On Careers

September 2009


Chronological vs. Functional Resumes

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Every job hunter knows: If you have gaps in your work history, if you are trying to change careers, if you’ve had too many jobs, or you've got too much experience, all you have to do is organize your resume according to skills rather than dates of employment. This is the “functional,” as opposed to ...

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Why the Little Things Matter in Your Job Search

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I’ve been thinking lately about the nature of candidate mistakes in the hiring process. The fact is, everyone makes mistakes. A single mistake generally says very little about you. It's patterns of mistakes that matter. But when you're on a job search, a small blunder can take on far greater ...

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7 Work 'Gifts' to Accept With Caution

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There are moments in the workplace when what appears to be a gift is more of a grab. Here are some “presents” that merit special caution:

1. Extra responsibility for your team. The superficial side cheers and shouts, “We’ve just been given more power!” The serious side says, “Since we didn’t get ...

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The Best Kind of Job Training

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What do you think is the best approach to training employees? Face-to-face, on the job training, or using a Learning Management System?

Yes.

Aren't I helpful? I love training. That's where my heart is. I also think it's undervalued. Bad training, however, is very bad, and worse than a ...

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What to Do if Your Job Interviewer is Incompetent

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Let’s face it. Not every job interviewer knows how to interview. Folks at smaller companies may not get enough practice. Or, your particular interviewer may simply be inarticulate, inexperienced, or untrained. It happens. For whatever reason, sometimes you’ll need to “run” a job interview.

First,

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How to Listen to New Ideas

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According to actress and comedian Amy Poehler, one of the key lessons of improvisational comedy is the term “Yes, And.” The idea is that the actor accepts whatever comes at him and instead of fighting it, in effect, says “yes” to it. The key, though, is the “and” part, which means you have to come ...

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Why Gimmicks Are No Good In a Job Search

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A very successful sales representative once revealed his secret. He said that he would listen carefully to learn a prospect’s needs and wants. He would then describe the pros, cons, and price of his product. His wrap-up involved asking—and I’m paraphrasing here—if the would-be customer felt the ...

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How to Move Forward With Action or Dream

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When it comes to creating a career that energizes and inspires you, there are two key pieces of the puzzle: You need to dream, and you need to take action.

Think about pursuing your passion for a minute. Which of these feels like your comfort zone? Are you more inclined to sit and dream about what ...

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5 Resume Tips for Job Hoppers

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Here’s a depressing truth: When hiring managers first scan incoming resumes, they're looking for reasons to eliminate them. One major eliminator is job hopping. Yes, employers do still want to see signs of “loyalty,” even if they don’t show much of that in return.

So, if you’ve had multiple ...

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Why It's OK to Practice For Work

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This has always confounded me.

In sports, teams practice daily for the weekly game. Plays are repeated over and over until the players get them right.

Yet, in business settings we forget that it is legal to practice in advance of the important meeting, performance review or job interview. It’s almost ...

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When Sensitivity Training Makes Us Too Sensitive

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Diversity training workshops often emphasize the importance of being sensitive to the subtle messages sent by others. All of those non-verbals and sub-verbals are supposed to be grasped along with the body language and whatever cultural differences that may come into play—lest one wind up on a ...

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How to Make a Bad Job Less Bad

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So many working people out there feel frustrated and stuck in their careers. They feel trapped in jobs that don’t fit, unable to make a change. Eventually, a negative perspective starts to permeate everything.

I see that a lot. By the time people come to me their frustration has often reached a ...

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How to Stay Positive During a Long Job Search

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With a tough summer of job hunting behind you, you may be dreading the prospect of a tough autumn of job hunting ahead of you.

If so, you could not be blamed. It’s hard to keep banging away at something that doesn’t show results. Even worse, the hopelessness, anger, and depression you may be feeling ...

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The School Speech You Didn't Hear From Obama

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Some of you may have heard President Obama's school speech. Others passed. That's OK. It's a free country. But since many of us have very short attention spans, I would like to give you my own school speech--a briefer and blunter version.

As you grow up, remember these things:

1. Politeness means a ...

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How to Give Coworkers Advice Without Annoying Them

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Have you ever looked at another area of your company and thought, "They'd get better results if they did it this way instead?" If so, have you ever been tempted to tell them?

This is a sticky area. Even when your input is fantastic, if you don't present it in the right way, you can make people ...

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21 Ways Coworkers Make Your Job Harder

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Office wars may be waged in indirect ways that allow for deniability. It helps to know the multitude of snares that are out there.

Here are 21 tactics others can easily adopt to make your work life much more difficult:

  1. Agree to your proposal—and then do nothing to help put it into action.
  2. Lose vital ...
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    It's Your Career: Take Control of It

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    Can you tell me what you think of the Strong Interest Inventory [a career test]? This summer I was talking to an acquaintance who recommended Strong to me. ... I respect his opinion personally and professionally. My own "Evil HR Lady" tells me that our company does not have a policy of ...

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    Have You Been Experimenting Enough?

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    If I could share only one word to help you turn your dreams into reality, it would be this:

    Experiment!

    Far too often, people limit themselves with the sense that they have to have it all figured out before they take any action. They need to feel certain that the outcome of whatever they try is ...

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    Should Your Job Hunt Take a Break This Labor Day?

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    So you’ve been looking for a job for what seems like a long time now. And here we are at the end of summer, with a big three-day weekend coming up.

    Do you feel like making it a five-day weekend? Or longer?

    Why not, you may say. No one will be working anyway. I’ll just take a breather and come back,

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    When You Don't Know What You're Good At

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    “But I don’t know what I am really good at yet.”

    If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that, I’d have a big pile of nickels.

    I have a couple of ideas to share with you, if this is how you think—or it's what your own son or daughter says.

    First, so what? Who says you have to know what you are ...

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