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Job Tips for Relocation

Moving is the worst.  If reorienting your entire life wasn’t enough, there’s the packing, the box moving and then the unpacking (unless you take the “hide the boxes where no one will see them” approach).  The last thing you want to deal with in the middle of a chaotic move is a long drawn-out job search, and who can blame you? Usually making your job search easier is just about having a little bit of a strategy going into it, and no matter where you’re moving to that won’t change. Here are a few strategic tips to make applying for jobs a little easier in your new location.

Get to know your surroundings: You don’t necessarily have to pull out a map and study every turn and dead-end street, but driving around your new neighborhood is a great way to keep you from getting lost and seeing what types of companies are near you.  Most people want to work near where they live, so getting the lay of the land is the first step in that process.

Make friends: Whether you make friends through a hobby, or just get to know your neighbors using your favorite apple pie recipe, your social network can be the key to getting your next job.  Job openings are often made known to current employees before they’re ever listed, and if the jobs listed already, having an employee referral will definitely help you get your foot in the door.

Look to ol’ reliable: You’ve got enough changes in your life, your job is one place where you can stick to what you know.  Look for jobs with similar responsibilities to what you’ve done in the past.  Past experience is something every employer looks for on job applications.

Update your information: It’s something a lot of people over look, but if you’re applying for jobs online, you’ve got to remember to update your contact information. If you leave an address on your profile or resume that is several cities or states away, an employer may not call you back because they think your application is a mistake, or that you won’t want to make that awful commute for very long.

Why employers require drug tests

Taking a drug test might seem silly or a waste of money to the average person, but for most companies it’s serious business.  Believe it or not, it’s not about invading your privacy or even passing judgment on lifestyle choices. There are legit numbers supporting drug-free work environments, and a slew of legal reasons to go with them.

From a legal stand point, drug use represents some legal problems. Drug users are 3.6 times more likely to have an accident at work.  As you can imagine, that poses a huge liability problem for the company.  Accidents at work can hurt other employees and customers, which is bad for business.  Also, the Drug-free Workplace Act of 1988 says that employers who take federal grant money and tax credits must have a drug-free work environment.  So some employers just flat-out can’t hire anyone with a positive drug test.

In addition to the legal reasons, there are business reasons for employers wanting a drug-free work environment.  Substance abusers (compared to their drug-free co-workers) are one-third less productive, have health care costs that are three times higher, 500-percent more likely to file a claim for worker’s compensation and 10 times more likely to miss shifts.

While drug testing can be a point of contention for privacy reasons, it’s clear that employers have good cause to want to keep substance abuse out of the work place.  The message is clear, if you’re looking for a job, the best way to ensure your job search ends in success is to make sure you’re able to pass any drug test.

Working for a Staffing Company

Three things anyone thinking about staffing agency work should know

You may have already done all your research about the benefits of working forstaffing agencies, so much research that you’re sold on the idea of having a run at a staffing agency job.

Before you get started, it’s important that you have a good grasp on what it will really be like working for a staffing company. Working for a staffing agency isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill job. There are serious differences between working for a staffing company and directly for an employer, and it’s not for everyone. Here are three things you should understand before submitting your first application to a staffing agency:

Types of work available with staffing companies

All staffing jobs are not created equal. Depending on the needs of the client (your future employer), staffing agencies offer a variety of positions to best fit their needs. It’s important to know exactly what type of job you’ll have when you get your assignment. There are three major types of staffing agency assignments:

  • Temporary: Temporary or contract assignments are for a fixed amount of time. You will typically know the start and end date. These will sometimes change in the middle of an assignment, so if you’re looking for a steady routine, this probably isn’t the kind of job for you.
  • Temporary-to-permanent (temp-to-perm): Many staffing positions have the potential to be temp-to-perm or temp-to-hire whether they are advertised as such or not. This is a trial position to gauge your ability to work for the company on a regular full-time basis.
  • Permanent (direct hire): For permanent positions the staffing agency acts as a recruiting firm to screen and hire candidates for regular positions, then employees are hired directly by the employer.

Pros of working for a staffing company

Depending on what kind of job you get through a staffing agency, the benefits will vary. In some cases pay for staffing agency personnel can be higher than their permanent counterparts. As with most cases, more experience will bring more money. In addition to pay, many staffing agencies offer health, dental, life and vision insurance, and anytime you’re brought on with the company you work with for a full-time permanent position, you’ll be eligible for the benefits they offer their other employees.

There are more than just compensation benefits for staffing agency jobs. Working for a staffing agency can help you build valuable business contacts, gain work experience and help you avoid gaps in your work history.

Cons of working for a staffing company

Working for a staffing agency isn’t for everyone. To succeed with a staffing agency you’ll need to be reliable and punctual to build up your reputation. Staffing jobs also require you to be able to learn new tasks and policies quickly, and flexibility in your work location and assignments is essential.

Airline jobs still clear for takeoff

Careers in airline travel can still take you places

With all the recent turmoil in the airline industry, job seekers might be wondering whether there are solid careers in airline travel. Industry changes may create some instability, but they also open up new hiring opportunities. Don’t put your airline job search on hold; there are still plenty of viable airline service careers available, exciting and sporting some truly envy-worthy benefits. Break open that pack of courtesy peanuts, ignore the kid kicking the back of your seat and let’s talk about some of the really amazing benefits and opportunities the airline industry has to offer.

Benefits: Picture all the free pretzels you can eat

Even if you can’t be wooed by countless tiny snack packages, most airlines are still offering benefits that leave employees satisfied. Over at American Eagle Airlines, everyone from bus drivers to station agents qualify for health and life insurance benefits, an employee credit union, retirement savings with matching funds, and clear career development tools that make it easy to grow within the company. Airlines also have the advantage of offering benefits that appeal to your passport as much as your purse. Many have free or discounted travel for employees on their employer airline, and some even offer discounted travel on other lines.

Career Paths: The sky is the limit

Many entry-level positions in the airline industry require no formal education beyond a high school diploma or equivalent, so you won’t need to invest in any special training to get your first position and start getting some experience under your belt. But before you start your job search, ask yourself how many skeletons you have in the closet. Due to increased focus on security, you will need to pass a background check for most jobs working in the airport system. Candidates who have questionable areas within their background screening may find airlines an extra challenging career to pursue in the current environment.

Entry-level jobs

With little or no prior experience you can qualify for positions like bus driver or fleet services clerk. Think those jobs aren’t a big deal? Just ask the people trying to make their flight or find their cherished belongings among a sea of lookalike suitcases; they’ll tell you that the people who keep the airport running aren’t just the ones getting the planes off the ground.

After gaining some experience you can apply to become a station agent, flight attendant, mechanic and more. There are many components to a completing a successful airline travel experience, and different jobs are required at each step along the way. This creates an environment with rich opportunities for long-term career advancement all while staying within the air travel industry.

Feeling Unqualified

Once a wise old man told me that if everyone in the world was qualified to do their jobs, no work would get done. While this may not entirely be true, it hints at an important truth. For many in America, and indeed around the world, feeling unqualified is a fact of life. In reality, it spurs many on to working “beyond their capabilities,” and creates some of the best productivity. The thought of losing your well-paying and interesting job because you’re unable to perform to standards makes you work that much harder to demonstrate that you are capable. Along the way, however, comes stress. It creeps into your life slowly, starting with a nagging head- or backache, then builds to sleepless nights, weight fluctuation, and even depression. The key to dealing with stress is, as we suggest in “Dealing with Stress”, to recognize its symptoms before they begin to worsen and treat it immediately. The stress generated from feeling unqualified has no doubt been the downfall of many otherwise successful employees. Follow these simple tips to feel more confident about your work ability.

Get Educated:

Plain and simple, if you don’t feel you have the proper skills to do your job as your boss wants, get the skills. There are community colleges in your area that offer courses in a wide variety of fields, and there may be adult education centers. You could take a class on using Microsoft Office™, being a better salesperson, even learning to cook. Usually these classes are fairly reasonable and sometimes your employer will pay for you. If you’re seeking an advanced degree, night classes are available at plenty of colleges and universities, and again, your employer may pay for some or all of the cost, because your increased knowledge will benefit the company.

Get With It:

Maybe your lack of confidence in yourself is completely unfounded. Examine your work record—have you been consistent with completing the tasks you’ve been assigned? Do you find that when you must do something, you do it? Some people just need a bit of encouragement here and there, so don’t be hesitant to ask your co-workers, family, and friends to help give you the confidence you need to realize you’re a hard worker.

Get in Touch with Someone:

Tell your boss how stressed out you’re getting about work. Though he or she may not like that you feel you’re unqualified for your job, your boss should appreciate your honesty and sincerity. There may be stress-management programs offered by your company, or perhaps your boss can get you enrolled in courses that the company provides to its employees.

Being stressed is not a light issue. Make sure you’re dealing with it properly, and if conditions worsen, seek the help of a professional, such as a psychiatrist or physician. Don’t think you can deal with things on your own, because stress can rapidly spiral out of control, with your health, your career, and your loved ones affected in very negative ways. See the article on stress for more information. Overcome your lack of qualification with intelligent steps in the right direction.

Summer Freedom

Ah, the freedom of summer! Freedom to stay up late, sleep in, wear sandals, go on vacation. Freedom from schoolwork, classes, teachers, detention, and that annoying thing called the alarm clock. But wait, are you truly free? Not if you have determined it to be in your best interest to get a summer job. Summer can be your favorite time of the year, or your worst nightmare. It all depends on what you make of it. Here are some tips to help make your summer enjoyable (even while working).

Find A Job You Enjoy

For many, the advice to “find a job you enjoy” is sheer nonsense, and I can appreciate that reaction. I had my fair share of real winners during my years as a student. But that’s not to say it’s impossible to find an enjoyable summer job – it isn’t. Ultimately, the summer job you accept is going to fall in line with your priorities. If your top priorities are good wages and flexible scheduling, don’t be surprised if the actual work isn’t all that exciting. Conversely, if your top priority is enjoyable work, don’t be surprised if your wages are low and your schedule is inflexible. Enjoyable summer jobs are out there; it just might take a little re-ordering of your priorities to find one.

Enjoy the Job You Find

Ideally, we’d all be able to find the perfect job to fill up those warm summer days. But the fact of the matter is that many of us will end up settling for something…shall we say…less than perfect. If luck has dealt you a bad hand, you have two options: learn to enjoy the job or don’t. Learning to enjoy it involves separating the activities, responsibilities, and routines that you like performing from the ones that you dislike. Of course, make sure you do each part of your job to the best of your ability. But, by concentrating on the enjoyable parts of the job, you begin to see the entire job in a better light. Let’s say you work in a clothing store and really appreciate the time you have to chat with customers as they purchase new clothes. Instead of trying to make it through your six-hour shift, view the whole workday as a series of pleasant encounters with interesting people. Trust me – your shift will fly by.

Take Vacation

Finally, remember to take a break from your summer job. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to justify taking a week off when it also means a week without pay. But trust me, vacations are extremely important for your health and sanity. A summer vacation without an actual vacation won’t exactly get you geared up for heading back to school. And even if you’re family isn’t planning to take a vacation together, it’s still good to get away from work for a short time. You can plan day trips with friends or spend your time doing what you enjoy. Come Labor Day, you’ll be glad you took that time off. And you’ll be more prepared to hit the books.

Keep Perspective

The most important thing to remember about your summer job is this: IT’S ONLY A SUMMER JOB. There’s no need to get all bent out of shape if things don’t go according to plan. Before you know it, summer will be over, and school will be back in session. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

How to Identify REAL Work from Home Jobs

There is definitely a gap in what jobs are touted as “work from home,” and the concept of working from home.  Most people aren’t looking for investment opportunities or empty promises of surveys for cash.  They’re looking for a job that allows them to be at home for family, medical or personal reasons that is similar to an administrative or customer service job.

Those jobs are truly hard to find, and as difficult (if not more difficult) than regular full-time jobs. Work from home jobs often present themselves as a viable option for employees with a proven track record of in-office productivity.  Few employers will give a brand new employee a “get out of office free” card, especially on an hourly basis.  Being realistic about the existing opportunities is key to a successful job search for work at home jobs.  Here are a few tips to keep you on track and away from scams.

Check for fraud: When you come across work from home companies bragging about how much money you can make, do your research.  You probably aren’t the first person they’ve tried to lure into their scam, so learn from the mistakes of others.  If there are a lot of reviews identifying the company as fraudulent or their work from home opportunities as fraudulent, steer clear.

Ignore unsolicited jobs: Ignore any communication from companies you haven’t requested to have a relationship with.  File these away as junk mail, because they’ll be about as effective as the weight-loss pills and wrinkle creams you get in your inbox.

Never pay for a job: This is one case where it shouldn’t take money for you to make money. If a company asks for payment, or the initial purchase of a starter kit, they’re scamming you. Some of these are legitimate opportunities for self-employment, but the ones that are real take a lot of hard work, and aren’t the same as working from home.

Remember, it should be a normal job. Real jobs require an application process and at least one (if not several) interviews at a minimum.  Most require references, background checks and assessments of your skills.  If a job is lacking these basic features of the application process, it is a sign of trouble ahead.

Find real work from home jobs now!

Quitting Your Job

Thinking about quitting your job? We’ve assembled some friendly tips for you to consider before giving notice.

Quitting Gracefully

Picture this—you’ve performed so well at your current job that you feel there’s nothing else for you to do there. You think you should quit and find a better, more challenging job, but you’re not sure where to start. Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve had a bad experience with the last job you had, and even though you’re not growing as an employee, you’re afraid if you quit you won’t find a better job. If these scenarios describe you, or if you’ve ever seriously considered quitting, there are a few tips on ducking out the door gracefully.

Prepare for the Future

While you may be in a rush to get out of your job as quickly as possible, make sure you’ve done your homework. Do you have another job lined up? You should be confident that the next job you’re going to have will be better than the last, so you might want to hang around your current job until you’re certain. Unless your rich uncle has promised to take care of you financially, don’t do anything as foolish as just picking up and leaving. Search for jobs online; pay attention to radio, television, and print ads; and see if any of your contacts can help you find a better job.

Give a Warning

Many jobs require a two-week notice before quitting. This is standard in the business world, and even if your employer doesn’t ask for any notice, you should at least give him a week or two to tie up loose ends and find someone to replace you. If yours is a job that no one else at the company knows how to do, you may be asked to train your successor, and unless it is impossible, you should do so. Remember, you may be in need of a recommendation from your current boss in order to get your next job, so do everything you can to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Let them Know

Speaking to your boss face to face might be the most difficult part of the process. Make sure your boss knows that your reason for leaving is that you’ve outgrown your position and are looking for more challenging employment. Don’t blame your boss or your co-workers for anything—if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. Again, keep the potential recommendation in mind—you don’t want to burn your bridges if you might have to use them again.

Keep in Touch

Drop your boss an email every now and then to let him or her know how your new job is going. If possible, ask for advice on your career moves—while you may be opposed to such groveling, you never know when you might need his or her help in the future. If you scratch your boss’s back, your boss will scratch yours the next time you need a good recommendation.

Finally, be certain that you’re making the wise career move. If your job is boring but will likely get more and more challenging in the coming months, you probably should stick it out in expectation of the coming rewards. If your job has brought you to a complete dead-end, however, don’t languish there. Despite what the media may be pounding into your brain, there are good jobs out there for those who are well qualified (and we’ll assume you are). Even if you accept a pay cut to move to a more challenging job, your career will benefit from the added experience and you will likely be rewarded in the future for your diligence and savvy.

No Feedback Boss

Dealing with a Lack of Feedback from Your Boss

Ever felt like you’ve been given an assignment at work and then gotten no feedback on your performance? Ever been left to find work for yourself for weeks on end? Perhaps you’ve experienced all the symptoms of neglect that come from a boss who gives you no feedback. A common problem as offices become more individual, employee neglect doesn’t have to be a reality. In fact, a lack of communication may not be entirely the boss’s fault. Many rifts are caused when we as employees fail to let our supervisors simply fail to give our supervisors all the information they need to know about the work we’ve been doing.

A co-worker once told me a story about communication it work. As a student, he was monitoring computer systems for the military, and because he worked different shifts than his boss, he rarely saw him. One day when they were on the job together, his boss asked him to update some data. He was in the middle of a game of Tetris (which probably wasn’t a great thing to be doing at work anyway) and so merely said, “OK,” and went back to playing. What he didn’t tell his boss was that he had already done the job and the computer was merely processing. Though thankfully he wasn’t fired or severely disciplined, the story illustrates an important point. While we may be quick to blame our bosses for poor communication, our own faults are often at the heart of the matter. Before we ask our supervisors to give us more feedback, we need to be sure we’re giving them proper feedback on what we’re doing.

If you’ve made sure you’re telling your boss how your projects are coming and you still feel like he or she is neglecting you, gently ask for feedback. This isn’t as bad as it may seem—many bosses will be happy with your desire to ensure you’re doing a good job. Be careful, however, to not give the impression that you can’t do a single iota of work without getting your boss’s approval, for he or she will probably not enjoy doing so. Scheduling a weekly or periodic meeting with your boss where you review your plans for the upcoming week and results from the previous week is a very good way to bolster communication. Remember, if you can show your boss that you will work better with more information, he or she will have little choice but to give you more input. After all, what’s best for the company should be what’s best for you, and vice versa.

Dealing with Unreasonable Expectations

All those who have worked for any reasonable length of time can tell you that there are days when they feel like the weight of the world has just been placed on their shoulders. While it shouldn’t happen, we all have felt the pressure of unreasonable expectations at one point or another. Think about how it feels when you’re under the gun and you know you won’t be able to finish in time but you can’t admit it to your boss because your job is on the line. Now think about feeling like that every day you come to work. For the millions of employees who daily deal with an unreasonable boss: there is now help for you.

Opening Lines of Communication

If you’re consistently being given new and more difficult assignments, one technique that often works is speaking with your boss one-on-one. Any discussions should take place in private and should reflect your feelings, not ultimatums. Present your points in a positive manner, but remember that positive results are not guaranteed. Bosses are people, too, and they don’t always take to criticism well, no matter how constructive. Your case should include why you feel overburdened and what you would like to see happen. Make sure to give examples, and point out what you have been doing every day at work, so your boss doesn’t think you’re just a slacker.

Take it Higher

If your boss isn’t responsive to your pleas, and you think you have a good enough case, take the issue to your boss’s boss. This should only be used, however, in situations that become extremely unbearable. To avoid your boss telling his or her boss about you coming, let as little time as possible lapse between talking to your boss and to your boss’s boss. In some cases, your company may have a Human Resources representative act as a mediator. Beware, however, that you may be caught on the short end if your boss’s boss agrees with your boss.

The bottom line is that you must determine whether the situation is fixable or whether it would be best for you to look for a different job. In the situation explodes, the chances are great that your boss will be considered more valuable to the company than you are, and you may be let go or worse, fired. Either way, be prepared to do some job-hunting.