Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Contract Work: The Pros and Cons of Being a Contractor

Compliments of ezinearticles.com

Accepting contract work is an option that some job searchers look at not only when they are having trouble finding fulltime work but because of the lucrative nature of contract assignments.
Typically, contract work can run anywhere from around 1 month to 12 months in length and sometimes, even longer than that.

Depending on the industry and job, contracts might differ in length but as a recruiter, this is the typical range that I tend to see available.

Depending on the specific situation, here are some possible benefits of contract work:

1. Money
Contractors typically get paid on an hourly basis for actual hours worked with no benefits or holidays paid but depending on the specific job, can often make more money than if they were doing the same job on a fulltime basis. Hence, working on contract - especially if you can find a long-term contract of 1 year or longer - can be quite lucrative. Plus unlike most salaried staff, contract staff get paid overtime.

2. Variation of Work
Contract work often allows you to change your jobs frequently especially if you are working short-term contracts. There isn't much chance of getting bored if you are constantly working on new projects or for different companies.

3. Tax Benefits
Depending on your local tax laws, you might find tax benefits if you are self-employed and have the ability to write off business expenses.

There are some possible negative aspects you need to think about when it comes to contract work. First off, some employers can be turned off considering you for a fulltime job with their company if you have a recent track record of working on contracts.

Since one of the benefits of contract work is the money you can make, hiring managers tend to be aware that many people who choose to work on contracts do so because of the monetary benefits. Therefore, they might be hesitant to hire you fulltime believing you would not stay with them long term earning a salary if a more lucrative contract appeared.

You might need to convince a hiring manager that you will stay long term if your recent work history is made up of contract work.

Also, be prepared for periods of unemployment during slow times. If you're fortunate, you can pick up a new contract when an old one is ending but it doesn't always work that way.

Following Y2K when I was working as an Information Technology recruiter, the market for most IT professionals - and especially contractors - went down the toilet as companies had spent their IT budget (and then some) upgrading their systems preparing for Y2K. After this, the dot com bubble burst and then September 11 occurred and by then, many IT professionals had been laid off and previously high-flying contractors were forced to take far less paying fulltime jobs just to get back into the workforce.

Finally, if you're accepting contract work but prefer fulltime work, keep in mind that timing doesn't always work in your favour. If you are several months away from finishing a contract and a great fulltime job comes along, what do you do? You might not be able to break your contract to take the fulltime job and the company offering the fulltime job might not be able to wait until your contract is over to hire you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bounce Back: Don't Let a Mistake Derail Your Next Interview

Compliments of hotjobs.yahoo.com & Robert Half International

You finally land an interview for a job you really want. You spend hours prepping for the meeting. You thoroughly research the company, practice responses to common interview questions, and develop a well-researched list of discussion topics.

But despite your diligent preparation, something inexplicably goes awry on the day of your interview. You hit a major traffic jam on the way to the office, spill a latte all over yourself, or get tongue-tied while explaining why you're the perfect person for the position.

Whether you run into bad luck or bad timing, there's likely something you can do to remedy the situation and get the interview back on track. But there are also actions you can take that will put you out of the running completely. Here are some dos and definite don'ts to keep in mind if you make a mistake during a job interview:

The problem: You built in ample time to arrive early, but Murphy's Law strikes, and you get a flat tire. You're going to be late.

Do call the interviewer as soon as you realize you're not going to make it on time. Briefly explain the circumstances, provide an estimate of when you'll arrive, and apologize for the inconvenience. Most hiring managers will understand that innocent and unforeseen mishaps occur. They might need to reschedule, but they probably won't hold it against you.

Don't leave the interviewer to wait and wonder where you are. Explaining that you will be 20 minutes late is infinitely better than offering after-the-fact excuses about why you are 20 minutes late.

The problem: You notice spilled coffee on your neatly pressed shirt just before the interview begins.

Do stay calm and confident. While first impressions matter, a stain alone isn't going sink your chances. You could even make a lighthearted, self-deprecating joke, using the stain as a vehicle to break the ice and display your roll-with-the-punches attitude and sense of humor. "I see you're drinking coffee; I'm wearing mine," you might say. You'll gain empathy and maybe even score a laugh.

Don't make a scene by exclaiming "Oh, no!" and darting to the restroom. And don't preoccupy yourself with trying to hide or camouflage the unfortunate blotch. Interviewers can easily overlook and forget a stain, but they'll definitely remember if you appeared uncomfortable and tense throughout the meeting.

The problem: You fumble in your first response by referring to the company by the wrong name.

Do maintain your composure. Quickly correct yourself and weave the right name into subsequent answers. Stay positive and remind yourself that everyone misspeaks at times, especially when nervous.

Don't dwell on the error. Allowing an early slip-up to set the tone of the interview is an even bigger mistake. Mentioning that you'd love to work for "Roger Half International" when you meant to say "Robert Half International" doesn't spell doom. But calling further attention to the gaffe by following up with, "I'm such an idiot, I can't believe I said that!" will compound the problem.

Finally, even if you feel that the interview went poorly and you have no shot at the job, it's still wise to write a prompt thank-you note to show your appreciation for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position. Your perception of your performance may be vastly different from the interviewer's assessment. People have a tendency to be their own worst critics.

In fact, a swift recovery from a mishap can actually work in your favor, showing the prospective employer that you can handle tough situations and quickly bounce back from setbacks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Perks of Temp Work

Compliments of www.123Movers.com, Monster+HotJobs

The numbers of temp jobs have been showing relatively healthy gains during the employment market's very sluggish recovery. And many experts see the increase in temporary employment as a good sign that the recovery will continue--companies often hire temp workers as a way to increase production or development without the financial obligation that full-time employees bring.

But the rise in temp jobs isn't beneficial only for companies--it can also be a great option for job seekers.

"Obviously it brings in an income, but there are many benefits to temp work," says Tiffany Crenshaw, a cofounder of CareerMoxie.com. Here are some benefits to consider when you evaluate a temp job:

Test-driving a job
Ever wish you could test-drive a job before fully committing to it? Temping lets you do just that. "Temping allows you to assess whether an opportunity and company culture really 'fit' you," says Crenshaw. "Since fit can often be hard to ascertain in an initial interview, I like to think of temping and consulting as a 30- to 90-day interview resulting in a much better understanding of what the position really entails."

Potential to go full-time
Another huge perk of temping is the potential for any role to go full-time. "The employer has a chance to evaluate your performance prior to making the expensive investment in hiring you full-time," says Crenshaw. "You have an opportunity to try on lots of different jobs, industries, and companies until you find the one that feels right, without wreaking havoc on your resume. This can be a win-win for both you and the employer."

Something productive to do
"Some of my unemployed candidates will turn down temp assignments because they want full-time work," says Crenshaw, though she tries to steer candidates away from doing that. "If a job seeker can do something, versus sitting idle during the job hunt, it can be beneficial," she says. "It shows potential employers that you took initiative and didn't just sit around."

Keeping busy and showing initiative aren't the only reasons temping can be good for you while you search for a job. Temping can also "keep your mind fresh, keep your skills sharp, and build your self-esteem up," says Crenshaw.

Try something different
Why wouldn't you want to give something new a shot? "If you have an opportunity to temp somewhere that you may have never considered, you have an opportunity to do something different," says Crenshaw. "You may discover a new industry that you want to be part of." Plus, you're getting paid to get valuable on-the-job training within your new industry instead of having to spend extra time and money on additional schooling.

BYOB (be your own boss)
Temping gives you the freedom to call the shots. In a HotJobs poll conducted in March 2010, 22 percent of respondents said that the biggest advantage to temping is the schedule flexibility. "You can decide what you're going to do, what your rates are, and when you want time off," says Crenshaw, and that's something that the average job cannot do for its employees.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

25 Hot Careers That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago

Compliments of FindtheRightSchool.com & Monster+HotJobs

What did you want to be when you grew up? Astronaut? Movie star? Superhero? Whatever made your list, green marketer probably wasn't on it--but that job may be on the lists of today's youngsters.
Here's a list of emerging careers that you (and your inner child) can get excited about. You couldn't have daydreamed about any of these jobs when you were a child--because they didn't exist then. In fact, they're so new that, although they're starting to be recognized, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't yet have data on them. If you've been looking for a new dream job or haven't decided what you want to be when you "grow up," these are 25 new options.

A specialized business degree can help you obtain the skills you need to work in one of these professions.

1.Business continuity specialists plan and implement recovery solutions to keep businesses functioning during disasters and emergency situations.

2.Electronic commerce specialists analyze online buyers' preferences and handle online sales strategies, including marketing, advertising, and website design.

3.Social media managers/strategists use social technologies like Facebook to reach out to customers, and they build social networks within companies.

4.Virtual concierges provide professional concierge services--for business or personal needs--with the convenience of being just an email away.

5.User experience analysts collect data on website usage and provide insight about users' experiences by using psychological, computer-science, and industrial-design knowledge to test theories and draw conclusions.

Rising numbers of college communications programs are offering instruction that can lead to one of these cutting-edge jobs.

1.Bloggers research and write blog content for news websites, public and private corporations, government offices, and many other organizations with blogs.

2.Content managers develop strategies for creating, updating, and organizing Web content, typically with the goal of attracting new visitors.

3.Online political campaign managers develop and manage strategies for using Internet and social technologies to help politicians get elected.

4.Video journalists design and produce online videos that document information, news, and events.

Start with an education degree program, and then take specialized classes to launch one of these careers.

1.Athletic compliance coordinators ensure that athletic programs receiving government funding meet government regulations.

2.Adaptive physical education specialists help people with disabilities participate in physical education programs and activities.

3.Distance learning coordinators schedule courses and coordinate distance learning programs.

4.Home-school liaisons establish and manage partnerships between parents and schools.

5.School diagnosticians assess and diagnose the learning problems of students.

Depending on your interest, you may need a degree in environmental science or business for one of these jobs.

1.Carbon credit traders handle the purchase and sale of carbon-emissions permits for companies.

2.Environmental economists measure the benefits and potential drawbacks of renewable energy and other environmental alternatives.

3.Environmental restoration planners work with scientific staff to implement plans that reverse environmental damage.

4.Green marketers promote green products and services.

5.Recycling coordinators administer drop-off and curbside recycling programs with government and waste-disposal agencies.

Requirements for one of these jobs may run the gamut from on-the-job training to a specialized engineering or business bachelor's or master's degree.

1.Biofuels/biodiesel product development managers plan and execute research programs that evaluate alternative biofuels/biodiesel technologies.

2.Biomass plant technicians monitor biomass plant activities (biomass is biological matter that can be turned into a renewable energy source).

3.Energy auditors inspect buildings and systems to maximize energy efficiency and cut energy costs.

4.Energy brokers buy and sell energy for customers.

5.Fuel cell engineers design and build fuel cell systems for all types of devices, including cars and phones.

6.Methane/landfill gas collection system operators run the day-to-day business of landfill gas projects, including compliance and reporting requirements.

The best part of dreaming about careers as a kid was the sense of wonder and excitement--the belief that you would have a job that was on the cutting edge of discovery. Your future career was going to be thrilling! With a bit of career training to prepare you for any of these 25 emerging careers, it still can be.