Job Search Stalled? 5 Ways to Keep Your References From Killing Your Career

You're changing jobs. You know you'll need references for your next career move. You've done a great job so you should not worry about getting a reference – right?

Wrong.

References can sabotage even the most sophisticated, well-executed job search. Sometimes you can lose an opportunity when your reference thinks he's helping you out 100%.

Here are 5 ways to make your references work for you, not against you.

(1) Skip the 'To Whom It May Concern' letters.

Clients often tell me their well-meaning bosses offered to write a 'To Whom It May Concern' letter on your behalf. These letters used to be common 20 or 30 years ago.

Today, corporate employers rarely pay attention to these letters. In fact, often hiring managers will be skeptical about any written correspondence.

Let's face it: employers tend to be conscious of lawsuits. They prefer phone calls that are not recorded. When they need a letter, they supply their own forms and they prefer letters sent directly to them.

You will find exceptions in some industries. For example, university professors and administrators typically submit three letters of reference with each application. Often these references will be delivered directly to the hiring department.

(2) Research the way your present boss answers a request: "Can you supply a reference for John?"

Ask fellow employees about their experiences. You might even get a friend to call on your behalf or hire a reference checking service. Expect surprises.

Some well-meaning managers avoid giving anyone a glowing recommendation. 'Nobody is that great,' they say. 'I want to be honest.'

But of course everyone else exaggerates and your reference's well-intentioned honesty will place you at a disadvantage.

Other references are just clueless. My college 'Nick' genially wanted me to get a great opportunity when he wrote a letter for me. But he added a line suggesting I might be 'something eccentric.' I was applying for administrative positions in universities, which tend to be fairly conservative.

I had no idea what was going on and wondered why I was not getting more invitations to interview. One day an interview committee member asked me, 'What on earth does he mean?'

'We are friends,' I said, truthfully, and reached for the phone.

Nick was completely baffled ('I mean it as a compliment') but he agreed to revise his letters so I would sound like the well qualified, experienced, and highly professional candidate I was.

(2) Before supplying names, obtain permission (and be sure they are still available).

You come to the moment of truth in your job search. Your future boss says, 'I am impressed with what I've seen. May I call a few references? '

To prepare for this moment, get permission to give out names. And take the extra step: Find out what happens next.

Your boss may be required to refer all calls to Human Resources. Or she may be moving to a new career and you are part of the past she wants to forget.

When I taught …

Graphic Designer Jobs – A Great Career

Graphic designer jobs are done by artists who uses art and media to communicate messages for companies and other organizations. Graphic designers use print, the internet, other digital mediums, film and photographs to get their message across. They understand the subtle things in art that make a design project successful.

The typical functions of graphic designer jobs is developing logos, brochures, websites, business cards, magazine advertisements, newspaper advertisements and the general look and feel of an organizations overall design plan.

Graphic designers find out what their client or organization is trying to say and who their target audience is and they are able to effectively communicate that through graphic arts.

Graphic designer jobs require the designer to know how to discern a company’s product or service and their target audience. This is why these jobs require a certain level of professionalism to be able to interact with clients.

In addition, graphic designers need to know how to ask the right questions to get a sense of what the company does and who their target audience is. Additionally, they will typically do their own research into the target audience, target market and the offerings of the company or organization they are doing design work for.

Graphic Design Jobs Require Both Sides of the Brain

Graphic design jobs require a high level of artistic and creative ability, that can go unsaid. However, what most people looking for graphic design jobs may overlook is the need for them to be professional businesspeople. Graphic design jobs are no longer being filled by just artists. Increasingly, designers also need to be experts in the field of advertising, marketing and communications.

In addition, they will also need to be able to communicate technical information in their work. Graphic designers don’t just do art projects. They also have to create layouts for annual reports, financial reports, market reports, business development reports and the like. They need to know how to understand the data, tables and charts they are trying to graphically put on publications so they know how to effectively convert it into a graphic that communicates to people.

Often times, especially financial and other technical data needs to be simplified so that it shows up as a clear graphic. In order to get this accomplished, a graphic designer will need to know how to interact with technical personnel like the finance department or research and development department to convey the message effectively.

Graphic Design Software

Graphic designer jobs require the artist to know how to use the latest graphic design software packages out there. This would most likely include the Adobe suite of products like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Flash, and Adobe Dreamweaver depending on what type of publication they are working on. Graphic designer jobs will often require technical expertise in at least one or more of these graphic design software packages. Classes and degree programs in graphic design of in the use of these graphic design software packages if often offered …

Seven Mistakes New Managers Often Commit

Young professionals exhibit a variety of great traits. They are excited, energetic and generally fearless. These attributes often create a great amount of success for these in-charge individuals. Unfortunately, youth can have its downside. Learn what seven critical mistakes new leaders often commit.

Many business people, fresh out of college or technical schools, believe they are ready for all the challenges involved in a profitable career. They have learned the fundamentals of their fields and believe that is enough. What they fail to realize is that they need to commit to being lifelong learners. Investing in further education will keep them moving up the corporate ladder.

Everyone needs good role models. It is a crucial mistake for young professionals to neglect finding a mentor. These upwardly mobile business persons need the sage advice of seasoned executives to smooth their way. Developing a mentor-mentee relationship provides substance to new careers.

Often gaining a position in a top company causes a person to become complacent. This mistake can halter a professional’s advancement if they neglect to set and work on additional goals from the beginning of their career. He/she must concentrate on what they need to do in the present to make the future incredible.

It is often challenging for anyone to look at themselves critically. Finding weaknesses however, is a necessary trait of any individual embarking on a professional career. Young professionals must determine what they lack and fill in these gaps in order to improve and gain the notice of higher-ups.

Looking out for oneself is, of course, necessary in any career field. What youthful workers sometimes forget is that working with and for the company team is vital. Today’s workplace is all about communal effort. The young professional must embrace group initiatives for continued success.

New persons in various fields can also make the mistake of not acknowledging and supporting diversity in their workplace. There is much these persons can learn from those who come from different backgrounds, cultures and regions. When a business person fails to take advantage of this wealth of knowledge, he commits a grave mistake.

Finally, those who are new to corporate life often tend to make work their whole world. This dedication to business might seem noble, but it is a huge error. Those new to their fields should involve themselves not only with the companies they work for but with their community as a whole. Donating time to serving their area’s needs create caring, compassionate and well-rounded young leaders.

So, involvement with others and commitment to growth are attributes all newly hired professionals should incorporate. Avoiding the common mistakes associated with youth and turning them into positive action lead to meaningful, accomplished careers…

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office 101 – A Book Summary

Dr. Frankel clearly identifies the common mistakes -101 in

all–that women commit unconsciously to sabotage their

careers. This book provides revolutionary guides to help

the women of today eliminate the girl-like behaviors they

became accustomed with, which hold them back professionally.

How You Play the Game

Unfortunately, women are not as trained to participate in

competitive sports. It is only recently that women started

making their marks in this field. Thus, most women do not

know the rules of the game of business. They simply do not

know how to play it–and more importantly, how to win it.

Some of the common mistakes women commit as they play the

game of business are: pretending it isn’t a game; playing

the game safely and within bounds; working hard; doing the

what you want; avoiding office politics; being the

conscience; protecting jerks; holding your tongue;

failing to capitalize on relationships; and, not

understanding the needs of your constituents.

How You Act

Being successful in the world of business is not only

dependent on your knowledge of how to play it. It is also

important to know how to act, professionally. Dr. Frankel

enumerates some unlikely behaviors in the workplace that

can be hard career busters.

These are: polling before making a decision; needing to

be liked; not needing to be liked; not asking questions

for fear of sounding stupid; acting like a man; telling

the whole truth and nothing but the truth (so help you

God); sharing too much personal information; being

overly concerned with offending others; denying the

importance of money; flirting; acquiescing to bullies;

decorating your office like your living room; feeding

others; offering a limp handshake; being financially

insecure; and, helping.

How You Think

Changing the way you think can greatly impact a change

in your career. Note the beliefs and thought patterns

you learn early in girlhood that you need to reconsider

and then eventually forget.

Some of these are: making miracles; taking full

responsibility; obediently following instructions;

viewing men in authority as father figures; limiting

your possibilities; ignoring the quid pro quo (something

that’s exchanged in return for something else); skipping

meetings; putting work ahead of your personal life;

letting people waste your time; prematurely abandoning

your career goals; ignoring the importance of network

relationships; refusing perks; making up negative

stories; and, striving for perfection.

How You Brand and Market Yourself

Marketing oneself is as important as marketing a

specific brand. Think of yourself as a brand that’s

needs to be marketed effectively. Alongside these come

some important points that women need to particularly

remember.

The following are some mistakes to avoid in marketing

yourself: falling to define your brand; minimizing your

work or position; using only your nickname or first name;

waiting to be noticed; refusing high-profile assignments;

being modest; staying in you safety zone; giving away

your ideas; working in stereotypical roles or

departments; ignoring feedback; and, being invisible;

How You Sound

Put special attention to your choice words, tone of voice,

speed of speech …

New Careers in Truck Driving For the Unemployed

Going back to school hoping to learn a new trade, many American’s are turning to truck driving as their unemployment benefits on are the verge of ending after months of disappointing searches for work in their fields. In just a matter of weeks, a person can attend a trucking school, obtain their CDL, and be on their way to making a paycheck in their new career as a truck driver.

There are many schools that offer training in what are classified as recession-proof positions. These include such positions as health care providers and law enforcement officers, but there is another part of the educational industry that has seen a boom in enrollment. Truck driving schools are doing a booming business these days as hopeful Americans sign up to learn a new trade in a short amount of time so that they can again make a living to support their families.

69% of all freight is still moved by trucks and in an industry that has a turnover rate of about 125%. There are always jobs for drivers with experience, a CDL class A license, and a clean MVR. Truckers are always looking for a job that pays better, runs the right freight lanes, has better equipment, or simply… somewhere on the other side of the fence where they hope that the grass is greener. Because of these reasons, there is a high turnover in the trucking industry and a high demand for drivers across the nation.

Experienced drivers have learned that hopping from company to company keeps them out of the better paying companies who are looking for stable and reliable drivers. Not many, however, and that is what keeps the cycle on the move.

Many drivers hope once they get on the road with a little experience that they can own their own truck either through a lease purchase program or by directly buying their own truck and leasing it on to a good paying company.

There are approximately 3 1/2 million truck drivers in the country driving more than 400 billion miles annually. Regardless of whether it is fuel, food, or commodities, it is usually hauled by a truck somewhere along the way. Currently there is a shortage of drivers numbering about 20,000 a year but that shortage is expected to increase to over 100,000 within the next 5 years.

Many new truck driving students are looking to becoming a truck driver for a career change. Some have been laid off after 10, 15, or more years of service to their previous employer and they are looking for a career to support their families that can earn an income sufficient to do so.

There has been an increase in white-collar workers coming into the trucking industry since one draw is a good starting pay in the field. With experience the pay increases but it’s not an easy job. There is more to it than just sitting behind the steering wheel as many drivers soon learn once they start …

6 Reasons To Become a Work At Home Mom and 6 Reasons Not To

Becoming a work at home mom is a difficult decision for any woman. The idea of ​​trying to balance working and caring for children for a stay at home mom, or leaving the work place to work at home for a career mother, can be daunting to say the least. There are many wonderful reasons to do it, but there are also drawbacks to consider. In the end it is a very personal choice as every woman's situation is different. Just to help get you started though, here are some reasons working from home can be great.

1. More time with your children. Undoubtedly one of the main reasons a woman will consider working from home. As a work from home mom, you will have the chance to be part of your child's daily routine. Sitting down for lunch with your toddler, welcoming your child home from school and hearing about their day, helping with homework. It gives you even more time to watch and enjoy as your child learns and grows before your eyes. After all, they only grow up once, right?

2. Earning money. Most likely the other main reason most look at becoming a work at home mother. By working from home you will be bringing in income. In today's economy every penny counts and most families are feeling that. More and more mothers are turning to working from home as a way to keep their family financial in order.

3. You will save money. While most business ventures will have costs of their own, by working at home you save money in a lot of areas. No more daily commute to work means less gas will be needed. Daily child care is no longer needed if the mother will be working with the children at home. Most work at home mothers also find that spend less money on clothes, opting for more casual attire at home and saving traditional work clothing for special occasions such as meetings with potential clients or employers.

4. Gain a sense of control. Many mothers say they tend to feel a loss of control in their household. As a working mother many feel like they lose a lot of control by not being home during the day and not being with their children as much. Stay at home mothers that do not work on the other hand tend to feel like they have no control over the financial situation of the family. Either can be very stressful. By working from home you are free from both of these.

5. Flexible hours. Although the self-employed work at home mom will have more flexible hours than the telecommuting mother, either normally presents more flexible hours than the traditional job. This allows you to choose when you will work, wherever you want to work while your child is at work, before they wake up, or after they fall asleep, or you would rather work in shorter bursts during naps and play dates.

6. Escape

Esthetician Schools – Career Training Options

Career training opportunities are available for those who are looking to pursue an accredited education in skin care. Esthetician training can be completed by enrolling in an accredited vocational school or other training program. Students will have the opportunity to receive the training needed to pursue their desired career in the field of beauty. Training is available for students to become licensed or certified estheticians. Career training options provided by esthetician schools will enable students to learn various techniques and skills to be used in the workforce.

Accredited esthetician training programs can be completed by enrolling in various beauty programs. Students can gain an education in areas that relate to their desired career. Training will prepare student to provide body wraps, salt glows, facials, microdermabrasion, head and neck massages, waxing and many other services. Students can prepare for exciting positions in a variety of places. Employment opportunities are available for students who are looking to work in places like:

  • Spas
  • Dermatology Offices
  • Departments Stores
  • Salons
  • Hospitals

…and many other places. Accredited vocational training will prepare students for the career of their dreams by providing a number of areas to study.

Coursework in esthetician training will allow students to gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their line of work. Additional education may be gained by attending courses in aromatherapy, facial treatments, make-up application, skin analysis, foot reflexology, spa treatments and many other subjects. Training can be more specific for those who choose to earn a higher education. Courses can consist of studying:

  • Laser Hair Removal
  • Laser Skin Resurfacing
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Chemical Peels

…and much more. Training in these areas will give students the means to pursue their desired career in this exciting field.

Gaining an accredited education in esthetics from a vocational school or college can open a world of career opportunities for students interested in the beauty care field. Students can choose to work in a number of areas with an accredited education in this area of the field. Some states may require students to be licensed in order to seek employment, so students should look into requirements prior to enrollment in a vocational school. Licensure can provide proof to employers that the student has gained the education, skills, knowledge, and training needed to enter into the workforce. Licensing information can be obtained from various schools and students can choose to earn a basic or master license.

Accreditation is provided by a number of agencies like the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences ( http://www.naccas.org/ ). These agencies can offer proof to students that the accredited school or college of their choice will provide a quality education. Accreditation is provided to programs that meet certain criteria. Students can receive the esthetician education they desire by enrolling in a fully accredited program. By requesting more information students can begin the enrollment processing by finding the school that meets their individual career goals and needs.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict …

Masters Degree – Good Reasons to Consider an Online Master's Degree

Many people under what has come to be known as a midlife crisis. People reach a certain age and start to take stock of their lives and measure what they have achieved. If you have taken the time to reassess your life and your career and feel that it is time for a change then studying for a Masters degree could be a big help in landing your dream job.

If you want to study for a new career but feel that you do not have the time to go to regular school then it might be worth investigating one of the online master degree programs that are on offer. Whatever kind of graduate study that you undertake, you'll find that education opens a lot of doors that may previously have been closed to you because you did not have the relevant educational qualifications.

An MBA degree, for example, is a great way for people in the business world who want to change their job for a career in business management. If you already have some years experience working in the marketing or finance field then a Masters degree in business administration could be your ticket to a successful career.

If, however, you want a complete career change then you might want to consider studying for a graduate degree in a completely new field. In fact, many people have found their true vocation by studying something that is completely new to them.

Some people are suspicious of online qualifications but if you follow a program that is attached to an accredited university then you really can not go wrong. An advanced degree in business, education, criminal justice and many more can be studied online and this has added advantages for mature students who may have children and other responsibilities that mean they have to keep working while they are studying.

Many online graduate programs have built in facilities for student groups to meet up from time to time. Not only does this help to alleviate the sometimes isolating nature of studying from home, it also gives you a chance to meet others in the same position and to take part in group projects.

Mature students may stand a better chance of completing an online graduate degree because they have already learned the self discipline and time management skills that are necessary to make a success of online studying. If you want to change your career and your life then it is well worth your while to consider applying for an online master's degree. …

Paralegals and Secretaries – An Exploration of Earnings

Income for paralegals and legal assistants varies, depending on education and training, work experience, geographic location, and the employer by size and type. Typically, paralegals working for large metropolitan law firms earn more in salary and benefits.
According to the US Department of Labor in May 2004, "full-time wage and salary paralegals and legal assistants had median annual earnings, including bonuses, of $ 39,130.The middle 50 percent earned between $ 31,040 and $ 49,950. $ 61,390, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $ 25,360. " In addition to their salary, many paralegals receive bonuses. It is unclear whether bonus reporting was included in the statistics; if not, those earnings would rise even higher.

Continuing with the Department of Labor statistics: "Median annual earnings of legal secretaries were $ 36,720 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $ 29,070 and $ 46,390.The lowest 10 percent earned less than $ 23,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $ 56,590. "

Thus, by comparison, paralegals have greater opportunity to earn a higher salary than legal secretaries.

Do legal secretaries earn approximately the same as other types of secretaries? No, it is higher. Referring back to Department of Labor compilations: "Medical secretaries earned a medical annual salary of $ 26,540 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $ 21,980 and $ 32,690. Median annual earnings of secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive, were $ 26,110 in May 2004. "

Let's compare the median annual salies:

Paralegals – $ 31,040 to $ 49,950

Legal Secretaries – $ 29,070 to $ 46,390

Medical Secretaries – $ 21,980 to $ 32,690

Secretaries (Exception Legal, Medical and Executive) – $ 26,110

Which type of position is more attractive based on salary?

It is highly advisable for young people to earn college educations. Competition for jobs is fierce, and particularly with current technological advances, higher education is just plain required to land career jobs. Players in the game of Life who go straight to work rather than the college route, in reality, may wind up with dead-end jobs and victims of the saying, "he worked until the day he died."

With paralegal salaries registering at a higher rung than the other office positions, it is reasonable that legal assistants would more than likely require the most education and training. Employers hiring any of the above positions may consider candidates with general course work, but specialized training would normally be given greater consideration. Specialized training suggests a new hire will pick up the work ball already running. This may also be less cost to the employer during in-house training.

Explore your opportunities for higher education, and consider a career as a paralegal. Salaries are good. The work is interesting. With advancement potential, a paralegal career is an excellent choice. Is it the right one for you? …

Training for a Career in Phlebotomy

The work inside a medical clinic covers a wide breadth of activities. Phlebotomists perform a prominent medical activity that can be learned through a college education. Vocational colleges provide students with the necessary knowledge to work with patients in a clinical setting. Students will find that education is specific and ideally prepares them for the workplace.

Training options available consist of meeting either a certificate or an associate's degree. Inside the health care system phlebotomists work with doctors and other medical personnel by obtaining blood samples from patients. The main form of extraction is using a needle or a finger-prick hemoglobin test. The majority of students work through training programs that last anywhere from three months to two years. Many students choose to earn a certificate if working through an associate's degree program is not an option due to work or other responsibilities.

As a member of the laboratory team students can expect to work closely with other professionals by conducting all of the preparatory steps needed for specimen tests. Education focuses on teaching students about vein anatomy because almost all blood will be obtained through a vein. Coursework also centers on medical procedures and professionalismism within the workplace. Certificate program courses may include:

  • Techniques in Microcollection
  • Specimen Collection Kits
  • Blood Sampling
  • Occupational Safety and Health Standards

Education also focuses on teaching students administrative duties that prepare them to correctly process specimen samples. Students that would like to start out their career with a better job outlook and salary should consider starting education at the associate's degree level. The same basic outline of coursework is completed but students will also take more in depth and general education courses.

Through the study of intrusive blood collecting procedures an associate's degree properly prepares students for every area of ​​the industry. Students can expect to complete a certain amount of clinical hours while in school. Clinical courses take theoretical knowledge and use it inside a doctor's office where students work with patients and medical professionals. Other duties learned inside an associate's degree may include performing glucose tests and processing strep cultures.

Students that want to increase their chances of being hired can become certified. Certification is not required in every state making voluntary certification preferred in the eyes of an employer. Pursuing certification is possible by completing a standard exam given by the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the National Phlebotomy Association , or the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians. All three organizations qualify students for certification, which shows students fully understand all work related material.

Working to become a phlebotomist can be gained through numerous accredited colleges that offer different types of certificate and associate's degree programs. Agencies like the Accreditation Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) are approved to fully accredited quality education programs. Students can begin education by researching different options and finding the program for them. Completing education gives students the knowledge needed to become a member of a laboratory team.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and …