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Career Building and Development, Employement, Job Search Tips

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Advice on Self Improvement

If only self improvement advice were free and scattered around everywhere, then there will be no problem regarding life, happiness and success. But then again, this is life. And it does not work that way.

What would you do if you are trapped in an environment that you do not want to be in? What if you are sick and tired of your job?

What can we do to solve this dilemma?

It is possible to take inspired and motivated action to survive your present situation and live the life you always dreamed of.

It is not that easy though. You will have to come out of your comfort zones to discover potentials and opportunities waiting for you. You have to conquer your fear and take calculated risks. You have to stay focused and persevere despite the difficulties you will encounter.

Success does not come easy. It takes heart, passion and time. Experience is also a factor. The learning you get everybody becomes your foundation. These are the things we do not need to pay for.

You have to work harder, dig deeper, and sacrifice more to attain your ambitions. But no, you do not have to hate the world and feel bad when you encounter difficult situation. Just remember the Law of Attraction. If you hate the world, the world will hate you back.

What can you do? Below are some free advices to help you when facing difficult situations in life. They will also serve as your guide to improve yourself.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Professional Career Myths

Do you think you know how to choose a professional career? Many people think they know the right way to go about picking an occupation, but they often wind up in careers that are unsatisfying.

Here are some myths of professional career choices that can help you make an informed decision.

Myth: Choosing a career is simple

Actually, choosing a career is a complicated process and you should give it the time it deserves.

Professional career planning is a multi-step process that involves learning enough about yourself and the occupations which you are considering in order to make a wise decision.

Myth: Career counselors can tell me what occupation to choose.

Career counselor, or any other career development professional, cannot tell you what career is best for you. They can just provide you with guidance through the career planning process and help facilitate your decision.

Myth: I cannot possibly make a living out of my hobby.

Who told you that? It makes perfect sense to choose an occupation that is related to what you enjoy doing in your spare time. In addition people tend to become very skilled in their hobbies, even though most of the skill is gained informally.

Myth: I should choose a career from a "Best Careers" list.
Every year, there are numerous articles and books that list what "the experts" predict will be "hot jobs."
It will not hurt to look at those lists to see if any of the careers on it appeal to you, but you should not use the list to dictate your choice.

While the predictions are often based on valid data, sometimes things change. Way too often what is hot this year would not turn out to be hot after all.

You need to take into account your interests, values, and skills when choosing an occupation. Just because the outlook for an occupation is good does not mean that occupation is right for you.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How to Land your first Job in the IT Industry?

Tips for getting started on an IT career :

This collection of expert tips is designed to help college graduates and others who are new in this field.

1. As you are entering into the IT career for the first time, it is best to learn your trade. Become the technical expert in an area of interest and excel.

This does not mean keeping your head down just to study the printed circuit-board layout. Attend trade shows and professional associations. Start interacting with customers, vendors and competitors. You are setting up your reputation and knowledge base for a long term career.

2. You are less vulnerable inside an IT career within a medium-size to large company than with an IT career as an independent consultant.

Move your skills up the value chain. Business analysis and business process skills are not good candidates for off shoring.

Grow your state-of-the-art technical skills. J2EE, .Net, the leading portals and business intelligence/analytics skills are hot. Know what is hot.

3. Register with the three highest-traffic job boards, three college job boards and three IT career job boards. Search their job postings and apply to those that are of interest to you and for which you are best qualified.

4. Build personal capability outside of the IT career. If you studied technology in the classroom, learn about business through an internship or entry-level operations position in financial services, insurance or health care.

5. Seek employment with established government contractors that can help you obtain a security clearance is an option for IT professionals.

A clearance can give you access to work on government programs, which have some of the most advanced computer systems in the world and therefore provide access to leading-edge technology and ensuing opportunities.

6. Your chances of getting that IT career you want begins with the introduction. You need to differentiate yourself from the competition by writing a solid cover letter, resume and follow-up communication.

Whenever possible, highlight samples of your work, including any Web site development or networking projects. This will give your employer insight about your professional work habits and your achievements.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Monday, April 24, 2006

Transition from the Finance Sector to Nonprofit Sector

The finance career shift to nonprofit sector

Are you a mid-career finance, real estate or accounting type who suddenly wants more from life than a fat paycheck?

You do not have to leave your profession to change the world. Instead, try the transition to the nonprofit sector.

Any shift to the nonprofit career world means sacrifices, starting with a smaller salary. If you are one of those flexible type, you could adjust easily to the changes that will occur.

Salaries for accountants are 10 to 20 percent lower at nonprofits than at for-profits. The starting salaries are not significantly different, but as you go up to senior accounting levels, the disparities are greater.

The largest and best-known nonprofits are most likely to pay a market rate. While salaries are rarely more than $100,000 at nonprofits, salaries of $60,000 to $80,000 are not unusual for positions where an MBA or CPA is a major plus but not required. The lowest salaries Lieb has seen were in the $45,000 range for accounting professionals with several years of experience.

Why is your motivation for doing it?

Money doesn't motivate some folks. Maybe your family does not need your salary, or you want to give back to an organization that helped a family member.

Whatever your reason, be ready to explain why you are willing to work for less money. If the pay is going to be considerably less, what draws you to that? You have got to think it through.

Making the Cut

Nonprofits are always looking for experienced finance career professionals. They lose a lot of talent to for-profit positions because of salaries. If you have great skills and experience and you want to take a nonprofit position, you definitely have possibilities.

Good candidates have a public-sector background or experience in a service-oriented niche such as law.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Is Medical Career a Good Choice

If you are thinking of getting into a medical career, there are several factors to take into account.

When choosing a field to enter or a job to train for, it is extremely important to look at job and market trends.

You want to make sure you pick a profession that is in high demand. That is because in high-demand professions, it is easier to obtain your first position than it would be in a career field in which there is a much larger pool of candidates competing for a relatively small number of jobs.

Experience becomes less of a priority, although skills, knowledge and training are important. When you select an in-demand career field, it is also easier to move between jobs if you’re not happy, or to obtain a new position if you move.

Above all else, remember that higher demand often translates into increased pay, which is always a bonus.

There are many factors contributing to the positive job outlook for the medical career industry.

There is an aging population, an expanding federal healthcare system and a shortage of trained workers to fill the many medical assistant, medical coding and billing specialist and medical transcriptionist positions that become available every year.

For the last few years, careers in healthcare have been at the top of the fastest-growing occupations lists.

Medical assistants currently tops the list, followed by physician assistants, home health aides, medical records and health information technicians and physical therapist assistants.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, each of these healthcare professions is projected to experience more than 40 percent growth during the next 10 years. That makes medical careers a logical choice for those looking for a rewarding career.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Friday, April 21, 2006

Career Opportunity in Nursing

Although a nursing career is the nation's largest health care field, with 2.7 million registered nurses nationwide, misinformation from news stories and other media at times has ignited public misperceptions about the profession.

If you are planning or considering a career as a registered nurse, you should know these facts:

1. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for registered nurses will grow faster than any other occupation through 2012.

2. Nursing students encompass more than half of all health professions students.

3. Nurses cover the largest single component of hospital staff. They are the primary providers of hospital patient care and deliver most of the nation's long-term care.

4. Most health care services involve some form of care by nurses. Among the 60 percent of all employed RNs work in hospitals, many are employed in a wide range of other settings, including private practices, public health agencies, primary care clinics, home health care, outpatient surgicenters, health maintenance organizations, nursing school-operated nursing centers, insurance and managed care companies, nursing homes, schools, mental health agencies, hospices, the military, and industry.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Searching for your Dream Dareer

Career search is a very stressful and difficult process. This is even made more intense today because so many companies are reducing their workforce. Thus increasing the number of applicants for a shrinking number of jobs.

The competition for available jobs is fierce. Yet, you can beat the competition and actually search and get hired in the career you really want.

Consider these secrets…

1. Discover what you really want out of your work and life.

Discover your true passions, desires, beliefs, and talents so that you can paint a picture of your true work and life goals from your own perspective.

2. Develop and define the job you really want. Design and define the career that will allow you to fulfill your passions, desires, beliefs and maximize your talents.

What you are doing is building your ideal job around what you want as opposed to looking at job opportunities that come along to evaluate. Believe it or not, the career you are searching for actually exists in more than one way and within the personal parameters you set.

3. Find out what companies have positions that meet your ideal position requirements. Look and research all of the possible companies within the geographical area you designated to discover what positions within these companies you would want. Do not worry about whether they have job vacancies or are currently in a hiring mode.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Is finding your dream career a dream ?

Are you still waiting for your dream career to come? How do you find it in the first place? Do you believe that if you wait long enough, sooner or later your dreams of success will come true?

When it comes to your dream career, you are better off spending your time working toward being successful than losing precious moments thinking of ways to find it. Maybe just even waiting for it to happen.

What are the traits of successful people? They have drive and a belief in themselves. They are confident. They seem to have the touch of gold.

Instead of trying to emulate the qualities that made them successful, people sometimes assume that "they must know someone." or, "they were lucky." They forget that these people worked hard to get where they are today.

We did not see they struggle to find that dream career. We just saw the result. But we want what they have, quickly.

Dream careers are not just for the lucky. It is for those who want it and are striving hard to get it. There is no mystery or magic in the process. Follow certain steps and you will be successful.

So how do you find your dream career? Follow these steps.

1. Believe that you will succeed.

Self-belief is such a crucial and sometimes overlooked element. You have to believe that success is within your reach.

If you do not believe it, who will? The persons who make their career dreams come true are those who believe in their goals.
How can you become a believer? Sit down with a piece of paper in front of you. Write your ideal career and life. Create a picture you can look at every day. Does it inspire you? Belief comes from within. You just have to dig it out every once in awhile.

2. Get the facts.

Once you are a believer, back up your beliefs with facts. Find out specifically what steps you need to take to make that picture real. This way, you will be comfortable taking action.

Do you need more training? Do you care about money, or are you more interested in a better quality of life? Write down your questions and get your answers. Then you will be ready to act.

3. Commit to your success.

Successful people say "I will". There is something powerful about making a commitment. First of all, the decision to be successful is made, and the back and forth is done.

Second, you have focus and direction that transforms your outlook and gives you purpose. As human beings we do not always like to make commitments. We feel that we need to keep ourselves open to all opportunities because we are afraid that we may walk away from something better.

Commitment gives you something greater; a reason to get out of bed every day and look for ways to find your dream career.

4. Put a plan in place.

Once you are committed, map out how you will succeed. Use the facts you gathered. Break down your success plan into smaller pieces. Put these smaller pieces into your calendar. Make to-do lists.

Manage your priorities and say yes only to those things that will bring you closer to success. Delegate and eliminate those tasks that take up your time.

Career success comes to those who keep moving. Take small steps every day. These small steps now lead you to finding that dream career in the future.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Career Planning - Part II

3. Reflect on your likes and dislikes, needs and wants

Change is one factor of life. Everybody changes, as do our likes and dislikes. Something we loved doing two years ago may now give us displeasure. So always take time to reflect on the things in your life that you feel most strongly about.

Make a two-column list of your major likes and dislikes. Then use this list to examine your current job and career path. If your job and career still fall mostly in the like column, then you know you are still on the right path; however, if your job activities fall mostly in the dislike column, now is the time to begin examining new jobs and new careers.

Finally, take the time to really think about what it is you want or need from your work, from your career.

Are you looking to make a difference in the world? To be famous? To become financially independent? To effect change? Take the time to understand the motives that drive your sense of success and happiness.

After all this has been done, you will see that the time given on your career planning is a time well spent.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Career Planning - Part I

When was your last career planning session?


Career planning is not an activity that should be done once and then left behind as you move forward in your jobs and careers.

Instead, career planning is an activity that is best done on a regular basis. You may already know that the average worker will change careers many times over his or her lifetime.

That is why, it is never too soon or too late to start your own career planning.

Career planning is not a tedious activity, not something to be dreaded or put off. It should be an activity that should be liberating and fulfilling. There should be goals to achieve in your current career or plans for beginning a transition to a new career.

As a whole, career planning should be a rewarding and positive experience.

Here, then, are some tips to help you achieve successful career planning.

1. Make career planning an annual event.

Many of us have myriad of other things on an annual basis, so why not career planning?

Find a day or weekend once a year and schedule a retreat for yourself. Try to block out all distractions so that you have the time to truly focus on your career -- what you really want out of your career, out of your life.

By making career planning an annual event, you will feel more secure in your career choice and direction. You will be better prepared for the many uncertainties and difficulties that lie ahead in all of our jobs and career.

2. Map your path since last career planning

One of your first activities whenever you take on career planning is spending time mapping out your job and career path since the last time you did any sort of career planning.

While you should not dwell on your past, taking the time to review and reflect on the path will help you plan for the future.

Once you have mapped your past, take the time to reflect on your course. Note why it looks the way it does.

Are you happy with your path? Could you have done things better? What might you have done differently? What can you do differently in the future?

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Monday, April 17, 2006

Career you DREAM about - Part II

4. Look for career opportunities that others have missed.

Life is uncertain. It is unfair most of the time. It can also downright cruel.

It is easy to get depressed and lose heart. Other people seem to be on the fast track into the future, while you are still stuck in a dead-end role with a boss who blocks you from going anywhere.

But there are hidden career opportunities in almost every situation. If the fast track looks inviting, remember that obvious opportunities attract the most competition.

Find a less obvious path where there is no one competing with you.

5. Keep an open mind.

It is easy to buy all the hype that proclaims certain kinds of jobs as the only ones that anyone sees as desirable. But that is simply fashion.

You are looking for your dream job, not whatever the media have decided to push this week.

Focus on what is best for you. And if that is unfashionable or not in vogue today, all the better. Less competition makes landing this job all the more easier.

6. Find a mentor.

This is probably the single most effective action you can take to land that career opportunity. If you can find someone who knows the ropes who will take you under his or her wing, you have suddenly improved your prospects.

A mentor can smooth the way for you, help you avoid the pitfalls and show you how to show yourself to the best advantage. All without exposing you to the kinds of career opportunity risks you might have to face on your own.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Career you DREAM about - Part I

Finding that career opportunity you dream about


How can you increase the chances of finding that career opportunity you have been dreaming of? Here are some practical steps that will send you on your way to achieving them.

1. Look for upgrades.

Upgrades are roles that act as stepping stones towards your dream opportunity. They move you forward. Maybe not all the way but at least to a place that adds something to your career and resume. Think of them as steps on the ladder to success.

2. Keep up your eagerness.

If the right career opportunity comes up, you need to be ready. That means building your resume and polishing your track record to make you the obvious choice.

It also means being on top form, whenever chance hands you the golden ticket. You cannot fake enthusiasm. If your motivation sags, you would not have the "get up and go" again.

You need to keep building yourself into the kind of person who gets that dream job. Read. Train yourself. Focus on the positives. Do whatever it takes to keep your enthusiasm for life on the boil. No one likes depressives.

3. Focus.

The trouble with dreams is that they are fuzzy. That is just fine for day-dreaming, but it would not work to get results in the real world. You need to know exactly what you want and in detail, if you are going to see how to get to it.

A lot of so-called career opportunities are simply fantasies and hallucinations. Even the dreamers do not really believe they will ever turn them into reality.

So if your dream job is not a practical and hard-nosed possibility, set it aside and try a few others on for size. Do not fixate on a single dream until you have proved that it is possible in the real world.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Job Hunting - Part II

Tell friends, family and acquaintances of your career link search. These people can give you the opportunity to get into their businesses when positions come available.

They may also hear of someone who is hiring and keep you updated on opportunities you may not otherwise have heard about. Their personal referral can also make an impression on the employer in your behalf.

Career job links that are not posted.

You do not have to wait for a job to be listed in the paper, or even posted on the company board, to apply for work at a company.

Go through the phone book and make a list of companies you would like to work for. Call and ask if there are any positions available. Ask for the name of the human resources manager or the individual in charge of hiring for the area you are applying to.

Send a resume and direct it to the person in charge of hiring. Write a cover letter that expresses your interest in the company and why you'd like to work for them. Follow up several days later and ask for the individual. Tell them you're checking to see that they received your resume and ask if there are any positions that may become available.

If they are not hiring suggest, check back at another time. Often positions are made available unexpectedly and by keeping in contact, you may be the first person that comes to mind.

Choosing a career link great start, but there is a lot more to do after that. A career action plan is a road map that takes you from choosing an occupation to becoming employed in that occupation to reaching your long-term career goals.

While first hand experience is great, there are other ways to explore an occupation. You can read about it either in print resources or online. You can also interview those working in that field.

This is not a secret. If you are not taking advantage, someone else will. You cannot afford to miss out on making yourself known to employers before the job posting is made public.

Accessing this hidden job market for your career link may open up opportunities you never thought possible.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Job Hunting - Part I

Career link just around the corner

Another morning of job hunting lies ahead of you. You pour a cup of coffee and open the paper to the employment section. With a mixture of anticipation and desperation you pick up a stub of pencil and prepare to target and identify some possible career link opportunities.

After making a few phone calls you try to get into a positive frame of mind. You head out the door, a folder of resumes in one hand and a list of addresses at the next. You will drop off a few resumes and have plans for an interview this afternoon.

Maybe something different will happen today…

Have you been looking for work for too long now? Have you heard of acquaintances laid off from long-term employment only to find four or five months later that they are still unable to find a job?

If you think the only way to find a job is to have connections, you may be partly right.

With such a demand for employment, many jobs never make it to the paper. How can you compete?

Try networking.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Career Tips

Some career information that will come in handy

So you have just graduated with a degree in your chosen field. Your next step would be to get some career information to finally turn those opportunities into reality.

One of the first things you need to decide is what type of job interests you the most. Depending on what your degree is, there might be many positions in your field to consider.

For example, if you are a graduate of nursing, you can work in a hospital, clinic, nursing home, childcare center, school, private practice, or field setting.

Within those settings you can work within various units such as medical-surgical, pediatrics, and maternity. Then there are transitional opportunities.

Let us say you tried your hand at nursing and realized it was not what you expected. You can always consider pharmaceutical sales as a new career. Some fields, such as business management, are even more flexible.

The key is to decide which direction you are headed towards and learn as much about that field as you possible can.

A good way to start is to conduct some independent career information research.

But how do you decide?

You can go to the websites of various companies. Get involved in conversations. Ask lots of questions. Get advice from friends, family members, and neighbors. Ask them what they do and how they got started.

If you are not sure if a particular area of your industry is right for you, call or write professionals already in positions of interest to request an information interview. A career information interview will allow you the opportunity to question some professional about the nature and requirements of a position.

Once you have narrowed it down, have your résumé developed professionally and post it on major job boards to see what contacts can be made.

Join an organization to become acquainted with people in your industry, attend career fairs, become affiliated with recruiters, and research companies online, at the library, and even in the yellow pages to get leads to mail your résumé and cover letter.

Another great way to get started is to temp for a while. If you do decide to temp, be selective. You should only work for the best companies in your field to get the very best experience possible.

It is also a great way to prove yourself as a favorable candidate for a permanent position. Do not temp for too long because it might cause a potential employer to wonder why you have not secured a permanent position for a certain length of time.

If during an interview you are asked why you temped, confidently state that you chose to temp to gain well-rounded experience in your field. Do not apologize for anything.

Keep organized notes and track every move you make. Prepare a list of names, company names, addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, and website addresses.

Keep the list near the phone of every company you sent your résumé and cover letter. That way you will know whom you are speaking with when they call to extend an initial or follow up interview.

This is especially important if you are going on several interviews. If you are not organized, you will get confused and seem unprofessional.

Once you have gotten the business information needed, you will be on your way to launching your career. Let your confidence shine through.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Career Finder Process

To a large extent, moving forward in your career and life is about learning from your experiences and overcoming the obstacles so you can strive to create the future you want.

While these career finder skills are important at any time, they are even more significant in a tight job market.

The good news is you can learn these skills. It is based on the premise that human beings must go through a personal learning or discovery process to create the future they want.

There are four distinct steps in this process of career discovery:

Projecting a vision.

It is often best to start this process with a description of the future you want to create. Something you can picture, like a movie projected on a screen.

It should be very meaningful to you and become a source of energy and commitment. Even if we are not sure what we really want, making our best guess enables us to begin exploring it more.

Refining that vision over time is how we create the future we really want. Without a stake in the ground, you will never get closer to your vision.

Taking action.

Executing a plan is how we move closer to turning our vision into reality. Executing a plan is all about taking specific, concrete steps toward your vision. Good plans are realistic, specific and always focused on moving forward. Since visions are usually longer term and can seem almost too big to achieve, executing a plan enables you to break a long journey into shorter trips.

Experiencing Results

Evaluating results is how you get feedback from the world around you, so you know how close you are to achieving our vision. It is the feeling actors get when the audience applauds or the critics pan their performance.

Evaluating results is sifting through this sea of sensory input to find evidence that your actions are working. Being as objective as possible is important since even bad news can offer tremendous learning and insight.

Reflecting on Lessons

Reflecting on lessons is sometimes the most difficult and essential part of the cycle. It can turn bad news into great insights; about the world and about yourself.

The truth is, as long as you are willing to learn, you can create the future you want. The more clearly you see yourself and the world around you, the sooner you will realize your vision. In fact, the lessons you learn will help you clarify your vision and make it stronger.

You may already do these things to some extent, but most of us are hardwired on one side or another. Ideally, everything should be balanced. Like the tires on your car, the more balanced and fully inflated your cycle, the smoother the ride and the more likely you will get to find the career path where you really want to go.

Keep in mind that people generally take you at your own estimation. If you present yourself as humble, ordinary and nothing special, that is exactly how they will see you.

If you take care to come across as confident, able and do not need any hyped career finder to dictate where the road is heading, then you are one of the few good kinds of person to know, they'll believe that's exactly what you are.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Friday, April 14, 2006

Career Education

If you are considering a new career, there are several career education factors to take into account.

Determine the career that will make you happiest. A career that you enjoy, and that suits your personality and skills, is often the most personally rewarding. Just as important as finding the career field that suits you is making sure there will be a job for you once you complete your training.

When choosing a field to enter or a job to train for, it is extremely important to look at job and market trends. You want to make sure you pick a profession that is in high demand.
In high-demand professions, it is easier to obtain your first position than it would be in a career field in which there is a much larger pool of candidates competing for a relatively small number of jobs.

Experience becomes less of a priority, although education, skills, knowledge and training are important. When you select an in-demand career field, it is also easier to move between jobs if you are not happy.

Above all else, remember that higher demand often translates into increased pay, which is always a bonus.

When doing research on the hottest jobs out there, pay attention to the fine print. In some cases, a “hot” job is one that’s popular with students or potential employees.

In other words, it is the career that everybody wants to be in. Competition for these “hot” jobs is fierce, and the possibilities are limited. Remember, you are looking for a job with a future.
Deciding on a career education is important to you, but that is only the first step.

Whether you are going back to school in order to get the career education you need to advance in your current field or you are interested in switching to a completely different one, picking the right program is crucial.

Evaluate where you are.

Try to evaluate where you are right now. It is important to take note of your own skills, values and interests. Make a list of your hobbies, interests and the different kinds of jobs you’ve done in the past.

Ask yourself if you enjoy working alone or in a team environment and how important that is to you. Decide if you want the variety of working with the public or prefer to deal primarily with other professionals.

Do not let yourself be held back by the skills and positions you have held in the past. There are a lot of opportunities out there for further career education and training, even if you are completely switching directions.

Research schools and programs.

Once you have narrowed down the list of possible careers to a few different options, it is time to begin researching the schools and programs available to you.

For many people, relocation is not the best option when pursuing a career education. Finding out what schools are within your commuting distance, and what programs they offer, is ideal.

Contact the schools for more information. They will be more than willing to talk to you about what they offer.

But remember, there is no need to restrict yourself to considering only local schools.

Now that you have decided to increase your career education, you have already made the most important decision of your life.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

6 Stages of Career Development

What stage are you in your career development?

1. Assessment
2. Investigation
3. Preparation
4. Commitment
5. Retention
6. Transition

These are the six stages of modern career development. Learning the characteristics of each stage will enable you to navigate through each stage easily and with more confidence.

1. Assessment stage

In this stage, you are getting ready for your life's work. This career development stage is also characterized by unawareness. You are not sure what your values, strengths, and weaknesses are.

You start to feel as though you want to know more about yourself and make a conscious effort to get in touch with who you really are.

Career development key characteristics: Taking assessment instruments and working with a career counselor or career coach.

2. Investigation career development stage

You are researching what work exists in the world. This development stage in your career is characterized by feelings of confusion, in that you are not sure what career options exist for you.

You may feel overwhelmed with all of the jobs and opportunities that exist as you begin the process of researching the modern world of work. But if you approach this stage with a positive frame of mind, you will find that you will learn about many possibilities you may have never considered.

Career development key characteristics: Researching the world of work. Conducting informational interviews with people in your chosen field

3. Preparation career development stage

You are still getting ready to do your life's work. Here exists feelings of excitement, as you think of how wonderful it will be to perform meaningful work.

However, there is still much work to be done, and to be successful, you have to prepare.

Career development key characteristics: Gaining knowledge and experience. Setting goals and adopting a success-oriented mind-set.

4. Commitment Stage

You will feel confident that you have figured out what you are meant to do. Sometimes people have known all along what they were meant to do but could not commit to the process of making it happen, for whatever reason. At this stage, more than ever, you must focus your energy and keep your eye on the target.

Career development key characteristics: Conducting a job search. Negotiating and accepting a job offer .

5. Retention Stage

You will feel comfortable in your career field, as you will now have figured out how things work in your industry. You will want to remain committed to your career by continually updating your skill set and staying current with industry standards.

Career development key characteristics: Providing first-class customer-service skills. Building a professional network

6. Transition Stage

Is characterized by feelings of discomfort in that you are unsure of what you will be doing next (and/or if you will be happy). In this stage, you will learn to make conscious changes in your career direction.

No matter what career stage you find yourself in now, you can be sure that you will enter and re-enter through these six stages many times throughout your lifetime.

Career development key characteristics: Making career changes. Developing resiliency

No matter what career development stage you are into right now, you can be sure that you will enter and re-enter through those six stages many times throughout your lifetime. It may not be immediately after one stage. It will all depend on how you are going about your career development.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Is career cruising too frightening for you? Part II

2. Test yourself

Does your personality match your job? If you thrive on stress, then a high-pressure job is just right for you.

What if the demands of your job are at odds with your personality? If you are in the middle of a job search right now, remember to look beyond the job title.

Find out how the job is really done; the work environment, the hours, the stress level, before making any move. If the job involves travel, ask yourself how that would fit into your lifestyle.

3. Think creatively

After many years of staying with the same company, majority of workers are realizing that work was taking over their entire life.
There began a job search outside the company only to find lower pay, fewer benefits, and even more demanding jobs. These employees know that leaving the company would not be worth it.
But what if they are unhappy with their job?

An idea worth taking is try to search for careers online. Any job that looks interesting deserves a second glance. Then try to put those ideas together with your own skills and experience to create new job possibilities.

4. Survey your career personality

What if you know what kind of job you want but cannot find anyone to pay you for it? Maybe you should think about consulting.

5. Hire a coach.

If you are more than willing to pay for it, a career coach offers personalized help. The coach will guide and lead you in the right career direction.

Some of the tips discussed above will probably appear to be too daunting for you. That is expected. Try to get the help of another person to discuss all of the above steps and to map out the best strategy to get your ideal job.

This person should be a trusted and strong supporter of your goal, as well as someone who will offer you another perspective to assist in the execution of your plan. Nothing like someone who will always be there as you go about career cruising.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Is career cruising too frightening for you? Part I

Imagine this career cruising scenario: You are dedicated to your career. You always give 110 percent. You work long hours, make countless sacrifices for the job and earn good money.

What about the rest of your life? Are you working so much that you do not have a life anymore?

Giving the same energy to both your work and personal life is a tough balancing act. You can achieve balance if you know which questions to ask and where to go for answers but you need a plan.

To be able to cruise smoothly in your career and personal life, you have to:

Adjust your perspective. Remember that is just a job. Achieving success in your career enables you to live your life to the fullest, not the other way around.

Doing a good job at work while creating a valuable life outside work is worth the effort.

Here are some tips for balancing the career and life scales:

1. Set Priorities

Ask yourself some tough questions: What is most important to me; family, friends, work, or myself? What am I good at? Am I career cruising in the right direction? Is my job helping me reach my goals in life?

If you discover that your priorities are out of focus, then it is time to bring them back into alignment. Take an inventory of your life.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Get more out of your Career Counseling

Getting ready for a career counseling session is no different from preparing for an interview. In order for you to get the most you can out of career counseling, you need to bring the best of yourself to it.

While you may be hoping to get some direction in choosing a career or the next step on your path, you need to start thinking ahead about the things you want out of your life, and also the things you do not from it.

Those are big questions that you want answered in your career counseling session. Do not be surprised by the counselor telling you that they cannot answer those questions for you. In fact, they really cannot.

Their job is to help you identify your own interests, skills, strengths, and weaknesses, so that you can make good choices for yourself. To prepare to get this help, try preparing for your session like this:

Grab a piece of paper. Make a list of your strengths. These do not have to be professional or academic strengths, but things that you consider to be the best parts of yourself, from which you can draw skills to transfer into a workplace setting.

This will tell your counselor that you have untapped project management skills.

Next, make a list of things you would like to improve about yourself. These are not items that you would necessarily mention in a job interview. The true issues that you would want to work on before you bring them into the workplace.

This statement may tell your counselor that you need to strengthen your communications skills.

After this, do some brainstorming. For about ten minutes, write down questions you would want to ask an employer, about what their expectations are for their employees, and write down what your expectations are for your employer and your career.

Again, forget about job interview protocol. Just write down your candid thoughts.

Finally, open your mind. Your counselor is going to look at your history, and listen to what you say to help them decide how to guide you.

They may ask you to participate in exercises that you do not expect. Or to answer questions that reflect you in a negative light. Do not be offended. You need to be able to work on your weak areas in order to become stronger.

Some exercises you may be asked to do in a career counseling session are:

Assessment testing.

You may take tests that ask how you would respond to or perform in certain work settings, or with certain people. These tests also ask about your interests that may seem unrelated to work, but help to build a complete profile of your personality.

Mock interview.

You will sit with a staff member to answer typical interview questions. This will assess your interview skills, and also highlight areas of concern for you that you may not even know about.

Information session.

You could be sent to meet with employers to ask about their company, typical workdays, and expectations. You can make impressions without pressure, and possibly find a mentor.

By taking the process seriously and responding with energy to these activities, you can become more confident, and able to get what you expected. You will be able to get more out of your career counseling.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Are you facing that career change plunge? Part II

4. Training and education.

You may find it necessary to update your skills and broaden your knowledge. Take it slowly.

If the skill you need to learn is one you could use in your current job, see if your current employer would be willing to pick up the tab. Take a course or two to ensure you really like the subject matter.

If you are going for a new degree or certification, make sure you check the accreditation of the school. Get some information about placement successes.

5. Networking.

One of the real keys to successfully changing careers will be your networking ability. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network.

Even if you do not think you already have a network, you probably do. Consider colleagues, friends, and family members.

You can also broaden your network through joining professional organizations in your new field and contacting alumni from your college who are working in the field you want to enter. A key tool of networking is conducting informational interviews.

6. Be Flexible. You will need to be flexible about nearly everything, from your employment status to relocation and salary.

Set positive goals for yourself, but expect setbacks and change. Do not let these things get you down. Besides totally new careers, you might also consider a lateral move that could serve as a springboard for a bigger career change.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Are you facing that career change plunge? Part I

Are you facing that career change plunge?


Do you wish you were? Take it slowly and make sure what you really want to do is change careers.

Remember that career change is a natural life progression. Most studies show that the average job seeker will change careers several times over the course of his or her lifetime.

Use this 6-step plan. This will ensure that you will be on the right footing and on a path toward career change success.

1. Assessment of Likes and Dislikes.

A lot of people change careers because they dislike their job, their boss, their company and so forth. Identifying the dislikes is often the easier part of this step.

You will not know what direction to change your career unless you examine your likes. What do you really like doing when you are working, when you are at home and in your spare time? What excites you and energizes you? What is your passion?

If you are still unsure, consider taking one of more of those career assessments. The key is spending some time rediscovering yourself and using your self-assessment to direct your new career search.

2. Researching new careers.

Once you have discovered your passion, spend some time researching the types of careers that center on your passions. Do not worry if you are feeling a bit unsure or insecure; it is a natural part of the career change process.

How much research you do also partly depends on how much of a change you want.

3. Transferable skills.

Leverage some of your current skills and experiences to your new career. There are many skills that are transferable and applicable to what you want to do in your new career. You may be surprised to see that you already have a solid amount of experience needed for your new career.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Weekly Schedule For Career Builders - Part II

Wednesday:

Follow up on the leads from your networking that is not among the 25 employers you have targeted. Deliver your 30-second pitch enthusiastically.
After that, listen more than talk. Ask questions about the employer's needs. If you have an idea, propose it tactfully.

Apply for any on-target jobs. Start your cover letter by mentioning your referrer, if any. Then explain, point by point, how you meet the requirements in the listing. Your goal is to apply for 10 openly advertised on-target jobs by the end of the week.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday:

If there are no jobs to apply for on those 25 employers' Web sites, try career builders.com. Or you can send the CEO a brief email marketing yourself.

If, within a week, you have not heard from the people you have contacted, follow up.

Leave voice mail if necessary. A minute recording from you is a great relief from the usual things and sometime impossible schedule and location that we have.

If you do not really hear response of some, back from most people you contact,
But you'll get at least one bite, most likely from an employer who has been thinking about hiring but has not gotten around to it yet.

Sometimes, an employer will find it easier to vet you, make you an offer and be done with it. If that's the case, the time and effort you will have invested in your one-week job search will have paid big dividends.

Career builder.com offers these tips and more to help those who need these things the most. There you can find the answers to some of your career question that is bothering them for sometime now.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Weekly Schedule For Career Builders - Part I

Career builders.com or nothing at all


Want to find your next job in just one week? If you are willing to plow through the most unpleasant job search tasks in that time, you will be more likely to. With the many career builders.com sites now catering to that need, nothing is impossible.

An added advantage is that you will maximize your chances of getting multiple offers at once, so you will be able to pick the job that offers the best combination of interesting work, sound learning opportunities, reasonable compensation and a good manager.

Here is your make believe career builders.com schedule.

Monday:

Write your resume: Incorporate two or three brief stories, problem you faced, the intelligent way you approached it and its positive resolution. Get feedback on the draft from people you know in your target field.

Craft your elevator pitches: Each one must explain why you're looking for a job, what you are looking for and prove that you are good. In the 30 and 60-second pitches, say more about the kind of job you want and provide credible evidence of your competence.

Tuesday:

Identify 25 employers you'd like to work for: Focus on small, growing companies in your target industry within a reasonable commuting distance.
Look on major employment sites like career builders.com you might never heard of with multiple job listings. These are usually small companies in growth mode.

Email or phone the 25 people in your network most likely to help you get a job: Give your 10 or 30-second pitch and ask. If appropriate, ask if your contact would review your resume and cover letter or do a mock interview with you.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Career Center : What is it you’re GOOD at ? Part II

How do you know if what you are focusing now is your career center?

There are a number of skills inventory instruments that can help sort out issues that are not easily articulated. There are things called psychological profiles or tests that can help in assessing one's likes and dislikes about work.

Part of the career center test is to answer questions. The answer that the individual will give is enough to determine what he is interested the most.

Do you like to work with numbers?

A shy person may not want to go into marketing, even if it paid well. Someone strong with numbers may consider accounting or statistics. In addition to strengths and weaknesses, the results also point to careers that best utilize the profile of the individual.

Then, it is up to the individual to investigate these career centers to see if, in fact, they would like to pursue them further.

The main thing to consider in any of these tests is the mental state of the person taking the tests. That is, it is best to be neutral or in fairly good spirits.

A bad day or anything that affects attitude in a negative way could easily influence the individual to answer questions incorrectly and the results will then be inaccurate.

As a rule, it is good to take these tests every five years or so to see if your feelings are still the same. What you want now may not be the same thing you want a year from now.

We all change based on new experiences or new knowledge, and this could affect where one wants to go from that point on.
Do not stick with something you liked in the beginning but now feel some uncertainty. Psychologists say the average person will change career centers five times or more in their lifetime. The days of doing the same job for 40 years are gone.

You and you alone are the only captain of your professional career life. Sometimes the journey will be easy coasting, while other times it will be an uphill bumpy trek.

Either way, it is up to you to shift your professional life in gear and create the career center of your dreams.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Career Center : What is it you’re GOOD at ? Part I

A lot of people never thought about a career center. They just went from one job to another. The one that they liked, they kept doing longer than the others.

Some go to college or get job training and that helps point us in a direction, though that may not be the career center they really want to go.

Sometimes, career counseling is needed more by those people who already have degrees and have just recently entered the workforce or may have been working for a few years. What do they need one? None of them liked their jobs.

Used to be that parents and school counselors thought more of the money-making potential of a job than whether it was something kids wanted to do for a living.

For example, there were home videos showing the natural talent some of these kids had, which lead their parents to enroll them in clubs and schools with aspirations of making a future Olympic team. The net result? The kids did not want to do this. They were miserable. And this was after a lot of time and money was invested.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Career Builder and Breaker - Part II

Career builder: Good communication skills.
Career breaker: Failing to communicate.
The most effective professionals spend 80% of their time listening and only 20% of their time talking. They then spend 80% of their talking time asking questions. How does your communication ratio stack up to this standard?

Career builder: Long term concepts.
Career breaker: Short-Sightedness.
Approach your problems and decisions with a long-term view in mind. Ask how what you do today will affect the organization 2 years, 5 years and 10 years from now. While this does not mean every decision you make will have that kind of impact far in the future, however it is a good way to verify your thinking.

Career builder: A stable and organized record.
Career breaker: Not keeping good records.
Are you using a good contact management tool? If not consider starting today. A contact management tool will keep important information about peers, customers, and clients in one easy to access place.

Career builder: Continuous growth and development.
Career breaker: Stunted growth; a quitter.
Become a better person and reach higher levels of success by continuing to feed your mind.

Career builder: Keeping a fair share of the workload.
Career breaker: Not delegating some of your workload.
Today almost everyone is doing the job that just a few years ago were done by as many as two people or more. If you do not delegate a portion of your work to others that are capable of doing the job, you can become overloaded and perhaps all of your other work will suffer.

Take a look at your current workload and see what you can pass on to someone else. Do not forget to give credit to the person you delegated the job to.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Career Builder and Breaker - Part I

Career builder and breaker

It is true that professionals are constantly looking for ways career builders to continuously improve in their chosen field. It is also true that they are also on the look out for those career “breakers”.

Read on and see if any of these behaviors are impacting your career in a negative way.

Today, everyone is looking for the secret to career builder success. Professionals read books, take training classes, ask questions, study others that are successful and strive to outperform themselves.

However, some behavior patterns can develop into bad habits and cause even the most seasoned and professional person to self-destruct.

Let us take a look at some common behaviors that can stop your career on its track. As you read these 9 behaviors you may recognize some areas you will want to change to keep your career and your career builder on course.

The following are some career builders and their opposite career breakers:

Career builder: Confidence.
Career breaker: Over Confidence:
While you need a healthy dose of self-confidence to carry you through those tough times you also need to keep your confidence and ego in balance.

Keeping your ego in check will prevent you from thinking you are more important than those around you and missing out on their good ideas and solutions.

Career builder: Time well spent.
Career breaker: Time abuse.
You only have 24 hours a day. Use each one of them wisely. Guard against intruders such as non-important phone calls, emails and messages that do not specifically relate to your job. Also make sure you save some time for personal development and pleasures.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Career assessments are not predictions

What do you want be when you grow up? If you are trying to figure that out, you are probably considering taking some career assessment tests.

It is indeed a great idea. Be careful, though. Used wisely, career assessments can help you get a better sense of the types of jobs and activities that might be a good fit for you.

However, people who take career assessment tests misunderstand them, misuse them or mistake them for being more than they really are.

Career assessments are not tests at all.

The word "test" implies right or wrong answers. Most career assessments do not have right and wrong answers. Whatever career assessments you choose to pursue, know that your goal is not to be right but to be accurate and true to yourself.

Career assessments do not tell, they suggest.

No matter which career test you take, its purpose is not to tell you a specific career to pursue. No tool is that powerful.

All a career assessment can do is suggest ideas about careers you might want to explore in more depth.

Think about it this way: If any career test
could accurately tell you which occupation to go into, why isn’t everyone be taking it?
“Garbage in equals garbage out”.

A career test's results will only be as good as the information you put in through your responses. So be honest.

Respond in terms of the way you actually are, not the way you hope to be or wish you could be. And make sure the responses are yours, not those of someone else in your life.

Consider your results with a very open mind.

Some career assessments offer a list of potential careers that might be a good match for you in their results. Do not make these tragic mistakes. Thoroughly explore all the occupational suggestions that show up in your test results, not just the ones you are familiar with.

Beware of junk.

There are many career "tests" available online. Some of these tools are quite reliable and valid, but many are not.

Explore career assessments with a dose of skepticism and be a smart consumer. Has the test you are about to take, and perhaps pay good money for, been well-researched so it accurately measures what it claims to measure?

Do not get test-happy.

You can easily convince yourself that you are doing something about your career concerns by completing a whole bunch of career assessments.

But it is easy to fall into the trap of doing so much testing that you are not taking any other constructive action on your career: The paralysis-by-analysis quandary.

Go easy on the number of tests you complete; there are lots of other things you can and should also be doing to explore your career options, like informational interviews or reading books about a field of potential interest.

Career assessments have helped many thousands of people get a better sense of where they might fit in the world of work.

But thousands of other people who have taken these same tests would have been much better off not using them at all. It will all depend on the person taking them.

It is better to be confident. Confident both in the career assessment tests you take and in how you interpret and use the results.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Your true business career objectives

Countless professionals are yearning for a more fulfilling business career that can give them both personal and professional satisfaction. Who can blame them?

They want the freedom to design the career of their dreams and the self-reliance to trust that they have made the right decision.

Think back for a moment to your first bicycle experience. Who taught you how to ride? What lessons did you learn? Are you the same now as you were when you were a little girl or boy?

When we look back at the many ways our bicycle experiences have impacted our lives, we gain a better understanding of how to recapture those childhood feelings of independence, adventure, and joy.

We learn how to maneuver though our business career journey. We are able to enjoy this ride we call life. The following suggestions will help you regain your sense of balance so you can grow to reach your true business career objectives.

Safely navigate work's obstacles and challenges.

In order to excel professionally, you need the ability to learn from any past mistakes rather than dwell on them. While learning lessons only through positive experiences would be terrific, life is not like that for a good reason.

Our negative experiences teach us how to use failure as a learning tool. In fact, we would not be who we are if we did not have both the unique good and bad lessons that taught us what we needed to know.

The truth is that the only wrong mistake is one we do not learn from. Another key to mastering the ride of life is to understand that when things go wrong, we have a choice.

We can be our own worst enemy or we can be our own best friends. We can criticize ourselves and curse our own bad luck, or we can coach ourselves, extract value from what we learned, and focus on how we can handle that situation better in the future.
The next time something devastating happens to you, whether it is a layoff or a failed project, remember that there are lessons to be learned.

Take the direct route.

Many people are so confused at work that they do not know what is expected of them anymore. They cannot get honest feedback from colleagues or managers, and they question whether or not their work is up to company standards.

It is during these times that people need to use straight talk to build rapport with others and solve issues.

Straight talk means being able to communicate openly and honestly without alienation or hurt feelings. When you use straight talk, you are being direct and truthful, and this makes you feel self-confident and enables you to gain the respect and mutual feedback you deserve.

Encourage straight talk in your office by thinking about what you really want to say, writing it down, and practicing it. The more you use it, the more comfortable you will feel and the more your colleagues will follow your lead.

In order to continually improve and grow your business career, being direct and opening the lines of communication will be a step in the right direction.

Business career success has nothing to do with your financial success or your position title. It is about the sense of accomplishment you feel at the end of your day and the enthusiasm you have about your work.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Third Step in Buiding a Business

Human Resources Management

Do not make the mistake of considering employees as expenses rather than assets.

A manager whose mindset is on reducing the workforce to eliminate expenses, will only result in fear and resent among workers. Certainly no one wants to be over-staffed, but ensuring training on a continual basis, safety programs and giving successful employees more benefits will result in happy and efficient “assets”.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Second Step in Building a Business

Accounting procedures.

After a sales agreement is made, one other thing that is equally important is collecting the money from the sales. In order to manage your cashflow, you should have strict procedures for;

1. Accounts payable,
2. Expenses and accounts receivable

Neglecting these will result an otherwise profitable company to go into bankruptcy due to insufficient cash reserves. You should have regular weekly and monthly meetings to align the efforts of accounting and marketing groups. Tension between marketing and accounting is a common bureaucratic happening; so don’t be surprised.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

First Step in Building a Business

Marketing Plan
Whether your company is in the service or manufacturing sector, sales is and should be the central part of it. In order to guide the sales department, you should have developed a marketing plan.

1. Short term and longer-term analysis
2. Competition analysis
3. Market potential and sales projections.

Do not to fall into the trap of letting things take care of itself.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

FOCUS

How to Build Your Business By Focusing

Staying focussed is the most important aspect of building a business.

You must have a detailed business plan explaining the overall goal of the company. You will need this plan when you apply to your bank before start-up.

Business plan will help you focus while the company grows.
A good business plan should contain :

1. Marketing plan.
2. Accounting procedures
3. Human resources Management Plan

More to come on particulars of each step

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

Monday, April 10, 2006

What makes a winner ?

It is the relentless work !

How many times have you come up with a good idea but failed to work on it? I guess many.

Winners have the discipline to set goals, prepare plans to achieve it and most importantly do work to achieve the goals.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

First Post

Hi

This is my first post, I hope it goes through.

I will mention about my business experience and also post summaries of business books that I have read recently.

Gain an Unfair Advantage in Career Development using the tips in this Interview Guide

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