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Top 7 Choices To Make For Job Search Success
By Mary Nestor-Harper
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People make choices every day. Some are easy choices, like what to have for lunch, what to wear for the day, and what to watch on TV. Some are more weighty, such as asking for a raise, turning down an opportunity, telling someone you love them, or signing the papers for a new house. Some choices affect that moment or day, but other choices can last a lifetime, affecting our lives, families, careers and earning power. Here are seven top choices that can help you be considered as a viable candidate for a job and for promotion and success in the future.
- Stay in School.
It is a fact that the more education you have, the more money you can make in your lifetime. Research shows that a person with a bachelor's degree will make twice as much over the life of his/her career as a person with only a high school diploma. It's three times as much for an advanced degree, and four times for a professional degree, such as doctor or lawyer. Education opens the door and shows that you are a learner, able to stay the course, and have a measurable knowledge in your field.
- Leave the Art on the Walls.
Art has it's place, and if you want to be in the running for any position you apply for, be careful with body art. Your dragon and dagger tattoo running from you shoulder to wrist may be your expression of who you are, but many companies frown on visible tattoos for most positions. How you decorate your skin is your choice, but it can limit your career choices, or at least, your wardrobe on the job. If it can be seen, most companies want it covered. If you do opt for body art, keep it above the elbow and knee.
- Be in the Driver's Seat.
Many jobs require employees to drive, either their own vehicles, company vehicles or other equipment such as forklifts or golf carts. If you've lost your license, it may limit your job choices to those that are strictly on foot. When you're in a hurry, or someone cuts you off, or you've had a little too much to drink, think about how speeding up, a little road rage, or a DUI can pull the wheels out from under you, and cause you to lose an opportunity...or your job. Also, the Company's insurance may not cover someone with a DUI or other driving offenses, making you too much of a risk.
- Leave the needles to Granny's knitting.
Body piercing, like tattoos, leave some people uneasy, a little queasy, and are often restricted by employers in their personal appearance policies. In my experience in the hospitality industry, visible body piercing is prohibited, since just about everyone in a hotel or resort comes in contact in some way with guests. Waitstaff, housekeepers, maintenance staff...all come in close personal contact with guests and their possessions. It may not be fair, but first impressions are often formed by how a person looks.
- Choose the Higher Ground.
We've all done things we regret, made choices that could have had serious consequences. If you cross the line, and go against the law, your record may follow you for a long time. Employers have an obligation to protect the company and provide other employees with a safe and comfortable workplace. Even though you may have run with the wrong crowd in your teens, and did something stupid that you now regret, a conviction for theft, assault, DUI, or other offenses may take you out of the running. It can be the deal breaker if your offense is directly related to job requirements.
- Proofread Your Resume.
You may have the best credentials and a Ivy League degree, but your resume may end up in the "circular file" if it is peppered with misspelled words and improper grammar. Your resume is your calling card, a picture of you and how you communicate. It also says something about your values, and poor grammar or spelling show you didn't take the time or effort to spell check to make it right. A sloppy, flawed resume speaks volumes, and it's not complimentary. The prospective employer may draw the conclusion that your resume is an example of your future work habits, and stay far away.
- Be clean, inside and out.
Splurge (maybe just a little) on the appropriate "interview outfit." It's best to be a little over-dressed than looking like you're headed for the beach. Take a shower, get a haircut, get a manicure. Be your best "You" for the interview. No matter how good you look on the outside, if you've been dabbling in illegal substances or borrowing from Aunt Suzy's medicine cabinet, the mandatory pre-employment drug test may be your downfall. Just like a first impression, you have one chance to pass the drug test. The results may be attached to your resume or app, so your future with that company may be lost forever.
Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a management consultant, speaker, writer and trainer specializing in human resources, customer service, work/life balance and motivation. She partners with organizations to improve productivity and performance of people and processes, and with individuals to achieve success. She listens, analyzes, customizes and delivers practical, honest solutions that respect the client and bring measurable results. You can reach her at
Article Submitted On: April 23, 2008