Thursday, November 15, 2007

How Go Freelance And Start Working Today

Are you sick and tired of a dead end 9-5 job? Maybe it is time for you to go freelance and become your own boss. People from all walks of life are finding that they can find a rewarding career in freelance work right from their own home.

Here are five of the hottest jobs for new freelancers who want to start right away:

Freelance Writer
Okay, so not everyone can be the next J.K Rowling and write a best-selling novel, but you’d be surprised at what level of writing can actually make you money online. If you have even a little talent as a writer, then the sky’s the limit as to how much you can make. From writing reports for companies, to product reviews, or even offering a resume writing service, there’s always a need for writers to provide these services all over the world.

Virtual Assistant
If you’ve got access to a computer, a good Internet connection, and you have a decent set of organizational skills, then you may want to look at becoming a virtual assistant. Many small to medium sized companies are now outsourcing a lot of their administrative work. Instead of using a recruitment agency, they prefer to use people working from home. So, if you can work a spreadsheet and answer calls, this might be ideal.

Fill out Surveys Online
Probably the easiest way to get started making money as a freelancer from home, completing surveys offers a way for you to get paid for your opinion. This usually comes in the form of companies wanting to judge the marketplace before launching a new product, and they’ll ask for your input via an online survey.

However, you need to sign up to as many companies as possible and hope you get selected for more than the average amount of surveys to make good money. But, just like the rest, it can be done with commitment, hard work and just a little bit of luck!

Taking pictures. Do you have a digital camera and an internet connection? Then you can get paid to take pictures of everyday items. Magazines, online e-zines and online companies pay very well for good snapshots.

Internet research. Companies pay workers to research the internet for competitive products or services and report it back to them. This is great for someone who loves to spend time surfing the web. All you need is an internet connection and you are ready to get paid.

If these jobs sound interesting, then there has never been an easier time to go freelance and find cool jobs like these. You don’t need years of schooling to get started either. Just sign up with a good freelance site, like GoFreelance, and you could start working today right from your own home.

Ten Tips For A Terrific Resume

In today's competitive employment market, your resume has to stand out in order to get the attention of the decision maker and create a strong impression. And later on, when you meet the prospective employer face to face, a strong resume will act as a valuable tool during the interviewing process.

The best way to prepare a super resume is not to change the facts, but make them more presentable. This can be accomplished in two ways:
1. By strengthening the content of your resume; and

2. By enhancing its appearance.

Ten key considerations

To help you construct a better, more powerful resume, here are ten overall considerations in regard to your résumé’s content and presentation:

1. Position title and job description. Provide your title, plus a detailed explanation of your daily activities and measurable results. Since job titles are often misleading or their function may vary from one company to another, your resume should tell the reader exactly what you've done. (Titles such as account manager, business analyst, and internal consultant are especially vague.)

2. Clarity of dates and place. Document your work history accurately. Don't leave the reader guessing where you were employed, or for how long. If you've had overlapping jobs, find a way to pull them apart on paper, or eliminate mentioning one, to avoid confusion.

3. Detail. Specify some of the more technical, or involved aspects of your past work or education. Have you performed tasks of any complexity, or significance? If so, don't be shy; give a one or two sentence description.

4. Proportion. Give appropriate attention to jobs or educational credentials according to their length, or importance to the reader. For example, if you wish to be considered for a position at a bank, don't write one paragraph describing your current job as a loan officer, followed by three paragraphs about your high school summer job as a lifeguard.

5. Relevancy. Confine your curriculum vitae to that which is job-related or clearly demonstrates a pattern of success. For example, nobody really cares that your hobby is spear fishing, or that you weigh 137 pounds, or that you belong to an activist youth group. Concentrate on the subject matter that addresses the needs of the employer.

6. Explicitness. Leave nothing to the imagination. Don't assume the resume reader knows, for example, that the University of Indiana you attended is in western Pennsylvania, or that an "M.M." is a Master of Music degree, or that your current employer, U.S. Computer Systems, Inc., supplies the fast-food industry with order-taker headsets.

7. Length. Fill up only 2-3 pages. Technology resumes can usually be up to three pages. If you write more than three pages, it sends a signal to the reader that you can't organize your thoughts, or you're trying too hard to make a good impression. If your content is strong, you won't need more than three pages.

8. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Create an error-free document that is representative of an educated, detail oriented person. If you're unsure about the correctness of your writing (or if English is your second language), consult a professional writer or copy editor. At the very least, use a spell-check program if you have access to a word processor, and always proofread what you've written.

9. Readability. Organize your thoughts in a clear, concise manner. Avoid writing in a style that's either fragmented or long-winded. No resume ever won a Nobel Prize for literature; however, an unreadable resume will virtually assure you of starting at the back of the line.

10. Overall appearance and presentation. Select the proper visual format, type style, and stationery. Resume readers have become used to a customary and predictable format. If you deviate too much, or your resume takes too much effort to read, it'll probably end up in the trash, even if you have a terrific background.

Are You Afraid To Make A Career Change?

We're pretty darn good at playing mind games with ourselves aren't we? Many of you have fooled yourselves into thinking that being afraid of changing your careers means you shouldn't go ahead and pursue a employment change. You probably figured that if you're that worried about making a employment career change happen, that maybe you shouldn't even bother try and not bother to take any chances.

When did you become so filled with fear? There are many people who feel that once you chose a occupation you're got to stick with it. They don't think they have the abilities or options to change and do something else. Quite often we sell our abilities short! Without trying to make a change, the more unhappy and dissatisfied people become with their work. Any time they consider a different career field, they are overcome with fear and figure they are locked into where they are.
Many people are fearful of not making enough money, not liking their new job, or even failing. Some people even feel that they might not even land the job in the first place so why even try? Maybe the new career is beneath you and you feel that you are simply "wasting your degree". Can you relate to any of these fears?

One of the ways to move past the career fears is by no longer waiting for your fear to disappear before changing employment and instead taking action despite being afraid. It's very normal to be scared about changing careers. If you weren't, I'd have to make sure that your heart is still beating! You have got to realize that you are not supposed to stop your fear in order to be able to change careers.

You must accept your fear as a part of this career changing transformation. Once you can do that, let yourself be afraid but still move forward to take the steps needed to get that next career. Looking behind you then can see that your fear was unfounded and was not really a big deal after all! Take a deep breath and let the fear go and take the first step. It won't be that bad, go for it!

Career Life Lessons-from An 11 Year Old Businessman

You remember the neighborhood paperboy. Almost everyone took the daily paper. The kings of the paperboys in my mid-western city delivered to almost every house in an eight block area and sometimes had a helper. They could make $15 or more a week and the local newspaper set aside some money every week so when the paperboy retired at age 17 or 18 they might have up to $1000 or more to help get them started toward college. If you think this wasn’t much money-it would pay one year’s tuition and some of the expenses at a pretty good school. Like I said this was a long time ago but the lessons learned are just as applicable today.

You had to know somebody to get one of the big paper routes or be at least 13 or 14, but I uncovered a kid about my age (11) whose parents told him to quit because he was spending too much time and getting almost no return. This was a Sunday paper route with about 60 customers delivering the big fat Sunday paper from the big city. The paper reached our town on a train at about 3am Sunday morning. I paid $2.65 for the whole route. I calculated by the 5 cents a week commission from each customer that I’d have the money back in one week. My first lesson: A one week return on your investment you say had to be illegal or fattening but it was legal. Not a bad return on my investment.
The first Sunday was a disaster. My predecessor’s books were not up to date or in order. Lesson number 2: do your homework and don’t assume the other guy knows what he’s doing. It took me about four hours to deliver the papers and to try and collect my money. When I was all done I’d made about 35 cents. Lesson number 3: in a cash business don’t count your earnings until the money is in your pocket.

My father took a dim view of me spending most of my Sunday in my paper route business and he told me to fix it or quit. Lesson number 4: If you’re responsible do what your can to fix the problem. Everyone has a boss, it’s always the customers, and sometimes it’s your father.

I straightened out the books, drew a map and then put each customer on the map in order of delivery. Some customers were several blocks out of the way and very time consuming to service so I gave them to paperboys in adjacent areas. Lesson number 5: Not all customers are equal. Some you earn money on and some cost you money.

Now I had the receivables to consider. During the week I went knocking on doors. I introduced myself and explained my problem. I told the customer I wanted them to get the big city Sunday paper as early as possible, but I didn’t want to wake them to collect. Some offered to pay by the month, in advance. Others would put their money under a bottle or rock on their front porch. And a few didn’t have a solution; for example, they lived in an apartment so there was nowhere to put the money out. Lesson number 6: Ask the customer for a solution and most times they’ll come up with a good answer to your problem.

Several customers told of the disorganization of my predecessor, where he tried to collect twice, or didn’t come by for weeks and then neither really knew the correct amount to be collected. I apologized for him and asked what I could do to make it right? Lesson number 7: Customer service issues are difficult to overcome, but by being honest with the customer many times you’ll be given a second chance.

After about four weeks I have the route running as good as it could be. I make the deliveries before 7am each Sunday and after church stopped and collected from the few that owed me money. Then another challenge cropped up.
The newspaper manger announced a contest on who could get the most new subscriptions. After some thought, I went back to my customers and asked for referrals. I offered to give them a free Sunday paper if they gave me a referral that signed up. A number of new customers were outside my area but I increased my subscriptions by 25% and came in third in the contest. Lesson number 8: Know the value and cost of acquiring each new customer. For each free paper I gave out, I got the money back in five weeks, again an exceptional return on my marketing costs.

So here they are: eight career business lessons; (1) Know your return on investment; (2) Don’t assume: do your homework; (3) In a cash business don’t count your earnings until the cash is in the till; (4) If you’re responsible do what you can to fix the problem; (5) Not all customers are equal-some cost and some pay; (6) Ask the customer for a solution; (7) Customer service issues can be overcome with honesty; and (8) Know the value and cost of acquiring each new customer. Overall a good set of guidelines for any career or business.

I’m sure if you think about it you have some life lessons that you learned early on. Maybe it was a job that was horrible and you learned early you didn’t want to get into that career or line of work. Or maybe it was a good boss where you learned how to lead or a bad boss where you learned what not to do. Overall the secret is to take something positive away from each of our life lessons and you’re never too early to start. So as you grow in your career you can stand on your previous experiences and reach higher and higher goals.

Creative Breaking The Rules To Get Ahead?

Career Development: Break the Rules Within the Rules

Your future career success lies in your ability to break some rules. Do you know your competition within the organization? How about your company’s competition? Do you follow them or do you look for ways to move outside the box? Within the organization, are you expected to follow the group or if you move outside the group thinking will you be ostracized? Do you hide in the group or are you willing to achieve success on your own?
All are important questions to answer. Are you willing to take the risks to your career to put your ideas into action? If you are willing to take initiative, responsibility and break some rules you career will flourish and in the right environment you’ll move up to areas of more responsibility and more rewards. Don’t play it safe and take the easy route and hide behind the rules.

Here are some actions you can take to advance your career by breaking the rules within the rules:

Think like an entrepreneur. If you owned the company what would you do differently? Step out of your job and career and act like the CEO, fairly analyze your contributions, your departments results; what more could you be doing?

What rules are getting in your way? What rules are getting in your department’s way? Study how the rule came about. Is it still meeting the organization’s needs? Maybe part of it is still valid, how can the rest of the rule be modified or eliminated to help the business or customers.

Define the problem. Write it out. Ask for help and ideas from others in the department. Run the problem by people you know in the industry. What did another company do to solve the problem? Is it applicable to your situation? Take the best ideas (giving credit where credit is due) and work them into the solution.

Become known as the idea person and problem solver. Search out others to be sounding boards for your ideas and possible solutions. Think other ideas through. At meetings if an idea is presented and you don’t agree, present a different solution or a well reasoned argument why the proposed direction won’t work.

Strive to have a plan of implementation for every great idea you come up with. Think benefits both for the department and the company. Quantify possible results.

Always look for ways of improving what is being done and moving the company forward. Consider taking a different approach in dealing with a customer. How can meeting presentations be improved and streamlined?

Keep this overall approach on the forefront of your thinking every day. Being average with the group is never good enough. Raise the bar.

As you challenge the rules that don’t contribute to the bottom line, or don’t help your career growth or the company’s mission statement you’ll find your career growing. Importantly your career will have more satisfaction, your responsibilities and rewards will increase all because you learned to break the rules with the rules.

Veterans Seek Second Career At Sea

Many veterans who served their country honorably in the Navy or Coast Guard are falling hook, line and sinker for a second career at sea-especially when the training is free.

Such free training is available at the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education in Piney Point, Md. Affiliated with the Seafarers International Union (SIU), the center's mission is to provide training needed for a successful career as a United States Merchant Mariner.
There's a 10-week able-bodied seaman course for deck students and an eight-week fireman/oiler course for engine students. When applicants successfully complete the course and get a passing grade on the Coast Guard exam, graduates are guaranteed a first job with a contracted company.

The jobs offer competitive pay, freedom in scheduling, comprehensive medical coverage for the mariners and their families, a pension plan and a contract that spells out safe working conditions and benefits. Mariners work for an SIU-contracted company.

Approximately 1,800 veterans have completed the program in the last 10 years.

To sit for the able-bodied seaman's endorsement or the fireman/ oiler endorsement, separated and retired personnel must have the necessary deck or engine ratings required by the U.S. Coast Guard. Applicants must have at least two years' sea service in an accepted Naval/Coast Guard rating.

All applicants must be able to present a history of their assignments while in the military and an honorable discharge.

They must be physically fit as determined by the U.S. Coast Guard standards and eligible to receive a merchant mariner's document. Applicants cannot be on parole or probation and must have a valid driver's license. Other separated Navy/Coast Guard personnel who do not qualify for the veterans' program may still be eligible for the center's apprentice program.

Besides the program for veterans with qualifying sea time in a deck or engine rating, the center also offers a thorough entry-level program that is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. More than 22,000 people have graduated from the entry program since the school opened in 1967.

The SIU represents unlicensed United States Merchant Mariners sailing aboard U.S.-flag vessels in the deep sea, Great Lakes and inland trades. The union also represents licensed U.S. mariners in the Great Lakes and inland sectors.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Preparing An Effective Search For Civil Engineering Graduate Jobs

The field of civil engineering is one of the oldest in the world dating back to the viaducts and roadways created during the Roman Empire. University students throughout the United Kingdom pursue a civil engineering degree to take advantage of their aptitude for mathematics and their desire for a meaningful career. The influx of foreign professionals into civil engineering firms and public agencies has meant greater competition for new graduates.

Your desire to find a civil engineering graduate job immediately after you complete school can be fulfilled with a deliberate job search. Before you begin filling out applications and heading in for interviews, you need to put together a portfolio that will impress potential employers. You should utilise student projects, sketches and recommendations from former professors to demonstrate your engineering skills. It is also important to contact references in your curriculum vitae to let them know that engineering firms may be making contact on your behalf.

Once you have your portfolio completed, you need to build a network of resources to find job openings. Daily investigations of engineering job web-sites allow you to place your name into consideration for dozens of positions with online resume tools. These web-sites are frequented by thousands of engineering candidates and many hiring managers select a limited number of resumes to review. There are a number of resources you can use to supplement your use of highly-used job web-sites.

Civil engineers should look to trade publications and engineering organisations for information on jobs for graduates. These publications have a limited distribution and feature internship and training programmes that are focused on a select audience. You should look at public libraries and your university’s careers office to find free versions of these publications during your job search.

You also need to do some legwork in order to find civil engineering graduate jobs with a high amount of potential. A review of an engineering firm’s web-site may yield some results but you should also call and send your credentials to a firm’s human resources department for future consideration. Many graduates fail to utilise their connections to the engineering field among family, friends and former employers. You should contact your references as well as friends that have worked in the engineering industry to gain insight into what it takes to get hired. With a few phone calls and e-mails to your natural network of resources, you can find plenty of graduate opportunities in civil engineering.