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  • by Karen Burns - April 7, 2010
    A lot of job hunting advice tells you to always end the interview by asking for the job. Which leads many job hunters to ask, "How exactly do you ask for a job?" Great question. You'll find 10 sample approaches below. But first, here are two major points to keep in mind: 1. When you’re job hunting, you’re not begging for a handout. You are legitimately offering your skills, experience, time, and energy in exchange for...
  • by Karen Burns - February 17, 2010
    You’ve heard it a million times: Always send a thank-you letter after a job interview. So it may surprise you to learn that some hiring managers don’t like receiving these letters. It’s a waste of their time, they say. Sounds a little curmudgeonly, doesn’t it? But maybe it’s because so many thank-you letters are a waste of time--theirs, and ultimately, yours, too. Are you using your letters just to say “thanks for the inter...
  • by Karen Burns - February 16, 2010
    A loyal reader writes with this intriguing dilemma: How do you respond when a manager says they understand your job can be a bit boring and repetitive? This conversation was at an informal networking event. I responded by saying it’s challenging in some aspects but there are interesting parts. Is it okay to admit it is boring? Ah, those tricky little “innocent” questions. You can make yourself crazy with them. It’s...
  • by Karen Burns - February 10, 2010
    Many job interviews these days are conducted by phone. It’s faster and cheaper for both job hirers and hunters. HR folks especially like it because it allows them to screen more applicants in less time. A phone interview may even be your first contact with a potential employer. Phone interviews are not, however, the same as in-person interviews. So much human communication is non-verbal! You may need to acquire a few new sk...
  • by Karen Burns - February 3, 2010
    A majority of Americans are unhappy with their jobs, according to a recent Conference Board survey. What does this mean? For one thing, it’s a clue that as soon as this economy improves, an awful lot of people are going to be setting off for greener pastures. Now is a good time to talk about how to quit a job with class. (A lot of this also applies to how to leave a job classily under any circumstances, voluntary or not.)...
  • by Karen Burns - January 27, 2010
    Who would you rather work with: a genius star performer who’s an incredible pain in the you-know-what or a “merely” competent worker who’s a breeze to get along with? Your coworkers think so, too. Scary thought: You probably spend more hours of the day with your work colleagues than with any other group of human beings. And the great majority of the time you don’t even get to choose them. You all have different backgroun...
  • by Karen Burns - November 18, 2009
    There’s nothing so annoying as a buzz word and this year there’s no word out there buzzier than “branding”. As in, “You’ve got to establish your brand.” Ugh. WG keeps thinking of what Alina Tugend said in this NYT piece a while back: “What if I don’t want to be a brand? What if I like the security and camaraderie of being ‘just’ a worker in a company?” Working Girl suspects there’re a lot of people out there who wou...
  • by Karen Burns - November 18, 2009
    This is a painful issue always. But especially now. Times are tough. People are terrified about losing their jobs and not being able to find another one. So they’re hanging on to what they’ve got, whether or not they’re miserable. But hating your job is awful and feels even awfuler in these last dwindling days of August, when it seems everyone is on vacation or otherwise enjoying life. Even President Obama. Not so...
  • by Karen Burns - November 18, 2009
    A friend just landed a new job! Woo-hoo! She phoned with the good news and then asked this question, “Do you have any tips for how I should act my first week on the job?” Ha. Of course, WG has tips. Weirdly, they seem to all be negative–what not to do. Hmmm. Anyway, here they are: Don’t be late. Are you thinking, “Duh”? But being late that first week brands you as a tardy person. You don’t want this. Even if yo...
  • by Karen Burns - November 18, 2009
    Your job hunt should never consist solely of submitting your resume to the online job boards. You need to be out there in the real world networking with real people. But you do still need to know how to format your resume so it can be submitted online and/or be scanned. Hence, here are a dozen tips, gathered from here and there: 1. Guess what, for electronic resumes you no longer have to worry about that old one-p...