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Career Tips

Tip # 1: Make networking part of your regular schedule!

Include time in your calendar to make networking and touch-base calls on a regular basis; since this is one of the most effective ways of conducting a job search, make sure you give it the priority and attention it requires. Keep a database of your calls by name with the phone number, referral source and notes about the conversation. If you are networking as aggressively as you should be, you won't remember the details without a 'scorecard'. Follow-up with a thank you and any updates about how you used the information/contacts they provided.


Tip # 2: Your Resume Isn't the Only Thing Employers Scruitinize

A recent study by Harris Interactive found that 45% of the employers they questioned are using social networks to check out job candidates before hiring them. That's a pretty significant percentage. But here's an even more surprising number: 35% of those employers decided not to offer a candidate a job because of what they found on an applicant's social networking page. Bad-mouthing your last boss online? Posting questionable pictures? If you are on the job hunt, be sure to review your pages and profiles and make sure there isn't anything that can cost you a job.


Tip #3: Dressing for Success - What to Wear on an Interview

1. When you are planning for an interview, try on your "interview" clothes at least two days ahead to make sure there are no stains; if there are, you will still have time for a quick dry cleaning (or at least, devising another outfit).

2. When you attend an interview, carry either a purse or a briefcase, not both. Carry your purse/briefcase in your left hand so you are free to shake hands with your right.

3. Even if you are told that the company has a "dress down" policy, dress professionally for your interview. That means a tie and jacket (or suit) for you fellows and a skirt or pants suit for the women. No aftershave or perfume, please! Go light on make-up and jewelry. And don't forget to shine those shoes!


Tip # 4: Tweets Can Get You Fired!

A waiter in Beverly Hills was fired recently for one of his Twitter updates (called Tweets). In his tweets, he complained about a well-known actress who he says skipped out on her bill and didn't leave him a tip. He said her agent later paid her bill.

The waiter was fired two weeks later. That may seem like an extreme case, but people have been fired for blogging about work, blogging while at work, even for calling in sick and then posting on Facebook. One woman was fired for badmouthing the boss on Facebook because she forgot she had "friended" her boss and he could see everything she was saying. Oops.

If you are using any social network, assume your current (or future!) boss is watching everything you say and do!


Tip #5: Employers Really Do Check References!

References are important and you will want to spend time making sure the references you are listing are appropriate.

a.) First, there is no need to provide personal references; you need only provide professional references who are familiar with your work.

b.) Second, the more recent your references, the better. If it's been five or six years since you worked with a reference, their ability to provide insights on your current skills is limited. And the question of why you can't provide a more recent reference may stick in the mind of the HR person.

c.) Third, it is rarely necessary to provide more than two-three references.

d.) Fourth, reach out to your references and ask them to be very candid with you. If they don't feel that they can give you an outstanding reference, you don't want to use them. If they are so busy or out of the office frequently that they cannot respond to a reference request quickly, don't use them. And whenever you provide their name to a potential employer, make sure to let your references know to expect a call.

e.) Fifth, while it is likely that a potential employer will not call your references until they have reduced the candidate pool to one or two people, don't assume that that's the only time they will reach out for information about you.

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