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Resource: Career Advice
5 Things That Weaken a Job Search
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's nearly impossible to conduct a perfect job search. You will make mistakes along the way, and most are easy to recover from as long as you learn from them. The job searching process is just that, a process, and improving as you go on is a part of that.

It's definitely a bad sign when you're not seeing results from your efforts, or even worse that you're making the same mistakes more often. Many of these common simple mistakes are easy to fixed when caught. The best way to catch yourself from tripping is with a careful eye and a conscious mind.

Here are some mistakes that yours may be overlooking:

1) Unpreparedness

Showing up to an interview unprepared is like wearing a name tag that says, "Hello, I'm NEW." It becomes obvious that you're not used to the interview protocol. Granted, not everyone has been to enough interviews to become an expert interviewee. All the same, one should always know what their expectations are especially if it could make or break your career.

2) Negative comments

Whether in a cover letter or during an interview, never express hard feelings toward anyone from your professional past. The second you do you can kiss your professional future go goodbye. Remember that everyone goes through hardships at one point or another in their career, but the real test is how you tackle those challenges. Negative comments can sound like bitterness or excuses to a potential employer. Instead, show them how you learned and grew from those tough experiences.

3) Not following directions

When things seem easily doable, people can often ignore the directions with the notion that they already know exactly what to do. The problem is, they don't. Many employers will provide directions on their way of taking applications and for obtaining certain requested information. Failing to obide by specific directions is an quick way to get eliminated as a candidate since potential employers will look for this first. They are checking to make sure that you are thorough and read the fine print. There's nothing worse than making a mistake that is easily preventable.

4) Limiting your resources

Job openings are not only posted online or in the classifieds. You can find them through social media as well as at job fairs. One way that you can find jobs that aren't posted is by creating a list of companies you want to apply to and find out who some of the people are who work there that may be able to help you. These people would include managers, human resources, and recruiters. Since the jobs are going to find you, you have to go out there and find them.

5) Not being social enough on

This pertains to being social on social media sites. No longer can a person get by with having just a Facebook profile and consider that as presence enough. You not only have to be active on your profiles but also have several on different platforms such as Google+ and Twitter, and LinkedIn. Those are just the major ones but by no means should you feel limited to them. Check out sites like where you can customize your profile to serve as somewhat of an interactive business card. This is a fun way to make an impression and also gain some recognition in the social media space.

Volunteer Your Way to a New Career
Monday, August 06, 2012

You might think that because you weren't paid to do volunteer work that it doesn't count as a real job therefore shouldn't be included on a resume. That's a myth.

Volunteer opportunities allow you to gain some hands-on experience working in a particular field that may be relevent to your career aspiritions. Anything relevant to a postion that you're applying for should always be included to your resume to show how much you know about fulfilling the required duties, especially volunteer work.

The very act of volunteering shows that you're not just in it for the money. Hiring managers will see that you actually enjoy doing your work and have a genuine interest in pursuing it. Volunteering also has its benefits in that you can meet other people who share the same interests and build your network. See how you can make your next career move by doing some good in your community.

1) Pick the right places.

Not every charity or organization openly accepts anyone and everyone who says they want to volunteer. In fact, volunteers will need training and supervising which takes up resources. Many places simply don't have the time, money and space to take on volunteers but there are also many that can which you can easily look into.

2) Consider your time commitment.

You might think that you're ready to devote a huge chunk of time to your volunteer work, but realistically, are you? It looks really bad when you make a commitment to an organization that you are not able to ultimately keep. People will see you as unreliable. Part of the benefit of having volunteer work integrated into your resume is to potentially have someone there that you can use as a professional reference. But if they see you as unreliable you can forget it. Know what's doable, start small and then work your way up.

3) Make your motive known.

Let the organization know why you're volunteering from the get-go. If they know what it is you're interested in doing there, then they can send those types of volunteer assignments your way. For example, if you want to help out in the business area, tell them what kinds of tasks you want to do and see if they have any available.

4) Remember that you're still a volunteer.

Since you're there on your own accord, they really don't have an obligation to fulfill your requests. It's the other way around. Like many volunteer jobs, you should expect them to give you assignments that don't  involve using or gaining much skill. They might not be immediately willing to hand over some of the important tasks over to you since it's common for volunteers flake out not long after. Plus, they will more than likely already have people paid to take care of these things and there might not be any extra work to go around. They'll have to try out out first before they can give you any major responsibility.

5) Give everyone a chance.

You might want to be taken on by a big company so that it will look better on your resume, however, most of them will have internship programs as opposed to offering volunteer work. And if they do, these tasks will most likely be the menial work you aren't looking for. Smaller places embrace the free help because they don't have the resources to take on a bigger staff. In those circumstances, you're more than likely to get the work you really want to get your hands on which will ultimately help you out in your career in the long run.