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Resource: Featured Articles
Feeling Guilty From Being a Working Mom? New Study Says You Shouldn't
Thursday, June 13, 2013

A working mother's guilt isn't new and isn't rare. No parent with small children wants to leave them to spend the majority of their days on the clock. But they know that without putting in the hours, putting food on the table will be difficult, especially in this slowly recovering job market.

According to new research from the Academy of Social Sciences in the U.K., kids' learning and behavioral skills are not impaired if their mother is working for their first years of life.

The study, which reflects changes over the last 40 years based on 40,000 children, shows that their growth is neither affected by whether the mom works or stays at home.

Traditionally, many new moms tend to be concerned that going back to work leads to sacrificing the full potential of the child's development. These days, the luxury foregoing a job to stay home with the kids isn't one that many of them can afford. As the number of mothers in the workforce goes up, researchers are seeing that any impact it has on children is dwindling.

In 2011 there were about 5 million stay-at-home moms, less than the 5.1 million two years before, according to the United States Census. The census also revealed that most stay-at-home moms are younger than 35 with children under 5 years old.

While no evidence has been found to support notion that a working mother has a negative or positive effect on the child, that doesn't rule out the possibility of there being any effects at all. Other research has shown that mothers with the resources to harmonize their work and family life, they would.

One thing the study noted was that the apparent lack of family-friendly jobs and affordable childcare available. This can make it especially tough for single mothers to find a balance between work and home duties.

Options for a more flexible work schedule such as telecommuting or working on weekends, when fathers might be available, are suggested considerations. Though, companies like Yahoo! are making efforts to accommodate new parents by extending maternal and paternal leave. As the modern day moms continue to persevere with their multi hat wearing abilities, the good news is that kids aren't paying the price for their parents need to get paid, despite the common concern.

5 Points to Take Away From Benjamin Franklin's Views On Careers
Thursday, April 18, 2013

You can't argue that if there was ever someone who could provide valuable insight for a successful career, it would be one of the nation's Founding Fathers. Benjamin Franklin had many important roles in his life that include scientist, musician, inventor, politician, author and entrepreneur.

Considering the major differences between our job market now and the way people found occupations back  then, it's no surprise that his is perspective on the working man is not only a reflection of his distinguished character but that of the core values of a good work ethic.

Here are the main points of some of his best advice on careers and productivity in honor of the 223rd anniversary of his death:

You snooze, you lose -"Plough deep while sluggards sleep and you shall have corn to sell and to keep." Today there are a number of CEO's around the world who start their days earlier than most people. Ben Franklin claimed to have been up by 4 a.m. every morning. For those who aren't naturally morning people, try skipping the midday coffee, turning your TV and computer monitor off well before bedtime, and banning the use of your snooze button.

There are no shortcuts in life -"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." Back then you couldn't simply take a crash course online or get cliff notes for an assignment. Being able to do something required being fully invested in learning it. Franklin actually dropped out of school at a young age. Instead, he was taken under his blacksmith father's wing and apprenticed at his brother James' printing shop. A true student of life, Franklin also ended up leaving the apprenticeship and began living on his own before the age of 18.

Big egos get you little respect -"To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness." Even when you're at the top of your game, looking down on others will lead to a quick downfall. Humility is important because you can't get people on your side if they don't like you. Others around you will be more open to interaction when you have a charming personality.

Productivity at work allows for playtime after it -"Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure." This is similar to the notion of work hard, play hard. Often times people will be so anxious to get to whatever plans they have for the end of the work day that they lose sight of actually getting their work done. But there are risks to reward without paying your dues. It's simple: when you're at work, do it. By the time the day is over, whatever you were looking forward to will feel earn and well-deserved.

Get up and get things done - "If you were a servant, would you not be ashamed that a good master should catch you idle  Then if you are your own master, be ashamed to catch yourself idle." Imagine your life as if it were a job 24/7. While, yes, all work and no play makes you  dull and miserable but that's why your work shouldn't be entirely detached from what you would consider play. Franklin had many slashes in his title because he was known for keeping busy. Whether he was inventing bifocals or doing work as statesman, Franklin was using each minute to its fullest  potential.

What You Need to Make Sure Your Job Search Isn't Wasting Time
Friday, February 15, 2013

In any job search there are bound to be times of both callbacks and lulls. The problem with job searches is their unpredictability and these inconsistencies make it hard to gauge whether you're headed in the right direction or just getting lucky while going down the wrong one.

You may not have thought about whether your efforts were amounting to wasted time before, but now that you are, how confident are you about your job search's success? 

One of the major causes of a job stagnant job search has to do with your qualifications. Applying to jobs that you are under-qualified for is setting yourself up for rejection.Your resume may have enough to gain interest from the employer but if the fit isn't right, the interest isn't likely to develop any further.

The best approach is to narrow down your search so that your resume and the job description are a close match. Although it may seem like you'll be missing out on potentially job opportunities, you're actually making the most out of each resume sent out. 

The key is to have a secret weapon by identifying what makes you unique. If you could give a potential employer only one reason why they should hire you, what would it be? Your answer should be something that sets you apart from the rest of the candidates and give the hiring manager a reason to keep you in their minds. Be specific in order to give the hiring manager a clear picture of what they can expect from you and only you.

The truth is, everyone has something they can bring to the table that other candidates can't replicate. You've gone through experiences that shaped your perspective in a unique way. Highlight what it is and use for your job search and ultimately as your personal brand.

The Interview Questions That Could Cost You the Job If Left Unasked
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We all know that the questions we ask during an interview are just as important as the answers we give. For the interviewer, your questions are actually better understanding on the depth of your research and preparation. Good questions are those that demonstrate your thoughtfulness. Doing this doesn't require days of brainstorming, just a well-composed strategy.

Show the interviewer that you know your stuff by adding the following questions to your interview arsenal along with your own specific questions:

What are the qualities of your most successful employees?
Asking this lets the hiring manager know that you are thinking ahead. You want to show that you have your mindset on long-term success rather the immediate goal of getting the job. Companies like employees who share the same drive for big-picture success. These qualities will vary from company to company. For example: a fast-paced company may want someone who can thrive in a high-pressure environment while another company may want individuals who have demonstrated exemplary communication skills with team members. Pay close attention to the qualities they value and consider whether this place is a good match for you.

How much potential for growth is there for this position?
Ideal candidates and employees are those who are looking for a lasting career rather than just a paycheck. Show the hiring manager that you're looking for a position that will allow you to grow and develop your skills. Expressing this willingness to learn will give the employer more reason to teach you things that will help you advance. If hired, they may be able to connect you with a mentor which is great for career advancement. Mentors can introduce you to other professionals in their network and help you rise in the ranks faster.

What do you like most about working for the company?
The interviewer's answer will shed some useful insight as to whether you will actually enjoy working there should they offer you the job. What they reveal about the company will also give you a good idea on the kind of culture there. Knowing what they company values, how it operates, and what it expects form employees is important for any potential you have for a future there. You may find that the company is a better or worse fit than you initially anticipated.

What is a common misconceptions about the company that you would like to clear up?
It's hard for a company to be represented absolutely accurately. Representing your image to the public is like a game of telephone, somewhere along the line there's going to be some confusion. People may have the idea that a company is either more relaxed or stressful than it really is. The best way to find out for sure is by asking someone who knows firsthand. Perhaps hearing that a company offers free lunches makes you think that it's more laid back but you later find out that employees are expected to work long workdays. The interviewer will provide both perspectives for you to paint a better picture on the truth.

Tech Trends in Retail for 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013

We're in the first month of 2013 and the trends in retail t brought on by advances in technology are becoming even more apparent. Smartphones have taken over how we interact on our mobile devices. We've gone from small starts such as email subscriptions to accessing full catalogs from our favorite stores. Shopping can now be done anywhere with Internet connection and sufficient battery life present.

An increasingly popular new retail trend is shoppable media. This interactive marketing approach allows consumers to engage with retail media. Target is one of these stores making headway in this arena. In its shoppable series "Falling For You"--which features Kristen Bell, Nia Long, and Zachary Able--shoppers are able to click on items that they like featured in the episode and go on to purchase it from there.

With technology making it possible to incorporate interactive features on our computer and mobile device screens, it makes sense that the consumer experience will continue to evolve in pleasantly surprising ways. While we may never adopt Smell-O-Vision into our homes, the ability to simply watch, click and buy is something that most consumers can take advantage of.

While retailers want to make it easier for consumers to buy from the convenience of their homes, or anywhere for that matter, they still want to see their brick-and-mortar shops bustling with shoppers. So to in order to establish a middle ground, many retailers are incorporating the same kind of technological experience into their shops.

Take Walmart, for example, which is in the process of testing out a "Scan & Go" iPhone app. This app lets shoppers scan their items using their phones and pay for them at a self-checkout counter. In any service experience, speed and convenience are the main keys to great customer service. With this app, long lines and crowded aisles would be eliminated allowing shoppers to get in and out quicker.

Last year, Macy's added interactive kiosks to their stores to enhance the shopping experience by making it easier for shoppers to find what they want all in one place. JC Penney is now among those following suit with their own in-store kiosks which feature maps and gives shoppers the ability to purchase items not found in-store.

Futuristic shopping innovations have already made improvements in the way we shop now. Major retail giants are taking strides toward more shopper convenience with technology. From putting the benefits of self-checkout into your very hand to in-store kiosks that serve as high-tech customer service reps, shoppers are getting more of their needs met.

Consumers crave convenience which is what online shopping has become a symbol of. However, 90 percent of sales are still done in the physical stores. Online shopping provides additional convenience but is by no means a substitute for what brick-and-mortar shops have to offer. Companies are finding new technological ways to put their customers first and its speaking volumes for their reputations and their sales.

Dealing With Job Search Blues
Friday, December 21, 2012

For those of you who have been on the job hunt for a while now, you know that it often feels more draining than the typical stresses of working a full-time job. You put in a great deal of effort with only the hope of it producing a positive result. Becoming discouraged is just one of the downsides that job seekers have to endure throughout their job search.

That feeling of discouragement can be hard to shake and will keep a lot job seekers down. A positive attitude is the fuel for a successful job search. The following pieces of advice will help keep you from being dragged down by your job search blues:

Job searching is a full-time job. Searching for a job is anything but quick and easy. The duration of any job hunt is unpredictable. Some may be looking for a few months, others for more than a year. It's always best to start your search immediately, but giving yourself a necessary grace period will not set you too far behind. What matters is the progress and consistency in your search. You can easily overwhelm yourself in a job search similar like anyone working a full-time job can.

To avoid succumbing to fatigue, allow yourself a 3-day weekend. When you get back to it, you'll be refreshed and re-energized. Be as efficient as possible with your time by balancing down time with crunch time.

Spend time doing something you care about. Volunteer work is work, and is very much encouraged for adding to a resume. Volunteering for a cause that interests you will give you something to look forward to doing every day. It will also get your mind off just sending out resume after resume. There is no shortage of organizations that could use an extra helping hand, especially those that are willing to do it without compensation.

Volunteering can benefit your job search in several ways. It not only allows you to network beyond of your typical circles but also provide additional skills and experiences. The time spent volunteering can fill in the gap between jobs. Plus, your experience can pave the way to a new career path. When you revamp your resume, consider applying to jobs within the industry of the organization where you volunteered.

Forget the negatives. When all you've gotten for the last few months are rejections or interviews with no job offers, negativity can begin to cloud your mind. After a while, you forget that there are good things to balance that out. For example, say you had a job interview where you and the interviewer really clicked but ended up never hearing from them afterward. This, unfortunately, is an all too common scenario in job hunting.

The fact that it's common mean you shouldnt' take it personally. It might sting more knowing that you seemed to have played your cards right in the interview and still no luck, but remember that there are others who would have loved to have the kind of naturual chemistry you did with the interviewer. That alone is something to feel good about. While you may not have gotten the job you were sure was to be yours, build on the positive aspects of that experience for future interviews.

It's not fun to think about the reality that you're searching for a job rather than working at the one you already had. The only way to change that is to move forward and find a new one which is easier said than done. The key to achieving any goal is working at it non-stop until you've reached it. This could not be truer for a job search. Job searches require time, patience and above all, positivity. Remember, if you don't believe in yourself, how are you going to convince a hiring manager to?

Getting a Second Job Without Losing Your First One
Monday, December 10, 2012

You don't have to have been laid off to fall on hard times. Everyone feels the effects of a weak economy, even those who have managed to hang on to their jobs. Full-time workers are putting themselves into the job market in order to find additional income to make ends meet.

In a recent Simply Hired survey, 44% of 7,000 job seekers said that they were going to look for part-time jobs during this holiday season. As the country's economic recovery has proven to be a slow process, it has made many Americans worried about their employment security.

Taking on a second job also serves as reassurance of a cushion to fall back on should there be a need to implement Plan B. Where this has potential to backfire is when there is an offset in balance. If having another job causes your work peformance to suffer you may have shot yourself in the foot in creating the catalyst for losing one or both jobs.

To prevent overworking yourself, here are some tips to managing your time and energy wisely:

1) Do a trial run.
You can never be sure of whether you'll be able to handle two jobs if you've never taken on more than one job before. Finding something temporary at first will help you gauge your workload capacity. Trying to manage a part-time job on top of a full-time one is much more difficult than juggling two part-time ones which is why very few people do it. Give yourself some time to figure out whether this is something  you want to commit to.

2) Adjust your priorities accordingly.
Two work schedules can quickly take over life. The time sacfrices will cut deeply into your social and family life. You'll have to make tough decisions as to what is more important to, including which job if it comes down to that. You might be determined not to give up on your new job but you'll have to realize when it's not worth ruining your full-time position.

3) Make it something you can look forward to.
There's nothing more discouraging than feeling like you've just given yourself another obligation. Instead of making your life feel completely while on the job. Whether it be the environment or the work itself, part-time positions can be found in just about any field. Finding one that matches your interests might also help you hang on to it longer.

Two jobs is tough even for workaholics. Most people won't do it unless the extra cash is crucial to keeping their finances afloat. If you consider yourself as part of that group, supplementing a full-time income with extra made from a part-time gig isn't impossible. As long as expectations are realistic, you can find a way to make it work. A very important thing to remember is that your life requires balance in order to function properly. Living a life that revolves solely around work will lead you to quickly burnout.

Why You Should Continue Your Holiday Job Hunting
Friday, November 30, 2012

The holiday season is the time of year meant for food, family, and friends. We think of decorative lights, snow, presents, and all the things that make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Usually not on that warm and fuzzy list is a job search.

Who wants to worry about a job search when you could be spending that time hanging out by the fire sipping on some hot cocoa with your loved ones? When considering a job search like an actual job, you probably want to allow yourself a well-deserved holiday vacation. But you also know that time not spent on the job hunt is more time spent unemployed. Not to worry, this is not a time to stress!

Use the holiday spirit to amp up your job search. Hiring managers will be getting ready to wrap up the year and the hirings will picking up quick before the slow down. These busy managers are probably looking forward to the same fun festivities as you are so take advantage of the season's good sentiment. This is a time when most job hunters are on hiatus which allows you more opportunities.

For a season that comes around just once a year you should take this chance to get creative with your hunting approaches. For example, when you're writing out your greeting cards, include hiring managers on that list as well. Just like thank you notes are meant to make a lasting impression post-interview, a friendly greeting card helps set a positive tone for your first one. Remember to show your social networks some digital holiday attention too.

What's a holiday season without holiday parties? Take any and all opportunities to be someone's plus one at his or her holiday party. This is a great chance to network with a little less pressure than at a formal networking event. Company parties are where people are relaxed and focus on having fun which sets an ideal setting to form friendships and connections. The key is keeping it as casual as possible. Hand out a few business cards, but leave your resume and cover letter at home. Aggressive networking at a holiday party will leave a worse taste in people's mouths than spoiled egg nog.

The idea of having to push forward with job searching efforts over the holidays shouldn't be one to cringe over. It's actually one of the best times to look for a job because you get to switch it up from your normal routine. When people are generally in higher spirits during the holidays, it almost doesn't make sense to put you job search on pause. Sometimes, the best presents aren't wrapped under a tree.

Turn Your Temp Job Into a Permanent One
Friday, November 16, 2012

Temporary jobs are becoming increasingly easier to come by these days. Employers take on "temps" for a variety of reasons, the main one being that they need to someone to fill a position for a certain period of time. Think of it like a trial run.

Contract positions are a good way to go when you're looking to more employement opportunities. Many companies like the option of trying out new employees without having to make the commitment right away of bringing them on for good.

As a temporary employee, you too get the benefit of trying out the company for yourself. Temp work is especially suitable for those whose lives tend to change periodically or just need the extra income. Since temp work is easier to come by than permanent positions, people who are looking for the latter may take them because the opportunity was there.

Most companies usually don't keep the employee on for longer than was stated in the contract but does happen. Employers are becoming more precise about making sure they find the right person for the job. Sometimes this means offering a temp position rather than a permanent one with a trial period.

The first and most basic step of trying to solidify your place at a company is being 100% reliable--reliable without a glimmer of a doubt. As a temp, your job is already on the line. If you want to make it go the distance, you'll have to go every extra mile.

Waste no time looking for any possibilities of an available permanent position. Ask around and see if there is even any potential there. Find out early if it's a real possibility so that you can start planning your next move for when your time there is up.

Even as a temp employee, you should still look at the job as if you were a permanent one. This means working just as a hard, or even harder, than the other employees there. Working with that mindset with show others your enthusiasm as a team player and they will value you more than for your skills.

Getting this job may have put your job search on hold but networking should be done consistently. The connections you make could prove to be a career saver. Building these relationships with your co-workers is crucial as it may be your ticket to staying on, and if not then a way in to somewhere else.

Temp jobs are a great way to get paid and possibly find a new career. Be patient and not too pushy. Asking to be taken on permanently from a temp job doesn't hurt but it isn't guaranteed either. A temp just is better than no job even it if doesn't last for as long as you might wish.

How to Get a Retail Job During the Holidays
Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Do you remember what your first job was? Chances are likely that at an early point in your working days you played a role in the retail industry. That's the great thing about retail, it allows everyone a fair shot at gaining some working experience.

If you have never worked in the retail industry, it's something that should be given some consideration. With the holiday season right around the corner, major retailers and courier companies are hiring in masses to prepare.

The current unemployment rate is still at 7.9 percent. The 4.8 million unemployed Americans out there will be looking to the holiday hirings to brighten the season's dark days. This year's seasonal hirings don't have high expectations, but they are expected to surpass numbers from last year.

Whether you're one of those unemployed millions or simply want some extra cash for the holiday shopping, a retail job might just be what you're looking for. Here are some of the things that retailers will be looking for from candidates wanting to take advantage of one of the many gifts brought by the holiday season.

1) Genuine enthusiasm.

Working during the holidays can be pretty demanding. Companies want people who are eager to do a good job. Candidates who show that they are ready and willing to work hard will have a better chance of being considered for the job.

2) Be punctual.

Jobs in the retail industry are usually structured in shifts. In order for operations to go smoothly, transitioning between shifts need to be as seamless as possible. Proper scheduling allows everyone a fair chance at doing their job well. Be on time to interviews and appointments both in-persona or over the phone.

3) Visit the companies websites.

Since companies anticipate masses of people inquiring about positions, they will most likely implement their hiring process online. This will make it easier for the applicants to have instant access to the applications and for companies to manage them all.

4) Flexibility.

Holiday hours extend much longer than normal working hours. Being open to work during the early or late-night hours will make you a much for desirable candidate. Candidates who specify that they can only be scheduled during certain hours will more than likely get passed over for someone who is less picky.

5) Sell your goodies.

If you have certain experience such as volunteer work or have a particular interest in food, for example, then consider applying to places that value that. Retail is a good industry for those who enjoy working closely with people and volunteer work is a good demonstration of that. If you're really computer savvy, try applying at places like Best Buy or Fry's Electronics.


Tis the Season to Be Hired!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The trees start to become bare and the crispness in the air is palpable. As the time of year shifts from sunny days to the holiday, two main things take over the thoughts of many Americans: sales and jobs.

The seasonal hiring formula is a simple one: more sales equals more shoppers; more shoppers equal more help wanted! Retailers and job seekers alike anticipate the winter months bringing more people into the stores and more money into workers' bank accounts.

This year, the National Retail Federation estimates taht retailers plan to hire between 585,000 and 625,000 seasonal workers during the holiday season. These figures run along the same line as last year with a gain of 660,000 seasonal workers hired from October through December.

Of the major retailers hiring, Macy's take the top spot with 80,000 workers for the season. Others on that list include Kohl's, Wal-Mart, and Toys R Us. Surprsingly, Target expects its hiring numbers to decrease from last year. In the 2011 holiday season, Target hired 92,000 employes whereas this year they estimate a range between 80,000 and 90,000 new hires.

The NRF said earlier this week that it expects holiday sales this year to go up by 4.1 percent. The economy's recovery from the recession, however, remains a slow one. Even still, there are 1.8 million more Americans working this year than last. With more people working and earning paychecks, it works in favor of the ecomony to get those same workers spending as well. More money, more presents.

According to Challenger, a firm that specializes in employment opportunities for executive who have been laid off, retail jobs are more desirable this year because of their terms. Flexible schedules, overtime pay, discounts, and the round-the-clock hours are just some of the things that appeal to applicants in need of extra cash.

The thing about seasonal jobs is that they are seasonal so the chances of hanging on to them after the holidays is slim to none. For those considering taking a seasonal retail job, it's important to remember that shopping will drastically slow and the additional help will no longer be needed.

There are some exceptions though. Last year, Target kept on 30% of its hired seasonal workers. Keep in mind that the stores more likely to keep its employees are the major national retailers that get high volumes of business year round like Target and Wal-mart. Retailers love workers who have excellent customer service skills so seasonal workers with a knack for helping others have a good shot of staying on board.

You don't have to turn solely to brick and mortar stores for employment opportunities. Amazon has announced that it will be hiring 50,000 more people to work at its distribution facilities. And when it comes to distribution, don't forget major carrier companies such as UPS and FedEx.

Every holiday season, recession or no recession, hiring across a variety of industries from retail (both online and in-store) to distribution always increases substantially. While the jobs may only be short and sweet, they offer many job seekers a light during the darkest time of the year. When it comes time for the holiday shopping to begin, which side of the doors will you be on?

Getting On the Road to Retail
Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Careers in retail extend far beyond the people you see assisting you on the floor like the cashier or manager. The retail industry is major part of what keep our economy afloat by keeping up consumer spending. The way to keep people spending is by putting the money in their pockets for them to give back and hopefully with interest.

Retail is also not just a sector to employ younger workers, but it has been given that stigma due to its mostly part-time nature and minimal work requirements. While this may be true of most entry-level positions, there are plenty of non-entry level positions that many who start from the bottom can work their way up to.

These careers are ones that really pay to be in the business since they have higher requirements. One advantage of working your way up to a higher position through internal promotion is that many companies will provide you the resources to meet these requirements such as putting you in training and educational certification courses.

Take a look at just a few of these positions to get an idea of what kinds of different careers are available throughout the retail industry:

Loss Prevention Manager
These managers help stores reduce their financial losses. Losses can involve a variety of circumstances from employee theft, arson, and shoplifting. It's the loss prevention manager's responsibility to develop policies for preventing these losses from incurring. They track reported losses and calculate the amounts for legal reports. Some stores may even hire those with a criminal justice background. A degree in that field prepares the manager for conducting legal investigations and working with law enforcement.

Merchandising Team Associate
Merchandising team associates are similar to sales associates but they have more of a behind-the-scenes role. In addition to typical store duties (greeting customers, cleaning stock rooms, assisting staff), these team associates also compile and process merchandise returns to retail vendors or store suppliers. Employers will looks for poeple with exceptional customer service skills and are open to working odd hours. Another perk is that on-the-job training is usually provided for this position.

Divisional Merchandise Manager
In this position, the manager's job is to help retail organizations with sales, inventory, and marketing goals. They look into retail competitors, put together written merchandise stock guidelines and evaluate employee performance. The candidates that retail employers typically look for in a divisional merchandise manager are those who have educational backgrounds in business management, retail management or marketing. Important qualities for divisional merchandise managers to have are financial and communication skills. They, too must be open be working non-traditional hours and traveling between stores.

The retail sector is an avenue that people from all different starting points funnel into. No matter where you start, it's more than likely that you'll be able to find a destination in retail that suits you.

Consumers Spending Saves Retail...Yet Again
Thursday, May 31, 2012

At at time when retailers are facing some of their toughest challenges, it's consumers who undoubtedly come to their rescue.

With the weather getting warmer and gas prices making their way back down consumers are hitting the stores.

Analysts at Retail Metrics Inc. projected an average of a 3.3 percent gain for Target Corp., the second-largest discount retailer in the U.S. Its rise surpassed the average, however, reaching 4.4 percent.

One reason for the increase was the widespread holiday sales for Memorial Day weekend. The nice weather also helps in motivating people to get out of the house and in a money-spending mood.

Masses of people hit the malls to take advantage of holiday promotions resulting in a 4 percent hike in sales for more than 20 retailers. Initial estimates for that figure were only at 1.8 percent.

This is proving that U.S. consumers are gaining confidence and exemplifying their resilience to effects of the economy.

Now that gas prices have gown down 7.6 percent after nearly a year of gas prices stuck at a high it's no wonder that consumers are in better spirits. In fact, according to a University of Michigan index, consumer confidence is at its highest level since October 2007.

That isn't all that has changed since 2007. The month of May has been the warmest in the U.S. since then and had the hottest Memorial Day in over half a century, according to weather data provider Planalytics.

While brick-and-mortar stores struggle to keep up with the use of online shopping, it's clear that nothing can replace people's desire to spend time out of the house--not to mention the ability to try on clothes before purchasing them.

As retailers get ready for the summer season demand there is no question that they'll again be hiring additional staff to take care of all their patrons.

Considering a job at your local shopping center? Take a look at some reasons why and which stores where you should.

Click here to see: Why & Where

Online Shopping Causes Retailers to Make Major Changes
Monday, May 21, 2012

Online shopping has shifted the way customers spend their money. More and more are making purchases through online sites rather than making a trip to the actual stores.

Brick-and-mortar stores are having to redesign the customer shopping experience. Stores are taking customer service to a new level of in-store pampering.

For example, handbag maker Coach Inc is increasing its number of men's sections. Popular department store Macy's Inc is also installing a "virtual concierge" kiosk which will have features such as making recommendations for beauty products.

Empty retail space is spread out all across the nation with the downfall of major chains like Borders and Mervyns serving as grim reminders.

The National Retail Federation expects a 3.4 percent increase in sales this year. Even as retail spending continues to maintain as much resilience from the recession as possible, this increase still falls short of last year's 4.7 percent rise.

In a survey conducted last year by NRF and KPMG, only 31 percent of retailers said they had plans of expanding in 2012.

In lieu of risking failed expansion, stores are now turning to having in-store only services. PetSmart plans to double its 200 "pet hotels" they already offer in hopes of bringing in new customers and get current ones to return more often.

The key is to make them an offer they can't get through an internet connection. According to the NRF, the 25 largest chains had 2 percent more stores in 2010 than in 2007. These chains were primarily lead by drugstore and discounters like Wal-Mart or dollar stores.

Depending on demand from their niche consumer groups, retailers can see either a positive or negative affect from expansion. Either way, every retailer has to make some sort of redefining change in order to avoid the unforntuate fate many other major chains have fallen victim to.

Make More Money With a Part-Time Gig
Friday, May 11, 2012

They always say that something is better than nothing, and it couldn't be truer in an anemic economy. For those who may have been out of work or are having difficulty making ends meet, there's good news.


While the unemployment rate is dropping, the media tend to neglect mentioning where the pick-up in jobs is coming from. Part-time jobs are abundant and are filling up fast. People might not be able to live off a part-time job but the flexibility in hours lets people get back on their feet.


It's common for people to work two part-time jobs and make just as much as they would working full-time. Here are some of the top part-time gigs that could make all the difference between swimming and treading financial waters.


Waiting Tables
A part-time serving job is by far one of the most sought after and attractive jobs for people looking to make quick money. Naturally, they're all after one thing: tips. People who work at nice restaurants and are exceptional at providing good guest service can easily turn their occupation into a permanent livelihood.

Wait staff get to take home money on a daily basis and still receive a paycheck. The hospitality industry, however, is usually fast-paced so servers need to be quick on their feet, able to memorize the menu, and have a great deal of patience. It isn't for everyone, but those that can handle it well can find serving as a suitable career move.


Painting Houses
Work as house painter isn't exacty glamorous. Plus, the hours can be long and fairly arduous. Yet, there are plenty of people who stack up a good amount of extra cash from summers of house painting. The average salary for a full-time painter is about $31,000 a year so even earning part-time wages can prove to be very beneficial to slipping incomes.


Bookkeeping
Bookkeepers are an important part of all businesses since they are the people looking after the finances. Companies need people with solid accounting abilities and are familiar with software like QuickBooks. Bookkeeping is a niche skillset that can set those who are good at it apart from both other bookkeepers and industries. Bookkeeping work can also be part-time, done from home and during flexible hours. There's a lot of potential to earn good money in bookkeeping whether full or part-time.


Landscaping
Landscaping is more than just gardening. It takes a creative eye to create scenery that appeals to all the senses. People who enjoy working outdoors and hands-on would make a good fit for a landscaping job. It's especially ideal for people who want to work on their own schedule.


Many landscapers are self-employed so the only boss they have to report to are themselves. They can also end up making more money being self-employed as opposed to for another employer. Keep in mind that landscaping also doesn't have to be limited to seasons or regions. Landscaping may be needed for all kinds of work whether it be grass or snow.


Social Media
Social media is making waves in all industries from entertainment to politics. These jobs can easily be done through telecommunications so many companies will hire part-timers to do the work remotely. Companies are looking for the extra set of hands without having to take on another full-time employee. These types of jobs are suitable for freelancers and people wanting to fatten up their wallets a bit. Part time social media specialists can earn an hourly rate from $20-$50 depending on their experience and web-savviness. There are no shortages of capable people for the job and it requires no formal education so it's best to get into it if you want something to add to an existing main source of income.


When companies are down-sizing, the addition of part-time jobs are what's keeping the economy from collapsing entirely. Part-time workers benefit both the employer and employee. The employer can cut back on the addtional costs of compensating a full-time employee (like benefits and salaries) and the employee can rest easier knowing that they can expect the number in their bank accounts to stay on the plus side.


There are plenty of part-time jobs out there, usually more than full-time ones, that are easy to get. Whatever the circumstance, if you've got money problems, a part-time job may be the right remedy.

One Retailer's Comeback
Thursday, May 03, 2012

At the beginning of the year, major retailer JCPenney exploded back on the market with a completely revamped brand. Their new changes were ones to watch out for.

With their new CEO, Ron Johnson, on their side (the man behind Apple's retail stores) JC Penney now has a new logo, Ellen Degeneres as their spokesperson, and a new pricing strategy. All this in a matter of two months.

The company also now refers to itself as jcpenney. By keeping costs low with discounted  prices up to 40% year round and scheduled releases for new merchandise, they intend to get customers coming in and more coming back.

Shoppers can now find merchandise set up in shops rather than on racks and shelves. Even while there aren't that many ways of displaying merchandise, JC Penney is taking new approaches in retail innovation.

One noticeable change is the evocation of the American flag in its new logo meant to make a distinct impression and set it apart from other retailers.

Their aim is to give customers a new kind of shopping experience that will bring them through the doors rather than taken to a website. According to Johnson, the company is channeling its efforts toward one core value: treating customers "fair and square."

Most companies take years to implement big changes but JC Penney isn't wasting any time in doing the unconventional. When most companies would be taking baby steps and testing them out, JC Penney is launching their mission at full speed with all stores updated with the new initiatives by August 2012. Management anticipates a complete transformation by 2015.

In the retail industry, these major changes can be seen as a breath of fresh air. JC Penney is showing that it isn't afriad to make daring, even risky, moves and it's proving to turn heads.

Retail Sales On Rising Streak
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The retailers have reason to rejoice following the the recent improvements in the labor makerting as spending was boosted at stores and shopping malls nationwide.

The economy saw a 0.6 percent increase in January and the latest 1.1 percent jump have thus far surpassed expectations, according to the Commerce Department data released in Washington.

Eleven out of 13 categories, including auto dealers and clothing stores, showed gains in demand. These gains from February boosted the number of total sales to a staggering $407.8 billion, an impressive 20.1 percent higher than the recession low back in March 2009.

Even as gas prices are making many cringe at the stations, the report shows that this is best six-month streak of employment growth since 2006 and is having a positive effect on consumer confidence.

Store Sales
For the most part, the country experienced a fairly endurable winter season and because of that retailers saw a slump in winter items purchased during the holiday season. Many businesses rely on these sales to pick them up and, though the results were generally lacking, they later proved to be beneficial for sales in spring merchandise.

Even car dealers' sales has a positive turnaround from the prevoius month. In February, cars sold faster than they had in the past four years with Chrysler and General Motors leading the way gaining an increase of 1.6 percent.

One of the contributing factors for the rises in sales was the 3.3 percent increase in gasoline sales last month reflecting the hike in prices. Retail sales, though, continued to hold strong at 0.8 percent without the gasoline sales, and excluding automobiles, they increased 0.9 percent last month, topping the average forecast of surveyed economists, which was aimed at a gain of 0.7 percent.

Records show that these have been the most promising three months of hiring in two years. Since December, the work force gained 734,000 jobs lowering the unemployement rate to 8.3 percent. Along with these gains, worker pay went up in the last six months of last year by the most in nearly five years. The report also indicated that Americans were able to stash away 4.5 percent of their after-tax income in the fourth quarter.

Overall, the economy grew at an annual rate of 3 percent within the last three months of 2011.With tough times still a long way from being behind Americans, the jumps in sales are an indication of consumer optimism despite setbacks like gas prices. Consumers haven't let the gas prices phase them, though, as is evident in their eagerness to save, shop, and spend.

Retail Sales Give Economy a Boost
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

First the winter chill came and along with it were the holidays, then love, and now profit is in the air. Although the holiday season had a mediocre turnout in sales, American consumers stepped their games up in January. 

In its latest report, the government found that retail sales were showing signs of a slowly improving economy.

While gas prices remain at an average high of $3.51 (up from 12 cents the previous month), retail sales still rose at a seasonably adjusted 0.4 percent last month according to the Department of Commerce.

Things like electronics, home and garden supplies, sporting goods were what many consumers were after. Including department and general merchandise stores, they also took to eating out at restaurant and bars.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the report also indicated a drop in automobile sales which may mean that there were more dealer discounts being offered to attract buyers.

Last month's retail sales figures show improvement from December's, excpet for autos building materials and gasoline station sales. Core retail spending jumped 0.7 percent.

The government takes a firist look each month at consumer spending which is then compled into the retail sales report. Consumer spending plays a big part of the country's economic activity accounting for 70 percent of it. 

The data from the report sheds positive light as it suggests that hiring gains may have boosted confidence and is making people less hesitant to reach for their wallets. Companies have also been increasing the pace in restocking their inventories due to the higher sales. 

This speeding up in inventory growth was a key factor in the economy's expansion with it's best pace at the end of last year. However, some economists think that restocking will begin to slow down early this year.

They're concerned that since many consumers were relying on savings for their spending cash, their wages still weren't matching up to the pace of inflation. According to the retail sales report, consumers are managing to increase spending as they had last year even with the small gains in income.

Retails sales have risen about 21 percent since slumping in the recession. And they're almost 6 percent above their pre-recession high. The case might be different if auto sales hadn't dropped 1.1 percent but this decrease was unforeseen since they had a better outcome the month before. 

Granted, the figures from the government's auto sales and the automaker's numbers aren't always a perfect match given that dealers could have offered discounts to boost sales, low interest rates, and better loan availability.

One thing to smile about: consumers spent substantially more at general merchandise and department stores with sales there jumping 2 percent after a 0.7 percent drop in December. Along with them, restaurants and bars also saw a 0.6 percent sales jump.

Consumers are now taking on more debt after cutting back right after the recession hit. Consumer borrowing--credit cards, auto loans, and student loans--showed to be the biggest monthly gains in ten years during the holidays. These increases may prove that consumers are becoming more optimistic about the economy.

In recent months, hiring has also been picking up providing another reason as to why spending may be increasing. Just last month,employers added a net of 243,000 jobs. That's the fifth straight month of solid hiring and becoming the fifth straight monthly decline in unemployment with the rate falling to 8.3 percent.

With job creation on the rise and increased spending following it, the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the final three months of last year. Consumer spending is always fluctuating but with the way things have been going until this point, many are looking forward (as opposed to dreading) the state of the economy in the near future for both unemployment and cost of living.

Over the Hill and Under the Radar
Monday, February 06, 2012

People in their 50s and older who have yet to retire and are in need of jobs like any other working citizen. These older job seekers are just as capable and valuable as their younger counterparts but tend to get overlooked because of their age. Depending on the industry, though, they may have twice the experience of their colleagues and even employers. 

Many companies tend not higher individuals in this demographic are due to their biases: high compensation needs, lack of computer skills, inflexible management style, difficulty reporting to a younger superior.

But think about the people who work in Congress and that some of our youngest presidents were just over 40. Clearly, people 50 and up aren't only more than capable of being assets in the workforce but our own government is run by them. Granted, those working in Washington tend to have a leverage of power than other positions, they still demonstrate the influence of what older age can have on society.

The following are tips for executives who are 50 and older looking for new job opportunities:

-Discuss in your interviews how you changed your management approach to better fit the challenges in different business cultures.

-You'll have an edge over younger candidates if you're more willing to accept less salary up front in return for a greater performance-based bonus.

-Provide examples of when you helped younger bosses succeed, grow, and advance their careers. Point out how you plan to manage what your boss wants to achieve now so that he or she will have more time to work on what needs to be done in the future.

-By the time you reach age 50, you will have developed skills and expertise in things like people management, problem solving and leadership. Companies highly value these skills and also offer major advantages over less experienced younger executives. You're most likely to solve problems faster so try to emphasize examples where you quickly identified key factors impacting performance and developed solutions that timely improved results.

-Revise your search strategy. Larger companies and smaller ones hire in different ways so your approach should be tailored to each. Larger ones usually have built-in succession plans and hire of their people internally, whereas small companies usually hire exectutive talent from outside as their company grows.

Something to think about: there are 20 times as many companies nationwide with sales under $100 million as there are above. So focus some of your energy here where they are less concerned with your age and more so with experience and decision-making abilities.

Tips to Keep Your Family Business Going Strong
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Entrepreneurs are adaptable and risk-takers. Many of these more recent business go-getters came about through necessity. When they were pushed into a corner, they went the only way left to go--up. People who know the world of business inside and out, innovators who see the world through a unique set of eyes, these people take on the challenges of creating something they can share with society and provide for themselves and their families.

Self-employed business owners have a lot more barriers to overcome and being in charge of things can often be easier said than done. One of the most devasting things that can happen to them is to see all their hard-work crumble after a matter of a few years. Here are some tips to keep in mind while striving for success:

KNOW THE GOAL.
Successful businesses are able to balance a corporate drive without losing their family values. Retaining focus throughout your business will allow you to make clear business decisions. Stay the course, remember why you got into the business to begin with. You started your company with a purpose so that should always be the foundation for what you do and why you do it. Making sacrifices is important in running your own business. Determine what you're willing to give up now for the later results. Making business decisions can be tough, but using your values will help guide you in the process and boost your confidence in making those calls.

INVEST WISELY.
All business people know that in order to make money, you have to spend some. Seek advice from experts, you might even have to compensate them for it but their insight can greatly benefit you in keeping your business successful and compete with bigger companies. Allow everyone in your company to move up. Sharing the wealth allows not only your employees to improve, but also letting them apply their knowledge to help the company grow as well.

AVOID THE THIRD DEADLY SIN.
Trying to hang on to as much money as you can will hurt your business. To really make it big in your industry you have to keep a humble mentality. You want employees to work hard and by setting a good example they will take their responsibilities more seriously. Making them feel apart of the company's success with motivate them to continue adding to it. Mindset and attitude are two key factors in making a good business idea into a thriving company.