Keppie Careers http://www.keppiecareers.com Social media speaker, social media consultant, job search coach Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:30:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 How to get employers to create a job for you http://www.keppiecareers.com/get-employers-create-job/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/get-employers-create-job/#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:30:47 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11243 As a job seeker, you probably spend a lot of time trying to “find a job.” That assumes there is a job sitting out there waiting for you and that you can rise above the competition to land it. Another...

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file00092974169As a job seeker, you probably spend a lot of time trying to “find a job.” That assumes there is a job sitting out there waiting for you and that you can rise above the competition to land it. Another option is to look for problems you can solve at organizations and convince employers to create a job for you.
In our increasingly freelance-focused economy, where more and more companies are looking for people to handle specific projects for them on a temporary or long-term temporary basis, it is very possible that you can market your skills to a decision-maker at a company who faces challenges in order to land a job that he or she will create just for you.

What can you do to access this truly hidden job market?

Research your target companies. 

Read everything you can and meet with people in the company to learn about the issues they currently face. If possible, also touch base with people who used to work in the company, as they can also answer questions about the company’s culture and decision-making techniques.

Make a match between a problem the organization faces and something you can reasonably solve. One key factor that will make you more marketable: a track record of having solved a similar problem in the past. Most companies will hesitate to take a chance on someone who hasn’t already “been there, done that” when it comes to the challenge at hand.

Create an online profile featuring the skills you’ll need to have to do the job.

It’s up to you to clearly show you have strong expertise in the skills you’re marketing to the employer. If you are planning to introduce yourself as a marketing pro, and the word “marketing” doesn’t appear anywhere on your LinkedIn profile, you are probably not going to get very far. Before you think about pitching a company, create a clear online “brand” that indicates you are an expert, or even a thought leader, in your field.

If you are actually an expert in the targeted area, this is a lot easier than you may think. Some steps to get started: Create an optimized, in-depth online profile on LinkedIn and choose other social networks where people in your industry spend time. Then, find groups to join and consistently share your expertise in those places. Post updates frequently and comment on news in your industry so people who follow you will view you as a go-to expert.

Put your ideas in writing. 

Provide a reasonably detailed proposal to suggest that you understand what the employer is facing and that you know how to solve it. Be sure to include examples of similar problems you’ve solved in the past. Incorporate information such as time frame and how long you anticipate it would take you to tackle the project.

Include verbiage indicating you know you’ll need additional information, but from your in-depth research thus far, you’ve provided your best estimates. Identify the appropriate decision-maker to offer your proposal. It’s even better if you have a personal introduction to that person from an insider in the organization, but if you can tap into your social networking contacts and locate someone willing to introduce you electronically, that is a good alternative.

With some planning, research and a targeted proposal, you may land an opportunity that never even existed!

More advice:
6 Habits Of Remarkably Successful People
Secrets to Being Happier at Work
Questions to Ask Before You Accept a Job Offer

Originally published at AOLJobs.com.

 

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How to get an internship now http://www.keppiecareers.com/get-internship-now/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/get-internship-now/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 10:25:02 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11990 In today’s economy, there’s a lot pressure on colleges and their career centers to help improve students’ chances of landing internships and job opportunities. According to a piece in The Atlantic from 2012, more than 50 percent of recent grads...

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Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 12.59.55 AMIn today’s economy, there’s a lot pressure on colleges and their career centers to help improve students’ chances of landing internships and job opportunities. According to a piece in The Atlantic from 2012, more than 50 percent of recent grads are either unemployed or underemployed. A recent CNN Money report revealed the average student loan debt for the class of 2012 was $29,400.

Millennial Branding, a Gen-Y research and consulting firm, and InternMatch, an online platform for companies to find and hire top students, surveyed 4,150 college students and recent graduates from a diverse range of U.S. colleges and universities for their “College Career Center Study.” They found that 64 percent of students rely more on free or paid online career resources instead of their career centers to help them identify internships and jobs.

How can applicants boost their odds of landing internships? Nathan Parcells, founder and chief marketing officer of InternMatch, suggested these steps:

1. Network, network, network. Before you hit the “submit” button, build or extend a relationship with an insider at every company where you apply, especially large Fortune 500s. Experience indicates that candidates who are referred for opportunities are more likely to win the opportunity to interview for jobs.

Connect with friends, professors or family networks to see who knows someone at your company of choice. “You’ll be surprised at how connected you are,” Parcells says. Another good idea is to use LinkedIn’s “Education” tool, which allows you to view contacts who attended or graduated from your college or university.

It’s a mistake to assume that someone who has something in common with you or who referred you will automatically want to make time to see you. Hopefully, sharing an alumni affiliation or mutual friend will inspire people to want to go out of their way to help you, but never assume that is the case.

A better approach? Use social media to learn more about new potential contacts. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ all provide terrific ways to connect with and get to know people you don’t already know. The trick is to avoid cold contacting anyone. How can you use social media to job search? Warm up your leads by getting to know people online. For example, join groups where your potential contacts participate and add to the conversation. Ask and answer questions so people will notice you and remember your name. Then, reach out with a specific inquiry.

A good reason to use social media is the pool of contacts who actively use these tools tend to be more open to networking. When people tweet up a storm or engage regularly in groups, you can assume they appreciate opportunities to network and may be more likely to agree to speak with you than someone else who does not use social media.

2. Build an easy-to-find online presence. “The materials you submit to an employer online are just a portion of what most employers use to evaluate you,” Parcells says. The vast majority of employers will use Google to evaluate applicants before requesting interview. Taking the time to build a strong online presence that illustrates your expertise will help increase your chances of landing interviews and opportunities. “A strong online profile should show some personality,” Parcells says. “It should have links to projects and work you have done to give employers more substance about you to explore.” He also suggests you use the same avatar on all of your online profiles to help maintain a consistent brand.

3. Follow up. If you really want the job, don’t forget to follow up after you apply. “With many employers getting thousands of applications for positions that have just a few openings, the competition is stiff,” Parcells says. “Many candidates don’t get selected simply because they get lost in the noise.” He suggests you follow up with a short, targeted note about 10 days after applying, unless a role has a specific application deadline, in which case you might want to wait until after that date before checking-in with employers. Express your strong interest in the position and reiterate why you are a good match based on the job description.

Originally appeared on U.S. News & World Report.

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Tips to succeed at your first job http://www.keppiecareers.com/succeed-first-job/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/succeed-first-job/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:30:51 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11888 Lauren Berger’s book, Welcome to the Real World, provides tips to help workplace novices figure out everything they’ll need to know to succeed at their first jobs. Lauren, also known as the “Intern Queen,” was gracious enough to share some thoughts...

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Welcome to the Real World CoverLauren Berger’s book, Welcome to the Real World, provides tips to help workplace novices figure out everything they’ll need to know to succeed at their first jobs. Lauren, also known as the “Intern Queen,” was gracious enough to share some thoughts about her book and some advice she’d offer anyone getting ready to go to work for the first time.

Q: In the book you talk about your personal rules for success, what do you think is hands-down the number one reason why you’ve been successful?

A: Over the years, I’ve become quite fearless. I’ll pick up the phone and call anyone in the world and introduce myself and tell them why I do what I do. It’s a combination of being fearless and always remembering to follow up. I also try not to take “no” for an answer. I try to find the positive in every negative situation and eventually turn the “no” into a “yes.”

 Q: The book covers lots of tips related to organization and time management at work, why did you include so much information on this subject?

A: When I graduated college and started my very first job – I lacked time management skills, organizational skills and I wasn’t very detail oriented. Even though I completed several internships in college, I was never taught how to handle a heavy workload. I could have used the advice from my book at that time.

Q: The “Relationships and Schmoozing” chapter is one of the longest in the book, what is your favorite piece of networking advice for young people?

A: I use an analogy in the “Relationships and Schmoozing” chapter – Ralph Called Taylor A Flirt – it stands for Recognize, Connect, Track, Add Value and Follow-Up. Those are my networking tips for how to successfully stay in touch with professional contacts. It was a random analogy that I came up with – but it works really well.

Q: You are an entrepreneur and run your own business. Why do you think it is important for others to channel their inner entrepreneur?

A: People think that in order to be entrepreneurial, you must quit your job and start your own business. It’s important to point out to current employees that they should seek out roles in which they can embrace entrepreneurship. They should look for opportunities where they can be entrepreneurial within their current jobs. I share some great examples of people who do this in the book.

Q: The last part of the book is about handling your personal life during your first job experience. How did you handle that?

A: I really didn’t handle my personal life during my first job. I was pretty disgusting. I wish someone would have stressed the importance of having a plan for personal things like going to the bank, the grocery store, the car repair shop – and even going to the gym! I was a mess. It’s important that my readers really take in the information I share in chapters 9 and 10 of the book. Again, I wish I had that information when I graded and held my first job.

Q: Why do you think people need to read this book? Why is it different from other books on the subject?

A: Writing this book allowed me to really open up about my experiences at my first job after college. Many of those experiences were quite disastrous – even though I learned a great deal from them. One of the biggest differences between my book and the thousands of other career books on the shelf is that I was there. And I wasn’t perfect.

I fully believe that Welcome to the Real World is going to add so much value to the lives of young people entering that first, second, or third job. I packed the book with tips and pointers on how to succeed. I can’t wait for everyone to dive in!

Check out Welcome to the Real World - it’s available now!

 

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How to start a business on the side while working http://www.keppiecareers.com/start-business-side-working/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/start-business-side-working/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:30:07 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11228 In case you hadn’t noticed, the freelance economy is taking off: more and more people are working for themselves as consultants, selling products or services and creating businesses on the side, even while working a full-time job. These entrepreneurs have what has...

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Social Networking Business Success Cover SmallIn case you hadn’t noticed, the freelance economy is taking off: more and more people are working for themselves as consultants, selling products or services and creating businesses on the side, even while working a full-time job. These entrepreneurs have what has been dubbed a “side hustle,” or an extra, income earning business they run while working a traditional 9 to 5 job. In our book, Social Networking for Business Success, Hannah Morgan and I term these solopreneurs “MOXIES,” an acronym for people “managing other (secondary), x-tra income engagments.” This term is intended to help remove the stigma some people associate with “hustling.” Moxie refers to someone who has “courage, nerve or vigor,” according to Dictionary.com. Anyone planning to run a business on the side will require all three.

True job security does not exist. Even government workers, long considered “safe,” have begun to experience the layoffs and uncertainty long common in other fields. Creating new income streams for yourself is prudent, forward thinking and goal-worthy. However, until you are able to be self-sufficient with your MOXIE gig, you don’t want to endanger your day job.

Here are some tips for anyone thinking of starting a business while currently employed:

Do not work on your side job while you are on-the-clock at your full-time job. 
This should go without saying, but depending what you’re trying to do, it can be difficult to accomplish all of the tasks for your business after hours. Use your lunch hour wisely and consider taking advantage of your vacation or leave time to manage important tasks for your side business. Depending on what type of business you are growing, you may find yourself in legal hot water if you planned your successful side gig on company time or property. Be careful not to use any company equipment or resources when you are growing your new business.

Be alert to non-compete rules you may need to consider. 
It’s not wise to grow your side business at work with the plan to steal clients from your existing company and quit, although clearly, people do this all of the time. Ideally, you’ll be able to make a clean break when you are ready and maintain a strong relationship with your current company. In many cases, the company will become your first client, especially if you’re an essential employee.

Don’t ignore the possibility that you can grow a passion or interest business on the side that has nothing to do with your current employer. MOXIEs in that situation often have an easier time maintaining both their 9-to-5 and traditional job.

Never share proprietary information from your current company to grow your own business. 
Can you say, “lawsuit?” You don’t want to launch your new business with the prospect of legal action against you. Be mindful of ethical rules as well as specific guidelines your current company expects you to adhere to so you won’t be in trouble later.

Look for opportunities to learn new things at work to help your future business. 
There’s nothing wrong with volunteering for projects or asking to take classes that may help you in your future endeavors. Be alert to ways that you can put yourself in situations that benefit you as an employee and may also help propel your own business later. It’s up to you to seek out these win-win opportunities. You’ll be glad you did when you’re able to solve a problem on your own or can rely on your past work experiences to handle an issue when you’re working for yourself.

Tap into social networks. 
In Social Networking for Business Success, we explain in-depth how employees can use social media to help them effectively grow their networks and business opportunities. Key things to remember: social media is free, you can use it at all hours of the day or night – including early in the morning and after work hours – and it allows you to easily tap into resources and information that can help you grow your business.

Use tools such as a personal blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ to demonstrate your expertise and meet new people. It’s not easy, and there is no magic wand, but you don’t need a million fans; all it takes is a few great contacts who are willing to take a chance on you to launch a new business endeavor.

Save your extra money. 
You may need that income if you unexpectedly need to leave your current job, so if possible, plan to create a fund that will help you more easily leave your day job if that becomes necessary.

Be aware that your successful side business won’t be a secret for long. 
While it’s possible to grow something without people finding out your plans, once you begin to succeed as a MOXIE, expect you’ll need to face your employer and come clean about your moonlighting. Be aware of company policies regarding earning income outside of office hours, and be prepared to answer questions about whether or not you are using company materials or property to grow your side business.

If having a business puts your full-time position in danger, be prepared to face the consequences. You may want to have a heart-to-heart with your boss before people start gossiping about your side gig around the office. Keep in mind, if your side business does not compete or seem to interfere with your day job, you may face no resistance at all. If you are building an empire similar to your current employer’s, and you can’t make a case for how your personal success helps the company, be prepared to be shown the door if your employer accidentally runs across your new website or reads an article about you online.

More advice:
Quitting your job? 10 things to do before you leave
Break out of your job search rut
3 reasons employers won’t hire overqualified candidates

Originally published on AOLJobs.com.

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11 places you haven’t been networking http://www.keppiecareers.com/more-places-to-network/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/more-places-to-network/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:30:23 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11226 Everyone knows that referrals are the best way to land interviews, but are you taking advantage of the plethora of networking opportunities you likely encounter every day? Anywhere you can meet someone you don’t know or might like to know better is...

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petsEveryone knows that referrals are the best way to land interviews, but are you taking advantage of the plethora of networking opportunities you likely encounter every day? Anywhere you can meet someone you don’t know or might like to know better is a chance to network; the more people you meet and convince to invest a little time and energy getting to know you, the more chances you will have to push the door open to a job opportunity.

When you network, keep one thing in mind: always talk to people you don’t think can help you. You read that right: you cannot judge a book by its cover, and you never know if the barista at your local coffee shop or bartender at the local watering hole may be able to hook you up with someone who works at your target company. Be open to the possibility that everyone you encounter is a potential link to your next opportunity and networking will be a lot more palatable.

Here are some places you may not have thought of as networking opportunities:

1. The unemployment office
Just because someone doesn’t have a job doesn’t mean he doesn’t know people who do! Just as you have many skills, suggestions and areas of expertise, so do people you may meet while waiting to file for your unemployment benefits or at a workshop about how to write a better resume. Be generous with your expertise, ideas and resources and other people are likely to return the favor.

2. Recreational events or classes
Whether or not you are employed, it’s always a good idea to attend events where you’ll have a chance to meet new people. If you join a pick-up basketball or bowling league, you may have a chance to get to know new networking contacts who could help you land an interview.

If you think your networking needs a jump start, take a class. It doesn’t need to be something related to work, and you may meet someone new while you learn something new.

3. Volunteering
In addition to being a nice thing to do, all types of volunteering can help you network. You never know when the person next to you serving up the main course at a soup kitchen may be a great contact. While volunteering for a charitable cause is terrific, also consider serving as a volunteer for your professional organization or association. These groups often need people to help out at conferences, and if you introduce a speaker at a national conference, it gives you a chance to meet him or her! Even working the registration table can be a great way to meet people.

4. Places with children and pets
Parents of children and “fur kids” have many opportunities to network. The dog park is a great place to meet people who share at least one of your interests, and if your children are involved in sports, ballet, art class or just enjoy playing outside, you have many chances to meet new people if you take your eyes off your phone long enough to make eye contact with someone. Keep in mind, if you’re the parent who does nothing but complain or starts arguments at little league events, you aren’t likely to win many friends.

5. At the gym
Typically, most of us don’t welcome the opportunity to seek professional contacts while red-faced and sweaty, but the gym can be a great place to network. If you’re really smart, tuck a few business cards in a pocket or in your gym bag and have them at the ready when you work out.

6. Online
You know you can meet new people on all of the social networks, and that LinkedIn is the go-to professional network, but you may be missing some big networking opportunities online. Have you thought about how Twitter can help you land a job? It’s become en vogue to tweet using a hashtag during televised sporting events and other high-interest programs. You can make a new networking contact tweeting praise for your favorite college team or during a televised red-carpet event. Don’t ignore the non-traditional networking opportunities and you could meet a new fan.

7. At the coffee shop
Don’t be one of those annoying people who won’t stop talking to someone while he or she is working, but if you frequent a coffee shop, you may be able to meet some new people, both staff and other customers. Be polite and recognize when someone doesn’t seem to want to talk to you (maybe he or she doesn’t realize the value of networking). Don’t forget to chat up the barista if you go in when it’s not busy.

8. Shopping
If you go to the mall or your favorite boutique, you may be able to strike up a conversation with someone – even in the dressing room. Most people love to be told that they look great in the outfit they are considering, so you have an easy opening.

9. At the hairdresser
Your hairdresser has the opportunity for extended conversations with all his or her clients who likely come from a variety of backgrounds. Don’t miss the opportunity to tap into this potential network.

10. Anywhere there is a line or a wait
As long as you’re not sick, any waiting room can be a great place to network. The post office or grocery store line may also provide good opportunities to have a brief conversation with someone new. If you’re strategic about what you say, it’s possible to begin a networking relationship with a stranger.

11. Wherever people gather
Yes, it’s true: some people have successfully networked at funerals and wakes. You don’t want to be disrespectful or attend such an event with the sole purpose of meeting a particular person, but if you happen to strike up a conversation while fondly remembering a mutual friend or acquaintance, there is nothing wrong with following up later.

When you keep in mind that your potential network is all around you, you’ll be able to break out of your job search rut and be open and available to new opportunities to meet people. Keep in mind: it’s easier to network when you’re dressed for success, so put on something halfway decent, even when you go to the grocery store. And, even with Smart phone technology, it’s always a great idea to have traditional business cards to hand out, even if you aren’t currently working for an organization. Be sure to carry networking cards that make it easy for someone to know how to contact and stay in touch with you.

More advice:

Originally posted on AOLJobs.com

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How to succeed when you work from home http://www.keppiecareers.com/succeed-work-home/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/succeed-work-home/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 10:30:46 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11224 Flexible work is all the rage lately, with employers allowing, or even encouraging workers to telecommute, shift hours, split shifts or share jobs. How can you make sure to keep your career on track when you work from home? Benefits...

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MoneyFlexible work is all the rage lately, with employers allowing, or even encouraging workers to telecommute, shift hours, split shifts or share jobs. How can you make sure to keep your career on track when you work from home?

Benefits for employers and workers are widely documented. Employers benefit when employees work hours and times when they can get the most done. Employees who avoid challenging commutes and have the opportunity to easily handle situations at home without interfering with work are generally happier and more productive. It’s a win-win.

However, you don’t want to get complacent, even if you work most of the time from home or come into the office at odd hours. Keep in mind, even though more and more employers are embracing flexible work arrangements, it’s still up to you to manage your career. You don’t want to be “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes time for promotions or special opportunities you may welcome as part of your professional development. Keep the following tips in mind to maintain effective communication so you remain visible on a flexible schedule and can move forward with your professional goals.

Maintain Relationships
Even if you don’t see your colleagues or supervisor in the office or socialize around the water cooler, make a point to keep in touch and keep up with information you’d be privy to as a regular in the office. This will take extra effort on your part. Make a point to pick up the phone and speak to your colleagues, even if it isn’t necessary for work. If someone is celebrating a special event in the office, consider making a trip in to attend. You’ll help keep yourself top-of-mind when people see your face at events.

Work Regular Hours
Even though your work arrangements may be technically “flexible,” make sure you keep teammates posted so they know what hours you are available on a regular basis. They need to know when they can expect easy access to you, even when you are working from home. Keeping regular hours that your colleagues can count on will make it easier for them to schedule meetings you can attend remotely. If you’re working a chaotic schedule, don’t expect your teammates to make the effort to arrange meetings or events around you.

Demonstrate Flexibility
While you benefit from flexibility, ironically, your best tool to make sure the arrangement works and doesn’t derail your career is being flexible yourself. This can be challenging, as you’ll likely set up your outside of work life around your scheduled hours. However, there will be times when you may need to inconvenience yourself and work outside of those hours to accommodate an event or important call or meeting. If you don’t want to find yourself in a dead-end job, do it willingly, and expect your colleagues will be more likely to work harder to accommodate you another time.

Use Technology
With online tools and applications, you can almost make your colleagues feel like you are a part of their daily interactions, without leaving your remote office. If they are not already using video conferencing and teleconferences, make it your business to keep abreast of new tools that could help make it easier for you to maintain your flexible work arrangement while keeping plugged into what’s going on in the office.

More advice:
Gross workplace habits you avoid when you work from home
How can you make mistakes work for you?
What NOT to do if you want to make a good impression at work

Originally posted at AOLJobs.com.

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Gross habits your coworkers hate http://www.keppiecareers.com/gross-habits-coworkers-hate/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/gross-habits-coworkers-hate/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 10:30:42 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11220 We spend most of our waking hours on the job, so it’s natural that we’ll catch each other engaging in some unfortunate habits. The problem with bad habits is, sometimes, people don’t know how much they are grossing out their...

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file0001506268281We spend most of our waking hours on the job, so it’s natural that we’ll catch each other engaging in some unfortunate habits. The problem with bad habits is, sometimes, people don’t know how much they are grossing out their colleagues. If your co-workers seem to be in a permanent bad mood, it may be because of you!
Check this list and make sure it doesn’t describe anything you’re doing at work. Add your grossest pet peeves in the comments, and we’ll tweet out the best ones using the hashtag #GrossAtWork.

Picking. 
Nose picking, skin, zit picking – picking at yourself should be reserved for when you’re behind closed doors. In fact, you shouldn’t put your hands near your face at all during the day. Think of all those germs you’re transferring – yuck.

Uncovered coughs and sneezes. 
Especially during cold and flu season, but really, all year long, it’s pretty gross to watch someone sneeze all over the place. Or, worse, to sneeze or hack into his or her hand and then touch virtually everything you’re going to be touching later. Lysol, anyone? Keep some tissues or a handkerchief handy and sneeze into your arm or elbow if you absolutely must. It can’t hurt to make a big show of washing your hands if you have just deposited all of your germs into them, too.

Clipping nails. 
It’s mind boggling that people think clipping nails is an appropriate activity for in public. If you don’t want to provide the means for someone to cast a nasty spell on you (don’t they always require nail clippings?), do not pull out those handy clippers in your cubicle or anywhere in public; it doesn’t matter if you’re trimming your toes or snipping your hangnails. It should go without saying, but luffah-ing your feet or any part of your body is also a no-no at work. (Yes, this does happen.)

Plucking.
Like clipping, plucking just about anything at work is a big “ick.” Don’t pull out your compact and start tweezing your eyebrows or nose hair where anyone can see you.

Flossing. 
In general, flossing is a good idea, but not in public. Seriously: no one wants to see what comes out from between your teeth, and leaving the dirty floss on the bathroom sink at work is considered especially disgusting.

Doing laundry in the restroom.
Certain things are always best when done at home, and laundry is one of those things. Wearing clean clothes is a big “yes,” but rinsing out your undergarments or other attire in the office restroom is a “no.”

Not flushing the toilet. 
No one can quite figure out why people don’t think they need to flush the toilet, but it’s high on the list of gross habits at work. Perhaps you are saving water at home, but make a habit to flush the toilet in public or the person following you into the restroom is going to get an unpleasant surprise.

Putting on your contact lenses. 
Perhaps not the most egregious of all faux pas in public, popping in your contact can make some of your non-contact lens wearing friends a little squeamish. It’s best not to do it at your desk. At the very least, go to the restroom, where you can wash your hands first.

Poor table manners. 
Unless you want people to think you were raised in a barn, make a point to eat with your cutlery and not your hands if you want to get ahead at work. Pushing food onto your fork with your fingers doesn’t count as using your silverware, either. While you’re at it, don’t eat off of your knife, either. If no one will go to lunch with you, maybe you now know why.

Heating up smelly food. 
Before you put something in the microwave, stop and think: will this food make the entire office stink? If the answer is yes, consider bringing a cold sandwich instead and you won’t burn any bridges.

Leaving a mess.
Unless your housekeeper follows you around at work, make a point to clean up after yourself. Trash, dirty coffee mugs and remains of your meals and snacks shouldn’t greet your colleagues when they visit your office or cube or frequent the staff lounge after you. While you’re at it, declutter your stuff. No one wants to look at your messy papers and files, either.

Now it’s your turn to share pet peeves in the comments below.

More from Miriam Salpeter
How to make yourself essential at work
Signs you work at a disfunctional office
How to know if your boss is out to get you

Originally appeared on AOLJobs.com.

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April Fool’s Day Suggestions for Work and Job Search http://www.keppiecareers.com/april-fools-day-tips-work-job-search/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/april-fools-day-tips-work-job-search/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 13:06:37 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11879 It’s April Fool’s Day, otherwise known as “don’t believe anything your friends post on Facebook” day! Are you a big prankster? Think twice before pulling a fast one on your boss and then posting it to every social media channel...

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Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 8.56.53 AMIt’s April Fool’s Day, otherwise known as “don’t believe anything your friends post on Facebook” day! Are you a big prankster? Think twice before pulling a fast one on your boss and then posting it to every social media channel you can access!

Are there pranks that are safe for work? It depends on where you work, and how much “fun” people like to have. Read my post about April Fool’s pranks that won’t get you fired over on AOLjobs.

Still think you need to figure out a great joke to pull on someone today? Listen to my regular spot on WIOD radio. Today, I talked about an app for wanna’ be pranksters without an idea and reminded listeners that using Twitter for job search is not a joke and shared reasons why. Click on through to listen, and Happy April!

 

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How to manage mistakes at work http://www.keppiecareers.com/manage-mistakes-work/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/manage-mistakes-work/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 10:30:31 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11218 “We all make mistakes.” You no doubt heard that mantra many times growing up to assuage your feelings about messing something up. However, it isn’t a phrase often heard at work. Just because no one volunteers to soothe your ego after...

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file8841246481259“We all make mistakes.” You no doubt heard that mantra many times growing up to assuage your feelings about messing something up. However, it isn’t a phrase often heard at work. Just because no one volunteers to soothe your ego after a goof at work doesn’t mean those mistakes don’t happen. 
The key to managing a mistake at work is to handle it with some humility. We’re all bound to make a mistake at some point. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be fired. Here are some tips to keep in mind when it’s your turn.

Admit the error.
Everyone knows someone who is “never wrong.” Don’t be that person. When you realize you’ve made an error at work, the best approach is to bring it to your boss’s attention before he or she points it out to you. Unless there’s a reason you cannot admit the mistake in person (such as your boss is out of the country), your best bet is to speak face-to-face. If you email your superior in the office down the hall to let her know about the problem, you will look like a coward who made a mistake.

When you notice your own error and alert people who need to know, you help diffuse the situation, and end the potential wait for someone to call you on your blunder. On the other hand, if you wait to admit the mistake, you could cause a bad situation to get even worse.

Don’t make excuses. 
Excuses may fly on the playground, but they land flat at work and make a bad impression. “I was tired.” “I got the project late from Sue and didn’t have time to double check it.” “Bob didn’t tell me I needed to fix those numbers.” When you start to come up with a list of reasons you messed up, not only do you appear immature, you risk inadvertently blaming someone else for your error, and that’s not going to win you any friends.

“I made a mistake” is the best way to inform people of your error. Own the problem, avoid the blame game and apologize. Most people will admire you for being forthright and you’ll be on your way to making amends.

Make a plan to ensure you never make that mistake again. 
Depending on the nature of the error, you may want to share your plan with your colleagues and boss, but the most important thing is to be sure you don’t wind up in this situation next time.

Volunteer to help fix the mistake on your own time.
If there is any way that you can address the error, make sure you volunteer to handle it on your own time. If it means coming in early, staying late or making phone calls to affected parties to apologize or address the error, you should step up and take responsibility.

Move on. 
The phrase, “Everyone makes mistakes” echoes in your ears because it is true. Don’t dwell or obsess about the error. Even if it was a serious mistake, don’t start writing your resignationunless someone’s given you an indication that your mistake was so egregious that there’s no way to rectify it. Be positive and use the situation as a lesson that will help you avoid errors at work in the future.

More from Miriam Salpeter
How to make yourself essential at work
Is your boss out to get you?
Signs you’re in a dead-end job

Originally appeared on AOLJobs.com.

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I don’t want to recommend my friend for a job http://www.keppiecareers.com/dont-want-recommend-friend-job/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/dont-want-recommend-friend-job/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:30:01 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11216 When it comes to work, there’s nothing much more important than your credibility and reputation. It’s up to you to maintain and uphold them, or risk losing potential opportunities down the road. So, what should you do when a friend...

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file000269479938When it comes to work, there’s nothing much more important than your credibility and reputation. It’s up to you to maintain and uphold them, or risk losing potential opportunities down the road. So, what should you do when a friend asks you to recommend him for a position in your organization, but you’d rather stand on your head all day than refer him for the job?

It’s a sticky situation, especially if you care about the friend and realize that referrals and recommendations from current employees are the best way to land jobs. In many cases, having an existing employee pass along your resume or support your candidacy is a surefire ticket to having a resume reviewed, so your friend is smart to ask for your help.

What are your choices when a good friend asks for your assistance landing a job he isn’t well suited to do?

Agree to help your friend, but make a lukewarm referral. Keep in mind, even if your referral is unenthusiastic, you’re still risking your reputation if your friend can’t perform. Even just passing along the resume puts you in the position of helping a non-qualified person access your employer, and you could look bad if it does not work out. Choose this option at your own risk and keep in mind: a lukewarm referral may do more harm than good.

Explain to your friend why you don’t think the job is a good fit. You may be able to avoid having an in-depth conversation about your friend’s qualifications if you can find reasons she wouldn’t enjoy the job. Is it a toxic workplace? Will the commute be really long? Is the salary too low? Will the work environment be ill-suited to her? Be clear about the negatives about the organization as they relate to her working at the same company as you and discourage her from applying.

Come up with an excuse. Maybe you don’t like to mix business with friendship, or you had a bad experience in the past recommending a friend and when it didn’t work out, it hurt the friendship. You don’t necessarily need to provide details, say she isn’t likely to be a valuable employee or explain why you can’t make a referral, but if you have a good reason to defer, you may be able to avoid hurting the friend’s feelings with too much honesty.

Help re-direct your friend to a different company or industry. Explain some reasons why you think he is not getting hired. Suggest he work with a coach to help identify how he can be more competitive in the job search. Sometimes, it’s easier to hear tough news about your qualifications from someone who isn’t close to you. You could do him a huge favor by spending time talking about how to identify target companies and discussing how to apply for appropriate jobs.

Tell your friend honestly why you cannot refer her. This can be very difficult and uncomfortable, but it is possible that hearing some honest, constructive criticism from you may help your friend in the long run. It is just as likely that it could be the kiss of death for your friendship, so tread lightly and recognize that you do not have a responsibility to detail your friend’s foibles, nor to explain exactly why you’d never suggest her for the job.

More of my posts:
How to break out of your job search rut
How to snap out of a bad mood fast
Bad habits to avoid

Originally posted on AOLJobs.com.

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