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Resource: Career Advice
How to Help Your Job Search By Helping Someone Else
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

If you're a job seeker with a fellow job-seeking friend, stepping up to help them can actually benefit your own search. This job search buddy system is similar to friends who pair up for a fitness program. That mutual support can keep you both motivated and on track. Here are some tips on how to be a helpful job searching coach:

1) Only offer advice that is asked for in areas that you are familiar with. 
Job seekers attract unsolicited career advice like bees to pollen. With advice coming at them from every which way, much of it is often repetitive or more damaging than helpful. Unless you are both seeking jobs in the same field, refrain from giving advice that may only apply in your case. Instead, when they do ask you for some help provide some pointers in terms of resources they can turn to for the information they're looking for.

2) Respect their space.
As a friend, it's understandable that you want to play a part in his success. The pressure of finding a job and doing well in interviews is high enough as you can imagine so the support you both offer one another is meant to ease stress of being unemployed, not add to it. If he doesn't keep you updated on how his search is going, even if you wish he would, leave it up to him to share what he's comfortable with.

3) It's nothing personal if your advice isn't taken.
In reality, no one ever takes every piece of advice given to them. We all take the advice and insight given to us and use it form our own decisions. If you're prone to taking things personally, it might help you thicken your skin, an important trait to have in a job search.

4) Share your connections.
A job search is the best situation to have a "friends-with-benefits" relationship, the benefits being access to the other's connections. Having the advantage of someone else's network at allows yours to be twice the size  with less amount of work.

5) Network together.
Going anywhere alone where you don't know anyone is usually more dreadful than exciting at first. Eventually everyone loosens up once they start chatting but it's always easier to get the conversation going when you've got a wing man. You and your friend will more than likely end up going to more networking events together than either of you would have alone.

5 Ways to Spot a Company Worth Working For
Wednesday, January 02, 2013

In a job search, the candidate is usually the one who is graded on his qualifications for the position. Companies are also being put under the microscope, however, and being graded on how good of an employer they are to work for. Companies are competing similar to job candidates for the top spot on lists of best employers. Getting their names on these lists boosts their notoriety and gets them widespread attention.

At the same time, good employers don't necessarily have to be among the companies on those lists in order to be one. Individual companies are good employers for different reasons. You can easily work for one without having to go far to find it. Here are five ways to identify a company that has the makings of a good employer:

1) High numbers in hiring.
A company with a track record for hiring often is a telltale sign that business is booming. But it can also be a sign that people are often coming and going. If the positions they are hiring for are new ones then it shows that the company is growing. If, on the other hand, they have had the same position open for a long time, this is a sign of high turnover which could be a warning sign that the company has difficulty holding onto its employees.

2) Talk with those who know.
Current employees are the best people to turn to for insight. Employees usually don't have an agenda that would motivate them to sugar coat things whereas a hiring manager may be under pressure to get the position filled. Most employees will tell it like it really is, but be wary of employees who may feel that you pose a threat to their job security. Those are the ones who may have an agenda to keep you from wanting to work there. It's always a good idea to get as much information from as many different resources as you can but ultimately it's up to your better judgement to decide whether you want to work somewhere.

3) Check Better Business Bureau ratings.
The BBB is a great resource for seeing what the general consensus is for a company. Typically, a company that cares a lot about its customers will also show the same amount of concern for its employees. A low rating may reflect a tough place to work at. Don't only rely on the BBB ratings to shape your view of a company. A company may have one or two bad ratings but those may also be the only ones. A company where good ratings are hard to find is one to be cautious of. Do your research and see what's being said from various sources.

4) Get a customer's perspective.
To get a 360 experience of the company, try them on for size as customer before you apply. There's a reason why customers are quick to give feedback for bad service experiences while they tend to only rave about outstanding customer service. People form their opinions--which they are more than eager to make--from the treatment they are given from the employees so it's important that they are happy from beginning to end. Throughout the experience, ask yourself if what they are doing is something you want to be a part of and feel like you can make a positive contribution to.

5) Be thoroughly inquisitive.
Even though you are the one who is being considered for job, keep in mind that you're also supposed to be considering them as a place to work. Taking a job just because it is offered to you without considering whether it's the right kind of place for you will more than likely result in an unsatisfactory outcome. Employers expect candidates to have questions so don't feel out of place when asking the questions that matter to you. Good employers are willing to be as transparent. Those who seem to get uncomfortable from your questions may be questionable themselves.