Salary Negotiations

September 2, 2011 under Articles

Negotiating a salary can potentially be the most important thing you do during a job interview. After all, despite everythnig you say, you’re really just in it for the money, right? So you want to get as much as you can.

There’s been a lot written on the subject, but we ran across this article that had a nice spin on it and wanted to share it with you.

Strange Salary Negotiation Strategies


Chrysler Employees Caught Drinking & Getting High on the Job

August 29, 2011 under Articles
ZJ Jeep Grand Cherokee

Image via Wikipedia

In today’s economy you try and hold on to a job, kind of like your suitcase. Even if you may not absolutely love every day of work, it’s okay; most people don’t. But if you make a decent living and can make it through the day without losing your mind, then life is good. There are plenty of people out there who are out of work and would gladly take your job. Shoot, they’re probably even more qualified for it.

With that in perspective, it’s not very smart to jeopardize your employment. With so many people banging at the doors of employers, you like to stay on your boss’s good side. That’s why it’s somewhat baffling that this week, nine union workers employed by the Chrysler Group at the Trenton, Michigan engine plant were suspended for drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana before their shifts and during their lunch breaks. This story first appeared in the Detroit papers last week, and this week USA Today ran a story announcing their suspension by Chrysler Group. But wait, it gets better…

Not only did they get caught boozing and getting high on the job, they were caught on video by the local news station. Tipped off by a couple other workers at the plant who worried that the delinquent behavior was threatening the safety of their workplace, Fox2 News captured the nine UAW workers on tape and showed it to the people in charge at the Trenton plant.

The Trenton engine plant employs 500 United Auto Workers. They manufacture the new Pentastar V6 engines that power a variety of company vehicles. The nine workers in question are awaiting an investigation that will ultimately determine their status of employment.

According to today’s article by USA Today, this is not the first time that Chrysler employees in Michigan have been busted by Fox2 News for getting inebriated on the job. Last fall, two workers were laid off for one month without pay and two others were terminated for the same type of behavior at the Jefferson North Plant in Detroit that manufactures the new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Sure, everyone has their own vices and no one should judge another person on how they get their jollies. But the workplace is by definition, the place where work is done, and not where one uses recreational drugs for their own personal enjoyment or self-medication. Even if these workers were so far gone that they need to get their fix just to get through the day, there is a certain something called discretion. Didn’t these guys ever go to high school? It’s one thing if the boss smells booze on your breath, and it’s something entirely different when you are caught on video putting ‘em back and toking up.

A job is not something to be taken lightly these days, because you never know when you are going to be put out. There are most definitely nine other UAW workers probably just sitting around at home who will gladly replace these guys and wait until they punch out at the end of the day to catch a buzz.

College Graduates: How Much More Do They Earn?

August 26, 2011 under Articles
The 2009 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, ...

Image via Wikipedia

All throughout high school, you hear from teachers and parents alike that you should be thinking about where you want to go to college. What is your next move? What are your plans after school? At this point you should have already clocked in long hours filling out applications to the top schools of your choice. Is college really that important though? For some this is a matter of opinion, but it’s a lot more helpful to simply look at the facts.

A recent article that appeared in the LA Times discussed a study done byGeorgetownUniversity’s Center on Education and the Workforce about the relationship between education level and lifetime earnings. The research showed that people who earn bachelor’s degrees make, on average, 84% over their lifetime than high school graduates.

In terms of dollars and cents, the college graduate makes an average of $2.3 million in a lifetime compared to the $1.3 million earned by a high school graduate. For those who go even further to obtain their doctoral degrees, they will earn an average of $3.3 million over a lifetime. Even within the same industry, employees with a higher education level typically make more than the rest.

These findings make it pretty clear; if you want to earn more in your lifetime, get a college degree. Although there is never any guarantee that you will be able to land a high-paying job fresh out of school, over a lifetime the college grad will usually end up making a lot more than the high school grad. TheGeorgetownUniversitystudy also estimated that by 2018, 63% of American jobs will require some sort of post-secondary education or training.

When you think about going to college, you cannot just simply think about all the money you will make after you graduate. It’s also extremely important and necessary to factor in how much you will end up spending on school. Tuition rates have been rising, and unless you’ve got a rich uncle, a trust fund, or can ride out that basketball scholarship, this is something you will have to worry about.

For the 2007-2008 school year, the average cost for tuition at a four-year private institution was around $22,000. This is just for tuition. Add in room and board (around $8,000 per year), and you will end up paying an average of $30,000 annually for that good private schooling.

Public universities are a nice option for people that don’t have money coming out of their ears, but they are not cheap either. On average, tuition at a four-year public institution was listed at around $6,000 per year. Room and board costs around $7,000, so that adds up to a total of $13,000 per year.

Of course, if you don’t have the money there are always the options of grants, financial aids and student loans. Do your research and spend the time filling out the forms; it will pay off in the long run.

So if you want to make more money in your life, go to college. Just keep in mind that it won’t be cheap or easy.

In College? Visit you Career Center

August 19, 2011 under Articles
NEW YORK - JUNE 24:  A job seeker works the ph...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Though it’s easy to get distracted from this amongst all the frivolity, the primary goal of college is to prepare students for their careers, i.e. move out of their parents’ house, which is the only reason parents pay for their kids to go to college in the first place (I kid). That’s why it’s surprising, but common, that the career services office is typically an underutilized service on college campuses. They provide basic services — or extensive if you wish — career guidance and placement services for students, services that are only available to current students and will be immensely helpful upon leaving school.

Counselors at your college career center can help you choose a first job and career path that’s right for you. They use self assessment tests to determine your personality, interests, motivations and abilities and help you decide on an major of study designed to meet your career goals. It’s a good idea to see combine and coordinate the advice of both your academic and career counselors, if they’re not the same person.

The college career center will also help you research various occupations for when you get your degree. Counselors will provide resources to find information and organizational contacts. Career services centers have libraries full of career and job-related information. They will also maintain connections with staff and alumni who are willing to discuss their career paths and experiences with students.

They will also help you with the job hunt; advising you on your resume and cover letter, suggest internships during summers that will pay-off later, and even, in some cases, provide job placement services. The dividends are endless.

College career centers are a valuable asset to college students, and they are helpful at every academic stage. Explore your college career center at the first opportunity and take advantage of the powerful resources available you as a college student.

Job Hunting is Expensive

August 12, 2011 under Articles
SAN MATEO, CA - JUNE 07:  A representative wit...

Remember the days when people would get a job right out of high school or college, stay with the same company for 30 or 40 years, then retire with a pension and a gold watch? No? That’s because those days are long gone. Even families that saw generation after generation work at the same auto manufacturing plant have had to change their way of thinking, and possibly even their locations because of our changing economy, and the ensuing upheaval in the auto industry. People are much more mobile now than ever, and for many, picking up and moving to a new city for a job is a viable option.

But even if you’re lucky enough to find a job just a few miles down the road from where you live, you’ll still incur expenses during your job search. From the 50 cents you spend on a newspaper to peruse the classifieds, to the four bucks per gallon you’ll use up in gas driving from job interview to job interview, a job search comes with real costs.

If you’ve ever been on the other side of a job interview, you probably have some stories about people showing up for their interviews in some questionable attire. You would think job interview attire would come down to common sense, but for some reason, not everyone seems to understand that there are just certain things that shouldn’t be worn to a job interview. A good rule of thumb is, if you’d wear it to a club, you shouldn’t wear it to a job interview. But if it’s been a while since you’ve been to a job interview, or you worked in a casual environment at your previous job, your wardrobe could be lacking in good interview options.

Anyone can perform their own job search these days. Between newspapers and the Internet, there are more resources than ever before to help people find jobs. But if you really want to cover all your bases, a job placement agency can be a big help. Some companies work exclusively with placement agencies, not advertising open positions anywhere else. Recruiters also have extensive networks and connections they can use to help their clients find the best jobs. The best thing is, placement services are usually paid by the companies that contract them to find candidates, so you’ll get a great service without having to pay out of pocket.

A serious job search may take you all over town, or even into neighboring cities, and that can add up in gas costs. Try to schedule interviews at companies that are near each other to take place on the same days. This will mean less driving for you, and that you can also schedule more interviews in one day because you’re spending less time getting from one to another.

Being a Teacher: Is It the Job for You?

August 9, 2011 under Articles
"Teacher Appreciation" featured phot...

Image via Wikipedia

Choosing the right career can be a tough decision for some people. For those of us not fortunate enough to know that we wanted to be an architect or veterinarian from the age of three years old, we may still be trying to figure out what it is we want to do in this world.

In case you missed out on the lecture, this is how the world functions: You have to work a job, earn money and pay bills. Unless you have rich parents or win the lottery, this is just how it goes. Unfortunately we cannot just sit around or travel the world in search of a good time. There is money to be made and bills to be paid.

In trying to determine the right job, you may have entertained the idea of becoming a teacher. Then you thought about a roomful of screaming children or you watched Dangerous Minds and that fleeting thought was gone as soon as it came.

But for many out there trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives, becoming a teacher might be the right move. You don’t necessarily have to go to college to learn how to be a teacher. Many schools require only a bachelor’s degree in the area of study you plan on teaching. To be a substitute teacher in many states you only need thirty college credits. So you don’t really have to figure out that you want to be a teacher before going to school. This can come later.

Being a teacher can have many benefits. Having summers off is the one that comes to mind for most people. This is a huge attraction for some, and might even be the reason why certain people become teachers in the first place. You also don’t have to work weekends or holidays, and you get winter and spring breaks.

Another big draw of being a teacher is the fact that you are making a difference in your community. You are the molder of young minds, and you provide a valuable service to the public. Someone has to teach those kids out there. Many children may look up to you as a role model, and as long as you are a positive subject and not like Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher, this can be a good thing.

But like any other job out there, being a teacher can also pose certain challenges. The hours are much more than what they seem. Although students are usually only in class from 8:00am to 3:30pm, this does not mean that your job ends when the school bell rings at the end of the day. Most teachers work on average at least fifty hours per week. Even the kids have to do homework when they are not in class. You have to create lesson plans, attend conferences and offer support for your students at school functions.

Another challenge of the teaching profession is the stress factor. Dealing with a group of twenty or so kids can be emotionally draining and taxing on your patience. If you have kids of your own, you probably know how they can be. Imagine managing a whole roomful!

These are just a few examples of the advantages and disadvantages of being a teacher. Hopefully this shed a little light on the profession. Being a teacher is not for everybody, but for some it is the perfect fit. To quote Jack Black inSchoolofRock, “Those who can’t do teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym.”

Craigslist for Jobs

August 5, 2011 under Reviews


Finding a job these days can be tough. Luckily, we have plenty of online classifieds and job boards to help us out. But with so many to choose from, which one should you use? In trying to determine what site is the best for the job seeker out there, it’s important to take a look at all of them and see what they bring to the table. Today, let’s talk about Craigslist.

Craigslist was started in 1995 in San Francisco by a guy named Craig Newmark. As a newcomer to the city, Newmark started an email distribution to friends in the area. The emails provided details about local events in the Bay Area. The social events were primarily of interest to software and Internet developers, as this was Newmark’s area of expertise.

Newmark expanded his list into a web-based service and branched out into other classifieds categories the following year. By 2000, Newmark’s service had expanded to other cities in theUSand eventually to most countries. By the new millennium, Craigslist was a full-blown online classifieds service featuring the following categories;

  • Jobs
  • Housing
  • Personals
  • ForSale
  • Services
  • Community
  • Gigs
  • Resumes
  • Discussion Forums

Today, Craigslist is a widely used service by people all over the world. In terms of the broad range of features it offers, Craigslist pretty much has it all. If you need to buy a bicycle, sell some furniture, look for a job, adopt a pet, post your resume or find a date, Craigslist is there to help.

But that last topic of interest – finding a date – is where Craigslist got into a little bit of trouble. After much controversy concerning the Adult Section, Craigslist closed this portion of the site down for good last year. It turns out that people were using this section to solicit prostitution – go figure. Although the Adult Section was closed down, many who frequented that category just moved their services over to the Talent section.

Even though you may have to avoid pimps and prostitutes, Craigslist still provides a valuable service, especially to those looking for a job. Jobs on Craigslist are sorted by location and category and feature everything from Accounting positions to Writing jobs. Craigslist also features a Gigs Section that posts part-time or temporary work for those looking to make an extra buck. In addition to finding all the jobs out there, you can also post your resume on Craigslist for employers to check out.

Craigslist can provide a lot of job opportunities, but beware. Scammers are rampant on this site, and you never know if when you show up to a job site you might be thrown into a van or mugged. Like any other listing on the Internet, do your research before agreeing to anything.

“Sorry, but you’re over-qualified…”

August 5, 2011 under Articles
My LinkedIn network, visualized


If you haven’t been on the receiving end of that line, consider yourself lucky. For many suffering through unemployment, that has sadly become all too familiar of a refrain.

Some of the hardest hit in today’s job market are people that had been in upper-management roles. Often, after many salary-less months, they are more than willing to step-back in their career and take a position below what they had before. And when they do, they’re told they are overqualified. In frustration, they might wonder aloud how they are supposed to “unlearn” what they know. If they can do the job better than a merely “qualified” person can, and are willing to do it for less money, why shouldn’t they be allowed to do the job?

Well, there are a few reasons. Primarily, most companies expect the economy to improve and more jobs to start opening up. When that happens, you’ll more than likely take your over-qualifications with you to a better job. They don’t want someone in the position who will be surfing their LinkedIn network all day, they want someone who will be devoted to both the company and the position.

Alternately, even if the economy doesn’t improve and you stay in the position a good many years, you’ll more than likely get bored or tired with it and your productivity will suffer.

But something a lot of people in this position tend to forget is that the person hiring you is mostly terrified that you may have your sights set on their job. The last thing they want is for you to impress their boss who might give you their corner office. It’s easy to forget that you’re not applying to work at a company, but you’re applying to work for someone and that person has foibles, fears and anxieties just like the rest of us do.

Taking on a Second Job

August 4, 2011 under Articles

Image by Gerard Stolk

As gas prices keep rising, and the food in the grocery stores gets more and more expensive, one thing seems to remain the same; wages. Something is wrong with this picture here. We are all victims of inflation, but our salaries and hourly pay are not increasing to compensate with the higher prices.

Some people resort to sitting around moaning and complaining about this sad fact. Others demand raises from their employers. And some of us just go out and get a second job to deal with the higher cost of living.

Taking on a second job is not for everyone. It can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. Getting off of work just to go home, change and get ready for your second job is not exactly the American dream we all envisioned growing up. But sometimes you have to make things happen, and taking on a second job might be the best solution in doing so.

Before you go out and apply for any and every part-time opening, it’s important to really think through your decision to work more. Can you already handle the job that you have? Will your second job affect your primary source of employment? If your moonlighting is going to have you staying up late at night, and waking up in the morning so physically drained that you will not be able to function at work, then it might not be the right job for you.

In choosing a second job, you should ideally find something that suits you and interests you. If you are already not wholly enthusiastic about your first job, the last thing you want to do is have two jobs you do not like. This will make you miserable and therefore a less valuable employee.

Some other things to look for in a second job are good pay, flexible hours and opportunity to advance or achieve. Some positions that possess most of if not all of these qualities include bartending or waiting tables, data entry, landscaping or other side labor jobs, and tutoring. These types of jobs can be part-time positions, sometimes paying mostly in cash, and do not require a highly specialized skill set.

These days about 5% of Americans (about 7 million people) work more than one job. About half of these moonlighters work one full-time and one part-time job, a quarter of them work two part-time jobs, and about 5% work two full-time jobs.

Once you have attained that second job, balanced out your schedule and managed not to faint from exhaustion, the next thing to think about is what to do with the extra money. Chances are you did not get that second job out of boredom, so most of the money will probably go toward paying off bills you already owe. But if there is any extra income left over, pay off some debt or set it aside in a savings account. You might need that money for a vacation after burning the candle at both ends for a while.

It’s Time to Complete your LinkedIn Profile

July 29, 2011 under Articles
Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

If you’re like me, every time you log in to your LinkedIn profile you’re faced with that dreaded completion percentage (mine is 85%). Since I’m not actively looking for a new job, I never feel the need to complete it. But if you are, you want to slide that bar all the way up to 100%.

A complete profile will include your current or latest position, at least two past positions beyond that, your degrees and certificates, a profile summary and current photo, specialties, and at least three recommendations from others.

Then, personalize your LinkedIn URL (e.g., to make it easier for employers you’ve interviewed with find you and do their research. Many employers love to check up on you after an interview, and LinkedIn is a primary tool they use for that purpose. So make it easy for them.

And make it even easier by adding links that point to your other professional ventures.  Whether you’re linking to a blog, your Twitter page, or your professional Web site, it’s important to show visitors that you’re more of a dynamic prospect than what is seen on your LinkedIn page.

When you showcase yourself as a professional in your field, first impressions mean everything.  So if you have typos in your profile or get a company name wrong, you’re asking for someone to correct you—pretty embarrassing, right?  To prevent this from happening, be sure to proofread, proofread, and proofread again until you’re sure there are no errors.  The good news is you can change the profile anytime you like, so feel free to proofread often!

LinkedIn is such an amazing tool that you want to try your best to use everything it has to offer.  If you don’t, you’re cheating yourself out of the great opportunities a well-crafted profile could provide.