to quit because of a bad boss than men (39 %).
Age also plays a role in who stays and who goes. Approximately:
- 48 % of workers ages 35-44 left their jobs because of a bad boss
- 40% of younger workers, ages 18 to 24 left
- 41 % of older workers, ages 45 to 54 left

Some survey respondents shared real life examples of bad boss behavior that borders on the bizarre, including:

-Hid in weird places in order to spy on employees
-Took a bite of someone’s doughnut while they were away from their desk
-Held a meeting while locked inside the bathroom
-Brought a gun to work and cleaned it in an area behind employees
-Tap danced on employee’s desk
-Showed everyone a kidney stone he had passed
-Broke down and cried during a meeting, "Why don’t you like me?"
-Kept his lunch in a freezer intended for human organ storage
-Used a taser gun on a subordinate
-Declared "Talk like a pirate day"
-Rode a child’s scooter through the office

Friday, January 30, 2009

Looking for the Right Company? Then Do Your Research

Graduating and still searching for the ideal opportunity?

If you are then you need to get started on your company research if you haven't yet started.

Here is an excerpt of an article I published last year.
*****************************************
The internet has grown overwhelmingly as a result of our curiosity and our insatiable need to learn new things and remain informed. However, despite the volumes of available information, recruiters continue to be surprised when candidates demonstrate their lack of research in the interview.

The following are some of the questions you might want to consider in your search for more information about a company.

1. Is the company financially sound? What were their revenues last year and who are the major competitors? Without a subscription, you can find basic information about company size, products, management team and competitors at Hoovers on-line. Using some of this information in conversation at an interview, will impress hiring managers who will see you as a candidate that understands their business.

2. Is the company in an industry that has growing or shrinking opportunities? Some industries have experienced growth in recent years and will continue to do so while others have experienced significant declines over recent years and will continue to do so. Visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) to see projections on growing and declining industries from 2004 to 2014. This information will give you insight on long term opportunities with the company.

Read the complete article here at Associated Content.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Get your Business off and Running - Map the Future


10. "Map" the future.

You have probably already heard the axiom, which says that people who write down their goals are much more likely to achieve them and people who visualize success have a better chance of actually being successful.

The success of your business depends on preparation, practice and planning. Create a vision for what your company should look like, and create a map to get there.

The great thing about the map is that although it doesn't guarantee where you'll end up, it gives you the courage to start the journey.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lawyers Search for Alternative Careers


Yesterday I wrote about seeing the possible upside of being laid off.

Dee, an attorney, stopped by and shared her comments. I followed Dee's comments to her blog - Power Of Attorney: Not Happy Hour At The Bar where she shared some insight for lawyers looking for a career makeover and searching for alternative careers.

Her piece made me think about all the professionals who think the grass is always greener on the other side; who think that happiness is just a higher paying career away.

If I had a dime for every time I have heard a disheartened professional say that if they just had a better paying career, they would love it more - I would be rich. Turns out that lawyers, a career with significant compensation, can struggle with career choices too.

I really appreciate Dee making it clear that changing careers is not only about following dreams and passions. One real dilemma Dee highlights is the need to balance following one's dream, as hefty student loans hover over every career decision. I agree with Dee that there is too much banter sometimes from career coaches who dangle the carrot of the perfect career, if you just dream hard enough. We all know it takes more than "wishin and hopin" and I think Dee captures that well.

Read Dee's complete post here - Lawyers Search for Alternative Careers.

Why New Grads Get Overlooked for Promotions


If you are a new grad or in the Class of 2009, it is not too early to start thinking about how to succeed at work and get promoted.

CareerBuilder.com, the online job board, recently drafted this list of 10 reasons why employees might not be promoted at work.

Save this list -- your phone, your iPod -- doesn't matter, keep it accessible.

1. You're not up to the job (or to put it crudely, you're a slacker).
2. You're stingy on your level of commitment. Just doing "fine" or "acceptable" work will not take you up the ladder.
3. You are not visible enough to the people who have the power to promote you.
4. You're difficult to deal with. Moving up the ladder will entail managing people. You are difficult to deal with.
5. You haven't yet mastered the job you're in and you already want to move higher...
6. You're just too good at what you're doing and there's nobody to replace you.
7. You're not presentable.
8. You have enemies.
9. You are competing with "superstars," meaning that the competition may be too fierce for you.
10. Your employer is not in a position to promote you due to factors unrelated to you or your performance (tight budget or low turnover).

I would add an 11th and 12th reasons for you to think about:

11. You don't know what you really want out of a career
12. You don't have a mentor who is lobbying on your behalf.

Source - Why You're Not Getting Promoted, CNN/ CareerBuilder

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Up Side of Being Laid Off...


Hearing CNN's Anderson Cooper report on 70,000 additional layoffs yesterday reminded me of conversations I have had recently with three pink slipped professionals.

These three mid career professionals were laid off from positions in pharmaceutical sales, home security and retail management.

Once the initial shock and anxiety dissipated, all three were actually seeing some of the upside of being laid off:

1. All three thought being laid off was giving them time to think and possibly execute a career makeover.

2. Two expressed less workplace stress once the pink slip actually arrived. The company wide anxiety and speculation pre lay off was more stressful.

3. All three were thinking about additional education and training; one in a related field and two in new careers.

4. Two want to start a business - one in property management and another in a home child care business. Both thought the unemployment payments would offer a financial buffer to start a business.

5. One felt that layoff forced her family to examine their personal spending habits and life choices. It seemed once they looked at their budget, they realized they could improve the situation with her as a stay-at-home parent. After child care and eating out expenses, she felt a work-at-home business might help them net more.

6. All three realized they needed to consider multiple income streams.

I know that times are tough, but as an optimist, I have a habit of encouraging people to consider the upside of being laid off. I think many people are staying positive about the future.

Can you see any upside of being laid off?

Job Skills Employers Want from Students

Students considering vocational training should pay close attention to more than just academics. Althouth good grades are important, because it demonstrates positive behavior, it is not all employers want from new grads.

Employers continue to be concerned about the lack of soft skills they need from good employees. Some of these soft skills that employers want from new grads include:

-good attendance
-positive can-do attitude
-strong communication skills
-actual work skills

This information was summarized in a 2006 study written by researcher Paul Barton for the Education Testing Services.

A National Association of Manufactures' survey where employers select multiple reasons, shows common reasons employers reject applicants:

-More than 66% cite a lack of "soft skills"
-About 33% of employers cite lack of experience
-About 33% cite inadequate reading and writing skills
-Academics and school achievement rank below soft skills for employability

Although the manufacturing sector is declining in the US, new grads should pay close attention to skills required beyond graduation. The skills required by employers cuts across all industries and jobs.

Where do you stand with these in demand job skills? Do a quick Skills Inventory!

Make an effort to find good examples of skills you possess that demonstrate positive behaviors and the ability to compete in the workplace and succeed at work. If you need to work during college, try to develop soft skills on the job.

These Resume FAQs and Job Interview FAQs will help job seekers showcase job skills and soft skills on a resume and during job interviews.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Get your Business off and Running - Chart your Performance


9. "Chart" your performance.

Keeping track of your individual successes and milestones is fundamental to your overall business success. So set goals for yourself and your business, and chart your progress.

Revisit your plans to make sure you're on target. If you're not, evaluate why and make corrections to get back on track or create a new track –if that is what you choose to do.

Many business owners forget the importance of setting measurable goals against which to benchmark progress and modifying those goals based on real-life performance.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Get Your Business off and Running - Align your Dreams wit Reality


8. Align your dreams with reality

Discovering and clarifying what you really want to do as an entrepreneur is key to your future success. If you don't know what you love to do, then your dreams should remain just that--dreams.

Successful people do what they love.

Dreaming about owning your own business but not exploring who you are and what you love to do won't help you move closer to the reality of successful entrepreneurship. Let's say your dream is to start an organizing business and you discover in your research that there are several competitors in your region.

This doesn't mean you should abandon the idea--it means you need to think creatively about your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate your business from the competition.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On President Barack Obama's Inauguration

I wrote several weeks ago about the 30 Career Lessons one Should Learn from the Obama campaign.

I am hoping that in his inaugural address, President Obama will challenge us as Americans to take greater responsibility for our individual and collective lives and our future. That translates for me to personal ownership of our careers and our lives, especially in a time of such economic crisis.

I think these 30 career lessons from, now President Obama's career, are worth repeating on this outstanding day!

1. Set personal goals
2. Stay away from those who say “You Can’t”
3. Be true to who you are, regardless of the job
4. To land a meaningful job or grow professionally, expect some hurdles
5. Keep learning even through your job search and beyond
6. Develop a personal board of advisors for support
7. Surround yourself with diverse people with diverse thoughts
8. Develop a backbone. Even successful careers will have disappointments
9. Think around, outside and under the box; the way forward may not necessarily be clear or straight ahead
10. Don't expect your career path to be logical to everyone else; It must make sense to you
11. Don’t burn your bridges behind you; your affiliations are important
12. Be mindful of what your associations could say about you
13. You don’t need to have all the experience in the job description to apply
14. Push the envelope; job descriptions get rewritten all the time
15. Know you might be underestimated; Rise above it!
16. Some people will like you for the job and some will not
17. Know and understand your competition; do not underestimate them
18. Think transferable skills
19. You may have to say things during an interview to impress your future boss
20. Know how to build consensus and move ideas forward
21. Keep track of your accomplishments; no one else is obligated to do that for you
22. Beware people who hang around you, because you are successful – not because they care
23. Education and training mean something
24. Hard work and discipline will pay off
25. It is not a shame to strategically plan your career
26. Many people are not working in their college majors
27. The more people who support you and your ideas, the more successful you will be
28. You are always preparing for your next career opportunity, regardless of what you are doing
29. Savor your accomplishments; be confident and gracious when the accolades come
30. Know that the real work begins after you land the job!

Happy Inauguration Day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Get your Business off and Running - Reshape your Perspective


7. "Reshape" your Perspective.

As you begin writing down your thoughts and ideas, don't give up just because you find you need to make changes to your original ideas. This is normal!

As a future successful entrepreneur, you can't afford to become functionally fixed on any one way of doing things. Factors influencing your decisions, including the environment, new technology, your budget or your time, are always shifting, and you might find you'll have to tweak your ideas to make them work.

It may be that you'd been looking at one market segment and now realize that for whatever reason, you might want to focus on a new target market. This does not mean giving up--it means reshaping your perspective.

Best Jobs for College Grads - Not!

Keeping up with what is current is really important. This list of the best jobs for college graduates from Forbes Magazine in 2006 shows how the times have changed.

Look how many of these jobs were in the, now ailing, financial sector:

None of this means that careers in the financial sector are not available, it means you will have to look closely at offers and evaluate what skills you will develop that will prepare you for your next opportunities.

1. Hedge Fund Analyst - Entry level professionals hired to analyze market conditions and build economic models. $65,000

2. Corporate Finance, Investment Banking Analyst - Being hired by Lehman, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan Chase. How many of these companies have had layoffs recently? $60,000 with $10K bonus

3. Banking, Sales & Trading Analyst - Provide spreadsheet support for the bond salesmen helps them with their pitches to institutional clients. What's happened in banking recently? $45,000 to $55,000 with up to $30K sign on bonuses.


4. Junior Consultant/Consulting Analyst - The junior number cruncher on a consulting team at companies like Booz Allen Hamilton. $55,000

5. Software Engineer/Software Developer - Design software for operating systems ranging from Windows to Linux. $45000 to $80000 and up to $10K bonuses.

6. Resaarch Associate Biotech/Pharma - Conduct experiments and analyze data under the close supervision of more senior scientists. Offers - $52,000 to $58,000; bonus from $1,000 to $3,000

7. Accountant - Hired by the Big 4 accounting firms (Deloitte, Ernst and Young, Price WaterhouseCoopers, KPMG). Tax preparers and auditors who spend a lot of time at clients' sites. $45,000 to $50,000 with bonuses from $1K to $3K

8. Government Analysts - Technically savvy grads who analyze the weapons capabilities of foreign nations. $40,000 to $50,000 salaries.

9. Assistant Account Executive, Advertising & Public Relations - $32,000 to $50,000. This job will include competitive analysis and assisting and supporting client meetings and video shoots.

10. Researcher, World Bank - Lots of grunt work that will include research of economic trends and forecasts globally. $38,950 starting salaries.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Your First Year on the Job After Graduation


Whether it's your first professional full time or part time position it is important to begin your career on the right foot.

In a tight job market, competition will be fierce to get your dream early career opportunity. Once you land your first job after graduation, keep in mind that the competition does not go away. It is still up to you, to be impressive.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for your first year on the job:

- Be dependable
- Establish your goals with your supervisor
- Make sure your supervisor is aware of your progress
- Ask questions. Better yet, know who to ask questions
- Become familiar with the corporate culture - quickly!
- Work on your interpersonal skills. New college graduates should keep in mind that unlike in the classroom, where you meet a new group of students every semester, you now may have to build longer working relationships.
- Improve your writing and speaking skills
- Get to know your job really well, quickly. Do the research, burn the midnight oil - but find a way to become indispensible.
- Be confident and remain visible. Do not be afraid to volunteer.

Get your Business off and Running - Buff and Polish your Ideas


6. "Buff and polish" your ideas.

Like most of us, you've probably scribbled an idea down and then lost the paper or forgot where you wrote it, only to hear later about some other business owner executing "your" idea.

A great way to refine your great ideas and really flesh them out is to write them down in a place where you can find them at any given moment. PDA’s are great unless you take them accidentally into the Caribbean Sea with you while on vacation – like I did!

There's no time like the present to start your "startup journal." This can either be in the form of a good old spiral-bound notebook or something more sophisticated.

There are any number of tools on the market that will help you keep track of important notes and milestones as you move forward and develop your ideas. These ideas can eventually be rolled up into your business plan, which will become the roadmap for your business.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Get Your Business off and Running - Supplement Your Credentials


5. "Supplement" your credentials.
Work with advisors and small-business centers to add to your knowledge base and skill set. You might have an excellent idea and may be really skilled in some areas but, like all of us, you could have some blind spots. Although entrepreneurs are known to multitask really well, most will readily admit there are pieces of the business they hate - especially if they can't do it well.

Investigate your local community colleges to see if they offer entrepreneurship classes for starting a business. Connect with an old professor who might be able to point you in the right direction to get the help you need. Local organizations also sometimes schedule classes and workshops designed to help you supplement your credentials in the areas of marketing, budgeting, funding, technology, operations and financial management.

If you're not checking out new information on business blogs, social networking sites, journals, you are missing opportunities to increase your knowledge. Consider also forming a small business advisory group of experts with whom you can barter knowledge to supplement your own.

Check out the SCORE organization.

2008 Top 50 Colleges for African Americans

Every year Black Enterprise Magazine offers up a list of what they consider the Top 50 Colleges for African Americans. To compile this list, the magazine surveyed 700+ African American higher education professionals, including presidents, chancellors, and student affairs directors.

Fourteen hundred four-year colleges met the initial criteria for consideration based on accreditation status, 3% of African American student enrollment and had enrollment data submitted with the U.S. Department of Education.

Here is the list:

1 Spelman College
2 Howard University
3 Morehouse College
4 Hampton University
5 Georgetown University
6 Stanford University
7 Swarthmore College
8 Fisk University
9 Amherst University
10 Harvard University
11 Columbia University
12 Wake Forest University
13 Clark Atlanta University
14 Wesleyan University
15 Yale University
16 Tuskegee University
17 Xavier University
18 Florida A&M University
19 University of
Pennsylvania
20 Brown University
21 North Carolina A&T State University
22 Pomona College
23 Princeton University
24 Williams College
25 Cornell University
26 North Carolina Central University
27 Johns Hopkins University
28 Oberlin College
29 Emory University
30 Dillard University
31 Duke University
32 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
33 University of California-Berkeley
34 Tennessee State University
35 Northwestern University
36 Jackson State University
37 Smith College
38 Vanderbilt University
39 University of Virginia
40 Grambling State University
41 Wellesley College
42 Morgan State University
43 Barnard College
44 Haverford College
45 Davidson College
46 New York University
47 University of Southern California
48 University of Maryland - College Park
49 South Carolina State University
50 Carleton College

Monday, January 12, 2009

Get Your Business Off and Running - Flex your Creative Muscles


4. "Flex" your creative muscles.

Think creatively about how you'll get your products and/or services in front of people. Think about imaginative ways to tip the scales in your favor. Start a "Creativity Cluster" of others who are looking for new and innovative ideas to bring products and/or services to market or get their ideas out into the marketplace.

Get inspired by reading about creative and innovative companies and how they've succeeded. Learn about the practices that differentiate successful companies from others and pay close attention to mistakes they may have made.

Keep thinking about new ways to do things that will keep your organization efficient.

Get Your Business Off and Running - Firm up your Future


3."Firm" up your future.

Assess and mitigate the risks. Risks can only become surprises if you avoid honest self-evaluation up front. Keep in mind that risks can't be mitigated if they're not acknowledged. Do the required legwork to shore up your plans ahead of time.

As you create your future plans, consider both your short-term and long-term goals.

Think about business growth and all the ramifications such as your need for cash or talent to help you grow.

Contact an expert at your local Small Business Development Center (http:www.sba.gov/sbdc) to review your plans with you. Have someone help you with your pro-forma financials to make sure your cash flow will remain adequate to execute your dream.

Bookmark These Websites to do Company Research


Congratulations if you are in the Class of 2009 and have your plans already in place as a new grad!

If plans are not in place for life beyond graduation, all is not lost. However, graduation will be here soon and new grads need to start on an aggressive job search right away.

Whether you are graduating high school, vocational training, career education program or a 2-4 year college, you will enter a very, very tight job market with 7.2% unemployment rate.

Set yourself apart in the job search by improving your ability to research companies.

Recruiters continue to say jobseekers shoot themselves in the foot in the job interview, when it shows that they haven't researched the company.

Start company research this semester by book marking these FREE resources to help you learn more about potential employers.

Yahoo Finance
Hoovers.com
D & B Million Dollar Directory (A free trial gets you information on the top 1800 companies in this list)
Fortune Magazine
Wall Street Journal

Here is what you are looking for when you do your company research:
-Correct name and age of the company
-Product lines and services
-Parent or subsidiary companies
-Financial overview of the company (public, private, stock price etc)
-Competitors
-History (relevant, recent)
-Career paths and related divisions
-Visit their employment page

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Get Your Business Off and Running - Rejuvenate your Affiliations


2. "Rejuvenate" your affiliations.
Your goal is to connect with people who want to support, help and advise you as you work to establish and grow your business. Although you want to affiliate with others who are in similar stages of startup and are trying to build their own businesses, you also want to connect with already successful business owners from whom you can learn.

Find new alliances by joining professional and civic organizations and seek out successful people you want to model.

Locate organizations in your own community where other entrepreneurs get together and support each other--your local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start. These affiliations can not only lead to advice and networking connections, but could be a great source of potential clients.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Get Your Business off and Running - Pump up your attitude


I came across a white paper today - Self-Employment Transitions among Older American Workers with Career Jobs which stated the following:
"Today, the ratio of workers to retirees is about three to one; by 2030, the ratio will be two to one. As fewer workers support a growing retiree population, policymakers may look for ways to encourage individuals to remain in the labor force."

My cynical side said, "So that was the rationale behind the unregulated Wall Street. Could all these portfolio losses be part of the policymakers' plan to keep Baby Boomers working longer?"

The paper addressed Baby Boomers who want to start a business as a way to stay working in retirement. I would share my 10 Tips to Get Your Business Off and Running as published in Entrepreneur.com two years ago. It is a pretty long article so I thought I would break it up into 10 parts.

Many Baby Boomers I know are asking for help to start a business to work in retirement.

Starting a business is very much like running a race: Preparation and practice are key success factors. The following 10 tips, framed in the context of getting physically prepared for a race, might help you overcome the hurdles that entrepreneurs are sure to encounter on the road to startup.

1. "Pump" up your attitude.
Be positive. Think of the optimistic outcomes and find a way to stay focused on your goal of starting a business. Put negative thoughts and self-doubt about your abilities and your potential aside, and surround yourself with energetic and supportive people.

Even without realizing it, you may be dampening your own enthusiasm, procrastinating and eventually sabotaging your own efforts because of your own self-doubts. Stop second-guessing yourself and, at all costs, stay away from negative people who are just waiting for you to trip or fall and watch your start-up fail.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Job Search Resource for Older Baby Boomers, Retirees and Seniors

Alison Doyle who blogs for About.com shared a new resource with her readers today at About.com. The organization is RetiredBrains.com started by Art Koff, a former retiree himself. Koff founded RetiredBrains.com in 2003. He shares tips for Baby Boomers, Retirees and Seniors who are seeking career reentry in a retirement job or possibly.

With shrinking 401K accounts and retirement funds that have evaporated, many workers who were heading for retirement are now being forced to stay in the workplace longer than planned. RetiredBrains.com may provide the help you need to work in retirement.

Why Baby Boomers Have to Work Longer
Why Starting a Business at Retirement Could Be a Bad Idea

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Who is Giving Joe the Plumber Career Advice?


Those of us in the career management business often tell clients in a tight economy that expanding their job options could be a good idea.

I guess that's why Joe the Plumber's career path now has taken him to the Middle East to be a War Correspondent.

We do know that shortly after Joe the Plumber was introduced to the general public by the John McCain campaign, it was disclosed that he really didn’t have a career as a plumber. He was neither licensed to work independently nor to be an apprentice working with a real plumber. Joe the Plumber's gig as campaign sidekick didn't last long enough for him to get a new wardrobe out of it, but long enough to get an agent and a book deal.

"His" book, titled, "Joe the Plumber - Fighting for the American Dream" was published by PearlGate and in the market within weeks. The book’s marketing says readers will "discover the real story that hasn’t been told about his, (Plumber's) infamous rendezvous with (Barack) Obama, the real and personal impact of the illegal invasion of his privacy by Ohio State officials, his eye-opening experience with Governor Sarah Palin, and the tough question he asked John McCain while on his Straight Talk Express".

I thought about purchasing this timely tome, but couldn’t figure out what would be on the other 188 pages. Since he wasn’t a licensed plumber, I figured I couldn’t trust any plumbing advice in the book. The book is currently available on Amazon for $16.47 for anyone interested.

Fast forward to now, a mere 80 days since he first got on the scene and Joe the Plumber is now in Israel as a war correspondent. His reputation clearly preceded him, since he has been shown around the war zone by none other than Danny Seaman, the head of Israel's Government Press Office.

Now, I certainly don't want to speculate about whether or not this new assignment may be Joe the Plumber's career calling. I know many people who have fallen into great, lifelong careers completely by accident or divine intervention. (;>

I do believe, however, that when adults move through so many career roles in less than three months, s/he could possibly benefit from a little bit of career coaching.

What would your advice be?

What Employers Want in New College Grads



CollegeGrad.com shared the results of this year's survey on what employers look at when hiring new college graduates. Read the complete survey here.

-college major (44%)
-interviewing skills (18%)
-internship/experience (17%)
-the college from which the student graduated from (10%)
-other miscellaneous qualifications (5%)
-student's GPA (4%)
-personal appearance (1%)
-computer skills (1%)

Did anything surprise you here?

Aside from having the right college major, employers expressed that it was important for job seekers to set themselves apart from other graduates in the same major.

Steven Jungman, Division Manager for ChaseSource says, "The war for talent still exists, but hiring managers are going to be more picky about who they hire. Anything that a job seeker can do to set themselves apart from the crowd will be a benefit."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Interview Tips From an Interview Expert

Mary Warren from PSI Careers shared some job interview advice with the PROPEL Networking Group in Portland Maine.

PROPEL is a networking group for young professionals sponsored by the Portland Chamber of Commerce.

Warren's piece was a follow up on previous articles offering interview advice. The following job interview tips were offered to help job seekers develop great questions to ask the hiring manager in the job interview.

- Ask why the position is open.
The position could be new and this question will help you find out more about what is expected. If the position is open because it was vacated, ask what the hiring manager would like to see done differently, if anything, from the new hire.

- Ask about objectives and accomplishments expected from this role
- Ask about how performance will be measured once you are hired.
- Ask about the company culture. Of course you should have done your research and already have information on company culture. This might be a good time to get answers about company values which may be important to you.
- Always ask about the next step in the selection process and what to expect next in the job interview process.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Bad Workplace Habit to Nip in the Bud this Year


Like fire on a dry California hillside during the Santa Ana winds, office rumors can spread really quickly.

I just got off the phone with a friend who was a little disgusted by a co-worker who had called her at home - on a Sunday, no less - to share information about what was rumored to take place at the office this next week. I am thinking that my friend's office will be like many others this year, where employment fears and economic anxiety support an active rumor mill.

You have probably already guessed the one bad workplace habit we really should try and nip in the bud this year - Rumor Mongering. You never know, it could be your career that gets burned.

Let's face it, who doesn't enjoy a good water cooler conversation from time to time? It breaks up the day and takes us away from our desks, even for a few minutes. However, when the water cooler conversation moves away from what happened on "The Office", your favorite "Dancing with the Stars" contestant or what “Jack Bauer” will be up to on Fox’s 24, it is time to for you to step away.

I am not suggesting that there is not value in the company rumor mill. On the contrary, it is one way to stay tuned to what is happening in your company, especially in an unstable economy.

However, when the rumors get personal and fellow employees begin to discuss other employees or bosses negatively, it is really time to step away. There are toxic people in organizations who would love nothing more than to drag you into their own web as a partner in crime. You know these people. They are always happy to say what they heard or saw and they are not afraid to drop names about who else knows and what someone else said. They are always happy to be the one who lets you in on the “secret” everyone else knows but you. Make no mistake about it, your name will be the first on his/her lips as they share the story with the next willing listener. They may even embellish what you said or didn’t say.

Here are my five "Be's" for the new year as it relates to workplace rumor mongering:

1. Be careful...about your sources and what you repeat.
2. Be elusive...and avoid being alone with people who always want to snare others into their, "Did you hear about..." trap.
3. Be selective...about what you believe.
4. Be honest...and let people know that you would really prefer to just not talk about other people.
5. Be adept...at changing the conversation.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Be Aware of Work From Home Online Scams


Times are tough and many people are unemployed and looking to find new opportunities. Many anxious people are turning to the internet to help with their job search.

Job seekers using the internet to apply for new positions should be really cautious about applying for work-from-home opportunities. Job seekers should know that hard times do not hinder, but in some cases, encourage those who indulge in fraudulent practices.

MSNBC is reporting that the FBI has seen an increase in the number of complaints from the public about being scammed by websites offering fraudulent "work-from-home" opportunities.

If there is ever a time for the buyer to beware, it would be now. Job seekers are urged to do the necessary research and make sure they are not throwing out their good money after bad.

A few points to keep in mind:
-Beware of websites offering work at home opportunities for a fee.
-Don't just believe the hype you read; research the organization in other places online.
-Check with the Better Business Bureau
-Get personal referrals from others
-If you can't get information without paying, avoid that company
-Make sure the compensation is in line with what salary surveys or the Bureau of Labor Statistics report

Bottom line is - if it seems too good to be true, it probably very well is!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year in 2009 - Year of the Ox

Wishing you and all the people you care about the very best of 2009!
If the card you see below, looks blurry - you may need more coffee!
Happy New Year!