Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Having a Sense of Humor in the Workplace can be a Good Thing.

When a senior programmer ended a meeting by saying, "I think we've both had enough of each other; let's call it a day," my boss thought this was funny and appreciated the comment. A well-timed, harmless one-liner is capable of thawing the atmosphere, and the workplace is no exception.

With mounting stress, it's paramount that our workplace is a happy one. Interestingly, even employers are taking a shine to the humor quotient by seeking candidates with a lighter vein among their other skill sets. When we interview potential candidates we don't overlook the 'soft skills.' A worker with a sense of humor is any day easier to deal with compared to his grumpy counterpart. A worker with a sense of humor can be an asset in any business, as he or she passes on the same vivacity to customers on the other end. Besides, such people can help keep a team motivated with their light-heartedness.

In a professional atmosphere, wit goes a long way in articulating your opinion, provided it is not directed at someone. Just as humor has its highs, a failed attempt at being funny can suddenly strip you of your admirers. Humor can be dangerous, if not practiced subtly. It does wonders when you have reached an impasse. Of course, its application should solely be subject to the listener's mood and body language. It's good to say something witty in a meeting where everyone's tense, but don't come up with a book of jokes and go on till lunch time! You should be known as someone with a sense of humour, not as a comedian.

If humor makes you approachable, does it make sense for a manager to indulge his lighter side? You have to deal with different mindsets in a team, at Dreamfedjob we believe that the ones who are not open to feedback can be dealt with using humor. Applying wit at all times can make you look too casual.

Don't confuse showing your lighter side with being sarcastic. While you try to cheer your colleagues up with a witty remark, dabbling in sarcasm might just turn out to be your undoing. Humor is an elegant way of making life happier. At the cost of being witty you shouldn't hurt someone's value system, particularly in an office environment where you are constantly being judged. Humor can never backfire, being silly can.

Humor comes easily to some people, but there are others who can try too hard to be witty and end up making faux pas that is remembered for time to come, we are sure you can think of a few people at the moment. And, while many believe you either have it, or you don't, some experts say one can always hone the latent talent over time.

Whether it is an employer-employee or a peer-to-peer relationship, good wit should never go unappreciated. It de-stresses us momentarily and speaks volumes for the person who keeps a cool head in a tight situation and passes on the same feeling to those around.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A positive attitude is a winning attitute

It's one thing to wax eloquent on positivity, but quite another to be a positive person at heart.

Despite believing to have a positive outlook, we invariably weigh the cons first, consider several times before sparing a compliment, and broadcast only the odds when someone counts on us for advice. What's more, we prefer needless sarcasm for humour, manage a wry smile when something is genuinely funny, and believe deep down that the glass is actually half empty.

We live in denial of our inherent negativity for the most part, and often wonder why the world around is so mean and reckless. Unlike cats we may not be born eternal optimists, but positivity is something that we can all work on; such as by trying to tweak our sense of humour, the way we react to a given situation, by being more pleasant and believing others too have a mind, and by smiling each time somebody says 'thank you'.

While positivity is a state of mind, the answer lies in our perspective. Here are some tips on how to be a positive person everyday.

Have the desire: First thing first, to become a positive person one must have a strong desire to be positive. And the desire will come only if you are convinced that becoming a positive person will enhance the quality of life. Positivity is like an aura, and you know you are a positive person when people start trusting you, random people become polite with you, colleagues at work start patronising you, and you start building rapport easily.

Be realistic: Do not try to become a saint. Becoming a positive person does not mean you can never have any negative emotion or encounter any negative situation. It is the overall attitude that matters. Don't get bogged down by failure, and disappointed when your expectations are not met. Mentally, you should always be calculating a way out of difficult situations come what may.

Experiment: Be an observer. Use everyday life incidents to see how you can manage them in a more positive manner. These will serve as perfect instances to turn your outlook more positive. For starters, think about how you could have better handled a situation by being less hostile and more indulgent. Come up with five ways that could have saved the day, and learn to take things at face value sometimes. Remember, your ability to trust the other person also reflects your genuineness.

Speech and body language: Try and make positive words a part of your daily lingo, and work on your body language in way that you come across as friendly and approachable. Look amused when something is amusing, laugh when something is funny, congratulate when someone's bought something new, and give others a chance to narrate their side of the story. Never think you are the only interesting, knowing one around.

Company: An old Spanish saying goes like this: "Tell me who you run around with and I will tell you who you are." We find this to be very true. One way to becoming positive is to seek positive company as both positivity and negativity are infectious. If the people you spend most of your time with are grumpy or have a pessimistic standpoint, you'll find yourself mirroring the same emotions before a different set of people inadvertently. In order to shape up your positivity it is important that your friend circle is a positive, energetic, and a happy bunch. You'll find yourself carrying the same positivity everywhere you go.

Activities: Do not remain idle and brood. Take up positive activities with others or in isolation. Share a joke, narrate a pleasant incident, take part in sporting activities, go for a run in the evening after work, have a hobby, and you'll find yourself bubbling with positive energy.

Take it easy: Everyday life is bound to give you shocks. Be prepared to minimise impact and shrug it off. For instance, you may get too hassled everyday while driving to work or trying to park your car. When you accept the fact that certain things cannot be changed, you'll be more at ease with yourself and those around too.

Learn yoga: Most gyms offer free classes. Yoga lets you focus and meditate. With the help of yoga postures you control your breathing, and by way of it, control your mind from wandering. Every time you do yoga, you feel a surge of positive energy through your body that calms your nerves, soothes your mind, elevates your mood, and not to mention enhances your level of tolerance.

Maintain a diary: Instead of recounting all events of the day, filter out only the positive ones and make a note of them. It could be anything trivial from your train arriving on time, your mom cooking a delicious breakfast, to remembering to pay the bills on time. When we look for positivity in the little things that make our lives worthwhile, we leave no room for negativity.

Say 'thank you': Thank god, thank your parents, friends, and thank yourself for all the hard work you did, for everything you achieved. Saying thank you frequently makes you humble, and a humble person is seldom cynical.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Best States for Retirement

Hawaii is the best state for retirees, according to a 2012 MoneyRates.com analysis.

The Aloha State topped the list despite a very high cost of living, thanks to factors like a high senior life expectancy and pleasant climate.

The list reflected several factors that influence the quality of retirement – cost of living, violent crime rates, property tax rates, climate, life expectancy for seniors, recent population growth in the senior demographic and unemployment.

Following Hawaii, Idaho and Utah bagged the second and the third spots respectively. Both the states scored well in the economic and senior-growth population measures.

The group also says Michigan is the worst for seniors, followed by Pennsylvania and Alaska. Weak economic and senior-population figures pushed Pennsylvania onto the worst places list, while Alaska's crime, climate and economic scores hurt its ranking.

"We recognize that individual tastes vary, so the best state for one person is not going to be the best state for everybody," said Richard Barrington, CFA, and senior financial analyst at MoneyRates.com, in a statement.

Here are the complete rankings:

The 10 best states for retirement, according to MoneyRates.com's 2012 study:

1. Hawaii

2. Idaho

3. Utah

4. Arizona

5. Virginia

6. Colorado

7. Florida

7. New Mexico

9. South Dakota

10. California

10. Texas

The 10 worst states for retirement:

1. Michigan

2. (tie) Pennsylvania

2. (tie) Alaska

4. Illinois

5. Massachusetts

6. (tie) Ohio

6. (tie) New York

8. Maine

9. Maryland

10. Rhode Island

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Are you Graduating Soon? No Time to Waste, Let's Get you Working ASAP!

It doesn't matter how or where you start — just start from where you are.

The job search: You've probably been thinking about it off and on for a while now. And whether you're just starting college or graduating in a few months, you can take steps now that will boost your chances of finding a job even in this challenging economy.

Sometimes the hardest part of a job search is just getting started. If you don't have a pressing deadline related to the search, it's easy to put it off for one more day while you focus on more immediate issues.

Job-Search Traps

Let's start by examining some reasons why people put off their job search and how you can avoid those traps.

1."I don't have a goal — I don't know what I want to do."

Most job-finding strategies start with "set a goal." That can be a challenge when you don't have a specific career goal. Or, maybe you have several goals and don't know where to start. Don't let your lack of a goal hold you back. Just think about what you might like to do and move one step closer to that — if you change your mind, you can always change your search. What sounds interesting to you right now? What experiment could you craft to learn more about it?

2."My major isn't related to any career — or I don't want the career that my major has prepared me for."

Your major doesn't have to relate directly to your career. Focus on what you have learned, what skills you have developed, and what knowledge you have gained that might be transferable to the job you'd like to do. Learn to articulate the value of your major to an employer.

3."I went online to look for a job and there's just too much out there — I'm totally overwhelmed."

You don't have to read every web site, every blog, and every list of "20 typical interview questions" that you find on the Internet. Focus on key resources and keep it simple. This magazine is a great start. If you read the articles in here, you will learn most of what you need to know in the job search.

4."I don't have time for a job search right now."

College is filled with distractions, but studies show that the earlier you start your search the greater the likelihood you will have a job at graduation — and earn more money in your first job than if you had waited. But searching for a job is roughly equivalent to taking an additional class — and who has time for that? That's why you need to break the search down into small activities you can do in a short amount of time. You probably don't have all day to devote to everything about the job search, so think about what you could do in 30 minutes or less. Reading this article is a great first step — and will only take you a few minutes. What can you do next?

5. "The job search is too scary — and there are no jobs out there anyway."

The job market has been especially tough in recent years, and we all tend to avoid things that are uncomfortable or challenging. You have two options: Admit defeat — and do nothing; or move forward as best as you can and see what happens.

The job market is tight, but jobs do exist. Try not to be unduly influenced by the media and generic job-market statistics that may not apply to your geographic area or your career field. You should also recognize that the entry-level market is different from the mid-career market, so try not to let general reports about employment scare you off. Some companies are hiring. Finally, remember that your first job is just the start of your career, so don't get hung up on finding the "perfect" job.

How to Move Forward

Have I convinced you? Are you ready to get started? It doesn't matter how or where you start — just start from where you are. Here are some ideas to help you move forward:

1. Use your career center.

It's an efficient and effective way of quickly gathering a lot of information about resumes, interviews, who's hiring, and so forth. In fact, a common refrain on alumni surveys is "I wish I'd used my career center." Ignore students who say,"I've heard the career center isn't all that helpful." Find out for yourself. Attend the career center's workshops or programs. Use the career center's resources. Take advantage of the center's walk-in hours, or set up an appointment. Tip: Always have a purpose in mind when you have a walk-in or scheduled appointment.Don't just say "Help me!" Know your purpose for the appointment. You'll have a better experience.

Do keep in mind that your career center can only help you so far. Ultimately, you will be the one sitting in the interview room, not the career center staff. It's a myth that the career center staff can tell you what to do with your life or that they will "find you a job." You will find the job: The career center can help you almost every step of the way.

2. Create your brand.

Make your resume and cover letter stand out by targeting them to each job. Link what you've done with what you want to do — especially if the connection isn't obvious to the reader. Prepare great stories to illustrate your talents and respond to those tough interview questions. Check your online profile and remove any "digital dirt." Set up a LinkedIn account for professional networking.

3. Ask yourself, "Where am I now and where do I want to be one year from now?"

Let's say you're currently a senior and you'd like to work in the field of marketing when you graduate. So, can you do that tomorrow? If the answer is no — what do you need to do first? Maybe it's writing your resume, or doing an internship, or taking a class, or identifying the companies that might hire you. Whatever steps you need to take, write them down (so they're not rattling around in your head annoying you) and work on them when you can.

4. Ask yourself, "When am I at my best?"

In other words, when have you been particularly proud of your accomplishments? They don't have to be grand, by the way. Sometimes an accomplishment is just the afternoon you tutored a child. How can you parlay your "best" into an interview and your job? For instance, think about what skills you developed. Tutoring a child might have required patience and compassion. How might those traits be valuable in the job you're seeking?

5. Stay focused and keep it manageable.

Look for ways to make your job search as fun or interesting as possible. Conduct small experiments to learn what you want to do: Volunteer for an afternoon to see if you really are interested in working for an environmental cause. Write your resume while enjoying a latte in a coffee shop. Think of networking as a way to meet new friends and interesting people. Take a negative experience and create a story about how you overcame the challenges. Set a timer and tell yourself you'll just work for "10 minutes" on something. When the timer rings, you can choose whether to keep going or stop.

Finally, don't worry about rejection — it happens. In fact, I recommend you deliberately send a resume to a job you know you won't get. That will remove any sting from the rejection, and you can move forward knowing that all it takes is one "yes" to get started on a great career path.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Your duties a a job fair

1. Provide accurate information about your academic work and records, including courses taken, grades earned, positions held, and duties performed.

You can, however, refuse to provide an employer with specific information about any job offers you may have received from others. You can give broad responses to such questions, naming types of employers — "I've interviewed with employers in the retail industry" — and offering salary ranges rather than specific dollar amounts.

2. Be honest.

Do not lie or stretch the truth on your resume or applications, or during any part of the interview process.

3. Interview genuinely.

Interview only with employers you're sincerely interested in working for and whose eligibility requirements you meet. "Practice" interviewing wastes the employer's time and money — and prevents sincerely interested candidates from using those interview slots.

4. Adhere to schedules.

Appear for all interviews, on campus (if you're a student) and elsewhere, unless unfore-seeable events prevent you from doing so. And, if you can't make the interview because of an unexpected event, notify the employer at the earliest possible moment.

5. Don't keep employers hanging.

Communicate your acceptance or refusal of a job offer to employers as promptly as possible so they can notify other candidates that the position is filled or that they are still being considered.

6. Accept a job offer in good faith.

When you accept an offer, you should have every intention of honoring that commitment. Accepting an offer only as a precautionary measure is misleading to the employer and may restrict opportunities for others who are genuinely interested in that employer.

7. Withdraw from recruiting when your job search is completed.

If you accept an offer or decide to go back to school,inform employers that are actively considering you for a job that you are no longer seeking employment.

8. Claim fair reimbursement.

If an employer has agreed to reimburse you for expenses you incur during its recruitment process, your request should be only for reasonable and legitimate expenses.

9. Obtain the career information you need to make an informed choice about your future.

It's up to you to look into career opportunities and the organizations that offer them, and to acquire any other relevant information that might influence your decision about an employer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Start the New Year with a Successful Job Hunting Plan

In less than a month, January 2013 will be here. Historically, this is the month when everyone starts to take the job hunt seriously.  Here are some tips provided to you by Dreamfedjob that will help you and hopefully encourage you to have a successful job hunt.

  • Begin your job search with a self-evaluation. Identifying your own strengths, values and interests will be useful in considering what careers would be a good fit for you and in selling yourself to employers.
  • Reflect on prior accomplishments and the skills that have enabled you to succeed thus far. This will help you to evaluate your transferable skill sets.
  • Determine what you need from a career and specific job. Think about the qualities that you feel will create a satisfying work environment. Decide if you are willing to move, and where in the country you would like to live. These considerations can help narrow down employers and the types of positions that you would like to look for.
  • Your personality also plays a part in how you fit with a particular employer. Tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can be useful in determining how your personality could affect your preferences.
  • Utilize the web in order to research companies that may be of interest to you. Read their job postings and profile descriptions to gain a better idea as to what type of candidate they are looking for.
  • Find organizations that you are interested in and apply for positions. The process itself will create more awareness of the field, firm and positions for which you are qualified.
  • Connections are important in looking for a higher level job. Many jobs are never posted, so you need to rely on word of mouth to learn about these opportunities.
  • Make a list of people you know and their contact information. Tell family and friends that you are looking for a job. Give some specifics rather than just telling them that you are looking for a job in the broad sense. Even if they have no knowledge of openings in a particular field, someone they know might.
  • Contact alumni at companies you are interested in working for, as they may have internal knowledge of positions that are available. Conducting informational interviews with alumni or other employees can also give you a better sense of what kinds of jobs and employers you are interested in.
  • Register for LinkedIn to interact with alumni and other professionals: 
Face Time
  • Attend networking events to begin the process of meeting prospective employers.
  • Career fairs are a great opportunity for networking and learning about potential jobs. Even if you are not interested in the particular positions being offered by a company at the fair, getting to know a recruiter and obtaining contact information can be of great use in the future if you make a good impression. (See Dreamfedjobs page in FaceBook for a list of career fairs.)
  • Join the professional organizations associated with your fields of interest and attend conferences and other events. Any contacts you make at these events are potential sources of jobs.
  • Make sure you have an up-to-date, well-written and error free resume.
  • Be sure that your reference writers are well informed (by you!) of your employment goals, skills and motivation for seeking a position in the target field. Provide reference writers with a brief summary about each firm and the position you are seeking to help them give you the best possible reference.
  • Acquire appropriate attire and review etiquette practices.
  • Make sure to get plenty of practice interviewing. Schedule a mock interview with a friend.
  • Keep a record of whom you have contacted and when, along with what follow-up action needed to be taken. Keep copies of applications, resumes, and cover letters so that you know what positions you have applied for and what information you have given to employers.

Monday, December 3, 2012

LinkedIn Etiquette Guide

Etiquette rules in the offline world are pretty clear: Say please and thank you; shake hands firmly; keep your elbows off the table. But what are the rules for interacting professionally online? Here are some guidelines for managing your e-manners.

Q: How often should I check LinkedIn?

A: While logging in daily is ideal, what’s most important is that you maintain a consistent presence and respond to messages and connection requests in a timely fashion. LinkedIn will send you a Network Update once a week or once a day -- you can use that email as a reminder to log in and send someone a note, respond to a request or post to a group discussion.

Q: How do I make sure my LinkedIn profile is professional?

A: First, be totally truthful and never stretch the facts -- remember that your profile is public. Next, post a photo that is professionally appropriate (no pets, quirky backgrounds or funny expressions).
Finally, write up your experience and credentials as you would present them on a resume or cover
letter. Your writing can be a little less formal on LinkedIn, but proper grammar, spelling and proofreading are essential.

Q: What’s the best way to request to connect with someone?

A: LinkedIn provides a basic message “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” but it’s a good idea to customize your requests. You’ll get a better response rate if you write a brief, personalized, polite note to each potential connection reminding them how you met (if necessary) and
explaining why you’re interested in connecting -- e.g., to ask for advice or to keep in touch after meeting at a conference.

Q: How do I ask for an introduction?

A: When you request an introduction, you’ll be prompted to write a note to your mutual connection and then a separate note to the person you want to meet. In both cases, draft a compelling subject line and a short note that introduces you and explains why you hope to connect. Just remember never to ask directly for a job -- it’s not polite or appropriate.

Q: What should I do if someone doesn’t respond to my connection request or message?

A: There is no guarantee that everyone you want to connect with will want to connect with you. If you haven’t heard from a potential connection in over a month, it’s okay to send that person an email to say that you’ve reached out and would like to connect. If that doesn’t work, it’s best to move on to
people who are more interested or responsive.

Q: How do I handle a request from someone I don’t know or don’t want to connect with?

A: You can either reply with a short note requesting an explanation (“Hi - can you remind me how we know each other?”) or you can click “Archive” to ignore the request or save it for the future. If you definitely don’t want to connect, simply click “Archive” and move on. If you want to report the person as a spammer, then click “I don’t know this user.” Users who receive several of these clicks are removed from LinkedIn.

Q: Will people know if I un-connect from them?

A: If you unconnect from someone, that person will not be alerted. Of course, if that person looks through his or her contacts or attempts to send you a message, you will no longer be shown as a 1st-degree connection.

Q: How many groups should I join?

A: The number of groups you belong to on LinkedIn should reflect approximately the number of professional affiliations you have (or want to have) in real life. For instance, if you attend college, are an accounting major and love social media, it would be great to join your alumni group, an accounting group or two and a social media group or two. To get the most benefit from group participation, quality trumps quantity.

Q: What is the most polite way to ask someone to write a recommendation for me?

A: Most importantly, you want to request recommendations from people who really know you and your work, such as former bosses or professors. Customize each Recommendation Request with a polite, gracious and personalized note, and provide a few words outlining the accomplishments or qualities this person might mention about you. And, of course, always thank the person for writing the recommendation.

Q: What’s appropriate to write in my LinkedIn status updates?

A: Although LinkedIn status updates can cross-post with Twitter, be careful only to post professional comments to LinkedIn. This means no posts about the weather or your crazy cat. The best status updates are like snippets from a networking conversation: quick notes about events you’re attending,
accomplishments you’re proud of, articles or books you’ve read and professional announcements like a new position.

Overall, use your judgment, be polite and act maturely. If you wouldn’t do it in person, don’t do it on LinkedIn or any other social network!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

10 Online Job Hunting Tips

1. Make time

It’s easy to let job hunting fall to the bottom of your to-do list, but you can’t afford to let that happen. Schedule at least 15 minutes a day in your calendar to work on your resume, update and check online networking profiles and search job listings. Opportunities come and go quickly, so you need to be in the game on a daily basis.

2. Get noticed

What better way to impress a recruiter than to have a professional networking profile appear as the first search result for your name? Completing your online profile to 100% with your education, experience, recommendations and group memberships will increase your search ranking and give employers a strong impression before you ever meet in person.

3. Be keyword savvy

Make sure your profile is chock-full of keywords that will attract a recruiter’s attention. Look through job postings and profiles that appeal to you and incorporate some of the same words or phrases. In addition to job- and industry-specific words, recruiters also love leadership terms (captain, president) and action words (managed, designed).

4. Reach out

Whether you use LinkedIn or any other network service, connect with everyone you know -- friends, family, neighbors, professors, family friends, nternship colleagues and others. Once you’re connected, send each person a friendly message, asking if they would keep an eye out for the particular kind of job or jobs you’re seeking or if they can introduce you to other helpful contacts.

5. Spread the word

To build your credibility and stay on people’s radar screens during your job hunt, regularly update your status on social networks. You might share links to articles you think would be relevant to people in your field (to show you are up on the news), announcements about events you’re attending (to show that you are actively networking) and good career news (to show that you’re headed for success). Just remember to keep your updates clean and appropriate.

6. Get into groups

Beyond connecting to individuals, join groups related to your alma mater, professional associations, volunteer organizations and industries you want to join. Every discussion in which you comment is an opportunity to market yourself to people who might be hiring, and every group contains a “Jobs” tab where members post opportunities to one another.

7. Search high and low

No matter where you look for jobs, cast a wider net by altering your search terms and location criteria from time to time.

8. Follow companies

When you see a job you like on another job board, use LinkedIn as a company research tool. Check out the Company Page of any organization where you’d like to work and click “Follow company.” Activities of that organization (job postings, hires, announcements) will appear on your homepage and alert you to potential opportunities.

9. Persist (without pestering)

While you don’t want to be a pest, persistence is a very important component of the job search process. Sending follow-up messages can help you stand out from other candidates. Every time you send someone a message through a social network, the recruiter or hiring manager can easily click over to your profile and check out your credentials.

10. Document your job hunt.

Everyday there are more online resources out there can help you land that job that is just right for you. Document your time time, where you've look, where you want to go next, etc. Having a job seeking journal can be very helpful. It gives you a solid platform from which to start and continue your job hunt.