I’ve been listening to a close friend of mine talk about one of her co-workers who tries to sabotage her on the job. My friend S. says that her co-worker will bring her in a muffin every day, all smiles and “how was your night?”, and then tell their boss if S. took 5 extra minutes of a lunch break. S. tells me story after story of little things here and there that her co-worker does to get one step ahead. Some examples are not so little. They work in a small, but competitive, team and every week brings some new way her co-worker tries to one-up her. I asked S.if she retaliates or brings it up to her boss, but she refuses, saying she doesn’t want to bring this pettiness to her boss. At the same, S. tells me that her co-worker has a very bubbly, likable personality (when not trying to steal S’s job), so she is torn. Personally, I wouldn’t be torn, I’d be spitting mad, but I’m getting off track here…

Because of the sheer amount of time that full-time jobs consume, it can be difficult to find friendships outside of work, which can make it tempting to seek friendship within the office. Sometimes, though, these relationships can turn sour, especially if it’s a coworker with whom you might potentially compete for a promotion. At work, you’ve probably had a “frenemy” or two. A frenemy acts cordial in general, but he or she makes snide remarks and puts you down in front of colleagues and superiors. We all know people like that, maybe we have even been one?

Unfortunately, it’s not so simple writing these people off – after all, your livelihood depends on being civil with these people. When dealing with office frenemies, always save your correspondence with the person, and be confident in your capabilities. Although office dynamics vary from place to place, these two strategies will help anyone who must cope with such difficult coworkers. By following these guidelines, you can maintain a good reputation at work, and you will show the frenemy that you are not an easy target.

The best way to deal with office frenemies is to save all correspondence. In the event that your job is at stake, it’s important to have evidence showing the work that you do. Save e-mails and other written communication from your frenemies, and at the same time, don’t reveal too much in your own e-mails. Or as my mom always said, “Don’t ever put anything in writing that you don’t want the rest of the world to read” (that woman is always right).

Always keep lines of communication open. A common tactic of frenemies is to deny knowledge that you passed along a crucial bit of information that they overlooked. Instead of taking the blame, they might project it onto you, accusing you of never having given them the information. To avoid this, always clarify important conversations in writing. When the frenemy tries to say, “You never told me that I was supposed to send a status report on this project by Friday,” you can respond by saying that you did indeed send it, and refer him or her to the e-mail. Another tactic that a frenemy might use is to take credit for your ideas. If your coworker is working with you on the same project and is attempting to do this, document your progress in regular intervals (once every other day, for example), and e-mail it to that coworker as well as the project supervisor.

Another effective way of dealing with frenemies is to be confident. When you show that you have things under control, it’s more difficult for someone to undermine your achievements. Also, when you speak often at team meetings and provide transparency to your contributions to the company, people will have less reason to question what you’re up to in your own cubicle. If you rarely leave your desk to speak with other coworkers and someone accuses you of slacking off, that rumor might effectively spread around. However, if you interact with your colleagues regularly and keep the appropriate people updated on your projects, it’s much more difficult for someone to make false accusations about you.

These strategies can help you to deal with office frenemies, and at the same time, these guidelines can minimize the risk of establishing frenemies at all. As cumbersome as they can be to your job and sanity, it’s vital to face them in a straightforward manner to diffuse tension and make for a more productive job atmosphere.

Time and technology changes everything, even how we write our resumes. The old fashioned chronological resume that worked so well even just five years ago may now land your resume in the trash can before it has even been looked at. If you want to stand out, you need a career summary. What’s more, readers of resumes love them. A properly written career summary can quickly and efficiently spell out to a prospective employer why you are most qualified for the position. Simply put, a career summary can be the difference between landing an interview and missing an opportunity.

The career summary typically is positioned beneath your contact information, directly above job experiences. It offers you a chance to quickly summarize all of your relevant experience in one place. By carefully selecting achievements and successes in your career summary, you are creating an effective picture of what you can offer a company. Use your career summary to easily point out what experiences from each of your previous jobs is applicable to the one you are seeking.

While a career summary is not mandatory, and is not suggested for people with little experience, most job seekers can benefit by including a summary in their resume. Writing an adequate summary takes a little bit of skill and should be done on a case by case basis.  If you are looking for a new position and would like to include a career summary on your updated resume, there are a few simple steps to take.

  1. Update your resume: update your resume with new experience and achievements as you normally would.
  2. Review positions: during your job search, carefully review each position you are interested in for their specific qualifications. For example, a particular position may require five or more year’s experience.
  3. Customize your summary: create a new career summary for each position you are apply for, utilizing the specifications discovered during your review.

By creating custom career summaries for each position you apply for you can easily tailor your resume for each position.

Formatting your career summary is easy as well. Most resume experts agree that a bullet point format is best for your career summary section. Try to include three to five bullet points, applicable to each specific job, in your career summary. The bullet points draw the eye and customized qualifications will guarantee further interest in you as a candidate.

Always remember that by not including a career summary with your resume most of your experience is likely to be overlooked. Most hiring professionals quickly scan initial resumes, focusing almost entirely on the last position held. They are unlikely to look at previous experience, meaning much of your experience will be unread and ineffectual. A career summary allows a hiring professional to understand how your entire career experience has molded you to be a perfect fit for their needs.

Looking for a new job without tipping off your current boss requires a little thought and planning. There may be reasons you want your boss to know you are looking for a different job – maybe your company is undergoing downsizing and is encouraging some employees to leave, or your boss knows that your spouse has been transferred to a dream assignment in another state and understands your need to move on – and you might even enlist her help in your search. But, in most cases, you will be more comfortable staying in your current job if your boss and your co-workers do not know you are looking elsewhere.

First of all, recognize that you owe your present employer your full attention while you are on the job. Don’t use company time and resources for your job hunt. Work on your resume on your computer at home. Take vacation days, rather than calling in sick, to go to job interviews. Contact prospective employers after office hours, either by emailing from home, mailing actual snail mail using your own stamps, or leaving voice mail messages with your cell phone as the contact number. You can check your cell phone for messages on your lunch hour or after work.

A typical job search might take several months, so you need to be careful not to drop clues all over your office that you are looking for greener pastures. It is not a good idea to show up one day wearing formal business attire to wear to an interview after work if you normally dress casually at the office. You may be oblivious to what the people around you wear, but you can be assured that somebody in your office will notice your newly pressed suit and start asking questions or spreading rumors.

Use your informal network of friends and business associates to help you find a new job. Be careful, though, to let them know that your boss does not know you are looking for new employment. Ask them not to contact job leads on your behalf, but rather to let you know about them first so you can follow up yourself in a way that will not attraction attention at your present job. Never post your resume on public spaces like Facebook, because you then have no control over who sees it, including your boss.

If you need to provide references to possible employers, it might be a good idea not to include people from your present job. Instead, keep contact with people who have left the company that were familiar with your work, or ask industry contacts outside your company if you can use them as references.

It is easier to find work when you already have a job. Put some thought into your strategy so you don’t suddenly find yourself unemployed while you seek work because your boss found out about your job search.

How to Clean Up Your Digital DirtBy now, most people know that everything they say online might as well be said on national television. Of course some, like the none too bright thieves who post their spoils on MySpace are never going to learn, but the vast majority of us have started to protect our online identities. Unfortunately, sometimes dirt from our past still haunts the internet, and some of it, like things posted by exes or old friends may be out of our control. You can’t delete a drunken picture on someone else’s profile, after all.

So how can you clean up your digital dirt? Well, for starters, you need to know what dirt is out there. There are a lot of services that will do the legwork for you here. Places like Reputation Defender will search all the sites that mention you, and their team can work on getting any bad references cleaned up, or at the very least, moved down in the search engines. Claim ID will also protect online profiles you do wish to use, and will back them up in case you need them later.

A quick Google search of your name and nicknames will help you find much of this for free, however. While it may miss items in the Deep Web (pages that Google cannot access because users must be logged in to see them), this search will show you anything an employer is likely to see. Be sure to do an image search for your name as well. Once you’ve located any references to yourself that aren’t wholly professional, you can begin to weed them out. Here are some basic places to begin:

Blogs: If someone references you in their blog unfavorably, it’s always a good idea to speak to that person, and politely ask them to remove the reference. If they refuse, contact the service they are blogging through, and petition for them to intervene. If the other person is not blogging through a third party, then you have limited options, aside from working hard to make sure the good references appear first. On your own blog, make sure that all posts with questionable content can only be viewed by those who you have allowed to read them.

Social Networking Sites: If someone has tagged you on an image in Facebook, it’s possible for you to remove that tag yourself. Make sure that no tagged images of you looking unprofessional are floating around on the web. We’ve all heard the story about the person who called in sick to work and then posted their ‘partying’ pictures on MySpace–only to get caught and fired. Or worse, telling your Facebook pals that your ‘job is boring‘ as one girl did. On other sites (Twitter for example), you may not have the option to remove your name from something. Always speak to the person with the image, and make sure that your name is not attached to the image. On your own profiles, you can and should delete any bad images, and lock any negative language behind a block that allows only people in your network to view it. Never allow employers or coworkers onto your network.

Websites: If you have left any comments on a website, and listed your full name, it may be possible to contact the owner of the site and ask for permission to change the name on the comment, or remove your surname. In the future, do not make any comments on websites, blogs, or forums with your full name. In fact, never use your full name online unless it is in a business capacity.

These tricks will help you get your online reputation back on track and secure an interview without raising any eyebrows.

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