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Because after a long of working – or not working – everyone needs a laugh!

Cafe Press – Career related humor

More than Dilbert: A baker’s dozen of work related web comics

Videos – More humor in the workplace

Laugh, enjoy, and remember all the wonderful, funny awful things about work . . . hm, on second thought, this may not have been the best post idea after all . . .

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Sometimes changing careers means going back to school. But bills don’t stop just because you’re in class – in fact going back to school creates new bills!

So how do you balance getting the education you may need for a career chance with actually having a career?

By learning smart.

Not all career choices require four-year degrees – and even those that seem to at first glance will often have back doors. Example: Going into counseling may look like it requires a psychology degree – normally a Masters or Doctorate. That’s 8+ years of school. However, social workers can get work in counselling also, and a license for social work only requires a 2 year associates degree.

Some careers you can work your way into gradually. A few weeks or months of training can get you an EMT certification, which is not only a good first step to a nursing or paramedic degree, it can get you a job at a hospital or health clinic, many of which will help pay for you to get a nursing degree.

Don’t forget – not all career paths even require college. While those interested in working a trade often go to technical or vocational school, some unions still have apprenticeship programs set up though master tradesman, so you can be working while you learn.

For those career changes that truly require a degree, part-time and online colleges are wonderful things. Online schools like Kaplan University are designed for people who need to hold down a job while they learn, with flexible class schedules that can work around your job.

Getting the education you need for the career change you want isn’t necessarily easy. But if you work smart, it is definitely possible.

An increasing number of employers are asking applicants to agree to a credit check before they can be hired. 16 states are contemplating laws against employers demanding credit checks, according to the KYPost; but most job hunters are willing to deal with the check if it gets them a job.

The US Postal Service will be cutting more jobs this year. Legally, the USPS can’t have layoffs, instead as current employees retire they are not hiring replacements. The USPS is expected to lose around 30,000 jobs this year.

Lastly in the week’s news, today is the last day to participate in Making Referrals Week. Small businesses depend on referrals more than any other form of advertising, and the more business they get, the more employees they need. Some economists feel that it will be small businesses more than anything else that pull us out of our economic lows, so let’s give them our support.

Keeping track of your job hunt – If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, job-hunt.org offers advice on not going insane while job hunting.

According to the Wall Street Journal, layoff numbers in February are the lowest since 2006.

A lot of job hunters hate those personality tests that are becoming more and more common. Here are some tips on taking employee selection tests.

Hope you had a good week. Be well, be safe, and keep hunting. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Reading the information on job hunts and career blogs, it’s easy to get the impression that most people looking for work are white collar professionals looking for a salaried position in a major corporation. But what about everyone else?

Whether you a student looking for part time work, a parent looking to bring in a second income while the kids are at school, or are a first time job seeker, looking for an entry level position, without the experience or resume to try for salary, the job hunt is just as important and can be just as, if not more, frustrating.

After all, how much of the advice and blogs and what not really applies to you?

Quite a bit, actually. For instance, a retail store won’t require a resume from an applicant, but a well written resume listing prior experience in retail can help you get the job – and possibly higher pay. Interview advice may focus on corporate style interviews, but many of the same questions get asked whether you are sitting in front of a HR desk with a hiring manager, or at a restaurant table with the restaurant manager.

However, it never hurts to have advice targetted to your specific job hunt. That’s one of the reasons I was so excited this week to find snagajob.com, a job search site just for hourly and part time jobs, that includes an ask the experts section, as well as tips and advice to help in your job hunt.

Don’t get discouraged just because most advice doesn’t seem to work for you, focus on what does apply to you, there’s probably more of it out there then you think.

I recently came across a great article called Tips for a Successful Job Hunt, by David Southgate.

The article is several years old, and written specifically for out of work executives, but is relevant today to any job seeker.

Among other things, David discusses yesterdays topic of scheduling you job hunt, and shares a few different views on the best way to structure your schedule, and your day. He also covers advice on keeping your skills current, keeping your spirits up, and how to tell if you are using your time productively.

My favorite part of the article comes from a cross cultural view provided by an interviewed executive from Europe. She says that unlike many Americans who define themselves by their work, she knew that being out of work didn’t change who she was or effect her pride – but sometimes she needed to remind herself how important focusing on the job hunt was. It doesn’t hurt Americans to remember the flip side. Being out of work isn’t something to be ashamed of, and doesn’t say anything about you as a person. Keep putting on foot in front of the other, and live you life as best you can. You’ll get through this, and find the job you’re looking for when the time is right.

Continuing off of my earlier thoughts, and mistakes, since I missed yesterday’s post, I’m putting a second up today.

Which isn’t a bad practice for anyone really. If you are supposed to do something each day – say, work on your job hunt for instance? – and you miss one day, do what you can to make it up the next day.

Now, if you are trying to put 4 hours of work into your job hunt each day, and you miss a day, it probably isn’t very workable to but in 8 hours the next day. You likely have other commitments on your time that just make it impossible. However, you can probably manage an extra hour or two. Even an extra 15 minutes for a week or two can make up decent amount of missed time.

However you adjust your schedule, the important thing is to make the effort to make up for the time, and work, you missed. Because no matter how well you plan, something will happen eventually to mess up your day. That’s life. It’s how you bounce back and get the work done anyway that matters.

Well, this is a tad embarrassing. Less than a month old and already sleeping in on the job! Tsk, tsk, what must you think of me?

Ah well, spilled milk and all that.

I’m considering it a learning experience, I didn’t plan ahead, and life ran away with me. Plan better next time.

And it’s not a bad idea for you to learn from my mistake, either. Even if you have recently lost a job, it’s amazing, with all the time we spent working suddenly open, how hard it can be to find time to job hunt. You’d think that you’d have lots of free time after losing a job, but especially if you have a family, all that free time disappears might fast.

First you start sleeping in a bit more – no reason to be up with the sun when you don’t have that morning commute.

Next the kids start demanding attention, and your spouse wants you to do chores or run errands while they deal with some minor crisis that popped up somewhere.

You rediscover an old hobby, and figure half an hour a day for yourself won’t hurt anything.

Your mom or sister or best bud insists that since your not working you might as well help dot the yard work/plan big family party/go out for big guy night once a week.

And suddenly you have barely an hour a day to work on your job hunt!

Of course, it’s even worse if you still have your job when you start you job hunt.

A strong suggestion – schedule your job hunt.

If you don’t have a job right now, set aside 3-4 hours a day, and make sure your family and friends know that time is taken and should not be interrupted unless someone is being taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

If you still have a job, plan a head to find either a bit of time each day, or a block of time each week you can set aside for job hunting.

Planning ahead, keeping a schedule, and making sure time doesn’t disappear on you can make a big difference in the success of your job hunt, or (in my case) your job!

So, a week over – the first week for this blog, and whatever week it is for your job hunt and blessings on us all.

Here are some thoughts to take with us into the new week:

Few companies that installed computers to reduce the employment of clerks have realized their expectations… They now need more, and more expensive clerks even though they call them ‘operators’ or ‘programmers.’
Peter Drucker

Or: Technology creates jobs

“The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broad swords, or canals, or statues, or songs”
Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes

Or: the best thing in the world is work that pays you and makes you happy.

I will undoubtedly have to seek what is happily known as gainful employment, which I am glad to say does not describe holding public office.
– Dean Gooderham Acheson
On resigning as Secretary of State to resume his career as a lawyer.

Or: Even when you lose your job, keep your sense of humor.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll be back tomorrow.

If you haven’t heard of it before, LinkedIn may be your new best friend.

LinkedIn is a social networking site devoted entirely business-related networking. Your connections on LinkedIn are not friends and family, but collegues, and co-workers managers and subordinates.

If you already know of LinkedIn, you may consider it the best thing since sliced bread, or the most annoying, overhyped, insanity since MySpace created social networking.

LinkedIn can be a cornerstone to your job hunt – but you need to know how to use it.

First – who you connect with on LinkedIn matters more then how many you connect with. Using LinkedIn to stay in touch with former associates can give you an in on a job opening that hasn’t been made public yet. Connecting with everyone and their third cousin twice removed, just because they offer a connection, just drowns you in static. So only connect with people you know, and people who know you.

Second – make sure you take the time to look over your extended networs – the people your connections connect you to. Your former manager is connected with an HR rep at a company you would love to work for, but that doesn’t do you any good if you don’t know about it. Once you do know about it, you can ask your ex-manager to introduce you.

Third – get involved in groups. Company groups, alumni groups, skills groups, industry groups. These groups are a great way to met people and make new connections.

There is way to much great stuff about LinkedIn to put in a singel blog post, don’t be afraid to read up some more. Here are a few good resources for how to make LinkedIn work for you:

The LinkedIn Blog
Linked Intelligence
10 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Fnd a Job

Why not take a few hours now to explore LinkedIn, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

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