Yes, there's such a thing as business card etiquette when networking. Don't mess it up! Related: 8 Steps To Build Relationships After A Networking Event Suppose you were out having lunch with a new business acquaintance and when your food was delivered to the table, your lunch partner reached over with her hand and sampled your meal. What would you think? That they were rude - lacking proper social etiquette, right? You’d be offended and probably lose your appetite. Besides ranking their social grace at zero, you’d also seriously question their professional competence as well. The example I shared above is extreme. But here’s the point: All it takes is one wrong move to jeopardize your professional image. At live networking events, where you only have 30 seconds to make a good first impression, you cannot afford to make the wrong move. Regardless of how shallow it may seem, the world first judges us on how we appear. It’s more than looks and clothes – it’s demeanor, presence, body language, how confident you appear engaging with others. And all of that can be picked up in a first glance or notice, or with the first handshake. So let’s say you are dressed well, your confidence is high and your body language is clearly communicating you are a person worth knowing. You’re 50% there. I've seen well dressed people still leave a bad impression (even if the first one was good) because of bad networking etiquette. Some of the worst mistakes I see at networking events are people not understanding how to use their business card.

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Income... $0. Value... Priceless. Related: Top 10 People You Must Have In Your Network To Find A Job It’s always a good thing to give back. Whether it is doing hands on service with a group like Habitat for Humanity or assisting in the back office of a local non-profit, there are benefits beyond money that come from volunteering. Apart from just the positive feeling of sowing good actions into a cause you believe in and the impact on the lives of the recipients, volunteering can also help your career. Here are six ways volunteering can boost your career:

1. It Can Fuel Your Passion

If your current job is not your ideal work, volunteering at something you enjoy is an alternative source of the passion you can’t get from your job right now.

2. You Can Practice New Skills

No opportunity in your current job to stretch or learn something new? Find a volunteer opportunity that allows you to explore new roles and skills you’d like to develop. You can add this experience to your resume.

3. Volunteer Your Way Into A Potential Job

Maybe you don’t have the experience to earn the paid position yet. Signing on as a volunteer gives you a chance to learn the organization, build relationships there, and show you have what it takes to do the job.

4. Volunteering Is An Opportunity To Expand Your Network

Not only will you meet people who support the same cause, you will find people that have personal and professional connections that can help you – especially if you are looking for a job.

5. Exposure To New Ways Of Doing Things

Seeing how another organization runs things, and being exposed to different ways of managing, brainstorming, solving problems, can provide a fresh way to look at the challenges you face in your paid position.

6. You Can Use It As A Team Building Experience

This one goes beyond just you. Do you lead or work with a team? Finding a group volunteering opportunity can be a low-cost way to do good and re-establish positive connections with your team. Looking for volunteer opportunities? Here’s a few links to jump-start your search: This post was originally published on an earlier date.

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If you work full-time, do you realize more than a third of your day revolves around work? Consider the time you spend preparing for work, traveling to and from work, and then actually at work. That's a lot of time - too much time in my opinion if it's all about just a paycheck. It's time to take control. Related: 5 Steps To Take Control Of Your Career There are periods of time in almost everyone's career where we work to live. But wouldn't life be a whole lot more meaningful if you could enjoy the work you get paid to do? I know - that sounds like wanting to have your cake and eat it too, right? Well, when it comes to work, I am a firm believer it is absolutely possible to have your cake and eat it, too... as long as you are sure you've got the right cake! Is the cake you are eating (your job) overdone, short on sugar, or just plain nauseating? If you are trapped in a dead-end job, living from paycheck to paycheck, and are living without a passion for your day to day grind, you probably don't want to eat it or have it. In fact, you would be just fine tossing the whole thing in the trash. Before you quit or take any other drastic measures, answer this question: Whose cake are you eating? This is the question I had to ask myself, nine months after I started a new position at a global software company. In accepting the position I got a raise, a better title, more responsibility and a seemingly better work environment - a pretty sweet cake, right? Well, the first bite (mostly frosting) was quite tasty. But as I took one bite after another, it became quite apparent the cake was well, half baked: super long hours, an understaffed team, and projects with unbelievable scope creep, and critical decisions that changed on a weekly basis. The realization this was not the cake I wanted to eat at first evoked a sense of disappointment: Who would I really be without the title, money and position? As I let go and moved pass the feelings of loss, it slowly dawned on me I could bake my own cake. If you have found yourself in a similar situation I offer you the same challenge: What if you could have and eat a better cake? A cake you created - so you know it's going to be good. When you bake your own cake, you choose your own ingredients and ultimately the outcome. In other words you take control of what you get to have and eat. You can make the cake as sweet and moist as you want. You also control if it comes out burnt or just right. So, what's an ambitious professional to do? Here are five steps that help you take control and start baking your own cake:

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Imagine a world where more people loved what they do for a living. Related: Why It’s Absolutely Necessary To Discover Your Passion People who are successful in building a brand all have at least one thing in common: They are have an expressed active passion for what they are doing.

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If you come in on time, keep your head down, do your work and show you are a team player – surely your boss will realize your dedication right? And there’s no way your company will be able to overlook your hard work and above and beyond contributions right? Related: How To Stand Out: Define Your Strengths Wrong. In today’s world of work - hard work, being a team player, and adhering to basic professional standards are baseline expectations of all employees. Promotion, recognition, and reward more often land on professionals who have learned how to maximize their exposure to the right people and the right opportunities.

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After many anxious nights and frustrating days, you’ve finally made a decision: you need to find a new job. Over the last few months, you may have gone back and forth, thinking and rethinking, questioning if you should just stick it out or if you should find a new home for your talent. Related: Reactive Vs. Proactive Job Search Strategies The perfect time to start your job search is before you begin feeling a desperate need to get out of your current position. One of the worst times to start a job search is when you feel like your back is up against the wall. Deciding to search for a new job, regardless of the labor market, can be both exciting and frightening. There’s excitement in thinking about new possibilities for your career and work-life. But thinking about the time, energy, and potential rejection involved in the job search process can be overwhelming. For those who decide that finding a new job is well worth the challenges a job search will bring, a larger question looms: How can I be sure my next job will be any better than my last one? I’ve been there. I was initially excited about a new position in a new company, but I quickly became disenchanted with the job within the first year. We all expect somewhat of a lull after the honeymoon phase is over, but what happens when you find yourself in the same position again in your new job? You do all the work to change jobs but still end up with the same frustration, the same poor work environment, the same disgruntled colleagues, and the same dread every Monday morning. The first thing that comes to mind when we reach this place again is it's time to find a new job – and we start the process all over again. If you have found yourself in this situation, take stock and examine the one common denominator of all of your work experiences: you. Before you start your job search, get clear about what you really need to thrive instead of survive at work. Doing a better job defining exactly what you want doesn’t mean your ideal job will magically appear, but it will help you focus your job search on opportunities that have greater potential for long term career growth. Instead of applying to jobs based on title, salary, and location, try asking yourself these questions:

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Just like any other relationship, your relationship with your job is going to have its’ ups and downs. In some cases it can be clear the best solution is for the two of you to separate – meaning you will need to find a new job. In other cases, making a few changes to how you work can rekindle your passion for what you do, allowing you to keep your job and your sanity. Related: Burned Out? How To Take A Vacation Without Taking A Vacation You may not have any physical signs of job burnout. The list below highlights seven red flags that signal you may be overwhelmed and could benefit from making some changes.

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