Read these 21 Career Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Office tips and hundreds of other topics.
"What Are Your Weaknesses?" is a tough question for many job applicants. A good way to field this question is to either give a weakness you no longer have and tell how you overcame it, or name a weakness that is not blatantly negative or can be easily improved. Example: "I tend to be a perfectionist and don't want to let go of a project until I know it's just right."
Interested in adding more impact to your resume? Then cut out the fat! Leave out detailed lists of responsibilities and duties and focus instead on what you accomplished and how you made a difference in your past positions. Use action verbs and keep accomplishment statements sharp and measurable instead of vague and undefined. Examples:
Letters of resignation don't have to be lengthy or detailed. Your objective is to inform your employer in the most professional manner possible that you will be leaving. Let your boss know you have accepted another position, state the last day you are available to work and thank your employer for past experiences.
Terminated workers must come to grips with the loss of their job or risk difficulties in finding future employment (who wants to hire a potential problem?)
In her book "In Search of a Job," Karyn Innis recommends starting with some introspection. Ask yourself:
The answers to these questions are the foundation to all future job search activities.
Your interview is coming to a close and the interviewer asks you if you have any further questions. Your mind goes blank and you freeze. Should you mumble something out just to comply? Absolutely not! It's alright to pass on final questions, if you simply cannot think of anything further you need to ask. Simply say, "No, thank you. You've covered all my concerns."
Asking intelligent, concise questions is a good way to end an interview session. Your questions can deal with the job opening or the company in general. It's a good idea to prepare closing questions ahead of time to avoid last minute “mental block.” Best bet: don't ask questions about perks like vacation and benefits. Instead focus your questions on the job's important duties or when the company expects to make a final hiring decision.
A prospective employer can —and more than likely will— verify your past employment with a background check or pre-employment screening. So, be honest. Never lie about your work history or educational background. It could keep you from getting a job or could be grounds for your immediate dismissal after a job is secured.
Want to advance in your career? Write a career plan. A personal career plan can help you keep your career on track by keeping you focused on your goals and reminding you of your achievements. A plan can also include educational milestones which complement your career path. Take some time every year to reflect on your plan and make adjustments (the new year is a good time for re-analyzing).
One benefit of working with a temporary agency (aka 'temping') is that it allows you to explore a variety of office environments. You can test the 'fit' of working with a large or small staff. You can find out if you prefer working in a service or retail industry, or a manufacturing environment. Explore a variety of jobs and be alert to which tasks and environments make the most sense for you.
Perhaps nothing can be worse during a job interview (or for your career for that matter) than not knowing what you are looking for in a new position. When an interviewer asks what type of job you are looking for, be detailed and specific. Example: "I'm looking for an entry level sales position that will further my abilities and provide room for growth and advancement."
Getting hired for an entry-level office job usually requires these basic clerical skills: keyboarding/typing (aim for at least 35 wpm); proficiency in a word processing program such as Word or WordPerfect; knowledge of basic filing procedures and proficiency in answering business telephones.
Who should you thank during and after your job search? Anyone who has helped you in your endeavors:
ˇcolleagues who give you job leads
ˇmentors who critique your résumé or coach you
ˇpotential employers who take the time to interview you
ˇformer employers who provide letters of references
ˇand anyone else who has made an effort on your behalf
If you are interested in career growth, you'll want to be sure to continue your education. Not sure which skills to acquire or sharpen? Check the classifieds (or other job postings) for the education, skills and experience requirements of the positions you are interested in moving up to. Weekend and evening classes are offered at many local colleges and adult schools.
Before you go to an interview, prepare! Find out all you can about the job and the company. Practice answering standard interview questions such as "What can you contribute to our company?" or "What are your career goals?" and "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" Preparation will help you to handle the interview intelligently and confidently.
Be sure to close your job interview by thanking the person or persons who conducted it. Showing your sincere gratitude (perhaps accompanied by a warm handshake) is not only polite, but it also closes an interview on a positive note. When there are a lot of candidates being considered for a position, small gestures like this may help you stand out from the crowd.
A job proposal is report that describes and details a job that doesn't exist yet. In a nutshell, the proposal includes an introduction stating why this job is needed, followed by a section telling why you are qualified to fill that need, and finally details how much it will cost. (Of course, your actual proposal will cover each of these topics in further detail.) Caution: Be sure your proposal is compete, and has no misspellings, grammatical, or typographical errors.