On Careers

June 2009


How You Think About Work

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There are plenty of ways to think about work. For many people, it is just something you do to make enough money to have some fun, go fishing, or party-hearty. I understand that.

For others, it's just something you do to make enough money to cover the basic necessities of family life. Nothing more.

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The No. 1 Question Your Resume Should Answer

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The vast majority of resumes I see read like a series of job descriptions, listing duties and responsibilities at each position the job applicant has held. But resumes that stand out do something very different. For each position, they answer the question: What did you accomplish in this job that ...

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Whose Side is HR on, Anyway?

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I received an inaccurate performance appraisal from my incompetent manager and I wrote a detailed response (actually, longer than the original appraisal). I have some questions:

  • Is it likely that the company will change the review rating?
  • How does HR feel about employees who ...

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Why a Career Change Shouldn't Wait for the Recovery

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I recently had a conversation with a woman who was unhappy in her job. As we talked about whether it made sense to think about changing careers, she echoed a common refrain: “I’m just lucky I have a job in this economy.”

Is she fortunate to have a job? Yup. But being lucky to have a job and having ...

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7 Digital Job-Hunting Mistakes

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As if job hunting wasn’t hard enough already, the Internet has added a few new twists to the process. Specifically, there are now more ways to shoot yourself in the foot. Beware of these digital faux pas:

Not having an electronic version of your résumé. Savvy job hunters go a step ...

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In Defense of Bozeman

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There was big news this week out of the city of Bozeman, Mont. Seems that job applicants were asked to supply Bozeman officials with the usernames for their social media accounts, as well as the passwords, as part of the background check process.

Commentators piled on Bozeman city officials,

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How to Build Credibility at Work

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One of the most important types of capital you can build at work is a reputation for being highly credible. It takes time to build it, and you can significantly undermine it through even a single bad move.

Here's how to build unshakable credibility:

Never, ever lie. Never. Not only that, but go one ...

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Obstacles Are Starting Points, Not End Results

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Have you ever run smack into an obstacle--brazenly sitting between you and something you want--and let it stop you in your tracks? Most of us have. Sometimes we even create the story line, that if what we wanted were possible, we would never have encountered that obstacle to begin with.

But here’s ...

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Relax, Job Seeker. Hiring Managers Understand.

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I've been putting together my resume and begun to fill [out] applications. My current job has become way more demanding than was originally explained to me, and my manager has since admitted that she intentionally misrepresented the work load when she hired me. I'm fine with working longer ...

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How The Recession Has Changed Hiring

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I suspect hiring managers everywhere could tell you exactly when the economy really imploded: Last fall, I started to see dramatic differences in the hiring process from the employer's side. Everyone knows how the recession has impacted job seekers--there are fewer jobs and lots more ...

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The Scariest Part of Work

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If the scale is the most frightening element in the doctor’s office, what is its equivalent in the workplace?

Some nominees:

  1. The weekly staff meeting
  2. The annual performance evaluation
  3. The CEO reading a best seller on management
  4. Clearing things with Legal
  5. 360 degree feedback
  6. The cafeteria’s contribution to ...
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    Why Brad Pitt Might Be Working in The Next Cubicle

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    I picked up the morning newspaper yesterday to find out that Brad Pitt is in town!!!! Yes, it was front page news, and everybody was so excited. Except for me. I honestly can't see what the big deal is. In my opinion, he always looks like he could use a shower, a haircut and a shave. I don't think ...

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    How's That Been Working For You?

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    Killer question, that. "How’s that been working for you?"

    When you're talking to someone who searches the big job boards only, and ignores networking opportunities, ask: "How’s that been working for you?"

    When you're with someone who complains endlessly about the job market and the economy, ask:

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    7 Reasons You Won't Want to Manage a Friend

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    One of the toughest challenges a manager can face is also one aspect of the job that, at the start, often seems like it's going to be great--managing a friend. Contrary to what nearly everyone thinks when they’re first considering it, it’s really hard. Indeed, very few people come out of it with ...

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    When Praise is Better Left Un-Given

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    A lack of appreciation is often cited as a reason why people leave organizations. In order to counter that, many organizations encourage supervisors to heap on the praise.

    It is a good example of how the opposite of a poor practice is not always a good practice.

    Handled poorly, praise can be a ...

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    Stop Talking Yourself Out of Change

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    In my work, people typically come to me when the pain of a job that doesn’t fit becomes greater than the discomfort they think they would experience making a change. That reluctance to commit to change has often kept them feeling frustrated and stuck for waaaaay longer than they need to.

    Change can ...

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    Why Your Coworkers Might Not Be the Problem

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    I was sitting at my computer, working. The windows were open and I could hear the neighbors outside. Suddenly, a man's voice started to get louder and louder. I got up angrily to investigate. How inconsiderate could this guy be? It became clear that it was a television, and that made me more ...

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    Are You Looking For a Job Backwards?

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    Too many people run their job hunts backwards.

    Meaning: They spend too much time on the activities that are least likely to land them a job. And not enough time doing the things that are most likely to result in actual employment.

    For example, are you spending your days fine-tuning your cover letter,

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