May 23, 2013 | Posted by Karen Burns
Here we are, graduation season again, and a fresh crop of job seekers is about to be let loose on society. Welcome, new grads! You get a lot of advice this time of year, and this column is going to go there, too ... but I'm going to tell you something that no one else will tell you. Why? Because they think you already know. Maybe you do, but -- just in case -- here goes. Qualifications, degrees, certifications, what kind of work you do, etc. is important, but even more important is how you do your work. You can be brilliant at coding or marketing or whatever your job is, but if you are a pain to be around, and unreliable and disorganized and emotional, then you will be hard-pressed to hold on to that job you're about to work so hard to land. (Note: This applies to us
May 21, 2013 | Posted by Lisa Quast
The days are getting longer in Seattle, and your company has scheduled a picnic for employees and their families this summer. You're thinking about hot dogs, apple pie, baseball and relaxing with your colleagues. Many people don't think twice about how they should act at company functions such as a summer picnic. However, anything company-sponsored means it's a business event -- and that means workplace etiquette applies. As Karen Burns reminded readers about workplace holiday parties back in December, "Your boss will be there. Maybe your boss's boss. Not to mention the folks you deal with all day, every day. Which, sadly, makes it not a party but a 'business function.'" The same holds true for summer picnics. How you act during company events can help or hinder your career. To ensure that your reputation remains untarnished after the company picnic or other casual gathering, consider the following: DO Attend
May 20, 2013 | Posted by Randy Woods
All over the Puget Sound region, college and high school graduates will do the cap-and-gown shuffle in the next few weeks as they collect their new diplomas and head into the next stage of life. For the last four years, this annual ritual has often felt more like a funeral procession than a celebration, as the Great Recession presented these fresh-faced kids with a bleak hiring landscape. This spring, however, there is a new sense of hope that some analysts are seeing for the first time since before the bubble burst in 2007. According to a recent employment survey by staffing firm Robert Half International (RHI), an overwhelming 90 percent of chief financial officers in the Seattle area said that they plan to do some kind of hiring in the second quarter of fiscal 2013. In the survey, 70 percent of the 100 respondents said they planned to at least
May 16, 2013 | Posted by Karen Burns
If some interview questions seem like trick questions, it's because they are. Here are 10 common questions, along with ideas for handling them: "Tell me about yourself." Don't ramble. This is your chance to talk about how your specific skills and knowledge make you a perfect fit for this job. "Tell me something bad you've heard about our company." You wouldn't seek work at a company you disapproved of, would you? So you should be able to honestly answer that you haven't heard anything negative. "Why should I hire you?" Describe, specifically, how you are the best person to meet the requirements of the job you're seeking. "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Talk about how your abilities, training and experience will enable you to grow and prosper within this company. "How would you react if I told you your interview so far was terrible?" This is a
May 14, 2013 | Posted by Lisa Quast
New college grad? Congratulations! Now it's time to find a job and begin your career. Feeling nervous? Don't worry -- starting a new job often strikes fear into the heart of even the strongest person. As one of my clients said, "It's like the adult version of your first day of school. In most cases, you don't know anyone, you're not sure if the other 'kids' will play nice or be mean to you, you don't know the layout of the new workplace or even where to find the bathroom, and you're not sure if you'll fit in." One way to ensure success in a new job is to learn from others. Soon after my college graduation, I asked a family friend what she wished she'd have known before starting her first job. "I wish someone would have told me to always deliver on my commitments and to never make
May 13, 2013 | Posted by Randy Woods
Performing a job search has often been compared with doing a high-wire act. You have to put yourself out there and dazzle an audience, but also maintain your composure to look professional. One misstep -- or a perceived falsehood in your demeanor -- can send you tumbling to the ground, sometimes without a net. Entrepreneur and author Alan Corey knows this balancing act all too well. In his latest book, "The Subversive Job Search," he chronicles both his quick rise as a hot-shot real estate investment tycoon and his precipitous fall to become unemployed and nearly broke during the global financial crisis. He has climbed back into the corporate world, however, and now earns a six-figure salary by engaging in what he calls "subversive" tactics. These tactics can give you an edge -- providing you're willing to get out of your comfort zone and take some risks. Here are
May 9, 2013 | Posted by Karen Burns
Knowing where to find good career advice, and knowing how to tell good advice from bad, are huge life skills that can take years to master. Here are some tips to shorten your learning curve: Seek multiple advisers. No one human, no matter how experienced or smart, knows it all. What's more, you'll be amazed at how often you receive conflicting advice -- proof that getting a second opinion is always a good idea. Seek different kinds of advisers. Talk to people outside your field. And don't limit yourself to "graybeards." You can get great input from people only a few years ahead of you -- they remember what it was like to be in your shoes and might have very practical ideas. Seek high-caliber advisers. It's a no-brainer that the best advisers are ably managing their own lives and careers, but be aware that some people project a success
May 7, 2013 | Posted by Lisa Quast
At a recent seminar, the presenter -- a friend of mine -- seemed anxious on stage. He kept pacing back and forth and wiped sweat from his brow several times. At the break, I went up to him and asked, "Are you doing OK? Would you like me to get you a glass of water?" "I'm fine," he replied. "I think I just had a little too much caffeine this morning. I was really tired and wanted to be on my game. Guess the shot of espresso I added to my drip coffee wasn't such a great idea after all." We Seattleites love our coffee. We're actually 94 percent more likely to prefer espresso to bottled water than the average American. But too much caffeine could negatively affect your work performance. How much coffee is the right amount? According to Cristen Harris, PhD, RD, CSSD, assistant professor in the Department
May 6, 2013 | Posted by Randy Woods
When I accepted my first full-time job offer, back in the heady autumn days of 1989, I was a recent college graduate with a journalism degree (I know -- tragic, right?), and everything seemed possible. The Berlin Wall was suddenly an open sieve, democracy was flooding into Eastern Europe and I had a real job as an editorial assistant, paying an annual salary of $17,500. No, that wasn't a typo, it was really $17,500. But that was back when people actually gave employees decent raises, plus 100 percent matching contributions to a 401(k), so I couldn't really complain for very long. At the time, I was just happy to get any kind of steady work in my field. But I was puzzled soon after when I read reports that average starting salaries my position were supposed to be $10,000 to $25,000 higher. No other colleagues I knew with my level
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."