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Archive for February, 2009

Does your morning routine typically include hitting the snooze button and scrambling to get out the door? A recent CareerBuilder.com survey found that 20 percent of workers said they arrive late to work at least once a week, up from 15 percent in last year’s survey. One-in-ten (12 percent) said they are late at least twice a week.

Actual reasons for coming in late vary from worker to worker, but traffic was the main culprit with one-third (33 percent) of workers claiming it caused their tardiness. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) said lack of sleep, while 10 percent said getting their kids ready for school or day care was the main reason. Other common reasons included public transportation, wardrobe issues or dealing with pets.

“While some employers tend to be more lenient with worker punctuality, 30 percent say they have terminated an employee for being late,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources for CareerBuilder.com. “Workers need to understand their company’s policies on tardiness and if they are late, make sure they openly communicate with their managers. Employers have heard every excuse in the book, so honesty is the best policy.”

Hiring managers provided the following examples of the most outrageous excuses employees offered for arriving late to work:

  • My heat was shut off so I had to stay home to keep my snake warm.
  • My husband thinks it’s funny to hide my car keys before he goes to work.
  • I walked into a spider web on the way out the door and couldn’t find the spider, so I had to go inside and shower again.
  • I got locked in my trunk by my son.
  • My left turn signal was out so I had to make all right turns to get to work.
  • A gurney fell out of an ambulance and delayed traffic.
  • I was attacked by a raccoon and had to stop by the hospital to make sure it wasn’t rabid.
  • I feel like I’m in everyone’s way if I show up on time.
  • My father didn’t wake me up.
  • A groundhog bit my bike tire and made it flat.
  • My driveway washed away in the rain last night.
  • I had to go to bingo.

What’s the craziest excuse you’ve ever given for being late to work?

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Another popular topic for job seekers is the role of social networking in the hiring process. As sites like Facebook have expanded into an unwieldy beast that no one could have predicted, job seekers of all ages have profiles that they might not want their future employers to see. Now that this is common knowledge and the first wave of social networking users have moved from school to work, we thought it’d be interesting to ask our CBCampus ambassadors for their thoughts on employers using these sites to check out candidates. First up are Natalie and Andrew who have seemingly different points of view, although their conclusions are similar. Here are Natalie’s thoughts:

cbnatalie

Facebook and so many other social networking sites make every not-too-careful member an easy target of interest for hiring managers.  As a senior at Ohio State, I’ve been to countless resume, cover letter, and interviewing workshops.  Topics for discussion at most of them have included at least a small mention of being careful what information you’re sharing on these websites, becomes employers are looking.  And you know what I think about that?

IT’S GREAT!

In a job market like this, when recruiters spend ten seconds tops reviewing a resume before pushing it to the side, and jobs are hard to come by – I say let them look!  I hope two or three people I’m competing against are half-naked doing a ten story beer bong in their profile pictures.  While that would actually be quite impressive, I doubt a hiring manager would call that person in for a second interview…

…As a 21-year-old, I don’t think it’s a big deal if there is a picture of me having a beer with my friends on the internet.  I like to go out and have fun, but I’m a responsible person and my facebook profile doesn’t show otherwise.  If my resume only gets ten seconds, but my facebook profile gets two full minutes – that’s more time to sell myself.

I don’t think any of us should complain about hiring managers finding us on facebook.  In an economy like this, we need to work with what we’re given.  If that’s time to sell ourselves on a social networking site, go for it!

cbandrewAnd now for Andrew’s take:

When I was in my sophomore year college, my brother-in-law mentioned to me that businesses were using social networking sites to research applicants. He had given a presentation on the subject earlier that week and had used me as a reference of what not to have on your personal profile.

I was shocked because I have never displayed personal information on my profile. Then I realized, it wasn’t the content of my profile but rather the pictures I had been tagged in. As I browsed through my pictures, I saw how many I wouldn’t want my parents to see, let alone a potential employer.

How unfair is it that Facebook users used to have to be in college, but now anyone can sign up. I had previously believed that I was in a safe bubble where no one outside of my college friends would see my pictures. Now, I hear of business managers creating fake profiles to gain insight into whom you portray yourself as. When I learned that, I immediately untagged about half of my pictures…

…What I have learned is that you can use your online profiles to your advantage. Managers are looking for specific elements of your profile to find out what kind of person you are beyond your résumé.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Remove all pictures of yourself partying too hard.
  • Be honest, but try to portray yourself as a professional.
  • Be aware that companies browse through your friends.
  • Don’t badmouth your current or past employers.

If you follow these simple rules, you can create a profile that will fit into any company’s culture.

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Now that President Obama has signed the stimulus bill, everyone is (very eagerly) looking for signs of an upswing. It’s no secret that the road ahead is going to be lengthy and bumpy, at best. This means that for graduating seniors, the job market will hopefully be better by the summer but don’t expect a miraculous 180 from today’s state, either.

With that in mind, we’re continuing our focus on how students are revising their post-graduation plans in the wake of the economic turbulence. Here are some thoughts on the situation from Natalie.

cbnatalie In light of the changing economy, now seems like a scary time to be on the job hunt.  Graduating should be exciting, not stressful. Unfortunately for us, graduating is stressful – now more than ever. With a new president, change could be on its way. Until then, there are things we can do to help aid us in our post graduation plans.

I personally believe it’s all about keeping your options open. With the uneasy job market, we need to be less picky and more flexible in what and where our jobs will be. By changing my search from “Ohio” to “All States” on CBcampus.com, I received more than 2,000 extra choices. (There are 89 HR jobs listed in Ohio but a massive 2,107 HR jobs listed when I don’t specify a state!)

Now I don’t know about anybody else, but to me 2,000 extra options seem like big deal!  Two thousand extra choices could make all the difference in my job search because, in the end, all I need is that one job, right?

I understand that it can be hard to make that switch. “All States” could be anywhere! And anywhere can mean expensive. But it might be better to pay to relocate and have a job than not have a job at all.  Obviously, it’s an individual’s choice and there are a lot of factors that go into making an across-the-country move, but remember to be flexible and open. There are companies out there who pay relocation expenses for you.

“All States” could also mean a place far away from family and friends.  But look on the bright side: If you and all your college buddies spread across the country, you not only have a ton of great places to visit (hopefully at least one person is somewhere warm!), you also have networking opportunities across the nation.  After you gain a couple years experience and decide you’re ready for change, call up those buddies and ask what’s available around them.  They just might have names and information.

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We’re well into a new semester and our CBCampus ambassadors are back. Some are returning faces and others are new–all of whom you’ll hear from in the coming weeks.

Unless you’ve somehow avoided the news for the last few months, you know the economy’s in a sticky situation. The recession we’re in is taking its toll on the job market, and for college students that can be a scary prospect. We asked them to share their thoughts about the current situation and how it affects their plans. Here’s what Andrew has to say about it.

cbandrewAs a 4 year graduating senior at Arizona State University, I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked the question “So, what are you going to do after school?” I have grown accustom to responding with vague yet confident answers for everyone to draw their own conclusions to. Between the previous question and a relentless bombardment of media headlines (such as “Recent grads face the harsh economic reality“), it is growing increasingly difficult to sound confident as my graduation date draws near.

My plan going into school was simple: Graduate in 4 years, then return to my hometown in southern California. I quickly realized that it would be nearly impossible to find a job where I wanted to live. In order to survive in this economy, I certainly couldn’t be picky. I began to research places in the United States with the lowest unemployment rates and found that my best odds were in Fargo, North Dakota and Casper, Wyoming…

With the job market being so grim, it is no longer about being picky as to where I want to work but whether I can even get work in my field of study. One option that has crossed my mind is to stay in school and ride out the storm while working towards my MBA.

One of my best friends is doing just that. He recently graduated from the Fireman Academy here in Arizona and is a certified firefighter, but as he graduated he learned that the departments here wouldn’t be hiring for another 12-18 months. Now he is unsure whether to pursue his fire science degree or go back to school to become a paramedic. Either way, he wants to broaden his field of education in hopes of a job from any department.

Currently, I’m trying to establish new contacts in a variety of different fields. I’m playing the odds and doing as much networking as I can while I can still depend on my parents to put food on the table. I thought I knew what field of work I would get into but I’m now trying to be as diverse as possible with my education, networking, and job experience. I’m still very optimistic that my success with prior internships and jobs will eventually lead to me landing that job.

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Undoubtedly, new college graduates in today’s economy are probably not having the easiest time finding that first job. You’ve probably already spent a significant amount of time perfecting your resume and portfolio; maybe you’ve even had a couple of interviews. But now, more than ever since opportunities are scarce, candidates need to know and understand exactly what employers are looking for in their ideal worker, and find ways to demonstrate those qualities.

However, a new study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows that becoming this perfect candidate might not be very easy.

Nearly 70 percent of employers taking part in NACE’s Job Outlook 2009 study said they screen candidates by GPA (grade point average). Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director, says the cutoff for most employers is 3.0, or a B average.

“If a student passes that hurdle, then the employer takes a look at other attributes,” she says.

As far as skills and attributes, employers are looking for communication skills, a strong work ethic, the ability to work well on a team and initiative.

Employer from the study also emphasized leadership experience and relevant work experience.

“More than three-quarters of employers told us they prefer to hire candidates with relevant work experience,” Mackes says. “In this case, we’re talking about new college graduates who have taken part in internships or cooperative education assignments.”

To find out more about what employers are looking for in an ideal candidate, click here.

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iptcontest1Want to earn some cold hard cash? How about participating in CareerBuilder.com’s “It’s Probably Time” contest?

Hopefully by now, you’ve seen CareerBuilder’s new commercial. If you can relate to it, you could be well on your way to winning one of three prizes. All you need is to tell us, via video, about your worst workplace moment.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…

  1. Create your original and humorous 45 second or less video
  2. Upload the video to your account on YouTube.com
  3. Complete and submit the application at www.ItsProbablyTime.com by March 10th

You can win:

  • Grand prize/ Viewers’ choice – $5,000 prize & resume upgrade on CB ($150 value)
  • First prize/ Judges’ choice – $2,000 prize & resume upgrade on CB ($150 value)
  • Second prize/ Judges’ choice – $1,000 prize & resume upgrade on CB ($150 value)

After the submission deadline on March 10, 2009, there will also be an online, public voting period from March 24, 2009 – April 7, 2009. Don’t forget to come back to see the finalists and vote for your favorite!

For complete details and rules, watch this YouTube video or go to http://www.itsprobablytime.com

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We all know the famous TV show, “The Apprentice,” which features contestants from around the globe competing to be an apprentice to the infamous Donald Trump.

While going on the reality show might be a bit extreme, the show might be onto something with the apprenticeship idea. As the availability of student loans shrink, one author says people may want to bypass a college degree and consider an apprenticeship instead as an entry route to their career.

“You don’t have to shell out tens of thousands of dollars in tuition or endure basic training in a distant boot camp to get entry into your career. An apprenticeship provides job training in which you can become a highly skilled worker through a combination of work site learning and minimal classroom learning,” says Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., co-author of the recently released book “200 Best Jobs Through Apprenticeships, Second Edition.”

“An apprenticeship is sometimes called ‘the other four-year degree’ because it often takes four years and it results in a nationally recognized credential that can open the door to income and job security that can be as good as or better than what college graduates enjoy,” he adds.

Shatkin crunched numbers from the Department of Labor to identify the best “apprenticeable” jobs. The following occupations topped the list:

Paralegals and legal assistants

Annual Earnings: $44,990

Percent Growth: 22.2 percent

Annual Openings: 22,756

Computer support specialists

Annual Earnings: $42,400

Percent Growth: 12.9 percent

Annual Openings: 97,334

Construction and building inspectors

Annual Earnings: $48,330

Percent Growth: 18.2 percent

Annual Openings: 12,606

Radiologic technologists

Annual Earnings: $50,260

Percent Growth: 15.1 percent

Annual Openings: 12,836

Police patrol officers

Annual Earnings: $49,630

Percent Growth: 10.8 percent

Annual Openings: 37,842

Correctional officers and jailers

Annual Earnings: $36,970

Percent Growth: 16.9 percent

Annual Openings: 56,579

Licensed practical and vocational nurses

Annual Earnings: $37,940

Percent Growth: 14.0 percent

Annual Openings: 70,610

Pipe fitters and steamfitters

Annual Earnings: $44,090

Percent Growth: 10.6 percent

Annual Openings: 68,643

Plumbers

Annual Earnings: $44,090

Percent Growth: 10.6 percent

Annual Openings: 68,643

Surgical technologists

Annual Earnings: $37,540

Percent Growth: 24.5 percent

Annual Openings: 15,365

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