The Practical Gifts That Job Seekers Want To See Under The Tree

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Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the job seeker in your life? Think practical. Whether they are a new graduate who is jumping into the job market for the first time, or a seasoned veteran looking to take the next step in their career, here are some great ideas for practical gifts they can use:

A Stylish New Interview Outfit

A crisp, comfortable professional outfit makes a huge psychological difference in a job interview. When you know you look good, you feel like you can take on the world. With this in mind, give the job seeker in your life either a brand new interview outfit, or a gift card to a their favorite store where they can pick out their own. Accessories like belts, shoes, ties, and scarfs make great gifts as well.

A Gift Card to a Local Dry Cleaner

Job seekers need a clean, wrinkle-free outfit every time they go in for an interview, meaning that they will be making multiple trips to their local dry cleaner during their search. These costs can add up, which is why a gift card to a local dry cleaner will be a welcome gift to them this holiday season.

A High-Quality Haircut from a Salon

Many job seekers would not even think of indulging in a salon-style haircut. While they may be happy with the cost-effective haircuts they get on a regular basis, treating them to a salon-experience haircut of the highest quality is a great gift, and one that will give them the confidence to take on any interview.  Gift cards to places like nail salons and day spas will likely be appreciated as well.

A Handy New Portfolio Bag or Briefcase

Walking into a job interview holding four copies of your printed out resume makes you look unprofessional even before the hiring manager opens their mouth. With this in mind, every candidate needs a professional-looking portfolio bag or briefcase to accompany them to interviews, making it a perfect gift for job seekers.

Don’t Let Halloween Photos Come Back to Haunt You

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Halloween gives us a chance to try on alternate identities and let our inner wild-child out to play. It can be a lot of fun, but with the internet being the place where nothing ever dies, those photos can come back to haunt you in your job search. Even if you think it shouldn’t matter and you wouldn’t want to work for the kind of employer who would care, it’s always best to leave yourself as many options as possible. You can still have fun if you follow a few simple rules about how you share the fun via social media.

Give Some Thought to What You Post Publicly

While it’s okay to wear a funny or potentially controversial political Halloween costume, you should avoid posting pictures of it. Your future hiring manager may not share your sense of humor or political leanings, so it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to broadcasting your costume to the world.

Remember That Friends’ Pictures Can Haunt You Too

Sometimes the scariest photos can be the ones that you didn’t even know existed. While you may have done the smart thing and not post the photos from that crazy Halloween party you went to, it’s safe to assume that someone else did, and they may have tagged you in some of the pictures. Heck, you may not even be in a picture for it to be tagged. With this in mind, make a sweep of your social media platforms to make sure you aren’t attached to anything scary. If you aren’t able to manually untag yourself from a photo, contact the poster to have them do it for you.

Be Ghoulishly Aware Of Who Is Around You in a Group Picture

Maybe the most terrifying of all party photos when it comes to your future job prospects are those that involve a large group. As the saying goes “You will be judged by the company you keep,” and even if you don’t know the people who you are posing with in a photo, you’ll be lumped in with whatever they may be doing in the photo. Even if you are over 21, stay away from photos with people with alcohol, and always be aware of what is going on in the background of a picture. You may be thinking that you are taking an innocent photo with a couple of friends, but the background may make it seem otherwise.

How Giving Back Will Help Move You Forward

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There are many ways to increase your chances for a successful job search, but there are few as rewarding as volunteering. Whether it’s a few days a week or just a few hours on a free Saturday, here are three ways giving back will help you move forward in your job search.

Make Great Connections

Studies have shown that you are up to 7% more likely to get a job when you know someone at the company you are applying to. These numbers skyrocket when you are referred by someone in Management. Volunteering is a great way to both meet people who are already employed, and to interact with local companies that will volunteer as groups. By working hand-in-hand with these individuals in a team environment, you won’t just be able to gain valuable connections for your job search, but they will also get to see you in action. This will make an impression on them that they will remember when it comes time to reach out to them.

Learn New Skills

Hiring managers like to read resumes where a candidate’s skills are shown through tangible experience. Volunteering is a great place to learn new skills that can be added to your resume. Whether you are able to learn a new computer program, or you take the lead on a warehouse project, this type of experience will add to your skill repertoire.

Fill Job Gaps and Beef Up Your Resume

If the work and experience you acquire while volunteering is relevant to the job you are applying for, you should include it on your resume. These additions to your job history can be especially beneficial to those who are currently out of work, as it can fill in what would otherwise be a job gap. Hiring managers want to see that you were being proactive while you were out of work, and a regular volunteering gig shows them that you were active while looking for a new job. Even if you are currently employed, volunteering on the weekend or evenings will make you seem like a more rounded candidate when the time does come to move on with your career.

To Drop Or Not To Drop: Will a Low GPA Ruin Your Job Prospects?

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Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: you start the semester with a packed schedule, get a few subpar grades in one of the classes and then wonder as the last day to drop approaches whether it’s worth it to tough it out and try for a C or cut your losses and drop it. Just what will that C do to your future job prospects? Here are some things to consider when it comes to making this decision.

Your GPA Won’t Be An Issue Over Time, But It May Be Considered When You Initially Graduate

In the long term, most employers won’t be interested in your GPA. Proven skills and experience often trump other factors when it comes to hiring, so your GPA will not be a factor once you have a hearty resume under your belt. If your grades are impressive, then including GPA on your resume can help set you apart and may be used as a tiebreaker. So, if you have an impressive GPA, you should add it to your resume, but if you don’t, most employers won’t ask for it or wonder why you left if off. It’s also possible to be creative about how you present your GPA. Perhaps your Major GPA is higher than your general studies GPA, or perhaps your final year’s GPA is impressive.

Certain Job Sectors Care More About GPA Than Others

A good GPA is never a bad thing to have; there are some job sectors where it may factor more into hiring than others. For instance, a high GPA can be a valuable asset when it comes to breaking into the legal, accounting, or medical field. On the other hand, in job sectors like sales, customer service, and creative arts, your raw talent is bound to get more attention than your grades.

It Could Matter for Graduate School

If you are considering graduate school, GPA may have a greater effect on whether you can get into your target schools. The school you go to may also affect your career prospects, so it’s worth keeping that in mind when considering the impact of tweaking your schedule to achieve the highest possible GPA.

 

Busy Life? How to Gain Job Skills When You Don’t Have a Lot of Free Time

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Thanks to technology and changing market demands, job requirements are evolving at a breakneck pace. The skills that got you a job three years ago may not be enough to get an interview today, so you need to adapt and learn new skills to stay competitive. However, between jobs and family and other commitments, who has the time? Here are three expert tips that will help even the busiest person learn the new skills you need.

Find Online Courses That Can Fit Into Your Schedule

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of websites and online programs that are dedicated to teaching you skills specific for your field. While you may not have four hours at a time to complete a program, you may be able to do it in 20-minute increments. Also, be on the lookout for online colleges that offer classes with downloadable lectures and online testing, as they can not only teach you skills, but also give you written documentation of your achievements.

Make It a Part of Your Current Job

Many companies and bosses encourage learning and personal development because they recognize it makes employees happier as well as more effective and productive. Identify the skills you need, find a class that will help you gain those skills, and determine the time required to complete the class. Then present a plan to your boss for how you can fit that time into your current workload. Chances are, your boss will be thrilled to see you taking the initiative, and if it’s a paid course, they may even pick up the cost.

Prioritize and Calendar Your Key Commitments

There’s a saying that if you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it. Very busy people have very detailed calendars that help them get everything done. A quick look at your personal calendar will show that you do have pockets here and there where you can fit in segments of training. You may find that you have an hour before bed to dedicate to learning, or a few hours on the weekend. Block off these times and find a program that you can fit into it. Don’t try and multitask your training with other items, plan to take that scheduled time to focus on learning.

Going For Gold: How Thinking Like A Superstar Athlete Will Get You The Job

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A world-class athlete will tell you that, when they think of big moments, they visualize winning. Whether it’s inching out the competition for a Gold Medal, or sinking the game-winning shot with one second left on the clock, successful athletes don’t have times for “what ifs” in their outcomes. When it comes to a job search, having the same positive outlook will help you towards success. Don’t worry about “if” you’ll get a job, visualize yourself getting it. This way, you won’t need to worry about the outcome, but rather how you are going to get there. Here are three things to remember when it comes to conducting a job search without worrying about the outcome (because you know you’ll succeed):

Work Backwards: Know Your Goal and Identify Steps That Will Take You There                              

A successful sprinter doesn’t worry about the outcome of a race; they instead focus on the steps that they will take to the top step of the podium. When you are applying for a job, don’t worry about the outcome. Instead identify what you have to do to get there. Working backwards from your goal allows you to work out the steps logically. Start from the last part of the process, accepting a job offer, and look at what goals you have to hit to get there. For example, a job offer comes from a great interview, which you will get by submitting a resume that matches the position, which will be seen if you can work your network to get it to the right people. By the time you lead all the way back to the beginning of your search, you’ll know how to move forwards towards a successful outcome.

Turn a Perceived Weakness Into a Strength

When Kobe Bryant missed a game-winning shot, he would stay long after the rest of the team left the arena to work on that shot.  After losing a race in 2012 by less than .1 second, Michael Phelps changed his training to include high-altitude workouts to help his closing speed.  All athletes have weaknesses, but world-class athletes work to turn their weaknesses into strengths. There are going to be parts of your resume that you may perceive as a weakness. Instead of just hoping you get a job despite them, do something about it. If you don’t have certain skills you see in ads, take an online class to learn them. If you don’t have a lot of experience, take temp jobs to learn on the job. If you feel like something is holding you back, don’t shy away from it, do something about it.

As Long as You Keep It Up, You’ll Succeed

Dan Jansen was considered one of the best speed skaters in the world and was a lock at the 1988 winter games for a medal. He fell in both events. In 1992 he was a gold medal favorite again in his two events. He again failed. In 1994, he finally won gold in his last-ever event. It may have taken him longer than he would have liked, but he achieved his goal. Job searches don’t always go as planned. They have setbacks. They have rough patches. But if you stay positive and keep moving forward, you’ll get there. If you fall down, you’ll come back the next time. If you didn’t get a job, you’ll get the next one. The outcome should never change in your mind, even if you have to adjust the path a little bit.

 

The #1 Key To Ensuring Happiness in a New Job

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The joy you feel when offered a new job can quickly turn to dread when you have to spend another day at a workplace you can’t stand. It can happen to the best of us, but there is something you can do to avoid a bad match.

Most people realize that finding a company that is a good match to their preferred workstyle is important. Roughly 2/3 of all workers (and 80% of millennials) state that company culture is one of the biggest considerations they weigh before accepting a job offer. But, how can you really know if a company is fast paced and energetic or a place where you can feel comfortable working at your own pace? Review sites like Glassdoor can help, but they can’t possibly tell the whole story. You need to dig deeper.

Before You Start, Rank What Is Actually Important To You

Make a list of everything that you are looking for in terms of company culture, and then rank them from most important to least important. Finding a place that has flexible work schedules so that you can pick your children up from school may be very important to you, so much so that you may be able to live without extra vacation or work-from-home opportunities. Making this list will help you weigh different opportunities to see which one best matches your specific cultural needs.

Seek Out the Voices Of Current Employees

One of the best ways to get an idea of company culture is to seek out the voices of current employees who work at a company you are targeting. If you already identified connections to this company to help you when applying, they may also be able to give you a good idea of what the workplace is like or was like when they worked there. During your interview you can also ask for a tour or to meet a few people in the department. That can give you a good idea of things like dress code and you may even be able to get some cards to follow-up to see if you can drill deeper into what working there is like. As a final resort, you can also check for connections or reach out to current employees on LinkedIn.

Let The Company’s Online Presence Paint A Picture

One social post may not give you a clear view of a company’s culture, but looking at a company’s online presence as a whole will. This starts at the official company website, where you can gain valuable information from the “About Us” section, and expands towards social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Ask Questions During Your Initial Phone Screen Or Interview

Take advantage of opportunities to ask questions directly to hiring managers. Whether you are having an initial phone screening or an in person interview, have several pre-determined company culture questions ready to ask. Companies want to hire good cultural fits, so asking questions will show hiring managers that you are interested in making sure that you will thrive in your new job. Make sure the questions are job-specific, and that they reflect well on your drive and potential.