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Your Take: Your Best Career Tip?

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Career Doctor BookI hope you got as much out of reading and commenting about the posts in Career Week as I did writing them. While the posts themselves were written to speak to those who are currently unemployed, I think the ideas and tips I shared are applicable to anyone looking for a job. If you have employed and are looking for a better job, you can use the tips from Career Week to get to the next level. If you are employed and looking to change your career path, you can use the ideas from some of these posts to help you make that change.

For this week’s Your Take, I wanted to ask you to share your best career tip. It can be anything related to career advice from looking for a job to preparing your resume, from interviewing preparation tips to salary negotiation. There are many many topics I didn’t cover in the series, so feel free to cover them here in your best career tips.

I’m eager to hear the great ideas you have! (feel free to leave two or three or five, don’t feel like you need to limit it to just one)

(Photo: krishnade)

{ 22 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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22 Responses to “Your Take: Your Best Career Tip?”

  1. Chris says:

    Do what you want to do from the begining, or find a path to work towards that goal. Your life will be full of personal rewards and if you become the best at it, whatever it is, then the financial rewards will follow.

  2. DJ says:

    As jobs become more and more competed over, you need to think outside the box to get a leg up on the competition. Develop an online presence. Create a HTML version of your resume to make it interactive. Become involved in an online community related to what your trying to do professionally. Today every employer will google your name before they invite you for an interview. If there is something out there that shows your dedication to your field, it will leave an impression with your potential employers.

  3. leslie says:

    Always apply! Even if you don’t meet all of the qualifications but you really want the job, just apply!

    In college, I applied to a lab position that I was under-qualified for. The lab director emailed me back saying that they had already fulfilled the position, but my skills fit into an open position at another lab. I interviewed at the other lab and got the job!

    After college, I applied to a web development position that, once again, I was under-qualified for but extremely interested in. In my interview I was honest about my skills but kept focusing on my desire to adapt and learn. After my second interview, they offered me the job!

  4. Jeff Rose says:

    Do what you say you’re going to do. If you say you’re going to follow up with something: do it. If you say you’re going to call tomorrow: do it. If you say it will be done by Friday: make sure it is. Your word is your most precious commodity and without it, you’re nothing and so is your credibility.

  5. tbork84 says:

    Networking, networking, and networking! You never know who you meet in your life who is a contact worth having in the future. I owe my current job, which is on its way to becoming a career to someone who I used to help study back in college.

    Keep in touch with people, and never be unwilling to lend a hand to anyone. You never know where or who will be involved in your next opportunity.

  6. Craig says:

    Always look out for #1, just make sure you don’t step in #2. Great words from Thornton Melon in Back to School.

  7. eric says:

    Good productive week for you Jim. Churning out all of those articles. I don’t really have any profound tip…just work hard and like what you do. That’ll take you somewhere!

  8. Do what you love and the money will follow. NEVER do something that makes you unhappy. That’s it.

  9. Jon says:

    Focus on a specific career direction and then find the top dogs in the arena. Make a sixty second phone call (or leave a 30 second message) for each one, concisely mentioning that you are interested in their line of work, just starting out, and would like to pay for their lunch in exchange for 30 minutes of their time. While you will receive rejections, you will be surprised how many will take you up on it!

    ***A number of times, they will actually pick up the bill at the end of the meal. If they don’t, it was worth the connection for you to pay $5-20 for their meal. I did this during the past few months and only paid for a couple meals out of many :D

    ***Also, never pressure them about your need for a job. When in doubt, simply ask “What were you like at my stage?” or “If you were in my shoes, what would you do?” The former will result in a smirk followed by them opening up, while the latter will often end up with useful advice you need to write down

    …just my two cents from a few months of interviews

  10. It’s very simple, and I work in a very intense industry.

    Come in first, leave last.

    Why 22 year olds out of college don’t do this everyday is beyond me. There is SO MUCH TO LEARN. They are making $100,000 right out of undergrad, and to not get in first and leave last is a sin.

    $100,000 at 22-23 years old is only the beginning. The figures get much greater if they can last.

    Work harder folks.

  11. saladdin says:

    These are great points but I think you are all forgetting the college kids. I wish someone would have explained to me:

    1. Do an internship. It will give you a leg up on the other college kids you are graduating with who are busy right now sleeping off their hangovers. Remember, colleges graduate 2-3 classes a year. Now multiply that by the number of your local schools. That’s the other kids who are after your job.

    2. Personality matters. It’s not fair, I know. But the person who has average skillz but a great personality has an edge over a guy who has slightly better skillz but hides at his cube all day. You will learn that people with less abilities then yours will pass you by. That’s life.

    3. 99.999% of us are average. No matter what your mom says, you are probably not an Einstein or that good-looking. World is full of average people. Do other things to stand out.

    4.There are thousands and thousands of kids who graduate with GPA’s higher then yours. The worth of your GPA ends at graduation for most of us. I work for a large company and never once has anyone asked what my GPA was or what school I attended.

    saladdin

  12. All great tips and ideas; personally I always seek out the jobs that I want to do and will not take no for an answer. You can’t be a pest but employers appreciate polite perseverance.

  13. Finavigation says:

    As far as career direction, I would say establish what you eventually want your life to be like and then align every career move you make toward that goal. If you do this, you’ll end up working in a field you like and making the amount of money you want to be making.

    As far as things you can do to make sure you continue to progress upward in your career, I would say balance building your networking with getting things done. Some people network really well, but are useless in a project. Others are great team members but are socially inept. When it’s time to talk, talk. When it’s time to work, shut your mouth and get things done.

  14. Be yourself: in your resume, cover letter, online profile, at the interview and on your first day of work. It’s the surest way to find happiness and success in the long-run.

  15. Shadox says:

    Careers are measured in decades, not months or years. Take the long view and maximize your long term career potential, not your short term earning power. Those are often not the same.

  16. Izalot says:

    I like Mr. Moneybag’s comment about doing what you love and the money will follow. I will add this: If you were financially independent would you consider volunteering your time in the career you have chosen?

  17. Do what you love, follow it as far as you can, work out of the box to promote it and never quit. Some things take longer to play out than we hope.

  18. redivelli says:

    As a college kid I am going to piggyback with saladdin. There is a new wave of internships for college students called cooperative employment. You work 3 solid semesters and receive a special degree. Its what I am doing and it has opened up several job offers just because of the experience I have.

    My dad always said “dream to be the best, this will get you where you want to go.” I decided to add “then strive to better it.” As long as you can better yourself, life will fall into place :)

  19. Hank says:

    Concentrate on the job you have, do great at it, and promotions to the next one will follow. But, you have to be great at your current one first.

  20. Jessica says:

    Lots of industries are much smaller than you could ever imagine. Reputation is key. I don’t know a single person that has hired into the company I am at who’s name I didn’t hear several weeks before when my boss come around the office asking if anyone knows them and what kind of work they do. What the people in the room at that moment have said about the person’s work ethic and reputation has sealed their fate for getting the job far beyond what their resume could say.

    A good way to make sure people in the room will know you is to network, get to know your co-workers and organize happy hours, sign up a group for 5k runs, whatever. I know I’m more likely to recommend someone who’s good at their job and I can go out and have a beer with after work than someone who all I know about them is that they’re good at their job.

    That being said, the dumbest thing you can do is show your dislike for anyone (aka burn bridges) no matter what their personality is like. They may be the person who decides on the hiring at your next job or who speaks up when the boss comes around holding your resume.

  21. zuojia says:

    All the comments I read were useful, especially aligning your actions to your goals.

    That’s smart.

    One idea I haven’t seen so far is looking after your health and having some sort of a B plan if something goes wrong with it.

    Also ‘forgiving’ yourself if you have bad health news.

    I don’t think any of the great ideas I read mentioned health, yet it’s an underpinning of most things we do.

    Zuojia


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