Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Job Doesn't Pay Enough? Ask For a Signing Bonus!

If an employer wants you badly enough, you may be able to talk him or her into paying you a signing bonus. Signing bonuses are typically easier to negotiate than a higher salary, because an employer views a signing bonus as a one-time payment, rather than your reoccurring salary. Offering a signing bonus, rather than a higher salary, can be much less expensive for the company.

Signing bonuses have come to be seen as a sort of admission on the part of your employer that you are worth more than the job actually pays. This is information to keep in mind during your negotiations, as well as when you are asking for a raise down the line. If your employer thought that you were worth a little extra money to hire you, he or she might decide that it’s worth a little more to keep you on board.

Thinking you're worth a signing bonus is one thing. Requesting one may be downright awkward. Rather than asking if this position might carry a signing bonus, you might ask ‘what is the signing bonus?’ Just acting with confidence may be enough to carry you into negotiations, particulary if the salary is lower than what someone of your experience would be expected to make.

When negotiating a signing bonus, keep in mind that the IRS considers them regular income. And, if the IRS considers signing bonus income, so should you. That means you should set aside some money to help pay the additional taxes.

It’s up to you to negotiate the terms of your bonus. Most companies will include contingencies in your contract regarding your signing bonus. For instance, you might receive your bonus up front, but you would be required to return it if you leave the company within your first year. If you do decide to move on to a new job without completing the terms of your contract, you may be required to return either part of or the entire signing bonus.

Overall, signing bonuses can add that bump to your salary and benefits package to make employment with a specific company worth your while. You should realize, though, that a signing bonus is only a one-time payment. It may be better worth your while to find a company willing to raise your salary to convince you to take an offer, because, in the long run, you will typically make more.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How to Screw Up Your Resume

Want to know how to make a resume that will totally turn off your prospective employer?

1. Be sure not to spell check.

2. Have a bunch of unexplained gaps in your work history. Prospective employers like to see that you were doing something during a work absence, like volunteer work, stay-at-home parenting, schooling. So, if you don't want the job, just make it seem like you were at home watching Law & Order reruns all day long.

3. Put in a bunch of personal hobbies and interests. Employers hate that. Especially when the hobbies have nothing to do with your career.

4. Include personal attributes or photographs. Unless you're applying as a model or entertainer, employers don't need to see your photo. And, most don't want to.

5. Print your resume with fancy fonts, or print it on lime green paper. Employers like easy to read fonts on white or neutral paper, which makes it easier to read. So, if you don't want the job, use some fancy script that looks like it's a poster for the Renaissance Fair.

6. Put in a bunch of very outdated information. Face it, if you're over 30, you don't really need to put in the name of your high school. And, if you have some obsolete skills, such as your Wang word processing skills, leave it off, unless, of course, you want to annoy a prospective employer with meaningless information they have to read through.

How Long Can I File a Tax Extension?

Okay, I guess no one really needs a reminder that your tax returns are due in today.

If you've already mailed in your tax return, congratulations! If not, you'd better hurry. They are due today.

What about an extension?

You can get an automatic six-month tax extension by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. But, you do have to file it on April 15, today. But, remember, filing an extension of time to file is NOT an extension of time to pay. You do have to pay the amount of the tax estimated to be due for the tax year. Interest will be charged on your unpaid taxes.

You can get the form by going to:

Monday, April 14, 2008

How to Dress for Success on a Budget

No doubt about it, dressing for success is important, particularly if you wish to move up in your career, or ace that job interview. But, how can you do that if you're on a tight budget?

I'm going to say two words which may make some people cringe. But, here goes: THRIFT STORE. That's right, thrift store. Okay, by now some people's jaws have dropped and hit their keyboards. "Thrift store?!" you ask in shock. "I would never shop in a thrift store!" Then you would be losing out on some great deals on business clothing. Many people get rid of their wardrobes every one or two years, donating some very nice business clothing which is still in style.

The key to thrift store shopping is to not get discouraged if you don't find something on your first visit. Yes, it is hit or miss, but you can often find some great labels from the previous year which are in good shape and fit you nicely, or which will fit with some inexpensive alterations.

If you live in a major metropolitan area you probably will have many options, such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other specialized thrift stores. In many California cities there are "Out of the Closet" thrift stores which benefit AIDS patients. Out of the Closet offers many gems at pretty decent prices. Not sure if this is nationwide, but the Goodwills in the Los Angeles area often have sales such as "all pants for $3.99," or "shirts for 2.99." You can pick up many dress shirts, pants or skirts for really cheap.

You do have to be careful that you're not choosing something which has a great label but is hopelessly out of date, so you may want to brush up on current offerings at the retail stores first. You also have to develop an eagle-eye when looking over the clothing. Be sure to examine each article of clothing carefully for stains or rips.

Many people also find used business clothing on eBay, but, if you're like me, you want to try something on first. Just because it's your size doesn't mean it's going to be a great match for you.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Considering a Second Job?

Considering taking on a side job? In this economy, many people are, either taking on entirely different second jobs than their primary employment, or doing the same job, but at a cheaper rate than your employer charges (such as a plumber who does side jobs after working hours).

Second jobs can certainly help pay the bills or pad your savings, but you don't want them to jeopardize your primary job. Here are some tips to help you avoid losing your primary job:

..:: Make sure that you have not signed any sort of contract that would limit your ability to work outside of your primary employer. The most common contract that could affect your ability to do so is a non-compete contract, which states that, within certain geographical and chronological constraints, you are not allowed to work for (or start) a business that competes with your current employer.

..::Don't do anything on company time or on the company's dime for your side business. Don’t take phone calls for your side job, don’t read email for it, and don’t do work for it.

..::Don't networking for your side job when you should be working on a project for your primary position. So, if you're that plumber, don't solicit side work from the homeowner while you're there doing work for your employer.

..::If your primary job is the more important of the two, ditch your second job if the workload becomes too much.

If you're transitioning from employee to entrepreneur or from job to job, it's expected there will be some sort of overlap. But, don't allow that overlap to jeopardize your primary job until you're ready and able to complete the transition.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dress for Success: Purses and Handbags

Okay, ladies, you're turn! What type of purse or handbag should you choose when dressing for success. You know, you have that big job interview coming up and you want to dress to impress.

Well, ditch the backpack and have a look at this video I spotted on YouTube about the proper handbag for business. Think red!

Dress for Sucess: Men's Shoes

The previous post dealt with "how to dress for success." This post will put a spotlight on one element of dressing for success for men: the shoes.

What types of shoes should men look for when dressing for success? If you have a job interview coming up, what should you wear on your feet?

Here's a little video I found which can help even the most "wardrobe-challenged" guy find the proper business footwear.

How to Dress for Success

They say clothes make the man (or woman). And, when you're successful in your career, your clothing will reflect that. Even if you have a way to go in your career goals, dressing the part can help, both mentally for you and in how people react to you.

So, how do you dress for success?


For women:

o Skirted suit or pants suit

o Skirts should be knee-length or slightly above or below

o Wear neutral or flesh-tone hose

o Pants should break at the top of the foot or shoe

o Watch the the neckline of your blouse: not too low

o Low heel flats better than flats or high-heels

o Don't overdo it with the jewelry

For men:

o Go with a conservative suit: navy, black or grey; solid or pinstripe

o Add a solid white or blue dress shirt

o Go with a simple silk tie, nothing too flashy

o Shoes should be lace up and polished

o Make sure your socks match

o Keep socks calf-length or above

o Wear a belt that matches your shoes

What about accessories?

o When it comes to jewelry, again, don't overdo it. Keep it simple and conservative. You want them focused on you, not your five rings and gold chains.

o For women think red when choosing a handbag. See our video on women's handbag. (Just click on the below label for "dress for success," you'll see it.)

o For both men and women a briefcase can be very professional. Leave the backpack at home.

o Remember, a pen is an also an accessory. Do you really want to write notes with a cheap, throwaway stick pen? Invest in a stylish pen and bring it with you.

o Avoid strong cologns or perfumes. You never know if the interviewer is sensitive to strong smells.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Should I Post My Resume Online?

Should you post your resume on an online job site? Well, if you want a job you do.

Why? Why can't you just find the job you want, then send your resume on to the employer? Sure you can, but some employers want to get onto the online job site and look for their candidate right then and there. They don't want to wade through the replies of unqualified people, so they just check the resume data base to save themselves time. If your resume is not there, how will these employers ever know you exist?

What should you never include on your resume?

..:Social Security number
..:Driver’s license number
..:Bank account information
..:Credit card information
..:Date of birth

For more information about how to write a resume, go to our webpage at How to Make a Resume

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Upcoming Texas Job Fairs

Attention all you Texans out there. Here are some upcoming Texas Job Fairs you might be interested in:

April 12, 2008
San Antonio Police Department Career Fair
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
San Antonio Police Training Academy
12200 S.E. Loop 410
San Antonio, Texas

April 17, 2008
JobFairs of America - Job Fair of Dallas
3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Embassy Suites Hotel
4650 W. Airport Freeway
Irving, Texas

April 19, 2008
Dallas Job Fair
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
West Dallas Multipurpose Center
2828 Fish Trap Road
Dallas, Texas

April 21, 2008 Career Fair
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Crowne Plaza - Greenway
2712 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX

April 25, 2008
Faith Summit Career Expo 2008
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Friendship-West Babtist Church
2020 W. Wheatland Road
Dallas, Texas

April 29, 2008
Monster Job Fair
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
1950 Stemmons Freeway
Dallas, Texas

May 12, 2008
Military Career Fair sponsored by National Career Fairs
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Holiday Inn Select
Houston-Greenway Plaza
2712 Southwest Freeway
Houston, Texas

May 13, 2008 Job Fair
10:00 AM - 2:00PM
Infomart 1950 N. Stemmons Freeway,
Dallas, Texas 75207

While career fairs do vary, most employer booths have a company representative who is able to discuss their company’s opportunities and accept resumes.

Although career and job fairs can be a great way to find new career opportunities, most people are unprepared for them. What many do not realize is that some employers actually interview and hire candidates right on the spot! That means you need to do more than just attend a career fair; you need to prepare for it. Be sure to dress professionally and bring your resume. Lots of them! It's your calling card. Make sure you have plenty to pass around.

Monday, April 7, 2008

High Salary Careers's homepage just had an interesting article about surprising salaries, including some high salary careers you might like to know:

For example did you know there are only 1,700 astronomers in the U.S.? That might explain why an astronomer makes an annual salary of $95,740. Are you deciding what your second career might be? How about an astronomer? Of course, this is not an easy career change; most astronomers have doctorates.

Another high-salary career? Think elementary school principal. For those of you who thought working for the school system meant taking a step down in pay, think again. Elementary school principals make an average of $79,310. And the benefits? Huge. If you work for a public school system you have great health and retirement benefits. You know those retirees who play golf and tennis all day and take several cruises a year? Principals. Okay, maybe not everyone of them's a principal, but you can bet your average retired principal is having a nice retirement. Of course, being a principal can be a stressful job. It's not just sitting in your office and scolding the really bad kids. They have budgets and personnel they have to manage, not to mention angry parents.

One career not in the MSN article, but a personal favorite of mine is librarian. Librarian? That's right, a librarian can be counted among high-salary careers. And, the job growth outlook, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is pretty good, due to the fact that a large number of librarians are due to retire in the coming decade. Of course, a librarian can work in many different types of libraries: elementary schools, junior colleges, universities, public libraries, law libraries, medical libraries, etc., so there is a wide range of salaries. Here are some examples of median librarian salaries in the U.S. as of May, 2006:

Junior colleges $52,030
Colleges, universities, and professional schools 51,160
Elementary and secondary schools 50,710

And, according to the BLS, the average annual salary for all librarians in the Federal Government in nonsupervisory, supervisory, and managerial positions was $80,873 in 2007.

That's Fine - But What About Six-Figure Jobs and Careers?

Glad you asked. I also stumbled upon an article on which listed some six-figure careers without having to obtain a professional degree (even better). What are they?

..:: Marketing Manager

..:: Health Services Manager with compliance skills

..:: Information Systems Manager

..:: Financial Manager

..:: Human Resources Manager

..:: Fashion Designer

..:: Court Reporter coupled with freelance overtime for private depositions

..:: Computer Application Development Manager

..:: Educational Administrator

The reason I'm bringing all these careers to your attention is to point out that when looking for another career, you have to stretch your thinking.

It's good to go to job sites, such as or and see what types of jobs are out there and what they're offering. For those of you wanting to check out careers making over $100,000 per year you might want to go to You will have to register, but they do have a free registration with limited access. Check all the different categories; see what type of educational background you'll need. It's also a good idea to go to government job sites and see what are the in-demand, high-salary careers as well. Who knows, you may stumble onto something really great.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tips for Making a Business Card

Starting your own business and beginning the process of making a business card? Smart. A business card is the calling card for your business. But, it's important to make sure your business card is one people will hold onto and not throw away. Here are some tips.

1. Don't Cheap Out

Yes, you can get business cards for free. But, if your business card says "free" on the back of it, that just tells people you're cheap. And, if you absolultely must print your own business cards make sure the card stock is heavyweight card stock. There's also nothing that says cheap like flimsy card stock.

2. Keep it Simple

Don't use too many different fonts or include too much information on your card. You don't want to make it difficult for people to get the main focus of your business.

3. Use a Font Large Enough to Read

Use fonts that are large enough for people of all ages to read. There are many people out there (like, many over 40) who can't read the small print. Don't loose their business.

4. Use a Larger Font for the Most Important Information

If the desired action is for them to give you a call, highlight the phone number with a larger font. If it's the address, highlight the address. Don't make them have to hunt for the most important information on the card.

5. Include your Website Address and E-mail Address

Don't have a website? Then it's time to get one. A five-page website won't cost much, but can be the difference between gaining a new client or not.

6. Never Use Cards with Outdated Information

Have you ever received a business card with a phone number crossed out in black marker with another phone number written in ink next to it? All that says is "I'm too cheap to buy new cards."

7. Write an Offer on the Back of the Card

When handing your business card to someone, make sure there's an offer on the back of the card, and hand the card to the person with the backside up so the person will see your offer.

A business card can be one of the most important marketing tools your new business can have. Give it the attention it deserves and you may be richly rewarded.

Friday, April 4, 2008

What to do with your Stimulus Money

Are you one of those people expecting to receive some stimulus money from the IRS this summer? So, what are you going to do with it?

Take a trip?

Buy a new fancy cellphone?

Buy a new grill for the summer?

Pay some bills?

Those are all good uses for the money, to be sure. And, if you have some outstanding bills or credit card debt that's beginning to really creep up there, using your stimulus money for that is definitely a good thing.

But, before you buy that fancy cellphone or grill, or take that three-day trip to wine country, why not consider taking that money and investing in your career?

There are so many classes at the community college level which can give you skills for a new career or advancement in your own career. Why not take a class?


Yeah, I know, sitting in class learning something new while your neighbor is grilling on some fancy grill that you could have bought is not fun. But, neither is staying in a job you hate, or not being able to advance to a higher-paying career because you don't have updated skills.

Tip of the Day: Don't Get Distracted!

Those who are most successful at finding work dedicate as much time to their job search as they would a full-time job.

Yeah, I know, another tip that's a DUH! But, think about what it means. You would spend 7 to 8 hours at a job, right? So, make getting a job you're job! That means not getting distracted! Actually put in that amount of time! (Wow that's alot of exclamation points!)

Okay, so you're probably wondering "how can I possibly look for a job for 7 to 8 hours a day." Well, it's not all looking for a job. That can include anything that will help propel you to getting a job. That can include reading a book on self-esteem. That can include taking a class to boost your job skills. That can include meditation to help calm yourself as you go through a stressful period of unemployment. That can include self-hypnosis to give yourself some positive affirmations to help your confidence or help attract work to you. (Yeah, I do believe that. I'll probably post about that later).

What that doesn't include is grocery shopping, cleaning the house, doing yard work (unless, of course you're getting really stressed and gardening or cleaning the house is like meditation for you. In that case, come to my house and clean it and really get mellow).

Putting in a full day of work-related activities helps your job search, but can also boost your self esteem, giving you the sense that you have accomplished something. You don't want to feel like that unemployed person who has squandered another day. If you have chores like shopping or laundry, make it something you do on your lunch hour.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Phlebotomy Class in the Los Angeles Area

Looking for phlebotomy training in the L.A. area? Just spotted this in the latest Glendale Community College community services pamphlet - a 6-Saturday Phlebotomy Certification Course beginning May 3 and going through June 14.

What's phlebotomy? You may not be familiar with the word, but you probably have come in contact with a phlebotomist. They're the people who draw your blood. And they're in demand.

If you're looking for a new career you might want to consider training to become a phlebotomist. Face it, this is one career they're not going to outsource to someone in India. That would have to be a pretty long syringe now, wouldn't it?

Anyway, this phlebotomy course combines 48 hours of classroom instruction with a 40-hour phlebotomy externship. You will learn (and become quite good at) venipuncture with syringe, vacutainer, butterfly and fingerstick methods. Upon completion of this course, you will qualify to apply to the State of California as a Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT 1).

What are the qualifications for the course? They recommend you have a high school diploma (or equivalent) and that you be at least 18 years of age.

The course does cost $2,395, but you know, when you're looking for a stable career, not to mention one that is in demand, $2,395 isn't bad. But, if you'd like a less-expensive course you might want to look at:

California State University Long Beach
University College & Extension Services

Cal State Long Beach Extension Services offers a once a year phlebotomy course, beginning June 2 to June 23, on a Monday through Friday, 9AM to noon schedule. The course is comprised of 45 hours of in-class course work and 100 hours of supervised clinical experience. The cost for this course is $1600, considerably less than the Glendale Community College course, but with a Monday through Friday schedule, rather than a Saturday schedule which allows you to work full-time during the week.

You can get more info by going to: and Phlebotomy Cal State Long Beach

We have more information on becoming a phlebotomist on our website at Phlebotomy School

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Legitimate At Home Jobs - Where are They?

I wrote last month about at-home jobs and how many of them are just scams. You know what I'm talking about. Those jobs which scream out that you can work from home and make a ton of money doing it. Just trying to find out exactly what the job is can be a major chore. Then you find out you have to buy something in order to make something, when all you want is a real job you can do from home.

Are there legitimate at-home jobs out there? Absolutely. You can find some of these by going to and just typing in "at home" in the search box. Within the first couple of pages of results you will find many legitimate at-home opportunities, from customer service to ticket sales to data entry to recruiter. Also do a search for "telecommuting" and you'll find other jobs as well.

Another option is to work as a freelancer. Numerous opportunities exist at and for all types of jobs, from data entry to photography to web design to writing. You do have to sign up and then bid for the job, but it is one way to put yourself out there to possible employers. Some of the positions turn into more longer-term positions.

These are just a few ways to find work you can do from home.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Not Qualified? To Apply or Not to Apply

New career hunting? No doubt you've come across a number of job listings that appeal to you, but that you're not quite qualified for. So, should you apply? Well, if you feel you have similar qualifications, you might just go ahead and apply, even if you don't have the actual qualifications they're looking for.

Why? Well, it's not uncommon for an employer to be hiring for more than one position. Although you may not necessarily be qualified for the position that you applied for, the employer in question may have another position available; another position that you may be better suited for.

Of course, if you are able to land an interview, be prepared to tell the interviewer why you would apply for a position you're not truly qualified for. You'll want to spin the answer to your advantage by telling the interviewer that you are always up for a challenge, or go into detail about how you think you are qualified in other ways. One thing you will definitely not want to do is respond with “I was hoping that I would get lucky.” This is a surefire way to lose your chance of getting that job or any job.

When it comes to applying for a job that you aren’t truly qualified for, you do have to use your best judgment. Don't apply for a position that requires a degree or certification that you don't have. It's one thing to stretch your experience a bit, but quite another to fake having a teaching degree and certificate. (Yeah, some people do fake those things, but they're usually found out and fired or charged with a crime).

Monday, March 31, 2008

Distance Learning Courses - Are They for You?

Changing careers or jobs often require you to upgrade your skills, or, in the event of a complete career change, learn new skills. But, how can you take classes and continue to support yourself at the same time? That's where distance learning courses come in.

What is distance learning? Simply put, distance learning is any formal educational process in which the teaching occurs when the student and teacher are not in the same place. Distance learning courses can be delivered over the internet, television, or through videoconferences with live class sessions. Though many of these long-distance courses provide no direct connection between teacher and student, many of them, particularly at the local community college and university, supplement the distance courses with periodic, in-person get-togethers. In other cases there are often connections by phone, e-mail, videotapes and lab equipment mailed to your home.

Distance learning course programs were originally created with the working adult in mind, but have since become a favorite of students of all ages looking to complete their post-secondary education, gain certifications, or learn new skills to change careers or move ahead in their fields. Because these programs are more flexible in how they can be completed, it is often financially easier. Also, not having to travel to and from campus can result in some gas savings as well.

These types of programs offer Bachelor, Master, and even PhD degrees, but also include various diploma and certification programs.

Are Distance Learning Courses for You?

There are numerous things to take into consideration before you sign up for that first distance learning class.

..: You Need Good Self-Discipline

It's hard enough sometimes showing up to a face-to-face class. With distance-learning courses, you have to maintain the discipline to log into your class regularly, complete assignments on time, and contact the right person if you run into trouble. Not all students have the necessary self-discipline.

..: There's No Connection with Fellow Students

Is that a problem? Well, for some people it can be. Sometimes being around other students can help your motivation, and give you other people to learn from. Also, distance learning doesn't allow for networking. Your fellow students can be your future entry to jobs. Many times people get hired based on recommendations with someone they went to school with. You can help offset this lack of networking by joining online networking communities or local organizations geared to your chosen career field.

..: Make Sure Your Computer is Up-To-Date

Most distance courses are taught online. You do need to make sure that your computer is up-to-date, as well as your internet connection. No dial-ups here. Dial-up is just too slow to properly connect with some courses. And, if your computer is old, with low RAM and a small hard-drive, a high-speed internet connection will be useless.

Of course, you don't even have to complete the course on your computer at home. Coffee houses, airports, and even fast food restaurants have created their own hotspots, realizing that their customers want to work while on the go.

If you think distance learning classes might be an option for you, you may want to go to our website at and check out some of the careers and skills you can learn online. You can also get more information on distance learning classes by checking out our page on At-Home Career Training

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Salary Negotiation Tips

Have a job interview coming up? Thought about how you're going to handle any salary questions?

That's right, as if the interview process were not daunting enough, you also have to know how to properly negotiate your salary. The key to successful salary negotiation is to not aim too far above or below the interviewer’s potential salary range. How do you do this? Well, the answer is to let the employer broach the salary subject.

Don't Give a Dollar Amount, Even if They Ask!

The employer must give the initial number! Knowledge is power - and you should use it to your advantage. Some employers will try to trick you into accepting an offer far less than what they were offering in the first place – but don’t fall into this trap. So what do you say? Tell them you're open to negotiation.

But, What if They're Pushy?

In the event that they try to lock you into a deal without making a formal offer, you simply decline the request to discuss salary until they make you an offer in writing. This will put the ball firmly back in their court. You may also want to quickly follow that with a statement that you’d like to learn more about their organization and how you can best make a contribution to it.

This will appeal to most interviewers, as they will have the impression that salary is a secondary concern and you are more than willing to join their team.

I Mean, Really, Really Pushy!

If the interviewer is very pushy, you may need to resort to the ‘level playing field’ tactic. You can remind the potential employer that leaving the organization you are with will mean that you expect to be compensated accordingly. At this point, you may need to disclose what you were, or are, making.

When it comes to salary negotiation, remember that verbal offer means nothing. You need a firm number and you need it in writing.

I found this YouTube video on how to handle this very question of salary in an interview. It's fairly short.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

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Create a Positive Attitude - it Might Help Your Career

If you create a positive attitude, your positive attitude will permeate your resume, cover letter, and the interviewing process.

Okay, yes that may seem hokey. But, enough can't be said about creating a positive attitude while searching for a new job or career, even if you have to fake it for awhile.

Wait, faking a positive attitude? How's that going to help? Actually, it can help alot. For example, did you know that studies have found that Botox injections can actually help with depression? Is it something in the Botox? No, it's because Botox forces a smile. The conclusion is that even forcing a smile "fools" your brain into believing it's happy. That's right. Smiling, even when you don't mean it, can eventually help you become happier.

Even talking when smiling will make your voice sound cheerier. Again, even when you're not really happy. That's why phone workers are often advised to also smile when they greet potential customers on the phone. They create a positive attitude to help make you feel positive.

Again, what does this have to do with your career? Well, for starters, smile when you go in for your job interview. Don't let a defeatist attitude ruin your prospects. And, before you go to bed at night either write down or repeat some positive affirmations. Who knows, maybe the "laws of attraction" people have it right. Maybe expecting bad results can help bring bad results, while expecting positive results can help bring positive results.

Yes, yes, the above can be viewed as extremely simplistic. But, what have you go to lose? Really, a positive attitude won't hurt. And, it just might help. Even if you have to fake it for awhile.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Career Tip of the Day - Thank You Letter

The best way to let a prospective employer know you appreciate being granted an interview AND are very interested in employment is to follow up with a thank you letter.

Although simple to do, a thank you letter is very important in the job-search process. A thank-you letter after your interview serves two purposes.

1) A thank-you letter shows that you respect the interviewing process, as well as respect the authority of the interviewer. The thank-you letter tells the interviewer that you aren't some cocky individual who just assumes you got the job, but, rather, that you realize there are others competing for the position and that you will go the extra step to set yourself apart from the competition.

2) A thank-you letter also brings you back into the interviewer's focus. Studies show that people tend to remember the first and the last of something, whether it be a speaker, a list of choices, or, in an interviewer's case, the first or last job candidate. It's called the law of primacy and recency, where the first and the last get remembered more. So, if you're a job candidate who interviewed somewhere in the middle of a string of interviews, you may not stand out as much. Of course, you hope your resume will still help you stand out, and that the interviewer reviews all candidates equally. But, again, you personally may not stand out as much if your interview was stuck somewhere in the middle. A thank-you letter will help bring you back into the interviewer's mind.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Should You Start Your Own Business?

Some of you out there looking for a new job or a change in careers might be wondering if you should start your own business. While working for yourself may seem appealing, there are things you need to considering before taking such a leap.

Starting your own business takes a commitment unlike a regular job. Sure most people are serious about their jobs and are committed to them. But your own business takes a realization that you may have to work harder to get your own business off the ground, at least in the first year or two. You also have to realize that, depending on the business you've chosen, you may may not see profitability for at least a couple years.

When you begin thinking about working for yourself, you need to do a self-assessment about the time, energy and money you are willing to put into the business. For example, if you want to work for yourself to give yourself more freedom or more time for fun or family, starting a restaurant would probably not be for you. Most people who own restaurants spend alot of time working in those restaurants, and find they have very little time for outside activities.

If you choose a business which requires a lot of community networking and you're a person who is awkward in social situations, you may want to choose something which is more solitary, like an internet business. (Yes, owning an internet business may mean you will have to do some social networking online, it's nothing like speaking at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, or cold-calling local businesses to introduce yourself and your new business).

If you have an idea of the type of business you want to start, it's a good idea to take a look at the competition you'll be facing in your community. The level of competition can help determine whether your business will be a success or not. If you find there's absolutely no competition for the business you've chosen, that is, nobody has a business like the one you've

imagined, you might want to ask yourself why that is. Is there a demand for your type of business? If your business is a new concept, make sure you can frame your marketing to help create the need for your business in people's minds.

If you really want to own your own business, but aren't really sure what kind of business you'd like to start, it's good to look at successful businesses that others have started to get some ideas. One site you may like for unique ideas is You may also want to consider a franchise business. Some franchises can be very profitable as you're buying into a company with name recognition and an established business model. You can read more about buying a franchise at: Why Buy a Franchise.

Just about all business ventures require some startup cash, although some require more than others. If you currently do not have the financial means needed to start your own small business, you may be able to seek financial assistance. Many financial lenders, including banks and credit unions, may be willing to give you financial backing to get your small business up and running. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is also a place to check out when seeking a business loan.

You will need to show the lender in question that your small business is one that can make a profit, or at least enough money to pay back the business loan. The best way to do this is to create a professional business plan for yourself; one that you can show to all loan officers that you end up meeting. On our site about selling on eBay, we have a page on how to write a business plan to meet the requirements of the SBA, so you might want to check out that page as well: SBA Business Plan. It's written for eBay businesses, but applies to all small businesses.

The above-mentioned factors are just a few of the many that you will want to take into consideration, when trying to determine if you should start your own small business. The decision as to whether or not you want to startup a business is yours to make, but it is a decision that shouldn’t be made on a whim. You are advised to discuss your possible business venture with your family and possibly even with a financial planner.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What are Green Collar Jobs?

What are green collar jobs? No, not cleaning up after a St. Patrick's Day Parade. And, no, not something Leprechuans do.

Green collar Jobs are those job created by companies and organizations to improve the environment, whether it be manufacturing wind turbines or installing solar panels. There's no denying it. Global warming is upon us, and a new crop of jobs are being created to combat it.

These types of jobs include:

Jobs related to biodiesel
Public transit jobs
Hauling away materials for reuse
Hazardous materials cleanup
Installation of solar panels
Landscaping to cut down on water use
Manufacturing products from recycled materials
Home weatherization
Construction on green buildings
Home remodeling with green materials

And on and on and on. It's been estimated that by 2030, nearly a half-million new jobs could be created in the wind industry alone.

What does that mean for you? Plenty. Many of these jobs are going to replace the blue collar jobs which have been outsourced to other countries. Good news for blue collar workers. Also, there are many franchises being offered in green industries. Good news for entrepreneurs. And, there's always room for new green industries to be introduced. Again, good news for entrepreneurs.

If you feel you wish to get in on the "green boom," it's time to check out the educational opportunities that exist to help retrain you for some green industries. Your local community college is a good place to start. Many people find that skills they currently possess can transfer over to green collar jobs.

Where's a good place to find a green collar job? You may be surprised to find that your local or state government's a good place to look. Many environmental-related jobs can be found within agriculture, public and environmental health, and transportation.

The federal government is also a good place to look. I checked out the Bureau of Land Management website and found they currently have demand in:

Wildland Fire
Law Enforcement
Petroleum Engineering
Outdoor Recreation
Natural Resources

You can find many of their current openings, as well as other federal jobs, by going to

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Common Job Interview Questions

Knowing some of the traditional job interview questions that you’ll be asked can help to prepare you that little bit. So, just what are some of the more common job interview questions?

1) What are your strengths and weaknesses

2) What are your long term goals

3) Where do you want to be in ten years

4) How do you handle stress on the job

5) Tell us a little about yourself

Keep in mind when the interviewer asks "tell us a little about yourself," it isn't a request for your entire life story. Try to keep your response geared toward your professional life, with a couple outside interests you may have to show you are a well-rounded individual. You may want to leave out personal aspects of your life, such as you're going through a rough patch with your spouse or partner, but you're trying to work things out. An interviewing doesn't want to hear those things.

Before going to your next job interview, work with a friend to “role play” a Q & A session. This way you will be able to work out the pre-interview jitters and come up with some great answers you can use in the actual interview.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Daily Job Tip - Interviewing Advice

What NOT to mention in a job interview!

One of the most important tips when preparing for an upcoming job interview, is what NOT to say. There are some topics that need to be discussed during a job interview, but there are others that should be left out of the conversation.

1. Your personal life

Yes, it may be tempting to discuss your personal life. But, you're there for a job. Keep your personal and professional lives separate.

2. Bad experiences at past jobs

For starters, this information may be deemed as gossip. It also signals the employer that you may talk this way about their company in negative ways once you leave them. Better take the high road and avoid any topics that have to deal with poor experiences at your previous places of employment.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hot Careers in the Next 10 Years

Attention all you people looking for the next hot career to pursue, those hot careers which will still be booming in the next 10 years. Think data miner and simulation developer.

In business, data mining is the use of statistics to predict or explain customer behavior. Using statistics software, a data miner provides companies with data on what to sell and to whom. According to the Daystar Wheaton Group, a leading Chicago-area database marketing service company, data miners will continue to be in demand, and, if you choose that career path you will have no shortage of jobs to choose from. Someone looking to enter the field of data mining needs to study computer science and mathematics, with an emphasis in statistics and scientific computing.

A simulation developer develops programs that can educate, entertain, or train individuals. You may also know simulation developers by other names: computer game programmer, animation programmer, etc. What started out as entertainment, though, has quickly spread to other industries, such as education, corporations and even the military using simulated games for training purposes. And, the field is expected to continue as more and more industries come on board to utilize simulated programs. A person considering this career needs to focus their studies on game design and software programming. And, educational opportunities abound, with courses taught at traditional colleges and universities, as well as career colleges and universities such as DeVry University, which has programs designed specifically for game and simulation programming.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Job Fair in Phoenix in March

We found a job fair in the Phoenix area to alert you about. Here are the particulars:

What: 2008 Career Expo

When: Wednesday, March 26, 2008; 10AM to 3PM

Where: Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 W. McDowell Rd., Phoenix

There will be over 200 employers at this job fair, including:

Arizona Public Service
Arizona Carpenters Apprenticeship
Arizona Dept. of Transportation
Bank of America
Best Buy
Checker Auto
Clear Channel Radio
DeVry University
Dept. of Juvenile Corrections
EAst Valley Tribune
Farmers Insurance
Kelly Services
Merry Maids
Phoenix Police
Shamrock Foods
US Airways
Wells Fargo Bank
Xeriom Technology Services

and tons more!

Remember, when going to a Job Fair or Expo, be sure to dress professionally and bring an updated resume. You're there to impress, and nothing impresses more than being prepared and professional. Stretch yourself a little and start chatting with the prospective employers. Don't just go, grab some job applications and make a hasty retreat. This is billed as one of the largest job fairs in Phoenix for 2008, so if you're looking for a new job or career change, don't miss it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Daily Career Tip - Work at Home Jobs

Do a thorough background check on any “work-from-home” opportunity before giving any of your personal information – this will help protect you from identity thieves (and thieves in general) who want to steal your information or hire “work-for-free” employees.

While working from home certainly seems appealing, many of the work-at-home opportunities out there are scams, often requiring you to reveal personal information, or charging you money for work-at-home information you can find free anywhere on the internet.

Are there legitimate work-from-home opportunities? Of course there are. There are companies out there that will pay you to blog for them, or companies which allow telecommuting. But, when they promise an incredible amount of money for a few hours of work a week, you know it's time to look elsewhere. Legitimate companies are pretty up front how much they will pay you to work from home. Hint: you're not going to get rich from it.

Having said all that, if you have an expertise in something, it is possible make a decent side living, or, in some cases, a full-time living, working at home. For example, pays experts to become guides on a whole range of subjects and get paid for it. If it's a popular topic, you can make a decent living. But, you really have to be an expert on something, and be able to write about it. You can check out which topics are available and the qualifications at

Friday, March 14, 2008

Making a Career Change - things to consider

Changing career paths entirely can seem daunting. However, every year, the number of adults in the workforce who have changed careers — multiple times, even — rises dramatically. Did you know that the average worker will change careers three times over the course of his or her life? And, in the future, that number may grow even more.

There are a number of reasons you might think about changing your career. Besides just being unhappy in your current career, you may just be unable to advance further in your current career, especially without a great deal more education. Your interests and abilities may have developed beyond the point where a specific field is able to hold your attention.

If you have decided on a complete change of career path, your next step must be deciding on your new career. The easiest way to do so is often to simply list jobs you have an interest in and begin eliminating them. You might be able to eliminate particular jobs by considering the experience and education necessary (and whether you wish to spend the time required to acquire both), by considering the opportunities available in that field or by looking at your long-term goals. Lastly, you might consider seeking out opportunities to try out a given field, perhaps on a temporary or volunteer basis, to see if you actually enjoy the work.

No matter what field you decide to explore, you need to honestly take an inventory of the skills you have that will help you in a new position, as well as researching the skills you will need to acquire. That's where you really need to be honest with yourself. If your current skills don't pass muster, you're going to do something about that: go back to school; take a temp job which will help you acquire more skills; etc. You will need to create a new resume, pitching yourself to employers hiring for your new career path, and you may need to prepare yourself to work in a position with less responsibility than your last, at least in the short term. The bottom line is, changing careers can be a great deal of work.

Many individuals question whether changing careers is a viable option — whether it is worth it. It is an individual choice, but for those workers who are willing to put the necessary work into the process, it can be well worthwhile.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Career Tip of the Day - Temp Jobs

Working a temporary job can be a great way to get experience in your chosen field while opening up the opportunity to be hired permanently.

I really can't stress enough how a temp job can increase your chances of finding work in a new career. Many employers want to try out someone before hiring them, and, if you perform well, you will be their first choice for a new hire.

The key is, of course, if you perform well. It's absolutely important that you treat your temp job as if it were your permanent job. I've been at numerous companies where the temps strolled in a few minutes after the start time, left early, or took numerous days off. That won't get you anywhere but in a new temp job. If you act as if you are a permanent employee, people will start seeing you as a permanent employee.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Take Charge of your Own Career

Welcome to Career Change Advice, brought to you by the creators of Training For a New Career We hope to provide you with career advice, including interviewing tips, job fair information, resume tips, and other information about your career.

Our first post is titled "Take Charge of your Own Career" because, if you are looking for a promotion to further your career, it is not the boss who will do it for you but you, yourself.

You need to be able to take charge of your own career. Well, how do you do that?

Work Smarter

To make your career a successful one, you’ll need to work smarter, not harder. Before you enter any career, do research to find out whether or not that industry is growing. Choose a career that suits your skills and gives you room for growth and advancement.

Accept Change

Always be open to change and take the initiative to acquire new skills. Try to be the first person to accept change – that way, you show your employer that you are flexible and adaptable. Technology changes every day, and you must be able to handle it.

Accept Challenges

You will be able to produce good results only if you are interested in challenges. Along with being the first person to accept change, also be the first person to ask for more work. Ask for challenging work.

Help Yourself

Make no mistake about it – employers reward people that take the initiative.

Do not be dependent on others. It is better to make mistakes initially than to be dependent on others for help every time. Constant dependency will only hamper your productivity. You have to create your own opportunities.

Be A Team Player

Always take part in work-related meetings and try to give suggestions that will help resolve problems. Develop leadership qualities, and extend your help to coworkers whenever possible.

If you want your career to progress, you have to take charge of it.