Name: Miriam Salpeter Twitter:@Keppie_Careers Personal Website/Blog:Keppie Careers Bio: With a Master's degree and over 12 years of experience as a career advisor and an involved member of the online job search coaching community, Miriam keeps up-to-date on the best practices for job hunters. She offers her clients and readers confidence, clarity and job search know-how. What's your favorite career related quote? [Unknown] What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? TAP is a great opportunity to extend my mission of encouraging, enlightening and empowering job seekers for success. Name: Trevor Wilson Twitter:@gradversity Personal Website/Blog:Gradversity.com Bio: Trevor writes almost exclusively from a "New Grad" perspective because he has been there and gone through the challenges of finding that first "real" job. He has experienced what many of our readers are going through right now and feels he is in an excellent position to help out. What's your favorite career related quote?"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." (Seneca) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? Sharing my experiences and helping other new grads find entry level jobs. Name: Dawn Bugni Twitter:@dawnbugni Personal Website/Blog:The Write Solution Bio: Dawn Bugni is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of Career Directors International, the National Resume Writer's Association and the Professional Association of Resume Writers with more than 25 years' experience in production control and customer service management. She stays current with career industry trends through continuing education, a strong social media network and lessons from the "School of Hard Knocks" offered by balancing and running two diverse small businesses. What's your favorite career related quote?"Leap and the net will appear." (Julia Cameron) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? I am helping others and learning new things too. This makes me a better resume writer and adds value to what I offer my clients. My colleagues are brilliant and generous; the questions posed are thoughtful and thought provoking. I can help and learn. How can I not love participating? Name: Grace Kutney Twitter:@sweetcareers Personal Website/Blog:Sweet Careers Bio: Grace is a career development professional with over 10 years of experience in career advising. She specializes in working with undergraduate students and recent graduates with little-to-no work experience. What's your favorite career related quote?"Your skills, experience and degree are essentially worthless unless you are able to translate their value. Interpret for employers how your expertise anticipates their specific needs." (Sweet Careers) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? I can help job seekers through T.A.P. that I would likely never meet in person. Name: Louise Fletcher Twitter:@louise_fletcher Personal Website/Blog:Blue Sky Resumes Bio: Louise currently runs her own resume writing company and previously spent 15 years in HR. She has hired more people over the years than she cares to remember and now she uses that knowledge to help her clients get hired. What's your favorite career related quote?"Remember that during any time of change, people have just 3 questions: How does this affect me? How does this affect me? And how does this affect me?" (Unknown) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? Telling people what to do... just kidding! The questions keep me in touch with job seeker's concerns and I like being able to help. Name: J.T. O'Donnell Twitter:@jtodonnell Personal Website/Blog:J.T. O'Donnell - Career Insights Bio: J.T. is a career strategist and workplace consultant who works with both individuals and corporations helping them make 'work' something to look forward to. She is the founder of Careerealism.com (this site!) and is the author of a book by the same name. She is is also the co-author of the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country, J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs. What's your favorite career related quote?"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." (Unknown) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? Using technology to help people in real-time. I love that we give collective answers that help the reader get a comprehensive idea of what to do. Name: Harold Mellor Twitter:@haroldmellor Bio: Harold is the Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition for The Boston Globe, having joined in September 2005. Harold came from Randstad North America, a world wide workforce solution provider where he spent fifteen years as a member of their recruiting team, including four years as the Manager of National Recruiting. Harold has a MA in Business and Organizational Communications from Emerson College in Boston and a BA in Communications from New England College in Henniker, NH. He is currently on the Employee Advisory Board of Bunker Hill Community College in Boston. What's your favorite career related quote?“With every mistake, we must surely be learning.” (George Harrison) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? I love helping people out! Name: Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter Twitter:@ValueIntoWords Personal Website/Blog:Career Trend Bio: Jacqui is one of only 27 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally, has a BA in Writing and has amassed 15 years’ corporate experience. An intuitive researcher, Jacqui unearths clients’ most compelling story details, applies an inventive approach to content development and design, and originates uniquely branded career resume and social media profiles, including LinkedIn, Twitter and personal marketing websites, stirring interest and response. What's your favorite career related quote?“Remember that encouragement creates courage in others. Courage leads to confidence. Confidence lets them fly.” (Unknown) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? It sharpens my career advice toolkit, allows me to align should-to-shoulder every day with respected and smart careers colleagues and permits me to be a global resource to job seekers during times of economic stress as well as times of profound economic turnaround and growth. Name: Ben Eubanks Twitter:@beneubanks Personal Website/Blog:UpstartHR Bio: Ben is a career blogger with Jobacle and an HR professional with a reading and researching addiction. His desire to build an outstanding career for himself is closely aligned with his desire to help others do the same. What's your favorite career related quote?“A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.” (Alexander Hamilton) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? I have a passion for helping people find a career that they love, and this is a great way to reach many people who are seeking assistance. Name: Debra Wheatman Twitter:@DebraWheatman Personal Website/Blog:resumesdoneright.com Bio: With 20+ years as a strategic career advisor, Debra helps clients obtain highly desired interviews for competitive positions, including preparing results-oriented resumes, and providing guidance centered around interview preparation, salary negotiations, and overall career management. What's your favorite career related quote? [Unknown] What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? T.A.P. is a wonderful way for me to share information regarding career planning and management topics to help a diverse group of job seekers. Name: Elaine Basham Twitter:@resumesrevealed Personal Website/Blog:The Resume Group Bio: Elaine Basham and Sue Sarkesian, co-founders of The Resume Group have more than 25 years of combined experience in resume writing and job search strategies. More than 90% of their business comes from the referrals of clients whose job searches have been successful due in part to their knowledge, expertise, and the resources they provide to their clients. What's your favorite career related quote?"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." (Albert Schweitzer) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? Seeing what the biggest obstacles and concerns are for job seekers in this tough market, and learning so much from the other experts! Name: Kirsten Grant Twitter:@kgrantcareers Personal Website/Blog:Kirsten Grant Bio: Before joining Kaplan University, one of the largest online universities in the nation, Kirsten had faxed almost 1,000 resumes, e-mailed close to 300 resumes, personally mailed 20 resumes with each one featuring “special inserts” to encourage hiring managers to read her resume (50% of those resumes received calls for an interview) and interviewed with 50 companies over the course of 5 months. Based on the feedback hiring managers provided, in addition to 10 years experience in human resources, training, recruiting and staffing Kirsten REALLY learned what hiring managers look for in candidates. She took that knowledge and now designs on-line programs that today help over 40,000 adult learners understand how to write resumes, conduct successful job searches, and earn promotions. What's your favorite career related quote?“When I die, I want to die empty – no one should attend my funeral and ask “I wonder did he ever go after his dream or that great idea that he had?” I want to die “used up” – giving my best – that’s the only way to truly LIVE!” (Les Brown) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? T.A.P. is so unique. The idea of sharing career tips that actually work in 140 characters or less with people across the world in a forum of experts is an honor and a challenge – and I love it! Name: Tiffany Monhollon Twitter:@tmonhollon Personal Website/Blog:Personal PR Bio: Tiffany is a career, leadership, and management expert for Express Employment Professionals, one of the world’s largest staffing companies. She leads the team of creative writers and thinkers who author Movin’ On Up, the Express Career Blog and also write several award-winning publications focusing on all aspects of employment, the job search, and careers. In addition, she manages public relations, corporate communications, and social media for the company. She is personally passionate about equipping young professionals to navigate the lines between personal and professional in today’s evolving workplace. At Personal PR, she writes about careers, social media and the evolution of today’s professional realities. What's your favorite career related quote?“Getting your ducks in a row is not nearly as powerful as actually doing something with your duck.” (Seth Godin) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? I love how contributing to T.A.P. is the embodiment of what I’m passionate about. This project demonstrates how people as professionals can contribute their knowledge to help others – and do their jobs at the same time! Name: Andy Robinson Twitter:@AndyInNaples Personal Website/Blog:Career SuccessCareer Tip of the Day Bio: Andy has over 15 years experience as an Executive Coach, Career Success Coach and Personal Branding Strategist. He has a total of 25 years business and leadership experience across a variety of industries, serving scores of companies of all sizes (Fortune 100 to small, locally owned businesses) as a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers (10 years), a professional advisor, and an outside executive coach. Andy is also an author, speaker, professional trainer and co-host of the Career Success Radio Show on Exceptional Wisdom Radio. To add to his respected list of credibility, he is a licensed member of the International Coach Federation (ICF). He loves what he does for a living! What's your favorite career related quote?"Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." (Confucius) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? I enjoy being a member of an exceptional team of career experts. I love sharing ideas and working together to help others love what they do for a living and achieve lasting career success. Name: Teena Rose Twitter:@teenarose Personal Website/Blog:Resume to Referral Bio: Teena Rose is a personable, professional, and yes, crafty 10-year career writer -- not your run-of-the-mill resume writer, in fact. She’s noted as a resume 2.0 strategist, understanding that today’s job-search is increasingly dominated by the next generation of job-search tools. What's your favorite career related quote? “A quality job-search approach will out-produce one of quantity.” (My Continuous Quote/Advice to Clients) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? One could say involvement with T.A.P. is the cake, and mixing with some of the industry’s top minds, such as Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Louise Fletcher and J.T. O’Donnell, is the icing. I’m honored to be invited and welcomed. Name: Heather Huhman Twitter:@heatherhuhman@ComeRecommended Personal Website/Blog:Entry-Level-Careers-ExaminerCome Recommended Bio: As an experienced hiring manager and someone who has been in nearly every employment-related situation imaginable, Heather knows and understands the needs of today’s employers and internship and entry-level job seekers. Her expertise in this area led to her selection as Examiner.com’s entry-level careers columnist in mid-2008, as well as becoming the job search expert for Campus Calm, a contributor to both One Day, One Job and One Day, One Internship, and author of the e-book “Gen Y Meets the Workforce: Launching Your Career During Economic Uncertainty.” What's your favorite career related quote?“Happiness does not come from doing what you want, but wanting what you do.” (Unknown) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? Through T.A.P., I’m able to touch the lives of so many. There’s simply no greater feeling than helping people achieve their dreams. Name: Julia Erickson Twitter:@juliaerickson Personal Website/Blog:julieannerickson.blogspot.com Bio: Julia Erickson is a writer and coach focusing on career transformation and improving people’s work lives. Her philosophy is that you can get your “right fit” work once you are clear about what it is, and have the plan and tools to effectively market yourself. As a coach and writer, Julia draws on her 25 year career leading non-profit organizations in New York City, including 12 years as Executive Director/CEO. She also spent four years focused on NYC’s workforce development needs. Julia coaches job seekers, career changers, and newly promoted executives from all industries. Her blog provides guidance and tools to handle the practical and emotional aspects of job search. What's your favorite career related quote?"Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." (Goethe) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? Sharing my knowledge to help others, learning from the other experts, and keeping up with what’s going on in the world of work. Name: Rob Taub Twitter:@RobTaub Personal Website/Blog:www.JobSearchCorner.comwww.JobSearchingWithRob.com Bio: Rob, a veteran career services professional with 25 years in the biz, who formerly headed the Executive Service Group for R. L. Stevens & Associates, is Principal of Job Search Corner and creator of the blog "Job Searching with Rob". He has been an active member of the Career Directors International (CDI), and the Career Management Alliance (CMM), formerly the Career Masters’ Institute, and has earned their prestigious certification, the Credentialed Career Master (CCM), a designation that is earned through proof of expertise in all Careers fields. What's your favorite career related quote?"The world doesn't happen to you it happens from you." (Unknown) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? The ability to reach out to and help thousands and thousands of individuals seeking new ideas and advice in their job searches. Name: Mary E. Sevinksy Twitter:@MarySevinsky Personal Website/Blog:Mary Sevinsky's Blog Bio: Mary currently works for a national company and provides résumé development and editing services. Mary is master's-prepared and has over 18 years of experience in vocational assessment, counseling and testimony, primarily assisting clients who are changing careers. Areas of expertise include: Résumé Development, Labor Market Surveys, Transitional Return to Work programs, Job Placement Assessment and Assistance. What's your favorite career related quote?"Whether you think you can or think you can't - you're right..." (Henry Ford) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? I love being part of a group of people who share the same passion and appreciation for vocation. Name: Tai Goodwin Twitter:@TaiGoodwin Personal Website/Blog:Wilmington Professional Development Examiner Bio: Tai’s resume is a prime example of what it looks like to successfully “makeover” a career. With a B.S. and M.S. in education, Tai’s professional journey has taken her from leading Americorps service learning initiatives in inner-city schools to managing large scale learning technology projects for companies like Barnes & Noble and DTCC (Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation) in New York’s financial district. And to think she started out at Drexel University as a fashion design major! What's your favorite career related quote?“Don’t be afraid of failure. Be afraid of the consequences of living your life by default. It is never too late to pursue your passion.” (Tai Goodwin, The Career Makeover Coach) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? I love helping people connect to their passion and purpose. T.A.P. is a great way to support those bold enough to create career success on their own terms. Name: Joshua Waldman Twitter:@JoshuaWaldman Personal Website/Blog:Career Enlightenment Bio: Joshua specializes in helping MBAs, who are frustrated with the job search, to learn new ways of applying their business savvy through exciting social media tools that they didn’t learn in B-school. He began teaching social media to job seekers in 2006 when he realized the internet marketing skills he had acquired from running his own business and career are directly transferable to job seekers. What's your favorite career related quote?“You don't ‘belong to’ any company for life, and your chief affiliation isn't to any particular ‘function.’ You're not defined by your job title and you're not confined by your job description.” (Tom Peters, Fast Company 1997) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? The program gives me a chance to really listen to job seekers. There is a difference between what I think job-seekers need, and what they REALLY need. I appreciate the exposure and connection with clients. Name: Rosa Elizabeth Vargas Twitter:@ResumeService Personal Website/Blog:Creating Prints Bio: Rosa Elizabeth Vargas is a job search strategist who is triple-certified as an (MRW) Master Resume Writer, (NCRW) Nationally Certified, and (ACRW) Academy Certified Resume Writer. Additional qualifications include job search coaching and social media consulting. She has been helping job hunters for over seven years as owner of Creating Prints Resume Service, leveraging an accomplished 10-year career as a Leader/Senior Manager, which included interviewing, hiring, training, and building strong and competent teams. What's your favorite career related quote?"The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore." (Dale Carnegie) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? It brings me great pleasure to be chosen as a CAREEREALISM expert and I look forward to providing valuable information to job seekers. Name: Melissa C. Martin Twitter:@ravingredhead Personal Website/Blog:careercoachingbyphone.comwebinarcareercoach.blogspot.com Bio: Melissa is a passionate, innovative career expert, who holds impressive credentials in the career/employment field for over 11 years. Her specialties include dealing with the unemployed, underemployed, military members, military spouses, aspiring entrepreneurs and those who need "career nourishment" to re-ignite themselves. What's your favorite career related quote?"What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail?" (Unknown) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? My favorite part is the opportunity to connect globally with job seekers. Name: Karen Siwak Twitter:@ResumeStrategy Personal Website/Blog:Resume Confidential Bio: Karen is a Canadian Certified Resume Strategist with 10+ years of experience in coaching & counseling. She's a passionate advocate for resumes that tell a clear, compelling “one of a kind” story – resumes that stir interest, invite connection, create the opening for an interview, and lay the groundwork for you to be able to expand on your talents, strengths and insights. What's your favorite career related quote?"It ain't what you do, it's the way you do it." (General Norman Johnson & Chairmen of the Board) What's your favorite part about being in T.A.P.? Resume & job search “best practices” are a moving target, and advice from five years ago may not necessarily work today. Being a CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert challenges me to continuously re-examine my own assumptions, and ensure the advice I give is relevant and “real” in today’s job market.
I recently worked on a pro bono project for a friend, and it reminded me of a time early in my career and how lucky I was then to get such great advice from the more seasoned pros around me. Advice that ultimately saved me from some major pitfalls. I made mistakes here and there over the course of nearly 20 years of projects, but with each hiccup came a lesson. Here are some takeaways from my lessons learned and all that sage advice.
Questions Equal Clarity
Clients come to us designers for our expertise, and it is our job to guide them through the process. We are helping them find clarity about their vision and goals for their project. To do that well means asking questions! It is important to remember that not all clients are going to be good at communicating their vision—and that's okay. You can still work with them and get amazing results by asking them lots of questions and following up on those answers with more questions until you're both on the same page. This dialogue will help set clear expectations for project scope, deliverables, and everything in between while avoiding frustration for both parties.
Think about the word 'classic.' Now think of five things that could be described as 'classic'—it probably varies wildly, right? So, which version does your client imagine? You could guess… or you could clarify with more questions like "Can you show me an example of what 'classic' looks like to you?" or "What makes this classic?" And so on. It's a silly example, but it illustrates just how subjective descriptions can be and how necessary it is to have good communication between you and the client. Remember that your clients don't do this for a living, so asking questions will help you get to the root of any issue quickly with less time spent guessing. And no, it won't look unprofessional if you ask a lot of questions, but it will make you a better creative.
Collaboration For The Win
On one side of the table, you have a designer with knowledge and experience. On the other side of the table, you have the client who knows their business, audience, and goals. As creatives, we have to remember that we are on the same team as our clients and aim at collaboration over confrontation. Design should be a collaborative process: both parties are at the table with different perspectives and different knowledge to contribute. It is this diversity of viewpoints that will make the creative stronger and your client ultimately happier.
When you work collaboratively with your clients, they'll often tell you what they need before even realizing it themselves—and sometimes, those needs are things that they didn't even realize they wanted until after having talked it through with someone else! This is because people often have trouble articulating what they need out loud (even if they think they know exactly what they want), so getting clients involved in the process can help ensure that everyone's needs and project goals are met.
It all boils down to communication. Everyone at the table, both clients and designers, want to feel heard and respected. Good communication and listening skills are a way to ensure that clients understand that they don't need to be designers themselves, but they are still contributing meaningfully to the project. This helps keep them fully invested in a great outcome.
Contracts Are Your FriendPhoto by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash
Contracts can help you set clear expectations for both parties. The best way to protect your business and make sure you don’t get burned by a client is to have a signed contract before doing any design work. If you’ve ever been burned by a client (or had to fire one) it’s probably because you didn’t have a contract in place when you started the project with them.
As a designer, it can feel a little awkward to send a contract and you may be tempted to just dive right into the work even when a client hasn't signed a contract. But there are several reasons why you should always, ALWAYS get a contract signed before doing any design work.
First, this will help you protect yourself from scope creep. Clearly defining the project scope is essential. If the client wants to add extra elements or changes their mind four times about what they need to be designed, it's much easier when you have a contract and clearly defined deliverables to say, "Sorry, but we have to go back and renegotiate the scope of our agreement." This way, you won't end up doing more work than you agreed on.
Second, a contract will help your client trust you. When working with someone new, trust is everything—and they need to know that they can rely on what you say and how it will be delivered. A contract helps build that trust by setting expectations around quality and deadlines.
Third, contracts help clarify your client's definition of "done." If there are any questions about what constitutes acceptable deliverables for them (or if their definition changes), it's much easier for all parties involved if those questions are answered in writing before any work begins.
Finally, if something goes wrong and you need legal help, your contract can help prove that you did what was agreed upon in the first place or at least show that there was an agreement in place.
Go With Your GutPhoto by Paolo Bendandi on Unsplash
You were built with intuition; use it! Learn to trust your gut when working with clients. I've found that clients who don't seem like they are being straight with me are often problematic. I don't run into these issues very often these days because time and experience (and a good contract) have made me better at spotting potential issues. When I meet with clients I make mental notes of red flags and green lights. Red flags are the things that a client or potential client might do that give you a moment of pause or make you worry a little. Green lights are, of course, the opposite.
Red flag clients will push boundaries like expanding the scope of work but expecting the cost to stay the same, or delaying payment in an attempt to negotiate a lower price after the work is done despite being happy with the project results. Sometimes it is better to pass on a problematic project; it leaves you open to take on a great one. That's a hard pill to swallow when you are first starting out because you are excited and want to take on as many paying projects as possible. I simply urge you to beware. If something doesn't feel right about a client then it is probably your intuition throwing up a red flag.
Ultimately, it is up to you if you take on the project. Just remember, if you do decide to proceed, get a deposit to start, have a signed contract and make sure it is specific with a detailed deliverables list.
Followthrough Is EverythingPhoto by Josh Hemsley on Unsplash
Last but never least, this one seems like a no-brainer to me but I feel it is essential to call out. Deliver on everything that you say you will do for clients—and do it with a smile! I can't stress how important it is to nurture relationships and build a reputation of being trustworthy, reliable, and awesome to work with. When clients trust you, life just gets easier. They will value your design decisions more easily, they will continue to work with you, and they will recommend you to others that need your services. I promise it is a win-win.
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You’ve made it through the rigorous interview process successfully and the organization has extended you an offer for employment. Congratulations! Now, it’s time to take a better look at what the offer includes.
Here are some tips for understanding the job offer letter:
In most cases, the offer letter should include information about how you will be paid. This may state the frequency of paychecks, whether you will be paid hourly or on a salary basis, and if you will be eligible for commission or bonus payments. In most cases, your compensation will be stated before taxes, so your take-home pay may be very different than what is stated in the offer. If you need help in determining how much you will actually be bringing home in each paycheck, you may want to consult an accountant or ask your HR representative to help you with the calculations.
For commission-based positions, it’s wise to ask about draws and how often commission checks are issued. Some companies only pay commissions one time per month, so it’s important to know this information up front for budgeting purposes.
Details About The Job
A job is much more than just a title, so many companies include information about the daily responsibilities or some type of job description. You should understand the schedule for the job and what will be expected of you. If this information isn’t included, ask the hiring manager for a copy of the job description. This doesn’t mean that it’s written in stone and you will only be required to do those things listed in the description, but it is a good starting point to learn about what you will be doing when you start the position.
If your position is full-time, it’s likely that you will be offered some type of benefits package by the employer. You should pay careful attention to what is offered because these benefits can actually add significant value to the overall compensation package.
Look for information on insurance plans, 401(k) or other retirement savings plans, and other benefits offerings that may be available to you. Employer-based benefits plans can actually add significant value to a position. Some companies offer matching for their retirement savings plans, contributions towards insurance, and tuition reimbursement. If you take advantage of any or all of these options, you may end up with a much more lucrative position than was initially indicated in just the compensation portion of the offer.
Some employers include information about the next steps in their offer letters. For example, if you must undergo a background check or drug test, that information may be included in the offer letter. The letter may also indicate when you can start or how to determine your start date. Now is the time to ask questions if something is unclear or if you need additional information.
Don’t accept the offer if you’re unsure of what the position entails. The recruiter or hiring manager should be able to answer these questions before you start. Good luck finding your next job, and make sure you fully understand the job offer before you accept it!
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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