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Can a cluttered car stall your career advancement?

Does a messy vehicle damage your chances of boosting your career?

Maybe you don’t take the boss for a drive often – or ever. But you just never know.

It happened to me – and I was extremely glad my car was clean.

While attending a trade show as a promotional executive, I found myself in the position of offering the company chairman and a couple of board members a ride from the exhibition hall to the hotel where our whole staff was staying.

These three gentlemen, dressed in pinstripes and grey flannel, climbed into my car for the short trip.

My car wasn’t a fancy or expensive model. But it was neat and clean and presentable. In fact, the trio of top executives even remarked upon it.

What if my car had been muddy and grimy?

What if the inside had been dusty, dirty, and filled with debris? What if the backseat had been filled with cast-off shoes, scattered work papers, empty water bottles, or other junk?

How might that have reflected upon my credibility as an efficient, well-organized staffer?

A junky jalopy can raise an employer’s eyebrows, maybe even instead of an employee’s earning potential.

People may jump to conclusions too quickly. Perhaps too many are prone to judge others by appearances and potentially non-job-related details.

But it’s a fact.

Why let a messy car stand in the way of a super opportunity for professional networking?

Wanna Ride in My Car?
Adapted from public domain clipart

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Resume pass-alongs are primo

Endorsements are excellent. Referrals are remarkable. And resume pass-alongs are primo.

It’s true.

Sure, a job searcher can answer ads, join career forums and online communities, put up a lovely Linked In profile page, and fire off resumes to hosts of potential employers.

But here’s a common-sense tip too many folks forget.

If a key player in a target organization hands a resume to the right person, the aspiring applicant can gain considerable traction in that firm. If a reputable and influential adviser, board member, consultant, or supplier gives a resume to the appropriate individual, similar benefits may be found.

A pass-along resume frequently trumps a randomly mailed one.

Certainly, the candidate must be qualified. The resume must be well-constructed. The content has to be there.

And the resume passer must be chosen wisely. This should be a reputable and trusted staffer or expert. This person needs to be someone who can be trusted to act promptly and follow through.

A well-placed pass-along adds momentum.

This just happened.

A friend’s daughter graduated from college. She aimed for a management training job with a major fashion merchandiser. The friend and I attended a graduation party for another associate’s son. The post-college employment questions came up in social discussion with two other friends. One of these happened to work in the accounting department of the target company. He agreed to take the young lady’s resume to the right department.

Guess what. My friend’s daughter is picking out her outfit for her second interview with the fashion merchandiser company.

Sure, she might have scored an interview without the resume pass-along. But it just may have bumped her up in the ranks of possible candidates.

Created by this user
on Txt2Pic

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10 great goodbye gifts for a coworker

Is a colleague or staffer moving on to a new place of employment? Maybe he or she is relocating across the country. What memorable gifts might you dream up to mark this person’s departure?

Here are 10 nifty gift ideas to say goodbye to a coworker with style and thoughtfulness.

Not everyone is likely to come up with a gold watch when a staffer says farewell. Besides, creative gifts may sometimes be more memorable than the time-tried classics.

Frame-worthy – Buy a few basic photo frames. Decorate them, if desired. Fill them with photographs of the soon-to-be former coworker and fellow employees at memorable moments. Think: company picnics, holiday parties, and special outings.

Gift Card – This is a universal favorite, particularly if several people chip in to ring up a tidy sum at a store or restaurant the recipient enjoys.

Next-Stop Theme Gifts – Where is the coworker going? How about picking a present that suits the next chapter in his or her professional life? What are the sports teams in that city? What attractions draw visitors to that locale? Georgia peaches, Vermont maple syrup, Virginia hams, Wisconsin cheeses, and similar offerings reveal that the givers were cluing in.

Noteworthy Gift – Purchase elegant or whimsical writing papers, envelopes, and pens. Nope, this is not the time to load a colleague up with the company’s own logo-imprinted goods. Include an address book, listing close coworkers by name, address, email, and phone. Tuck in a sheet of postage stamps for good measure.

Pail o’ Plenty – Grab a basket, a bucket, or a pretty gift bag. Fill it with a bounty of items that reflect the recipient. Does she enjoy gardening? Is he a crafter? Does she love gourmet chocolates or coffees? Does he enjoy playing golf? Pick a selection of neat little presents to fit the departing colleague’s interests.

Personal Workstation Set – A handy desk set, personalized lunchbox, spiffy new scrub top, sturdy tool belt, or other useful on-the-job item makes a welcome gift as well.

Scrappy Storybook – Does someone in the department enjoy scrapbooking? Gather some special photographs from the leaving coworker’s tenure, and assemble them in a keepsake album.

Shoot ‘em on the Spot – Procure several disposable cameras, or have a few digital ones on-hand. At the going-away luncheon or party, tag several people to take pictures. Develop or download the photos, and send them to the one who is leaving. For simplicity, load the photos onto a CD or thumb drive, and give it to the guest of honor.

Travel Comforts Collection – Is the colleague embarking on a long journey to his or her new place of employment? Why not fill up a festive box, tin, or gift bag with road-trip snacks and treats for the road trip?

Words to Bless – Sometimes a card or a thoughtful journal is enough, especially when it contains personal handwritten notes of kindness from the whole gang.

The secret to the best gifts is to make the present (and the presentation) fit the person and the occasion.

Adapted from vintage clip-art/public domain

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7 adult education careers found outside of school

The ability to teach is a valuable gift, in and out of school. Adult education has become a booming business, as grownups return to training and schooling programs for hosts of personal and professional reasons.

If you have experience (in nearly any area) and an aptitude for communicating that to others, then perhaps you can teach in an adult education area. The main requirements are adaptability, empathy, and excellent communications skills.

Nowadays, educational opportunities are not confined to universities and school. Skilled teachers may find countless arenas for their abilities and experience.

The late great British author C. S. Lewis called experience the “most brutal of teachers.”

“But you learn; my God, do you learn,” Lewis said.

See if any of these potential teaching opportunities rings a bell.

All sorts of teaching occurs outside of the hallowed halls of schools, colleges, and universities.

Business, industrial, or technical training – Most large companies have in-house training departments. Staff or contracted trainers conduct seminars, workshops, and licensing programs for employees. Training may be technical or theoretical, hands-on or human issues. The human resources departments of major employers may offer information about specific opportunities and required credentials.

Coaching – Amateur sports teams frequently seek individuals who can coach for a stretch. Although some of these slots may be volunteer in nature, others may result in payment, or even a long-lasting position.

Consumer classes - Retailers often offer classes for customers. Craft stores provide sessions on everything from framing and floral arranging to stenciling and scrapbooking. Hardware and home repair stores occasionally offer how-to classes. Garden stores have planting workshops. Bakeries and restaurants may feature cooking instruction programs. These options may be ideal for blending hands-on experience, personal hobbies, and the ability to teach others.

Continuing education classes – In nearly every community, public schools, libraries, and park districts provide educational opportunities for residents. Arts, economics, horticulture, literature, sports, and other topics usually make the rosters. A skilled communicator with a helpful background on a relevant subject might consider pitching in for a small stipend. This is an excellent way to try out teaching tactics and gain contacts in the community.

ESL instruction – Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) may be a suitable career for a solid communicator who enjoys working with people. ESL programs frequently include both one-and-one and classroom options. Licensing may be required for some positions.

Religious education programs – People of faith may choose to exercise their teaching gifts by leading classes or gatherings in local churches, temples, or other spiritual organizations. Lots of these opportunities may be service-based and voluntary, but these may also be excellent training grounds for the potential professional trainer or teacher. Other positions may be paid. Those who serve can make valuable contributions to the lives of others, while honing their own skills.

Seminar and workshop presentations – Employers, hobby clubs, trade associations, and special-interest groups frequently hold conferences and other gatherings with various presentations. From keynote speakers to breakout session leaders, gifted and well-informed presenters are often in demand. These professionals may receive fees, honoraria, or even year-long salaries.

Educational opportunities can take countless forms, if the prospective teacher is willing to use some creativity, imagination, and networking.

Adapted from vintage clip-art/public domain

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