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Archive for May, 2006

At the end of an interview, the hiring manager will almost inevitably ask you if you have any questions.  Never say no – this is your chance to impress your interviewer by asking intelligent questions that showcase all the research you’ve done on the company.

Career coach Robin Ryan suggests asking the following:

1. "Could you describe to me your typical management style and the type of employee that works well with you?"

 

2. "Where are your major concerns that need to be immediately addressed in this job?"

   

3. "What is your company’s policy on providing seminars, workshops and training so employees can develop their skills?"

   

4. "Are there any restraints or cutbacks planned that would decrease the budget here?"

   

5. "What particular computer equipment and software do you use here? When was your last upgrade?"

    

6. "How will my performance be measured? By whom?"

   

7. "Are there any weaknesses in the department that you are working on improving?"

    

8. "What types of people seem to excel here?"

    

9. "Can you give me an idea of the typical workload and extra hours or special needs it demands?"

   

10. "Describe the atmosphere of the office."

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When you go to your next job interview, you’d better look good, at least according to a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.  Nearly three-quarters of respondents to the NACE survey said a candidate’s grooming would have a strong influence on their opinion of the candidate.


Employers said the following factors had a “strong influence” on their opinions of a candidate:


Grooming – 73 percent

Nontraditional interview attire – 49 percent

Handshake – 33 percent

Body piercing – 31 percent

Obvious tattoos – 29 percent

Nontraditional hair color – 28 percent

Unusual hairstyle – 21 percent

Earring (male) – 12 percent

Beard – 5 percent

Mustache – 1 percent

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School’s winding down, and if you’re not ready to intern this year and you still need summer work, don’t worry yet.  There’s still plenty of time.  While waiting tables at a local restaurant or working as a retail salesperson are always good options, there are plenty of summer jobs out there that let you take advantage of the sunshine.  Here are just a few ideas:

1.  Tour guide

2.  Theme park worker

3.  Tennis instructor

4.  Golf caddy

5.  Nanny

6.  Dog walker

7.  Construction worker

8.  Lifeguard

9.  Concession stand vendor

10.  Camp counselor

Or, log on to CBcampus.com to search for other great seasonal jobs.

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As senior year drew to a close, a couple of my then-roommates sat around our living room searching for apartments online. I was moving to Chicago, and they were moving to New York and Washington D.C. We were all making similar salaries, but it became obvious that I was going to be paying a whole lot less for rent than they were.

It’s crucial to consider a city’s cost of living before you move or accept a job there.  Here are two ways to make sure you get all the info you need:

1. Look online. I ran a Google search on "cost-of-living calculator," and got more than 1 million hits. Information is everywhere. A good place to start is with this calculator. You can input your current (or expected) salary and current city, and it will tell you how much more you will pay in housing, groceries and other expenses in your new location. Also try looking at housing Web sites to get an idea of how far your rent money will stretch in various cities.

2. Ask around. Your friends and family will be wonderful resources here – chances are they’ve either lived in the cities you’re considering or know someone who has. They will be able to tell you how much the basics will cost, which neighborhoods to consider and maybe even give you job leads in those cities.

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When it comes to job searching, apparently silence is new rejection.  When you submit a resume or apply for a job online these days, you might never hear a peep from the company.

But online job searching is not a black hole. After you click “submit” on CBcampus.com, your resume will go to one of three places:

1.  Applicant Tracking System

The Applicant Tracking System (commonly referred to as ATS) is a pre-screener for companies.  The ATS scans resumes for keywords to find candidates that are the best match for the company.  This also makes your resume harder to be seen.

To make it through the screening, pepper your resume with keywords that come directly from the employer’s job posting, such as “internship experience.”

2. Employer’s “My Jobs” Section

CareerBuilder.com tracks resumes for an employer all in one place, making it easier for the employer to store, screen and delete applications. 

3.  Employer’s Inbox

Your application may delivered directly to the employer’s inbox – along with the hundreds of other messages they receive each day.  Make sure your application stands out with a strong title that doesn’t look like spam.  Think “experienced sales rep,” not “***No. 1 sales professional!!!***

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If you have a job offer on the table, congratulations! But before you rush to accept (or decline because the salary is too low), there are few things you should consider:

1. Salary:  If the salary offer seems low, it probably is. More than half of hiring managers say they leave some negotiation room in salary offers. Research typical salary ranges for your position, and before you rush to complain about your salary because your friends got offered more, consider the other benefits.

2. Location:  Spending hours each day crammed into a bus or stopped in traffic can get old fast.

3. Benefits:  Generally, benefits are worth 25 to 30 percent of your salary. Does your employer offer dental or vision coverage? What would be your monthly contribution and deductible?

4. Paid time off:  Note how many vacation and sick days you’re entitled to each year.

5. 401(k):  Look to see if your employer matches your 401(k) contributions. Some employers match employees’ contribution at 50 cents on a dollar for up to 6 percent of their salaries.

6. Company culture:  Think about the employer’s mission, typical work days and overall atmosphere.

7. Management:  Be sure your work style and your boss’s management style can co-exist peacefully.

8. Advancement:  A company that offers training seminars and frequently promotes from within could set you on the fast track.

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Even if you’ve never worked in an office, your college days have given you more experience than you might think.  Before you write your resume, consider your:

Coursework

Remember those weeks you spent in the student center working on that group advertising project?  That’s experience.  So is that 3,000-word investigative journalism story you researched all semester.  If you worked on a project or report in the classroom that directly relates to a certain field, by all means include it on your resume.

Part-time jobs

Think about when you waited tables:  You probably learned to diplomatically handle all sorts of people – even the difficult ones.  Plus, working your way through school (especially if you didn’t let your grades suffer) shows dedication and impressive time-management ability.

Campus leadership positions

Don’t rely on a fancy title – show how your time and hard work made an impact on your organization.

Clubs and other extracurriculars

So, you couldn’t get a job because you spent all your non-class time on the basketball court?  Your time as a varsity athlete likely taught you leadership, teamwork and some serious time-management– all things employers consider to be important. 

Volunteer work

If you spent a day or two a week helping out at a nursing home or writing up fliers for a political campaign, don’t discount the value of your work.  More than 60 percent of hiring managers say they count volunteer work as relevant experience, according to CareerBuilder.com.  Keep in mind that a list of accomplishments and skills is much more compelling than a list of job duties.

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