We've all heard the phrase, "There's light at the end of the tunnel" in one variant or another. The older that we get, the more we're able to reflect back on all the pinpoints of light we've gazed upon as various phases of our lives came to a culmination. Whether it was that feeling of satisfaction you had after completing the chores your parents assigned or acing a test after studying for weeks, arriving at that moment when you come out of figurative darkness is a wonderful thing.
For the typical college student, that light is always centered on the day they turn their credit hours into a formal degree. As graduation day draws near, so too do countless other thoughts that race through every soon-to-be graduate's mind — from finals and term papers to friendships and freedom. With all of these distractions, it's no wonder that it's difficult for many students to fathom the real-life challenges that are ahead.
At a foundational level, all governments, religions, and society at large harbor a similar theory: To achieve success, one must adhere to the established guidelines. Deviation from these guidelines never ends well. Within governments, choosing not to pay taxes earns you a trip to the courthouse, potential fines, wage garnishment, and even a stint in the slammer. The major monotheistic religions have doomed those who stray to an eternity in misery. Those who fail to follow general societal standards are likely to find themselves ostracized and alone. While not quite as dramatic as jail, hell fires, or shunning, there are things you may be doing with your resume that could result in dire career consequences.
Over the years, I've guided many professionals into their dream jobs and helped organizations grow their talent pools. While networking, perfect timing and a bit of luck are all part of the equation, a resume that aligns a candidate's skillset with what an organization needs is often the key that links the two together.
Most of us have heard of Chubby Checker and, for those not fortunate enough to have heard one of his classics, get out there and give your ears a taste of early American rock 'n roll. Mr. Checker came on strong in the 1960s, tearing up the radio waves with his dance hall hits like "Limbo Rock." In the early '70s, unhappy with his career, he took a swing at psychedelic rock. Well, the album was only released in Europe and sales were disappointing. Checker continued on and has a solid place in our Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, as well as in many music lovers' hearts.
I can still recall the nervous feeling in my stomach when I made the call and then popped the question: "I'm putting in for a new position, will you be one of my references?" I didn't receive a formal "I do," but just like an anxious groom, I was elated to hear the voice on the other end of the line say "yes." While it's common to fret over how to select and ask for a reference, it can be just as nerve-racking on the other side: acting as a reference yourself.
My father is a television fanatic — he always has been and likely always will be. Because of that, he often quotes various catchphrases that he finds humorous, attempting to take on the inflections of a specific actor's (or sometimes actress') voice. During the '90s, I was forced to endure countless repetitions of "Did I do that?" (thanks, Mr. Urkel), and before that, there were many, many John Wayne quotes.
After you've experienced even just a few job interviews, you have a basic idea of what to expect when you sit down across from a potential employer. You'll have a few minutes of small talk, then they'll ask you some questions about your experience and how it applies to the job you're interviewing for. And, at some point in the process, they'll hit you with some version of the familiar question: "What's your greatest weakness?"
Many people dream about escaping the drudgery of office life and working from home, but the truth is, remote work has its own kind of drudgery – and some serious challenges. The key to success is understanding and dealing with some of the most common distractions you'll face when working remotely. Here's how to get started.
Having strong references can mean the difference between hearing, "You're hired!" and hearing nothing but dreaded silence. I've often covered the most appropriate methods of acquiring references, including asking permission, providing them with information about the position, and keeping them up-to-date with the overall process. This methodology is great if you already know who your references are, but where do you begin when you're not even sure who to ask?
Everyone, at some point during his or her career, will experience the slightly guilty feeling of looking for work while still employed elsewhere. It's always preferable to search for a job while employed in order to maintain some level of financial and professional security — not to mention, it looks better to recruiters. Still, it's a difficult balancing act, especially when it gets to the interview stage.
Hollywood would like us to believe that everyone goes to school, works hard, and quickly winds up in their dream job. From pauper to Wall Street, shy guy to leading man, or mailroom clerk to CEO, it's all about that fairytale ending. Now brush the popcorn from your lap and let your eyes readjust to the light, because the movie's over and we're heading back to reality.
You've been offered a job that you're not sure about when suddenly the talk turns to salary -- and the employer is prepared to pay you a lot more than you ever imagined. As visions of a new car and luxurious vacations dance in your head, you quickly forget your initial reservations. A nice paycheck can certainly make up for a lot of faults, but it doesn't guarantee happiness.