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If finding a new job is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, you’re in luck. With the unemployment rate at the lowest it has been in generations, candidates have less competition for jobs, and employers are doing everything they can to attract good candidates for their growing needs – from offering higher salaries to providing extra perks. Whether you’re looking for a new job or a complete career change, now is the time to take the leap. The tight labor market is creating new opportunities that won’t be around forever. Learn how you can use the current job market to your advantage now for a spectacular 2019.

Talk yourself in.

How many times have you talked yourself out of applying to a job because you didn’t feel 100 percent qualified? Resolve to quit that habit in the New Year. Never has there been a better time to aim higher in your job search. In today’s tight labor market, employers are more willing to consider applicants with fewer skills, less experience or less education than normally required – particularly if the candidate seems like a good cultural fit, and shows potential to learn and develop into the role. So seize the opportunity and apply to that “dream” job you’ve been eyeing. Just make sure you customize your resume to the job in question as much as possible, and when applying, be sure to include a cover letter. Emphasize what excites you about the role and the company (this requires doing a little intel), your ability and willingness to learn, and any transferrable skills you can bring to the job.

Don’t settle for the first offer.

Just because you get a job offer doesn’t mean you have to say yes – at least not right away. Think of the job offer as a starting point for negotiations. Want an extra $5,000 a year, more paid vacation, stock options or flex time? Now is the time to ask for it. Not only do the vast majority of employers expect candidates to negotiate their initial job offer, employers are more willing to shell out extra cash or benefits these days, if it means bringing in qualified talent. Just be sure your demands are within reason, and know your worth. Use an online salary calculator to find out how much someone at your career level should expect to make, or search CareerBuilder’s Explore Careers page for a quick look at average salary information on hundreds of jobs.

Explore your options.

Having two (or more) job offers to choose from seems like a good problem to have, but it can also be stressful. Don’t automatically go for the company with the highest salary offer. It’s also important to consider cultural fit, growth opportunities, work environment, management style or anything else that is important for you to have in your next job. Check out online reviews of the companies, their career sites and social media pages to get a better feel for the company and what it’s like to work there. Look for people in your network who work there (or who can introduce you to people who work there), and ask them about their experience with the company. Do as much research as possible in order to make an informed decision before accepting an offer and avoid “buyer’s remorse.”

Ask for referrals.

In a tight labor market, employee referrals hold even more weight than usual. That’s because employers are placing more importance on cultural fit, and who better to find people who would be a good fit than current employees? If you see a job at a company where you know someone, reach out to that person and ask if they would be willing to refer you for the job. With so many companies offering rewards to employees who refer candidates, chances are good that the person would be more than happy to oblige. Even if you don’t know someone within the company who can refer you, it is always a good idea to have a list of professional references at the ready who will be willing and able to offer glowing reviews of you.

Upgrade your current job.

Even if you’re satisfied in your current job and don’t plan to leave, there might be something that would make coming into work each day just a little bit sweeter. Would it be a raise? A promotion? A more flexible work schedule? If you know you’ve been a stellar employee, and have the track record to prove it, now is the time to ask for what you want. In a tight labor market, employers are working just as hard to retain good employees as they are to attract them.

Not getting job offers? Your social media could have something to do with it.

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With unemployment at an all-time low, there’s no denying it’s a job seeker’s market. Gone are the days when employers had the upper hand and could leave job seekers hanging for days or weeks – often never to be heard from again.

If you’re a job seeker, it may be tempting to “ghost” a prospective employer – disappear from the hiring process without any explanation or communication. If you’re no longer interested in the job or you get a better job offer, why spend the time or energy responding to an employer you don’t plan on pursuing? In fact, a survey conducted by B2B ratings and reviews company Clutchfound that 41 percent of job seekers believe it’s reasonable to ghost a company.

The thing is, this hot economy won’t last forever, and the last thing you want to do is burn bridges with any company.

“While it’s a candidate-driven market, industry professionals are well connected and do share their experiences. Candidates who ghost one employer could be blacklisted from others,” says Heidi Lynne Kurter, CEO and founder of Heidi Lynne Consulting. “Many times recruiters handle recruiting efforts for multiple companies. Ghosting one company without explanation could tarnish [the job seeker’s] reputation, hurting their ability to get other positions.”

This is especially true for smaller industries, according to Michelle Delgado, content developer and marketer at Clutch. “After speaking with recruiting experts [during my research], I learned that ghosting is most damaging in small industries with high turnover, such as media. In these fields, hiring managers change jobs relatively frequently and candidates may run into them again.”

So, instead of ghosting employers, here are some ways you can handle the situation with respect – and set yourself up for future success.

Put yourself in their shoes
Wendy Toth, editor-in-chief of the career blog PowerSuiting, says to think about the situation from the hiring manager’s perspective. “They are understaffed and overworked. They spent hours putting together a job description, sifting through resumes and interviewing candidates. After all that, they made a bet on you. They see you as someone they’d like, not just to work with, but to spend every day with. They like you. Why take someone who is already on your side and turn them against you by denying them an explanation?”

Take a minute to communicate
“While employers have been known to leave job applicants hanging due to the sheer volume of responses, most reputable companies generally communicate (one way or the other) with all applicants who have committed the time to interview, “ says Susan Hosage, senior consultant and executive coach at OneSource HR Solutions.

“Candidates who have made it to the final stages of the process owe the same respect to the company,” she says. “Notifying a hiring manager or HR professional that you aren’t interested in pursuing the opportunity can be as simple as sending an email or making a phone call that you are withdrawing your candidacy or that you have decided to go in another direction with your next career move. The few minutes it takes to close this loop will be time well spent that can have lasting positive effects should you cross paths with any of these decision makers in the future.”

Provide feedback
It can be incredibly frustrating for job seekers to be turned down by a company but not receive any type of feedback about why they didn’t get the job. Knowing where you may have potentially stumbled during the interview can help you learn and grow. Companies appreciate that same honesty from candidates. “Offering feedback is incredibly valuable as well,” Kurter says. “If something during the interview process turned you off, be sure to express that so the company can work to improve that moving forward.”

Leave the door open
When communicating to the employer, let them know that while this opportunity may not be right, you’d love to stay in touch and potentially be considered for future openings. You could even go so far as to connect with them on professional social networking sites to keep the relationship going.

“Make sure to leave the door open for future conversations, even if you don’t think you’d ever speak with them again – you never know where they might end up and what kinds of opportunities may arise,” says Dan Clay, a career consultant and author of “How to Write the Perfect Resume.” “Turning down employers with tact and professionalism is crucial for maintaining a stellar reputation, which will keep you in the good graces of people who may end up hiring you later on. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do.”

Here’s why you should always send a thank-you note after an interview.

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Job interviews are stressful under the best of circumstances. So if you’ve been fired, your nerves will likely go into overdrive, especially when they ask the inevitable question: “Why were you fired?”

Just as you prepare answers for other common interview questions, it’s important to prepare an answer for this one. Rehearsing some go-to phrases will help you craft a professional answer during your interview.

Here are some tips to help you explain a termination to a potential employer.

Honesty is the best policy
Review the incident or issue that caused you to lose your job with an unbiased eye. Were you let go because of a conflict with a co-worker? Honestly evaluate your role in the clash. Did you fail to meet production quotas? Ask yourself whether it was due to a lack of effort or lack of affinity for the work you were doing. Before you can answer your potential employer honestly, you need to be clear-eyed with yourself.

When addressing your termination with your interviewer, don’t try to position it as a layoff or any other less serious situation. Even if you’ve relocated to a new city for a fresh start, your employer will find out the truth. Be truthful in a way that reflects on you as favorably as possible.

Don’t bash your old boss
You want to portray yourself as a valuable addition to their team. One way to raise an instant red flag is to speak negatively about the last person who offered you a job.

Perhaps even more important, don’t gossip about your last boss, your co-workers or the company you worked for. Besides showing a lack of maturity and discretion, gossiping is a strong sign that you’ll be a divisive employee.

Don’t pass the blame
Along with bashing, blaming is a bad way to go. Your potential new employer wants to see that you take responsibility both for your past actions and for your performance on the job. No matter how unfairly you felt you were treated at your old job, you must recognize and accept your role in your termination.

This doesn’t mean you need to give major details about what you did wrong in your previous position, though. Just make sure at some point you say, “I take responsibility for not performing up to my boss’s expectations,” and move on.

Stick to the point
A big mistake candidates make when answering this question is trying to explain every nuance of the situation. Don’t spend five minutes setting up the circumstances around your termination. Cut to the chase and keep it simple.

If you were terminated because you had an attendance problem, for example, don’t go on and on about your sick grandma, your chiropractor appointments or any other life situation that caused you to miss work. Instead, say something like, “I let personal circumstances interfere with my attendance at work. My situation is stable now and attendance won’t be a problem.”

Don’t sound bitter
You’ll make yourself unattractive to a potential employer if you come across bitter and defeated. Even if you think your previous employer was wrong to let you go, showing bitterness only makes you look bad.

Don’t use language that emphasizes a past failure. Speak in ways that minimizes the impact of your termination.

Explain what you’ve learned
Including a “lessons learned” sentence in your answer shows potential employers you’re aware and adaptable. It turns a negative into an asset. It also demonstrates candor and maturity by letting your interviewer see that you are objective about your shortcomings and learn from past experiences.

Promote your positives
It’s difficult to turn talk of your termination into a way to showcase your skills and experience. Learning to segue gracefully into a discussion of your value to the company is an effective way to keep your interview on track.

Try transitioning with a phrase like this: “I was sorry to leave Company X; I learned a lot about the app development lifecycle there, which is why I thought my skills were well suited to this position.”

Practice makes perfect
Getting fired is an emotional experience, and it’s hard to talk objectively and calmly even weeks or months after the event. Practicing your answer helps you keep emotions at bay so you don’t derail your interview.

Start by writing your response down; put it away, then come back to it a day later and read it again. If you are satisfied with your written answer, try it out on an objective friend or family member. Weigh their criticisms and tweak it if necessary.

Once you’re completely satisfied with your answer, commit it to memory. Practice it in front of a mirror several times. Once you’re comfortable with your answer and you’ve internalized it, you’ll be able to speak naturally about your termination with your interviewer.

Here are 10 bad habits that make you look immature at work

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In today’s tight labor market, employers in many industries are struggling to fill open positions. It’s a job seeker’s market, and having the upper hand means having a better opportunity to successfully negotiate salary. Yet a recent many workers do not negotiate for better pay when they are offered a job.

The thing is, employers are often willing to at least entertain a counteroffer. Most employers are willing to negotiate salaries on initial job offers for entry-level workers. In fact, many employers will offer a lower salary than they’re willing to pay when they first extend a job offer to an employee, so there is room to negotiate.

“Savvy recruiters and employers are not surprised when the leading candidate negotiates,” says Nicholas J. Daukas, Managing Partner at human resources consulting company KardasLarson, LLC. “When the leading candidate is knowledgeable in what the market will likely pay the role, then the candidate will not appear to be asking for an amount that is not reasonable.”

Here, we lay out some do’s and don’ts for successfully negotiating your salary:

DO check your attitude at the door
“Before you do anything else, check in with your attitude as you enter a salary negotiation,” says Denise Dudley, author of “Work It! Get In, Get Noticed, Get Promoted.” “Remember that this is not necessarily an adversarial situation … In theory, and most likely in reality, you’re both on the same side, so start with a cooperative attitude. There’s nothing wrong with showing a little enthusiasm, even. Behave and speak as if you believe your salary negotiation is going to be a pleasant, successful endeavor—and it just might turn out that way.”

DON’T forget to do your research
Andrea St. James, director of the Career Development Center at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass., says that while you’re conducting pre-interview research, you should also be researching salary ranges for the position. “You should be prepared to know what the average starting salary is for that position, in that specific location, and for someone with your experience level.”

Some helpful online resources to determine salary ranges include The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, and CareerBuilder’s own Explore Careers tool.

DO consider your take-home pay
“Your base pay is not your take-home pay,” Dudley says. “You will have taxes, insurance, public transit charges, gasoline bills, parking lot fees, toll road tariffs and all sorts of other potential requirements that will eat away at that salary number, and you can definitely use this information as a negotiation point. There’s nothing wrong with explaining to the hiring manager that, after taxes, insurance, etc., your take-home pay ‘won’t actually cover the median cost-of-living requirements of my local area.’”

Dudley recommends using one of the many cost-of-living calculators on the internet to give you a sense of what your take-home pay will be before agreeing to accept a salary. “It’s possible that by explaining ‘deduction realities’ to your hiring manager, you just might nudge the base up by a few dollars – and every little bit counts toward a victorious negotiation.”

DON’T think you have to give an exact number
St. James says it’s always beneficial to start by stating your salary request in the form of a range. “That way you do not price yourself under or out of consideration, and also show that there is room for negotiation.”

DO ask about benefits
Salary is just one factor in the total compensation package, so don’t just get caught up on the number. “Don’t forget about benefits and other variable compensation programs like bonuses, and even sign-on bonuses,” Daukas says. “The ‘total compensation’ (base salary, benefits and other variable pay) amount is critical when making an informed decision.”

To that end, remember that benefits can always be negotiated too, especially if there isn’t much wiggle room with your salary. Elene Cafasso of Enerpace, Inc. Executive Coaching recommends trying to negotiate benefits such as vacation time, personal days, bonuses and stocks. “Assume everything you care about is at least worthy of discussion. If you can’t get everything you want right now, ask for a review in three to six months.”

DON’T accept the offer on the spot
“You’re not required to accept, reject or counter a job offer on the spot,” Dudley says. “It’s perfectly OK to thank the hiring manager, and then let her know you’d like some time (not more than 24 hours) to consider the offer and get back to her with either your acceptance or negotiation requests. Just make sure you respond in a timely fashion, or you might lose the offer.”

Got the salary you wanted but still not sure the job is right for you? Here are 5 reasons to decline the offer.

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When most of us think of a career in health care, we imagine tending to sick and injured humans. But the furry, feathery and scaly creatures with whom we share this planet need care, too. So, if you’re more of a puppy lover than a people person, then these jobs in animal health care may be for you!

Veterinarians

Most people interested in animal health care will think of pursuing a career as a veterinarian. These professionals are the animal equivalent of human doctors, examining their animal patients and treating illnesses and injuries. Vets may also perform surgeries when required – from routine procedures like spaying and neutering to more complicated, life-saving surgeries. As vets cannot communicate to their patients as a regular doctor would, they teach human caretakers about treatment and responsible animal ownership.

Most veterinarians work with popular domestic pets like cats and dogs, while some have experience caring for more unusual animals like birds, rabbits, mice and reptiles. Others may specialize in caring for livestock or exotic wildlife. Many are employed by animal hospitals, shelters, farms, aquariums and zoos, while some choose to establish their own practices.

Veterinarians typically obtain an undergraduate degree majoring in biology and animal science before enrolling in a four-year veterinary school program. They must then pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination and, for some specialties, undertake a one- to three-year residency or internship. In addition, vets may choose to highlight their specialty knowledge with a certification obtained through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners or another organization. Veterinarians are rewarded for their time spent studying, with the median salary sitting at $93,500.

Veterinary technicians and technologists

If a veterinarian is the animal world’s equivalent of a doctor, then a veterinary technician or technologist is its nurse. Just like a nurse assists the doctor in his or her duties, a veterinary technician supports the veterinarian.

Veterinary technicians help vets treat patients, restraining animals during consultations and preparing them for surgery. They also conduct diagnostic testing, such as collecting blood samples and taking X-rays. When animals are very sick or have passed away, the veterinary technician may help pet owners deal with their grief. Veterinary technicians work with the same animals as vets, and in the same workplaces.

Veterinary technicians and technologists have similar roles but different qualifications. Veterinary technicians are required to complete a two-year associate degree in veterinary technology from the American Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary technologists undertake a four-year bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. In addition, some states require veterinary technicians and technologists to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination before pursuing their careers.

Veterinary technicians and technologists have a median salary of $33,000. Veterinary technologists have the potential to make more than technicians if they work in specialty practice or research, but commonly they have the same starting salary as veterinary technicians.

Veterinary assistants

If you don’t have the time, money, or inclination to earn an advanced degree, you needn’t give up on your dreams of a career in animal health care. Veterinary assistants typically need nothing more than a high school diploma to get a foot in the door.

Veterinary assistants care for a range of domestic and exotic animals in veterinary clinics, hospitals and laboratories. They learn on the job but are not tasked with many of the medical duties of veterinary technicians and technologists. Instead, they complete simple tasks like feeding patients, administering prescribed medications and monitoring animals after treatments. Their work is overseen by more educated animal health care professionals, including veterinarians, scientists and veterinary technologists and technicians.

Fewer formal qualifications, less specialized responsibilities, and the option to work part-time means veterinary assistants don’t typically earn as much as the occupations listed above. Veterinary assistants earn a median salary of $25,000.

Holistic health consultants

If you aren’t sure that traditional medicine has all the answers, a career as a holistic health consultant might be for you. These professionals specialize in alternative health treatments, such as natural medicines, massage therapy and diet adjustments. These treatments may benefit pets suffering from a range of conditions, including allergies, anxiety and arthritis, and may be offered in addition to traditional vet care, or as an alternative measure. Holistic health consultants may work with veterinarians in their practices or directly with pet owners in a private capacity.

Holistic health consultants typically undergo the same training as regular veterinarians. Veterinary schools offering holistic programs are not common, but courses can be found that focus on holistic areas, including Tellington TTouch, acupuncture, herbal medicine, hydrotherapy and other specialties. Some programs accept vet students while others will only accept licensed veterinarians. Due to their extensive training and unique specialty, holistic health consultants can expect to earn as much as traditional vets, and even more in some markets.

Animal behaviorists

The world of animal health care has proxies for human doctors, nurses and even holistic consultants, so it may not come as a surprise that there are proxies for psychologists and psychiatrists as well. Animal behaviorists examine the way animals interact with their environments and each other, and what inspires their behaviors.

This exciting specialty opens up a range of job opportunities. Animal behaviorists may work with domestic or wild animals. Some zoos, museums and nature reserves hire animal behaviorists to educate their visitors about the ways animals behave, and many conservation agencies look to animal behaviorists for guidance on reintroducing animals back into the wild. An animal behaviorist may also work with the ASPCA or similar organizations to determine whether animals are suitable for adoption or assisting with social training.

Given the diversity of jobs an animal behaviorist might pursue, there’s a similarly wide variety of education requirements and expected salaries. Individuals might become an animal behavior specialist or technician after earning a bachelor’s degree in animal behavior. However, the term “animal behaviorist” typically refers to people who’ve completed a Ph.D. or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. This qualification is required to enter some fields, including research, teaching and conservation.

While much of the health care industry is focused on taking care of an aging human population, there is still a need for compassionate professionals to help our non-human companions. Animal health care jobs are a great way to turn a love of animals and an interest in health care into a fulfilling career.

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Today’s workforce is evolving in many ways. For example, many workers – particularly those newer to the workforce – are choosing a bunch of side hustles over one full-time job. Others find themselves working several jobs involuntarily out of financial necessity; according to the latest BLS jobs report, 4.6 million people were employed part-time for economic reasons.

Whatever the reason, finding a way to juggle more than one job and be successful while doing so can pose challenges. Hear what career experts, as well as people who’ve dealt with such a work schedule, have to say about how best to juggle multiple jobs.

1. Manage expectations
“The first [tip] is to manage expectations by ensuring each employer is fully aware of your availability and commitments,” says Ben Taylor, founder of www.homeworkingclub.com and a “serial solopreneur” who’s been juggling multiple commitments since 2004. “While it’s great to be flexible, overcommitting yourself can eventually lead to you either letting one of your employers down or losing all semblance of work-life balance.”

2. Get organized
Taylor says it’s also important to get – and stay – organized to keep your sanity and your ability to do the jobs well. He suggests using a software tool to do just that. “This only needs to be something like Microsoft Outlook or an Apple Calendar, but by linking it to your smartphone and ensuring it’s constantly up to date, you can ensure you don’t drop the ball and are always able to quickly check your availability.”

3. Adopt a schedule
Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to fill the space it is given. That means the schedule you make – whether it is what days or hours to work, days you are going to complete major projects, or days to take off – is critical to your long-term success,” says Conor Richardson, CPA, author of “Millennial Money Makeover: Escape Debt, Save For Your Future, and Live the Rich Life Now” and founder of MillennialMoneyMakeover.com. “Be realistic with how much you want and need to work. Once you finalize your schedule, you will become remarkably accustomed to the routine, and success will follow.”

4. Don’t take on more than you can handle
Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com, says that when juggling multiple part-time jobs, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew. “Do not try to take on so much work that the jobs start crashing into one another or pose a conflict of interest. Work hard, but know your limits to avoid burning out and gradually becoming less productive.”

5. Keep every commitment
At the same time, if you say “yes” to a job, you should see it through. “Juggling part-time jobs requires dedication and discipline. The important thing here is keeping every commitment,” says Christopher K. Lee, founder and career consultant at PurposeRedeemed.com. “If you find that you’re often late or scrambling, take a step back. Evaluate your priorities and determine what you may want to cut back. Focus on excelling at a smaller number of activities. Those successes will take you further in your career than a bunch of mediocre performances.”

6. Limit your commute
If you want to work multiple jobs with equal focus and attention, limiting your commute time should be your first priority,” says Ketan Kapoor, CEO and co-founder of online assessment platform Mettl. “Try to stay close to your job location and make sure every job you work is at a nearby location to each other, so you kill less time commuting and [spend] more time working. It can be a few blocks away, but shouldn’t require you to commute from one corner of the city to the other. Following this approach can also help you keep your energy levels in check.”

7. Choose jobs that use different strengths
Kapoor also suggests choosing jobs that are different in nature from each other. “Even when you work multiple jobs, your different employers won’t be very considerate about that fact,” Kapoor says. “In other words, you can’t compromise on any crucial aspects required to excel at that job. Therefore, you must keep the job nature different from one another. For instance, if one requires extensive mental inputs; the other one can be a bit mechanized in nature with some degree of physical activity.”

8. Give yourself a break
“Resting is a vital part of success. Scientific literature tells us that employees need vacations to recharge and be at their best when they are in the office,” Richardson says. “This is especially true for someone juggling different workplace dynamics and environments. The key is to understand the benefit, mentally and physically, that you gain from taking the time to wind down, assess and recover. You will thank yourself later.”

Here are 7 tips to help you find better work-life balance.

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When you’re a kid, you don’t yet have the tools that help process actions and your emotions – tools like maturity, patience or looking at the context of a situation. By the time you reach adulthood, you should have a better grasp on what’s appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

Now, we’re all human. We all do something a little immature every now and again. But if childish behaviors go on long enough to become habits, they could be a serious risk to your career. Some habits to avoid include:

1. Not respecting common areas

Shared kitchens or bathrooms at the office are great, and you should feel comfortable taking advantage of them when need be. But always keep in mind that they’re not there just for you alone.

“No one wants to be branded as the person who leaves rancid food in the fridge for weeks, or who takes the carpool spot after driving in alone or who is always late to a meeting and holds up the team,” says Darchelle Nass, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Administrative at Addison Group.

If you want to avoid earning an unfavorable reputation, Nass suggests doing a little planning. “In the common spaces, respect the rules of the road. If you have trouble remembering to bring food items home, set a task to remind you at the end of the day each week. Plan to arrive a few minutes earlier in the morning and consider co-workers’ schedules and time as much as your own. Being prompt and respectful of co-workers’ times will land you an edge up.”

2. Being unhelpful

One of the most central factors in an individual’s perceived maturity is their ability to see things from other people’s points of view. If you’re not willing to go above and beyond to help your teammates, not only are you keeping your team from achieving its potential – you’re also showcasing your own immaturity.

“One of the most common bad habits I see in the workplace is a ‘not my problem’ attitude. People with this attitude shirk responsibilities outside of their specific assignments and place their own goals above others’, including their teams’ and even their organizations’. They aren’t team players and help others only when it clearly benefits themselves as well,” says Christopher K. Lee, founder and career consultant at PurposeRedeemed. “It’s easy to see how this type of behavior won’t win many friends. These individuals are seen as self-centered, short-sighted, unhelpful and inconsiderate.”

3. Blaming others

Everyone makes mistakes, and you’re likely to make a few throughout your career. When something goes wrong or doesn’t quite pan out as expected, you may feel tempted to point the finger in someone else’s direction. That’s a bad idea.

“This is a quick way to burn bridges. People will think you cannot be trusted and will avoid giving you work. No one will ask you for a favor if they think you’ll turn on them. The workplace is about supporting each other, and blaming others is the antithesis of that,” says Jason Patel, former career ambassador at the George Washington University and the founder of Transizion, a college and career prep company that is focused on closing the opportunity divide in America.

4. Not being prepared in meetings

Nobody likes meetings – particularly unproductive meetings. If you show up for a meeting without taking some time in advance to prepare, you slow down the process and earn the ire of everyone present.

“Often new employees will arrive to a meeting with no intention of walking away with actionable items for themselves or others,” says Scott Fish, founder of 32° Digital Marketing. “If you are running the meeting, set the expectation that people should come prepared to provide input, delegate and recognize their own valuable input that can be made on a project.”

5. Gossiping

Great teams are built on trust and respect, and there are few ways to erode that foundation more quickly than by spreading rumors and talking negatively about co-workers behind their back.

“People love to talk in the workspace because it makes the day go by quicker, but if those conversations veer toward the gossip side it will crater your perception in the workplace. There is a big difference between being the friendly co-worker who is always good for a quick chat and the sneaky troublemaker constantly spreading rumors,” says Justin Hussong, the founder of Heat Checks, a new sports/travel publication.

“People will eventually catch on, and your words will find their way back to you. If you care about your job and want to get ahead, you don’t want to give the impression that you’re trying to cut others down for your own benefit. It suggests that you’re not a team player and is never a good idea.”

In some cases, a little immaturity can be a harmless way to let off some steam, and can even help co-workers bond. Maintaining your “inner child” is generally considered a good thing – but that doesn’t mean you should let your inner child take the wheel, especially when the result can be damaging to your career.

Many employers consider soft skills to be just as important as technical skills. Find out what soft skills are and what makes them so important.

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One of the best professions to go into right now is nursing. Not only are job opportunities plentiful, with high growth potential, it pays well and is considered one of the most rewarding – and well-respected – careers around. What many don’t know is that it is also one of the most versatile careers around.

The following A-Z list provides an overview of the many specialty areas one can pursue within the nursing profession. Most fields require specific certifications, while others require on-the-job experience, ongoing education or other paths. Take a look below to learn more, and consider whether there might be a future in nursing for you.

Ambulatory care nursingKnown as the jack-of-all-trades among nursing professions, ambulatory nurses evaluate patients quickly and administer care for patients with a variety of health concerns, including acute illness, chronic disease, disability and end-of-life management. Nurses who specialize in this field can work in almost any setting – from a university or community clinic to an ambulatory surgery and diagnostic procedure center. Certification in ambulatory care nursing is available through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Burn care nursing: Burn care nurses treat patients for burns from anything from hot water or oil to chemicals or electricity. These nurses work mostly in burn care units, intensive care units and trauma centers, and often tend to patients’ emotional and psychological scars in addition to their physical ones. These nurses also educate people on the treatment and prevention of burns. Once you get your nursing license, you can start working in a burn unit; however, specialized training and certifications are available.

Critical care nursingSometimes referred to as ICU nurses, critical care nurses provide care to critically ill or unstable patients, including those responding to life-threatening situations. They typically work in an emergency department or intensive care unit. To become a critical care nurse, you typically need a few years of experience as a traditional nurse and gain experience in a critical care setting before sitting for the Critical Care Registered Nurse certification examination, which is administered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACCN).

Developmental disabilities nursing: Nurses in this field focus on helping patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Nursing care emphasis is on the maintenance of health, development of skills and participation in community life. To become certified in this field, nurses earn the Certified Developmental Disabilities Nurse (CDDN) credential.

Emergency nursingThis field focuses on providing care for patients in critical or emergency need. Nurses must be able to recognize life-threatening complications and rapidly organize vital care. Nurses who are interested in becoming accredited in this field earn the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) credential.

Forensic nursing: Nurses in this field often act as liaisons between medical professionals and criminal justice officials. They are trained to look for signs of a crime in patients and will help gather evidence that may be proof of said crimes. Because this is a relatively new field, there is no one path to becoming a forensic nurse. Many forensic nurses have special training in the field of forensics or enroll in schools that offer a forensic nursing program.

Gastroenterology nursing: This specialty, also referred to as endoscopy nursing, is comprised of nurses who provide health care for patients experiencing problems associated with the digestive system. Commonly reported ailments include abdominal pain, reflux, bleeding and some cancers. After completing the accreditation process, nurses will earn the Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurse (CGRN) designation.

Hospice/palliative nursingThese nurses protect quality of life and coordinate care for the terminally ill. They assume responsibility for managing complex symptoms and illnesses along with grief and bereavement. Care is typically provided in the home of the patient when possible. Accreditation in this field can be characterized by the Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN) credential.

Infusion nursing: This nursing specialty focuses on the administration of medications and fluids through an intravenous (IV) line. In addition to a steady hand and a keen eye, these professionals must also possess pharmacology and lab testing skills. While not always required, certification for this specialty is usually given by the Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI) program.

Legal nursingThis nursing field focuses on using existing health care expertise to provide consultation on medical-related cases. Nurses in this area may review medical records and provide assistance in understanding the terminology and subtleties of the health care field to clients and attorneys. In most cases, nurses in this profession must be certified as Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC).

Maternalchild nursing: Nurses in this field specialize in providing care and education to women throughout their pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal-child nurses also often help educate mothers on how to care for their newborn. To work as a maternal-child nurse, you must first have a nursing degree. While there are no specialized programs, continuing education courses that focus on obstetrics, pediatrics, neonatal nursing and related subjects can lead to this specific career path.

Nephrology nursingThis nursing specialty involves the disease prevention and assessment of patients suffering from acute or chronic kidney failure. This field is quite broad and can include working in areas such as hemodialysis, organ recovery and transplant coordination. The Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN) designation demonstrates certification in this field.

Orthopaedic nursing: This specialty is focused on the care of patients with musculoskeletal diseases. Nurses in this field educate individuals and families on self-care and provide support groups. Patient ailments can range from a fracture to a loss of bone density and require that nurses have special skills such as neurovascular status monitoring. Nurses who specialize in this field tend to receive the Orthopaedic Nursing Certified (ONC) credential.

Public health nursing: While some nurses work one-on-one with patients, public health nursesfocus on the health of entire communities. Public health nursing encompasses several programs that focus on providing preventative care and education to the public. Examples of public health issues include anti-smoking campaigns, safe sex initiatives, and healthy foods in schools. Nurses interested in this field should look for opportunities to work in community settings and assist with public health activities and seek additional training in public health, public policy, health administration and related subjects.

Quality assurance nursingNurses in this field evaluate health care processes to determine if improvements are needed and to ensure standards are being followed. This can include improving patient safety, computer systems and pain management. While not required to be a quality assurance nurse, certification is available through the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), as well as master’s degree programs that focus on health care quality.

Rehabilitation nursing: This nursing field specializes in the treatment of patients suffering from chronic illness or disabilities. It typically involves educating patients about how to adapt to their disabilities, reach their highest potential and work toward independent lives. These nurses typically work in outpatient rehabilitation centers, but may also be found in hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities and even fitness centers. To get into this field, you should focus on courses in rehabilitation and disabilities when earning your nursing degree. The Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board also offers certification.

Substance abuse nursing: Nurses in this specialty provide care to patients who are suffering from an addiction to drugs, alcohol or other substances. These nurses help regulate medications and pain management for patients. They are often trained in both general medicine and mental health due to the mental as well as physical aspects of addiction. Licensed nurses can apply for certification through the International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA).

Telemetry nursing: This specialty is for nurses who work with patients with heart disease, complications of heart disease, heart failure or other related issues. They also care for patients recovering from cardiac intervention, such as a cardiac stent or heart surgery. Skills for this job are typically gained on the job; however, licensed nurses who want to pursue this field can also get certified through the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN).

Utilization review nursing: Utilization review nurses review individual medical cases to ensure the patient is getting high quality and cost-effective health care. They also help patients make informed decisions about their health care by education them on the benefits and limitations of their coverage. Registered nurses may pursue voluntary certification in this specialty through the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians (ABQAURP).

Wound care nursing: Wound care nurses specialize in assessing and treating skin breakdown and wounds. This type of nursing is also a form of palliative care. These nurses generally work in hospitals in areas where patients are bedridden, and may also work for home health care agencies, nursing homes and hospices. Most wound care nurses have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and some may seek certification through the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB).

The above nursing specialties are just a few of the opportunities available when you have a nursing degree. While specialty certification is a personal choice, advanced education can provide many rewards and benefits for the professional and patient alike. Find out more about credentialing opportunities and discover more reasons to consider advanced training on the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) website.

Discover your road to a career in nursing.

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World-famous chef Julia Child didn’t make her debut on “The French Chef” until the age of 51, Laura Ingalls Wilder (of “Little House on the Prairie” fame) published her first book at age 65, and the late actor John Mahoney was 53 when he landed the role that would make him a star – as Martin Crane on “Frasier.”

Clearly, success can come at any age; however, that doesn’t make finding a job after the age of 50 any easier. It’s sad but true that although age discrimination is illegal, it still exists. Many employers have preconceived notions about older workers. Among the most common: They cost too much, they lack motivation, and they either don’t understand or fear technology.

Despite research that dispels these myths, these negative stereotypes persist; however, they needn’t hold you back. If you’re over 50, the key to a successful job search is not only to disprove the negative stereotypes that exist, but to show employers the benefits your extra years of experience can bring them.

Make over your CV and cover letter

Don’t give employers the chance to immediately dismiss you based on your age by “age-proofing” your CV. There’s no need to mention every job you’ve ever had. Limit your work experience to the last 10 – 15 years and keep it relevant to the job you’re hoping to land. (This may mean created different CVs for different jobs.) If you have a college or professional degree, leave the dates off your resume.

Your cover letter is critical, as well. Review these cover letter tips for older job seekers to learn what to include in your cover letter, how to showcase your skills, and how to effectively market your candidacy to employers.

Highlight what sets you apart

Your experience and years in the workforce give you critical life skills, talents and abilities that younger workers don’t have. Emphasizing these strengths can set you apart. These strengths include (but certainly aren’t limited to) your problem-solving skills, work ethic, good judgment and leadership. Come up with concrete examples of times you’ve displayed these skills to help prove that your experience is an asset.

Address employers’ concerns

When interviewing (and even when writing your cover letter), address any concerns an employer might have about hiring someone over 50. Talk about your flexible management style, technological proficiency, ability to learn new skills and the willingness to work for a younger boss. Before going into an interview, come up with concrete examples of how you’ve mastered new technologies, how you’ve worked with and for younger generations and how your management style has developed through the years.

Conducting a successful job search

Many 50-plus job seekers are finding themselves in a job search for the first time in years – even decades. If you fall into this category, and are unsure how to go about your job search, consider the following:

Expand your network: While a lot about the workplace has changed since mature workers first entered the workforce, one thing remains true: the adage that “it’s who you know” still applies. The benefit of being a job seeker over 50 is that you probably have a well-developed professional network. Reach out to your network to let them know you’re looking for work, ask for referrals, and be open to making new connections. Also, take advantage of social media to build your network and accelerate your job search.

Focus on small companies: If you’re over 50, you might find more opportunities by focusing your search on a small company. Not only are there simply more small companies around, but small companies tend to be less concerned with age and more concerned with finding individuals with great experience who can help them grow their business.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. With the unemployment rate at 3.9 percent, it’s a job seeker’s market, and you have more to offer than you know.

Get more advice for mature and experienced workers.

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What if your next job interview took place in your home in front of your computer? It just might, if your prospective employer is one of the many companies that recognizes the benefits of conducting remote interviews over the internet versus over the phone.

Video interviews are more personal than phone interviews, and provide companies with a bigger talent pool while reducing travel costs. It also allows the employer and job seeker to gain a better sense for one another’s personality, communication style, confidence, and other nonverbal cues often lost during phone interviews.

The digital interview also introduces technological components beyond traditional interview practices. You’ll likely be evaluated on how comfortably you can navigate the technology in a professional setting, especially if you’re interviewing for a telecommuting position such as web developercomputer programmer or software engineer.

Below are some quick tips for your next digital interview that could make a big difference in helping you land the job.

Setting up the right environment

  • Set up your computer equipment in a quiet location for the interview.
  • Avoid noises coming from music, TV, pets, traffic or construction.
  • If the room’s background is in view, tidy up as needed and keep it looking presentable.
  • Make sure the lighting source is sufficient for the time of the interview.
  • Use indirect light in front of your face (not coming from behind you).

What to know about the “technical stuff”

Video:

  • Test the quality of your camera; if the quality is poor, consider borrowing an alternate one.
  • Take note of how your face appears on your monitor, or ask a friend for feedback.

Audio:

  • If possible, use an external microphone to improve the audio quality and to avoid picking up unwanted sounds or echo from the speakers.
  • Test the audio levels by speaking into the microphone just as you will during the interview.
  • Pay attention to your vocal volume and clarity.

Internet connection and computer operation:

  • Test the speed of your internet connection.
  • Make any adjustments that will optimize its performance, such as quitting unneeded applications that use up bandwidth.
  • Practice the entire process in advance with a friend, until you feel confident in your ability to operate every component.
  • Be ready to address unexpected interruptions with professionalism, just as you would if speaking with a customer or client, to show how you would handle yourself in a real-life situation.

Professional behavior to remember

  • Dress professionally as if you were interviewing in person.
  • Create quick access for yourself to important documents, such as your resume, references, portfolio and a calendar to schedule another potential appointment.
  • Keep a phone close by as a backup in case there are issues connecting from either end.
  • Connect with the hiring professional on time, and keep time zone differences in mind.
  • Resist the temptation to watch yourself on the monitor.
  • Find opportunities to look directly into the camera to give the appearance that you’re looking into the interviewer’s eyes.
  • Smile and put your best foot forward.
  • Stay focused on the interview and avoid checking email, Facebook, etc.
  • Refrain from doing anything distracting like swiveling or rocking in your chair, tapping fingernails or a pen on the desk or jingling noisy jewelry.
  • Keep water close by in case your nerves give you a dry mouth.

Here’s how to answer the most dreaded question in an interview

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