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**I am a member of the Career Collective, a group of resume writers and career coaches.  Each month, all members discuss a certain topic.  This month, we are talking about job-hunting “rules” to break and old job-search beliefs. Please follow our tweets on Twitter #careercollective.  You can also view the other member’s interesting posts at the end of the article.

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Despite a wealth of great job-hunting advice, many prospective job seekers are still clinging to outdated job-hunting and resume writing guidelines that hinder their search for a job. If you’ve been sending your same old resume from 10 years ago with a “Dear Sir or Madam”, then you’ve probably learned that these methods have become obsolete.

If any of the following job hunting problems match you, then you need to implement corrective measures as soon as possible if you want to achieve success in 2011:

1. Not studying your competition

Candidates fail to check out their competition when they start their job search. They reason that their generalized resume worked in the past and that it will continue to work in the future, but that just is not the case any longer. You resume will be stacked against incredibly high skilled competition who probably have seen and done things that you present as standout attributes on your resume.

If you have a diverse set of skills, you’ll need to go the extra mile to get into your chosen career. You’ll need to establish connections and contacts with people in the industry to help fill in any career gaps you have and to boost your education and work experience. And you’ll need a compelling resume that clearly develops a connection to your prospective employer.

2. Not caring about your online identity

Social media is the way of the world now, and like it or not, it’s not going anywhere and people pay a lot of attention to it. Who do you think an employer is going to choose, the guy with the drunken Facebook profile picture or the business professional LinkedIn page? 10 years ago no one thought about having themselves Googled, no one really even knew what Google was but now you have to have an online profile to get noticed. You have to make yourself an online brand and highlight yourself above the pack.

3. Disregarding trends in resumes

If you can’t get past the old resume template with your list of qualifications, then you are going to find the job market in 2011 to be very harsh. Companies receive hundreds of resumes a day, so it becomes critical for potential employees to document the impact of their work and to back up their accomplishments through quantitative means. For a business to hire you they want to make sure that you are going to positively impact their business, and that means on the bottom line, are you going to make their business more profitable.

You have to have something on your resume that shows how you have positively impacted growth in one way or another. For executives or senior-level employees, personal branding has become the newest trend in the job hunt. This is a delicate process and you will need someone who understands developing a branded persona. You have to become the expert in your field.

Hopefully these tips will help you get past anything that was holding you back and put you on the road to new employment!

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Read the posts below for other great advice/ideas/tips from these top career bloggers:

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In this new digital age, more and more employers are turning to the Internet for their hiring needs. Whether posting open positions on a company owned website, utilizing job boards or social media, job seekers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of understanding how to post resumes online. Because of the various formats that are needed, developing a strong portfolio of resumes is critical for those hoping to find the perfect new job.

Take a minute to consider the different forms of resumes. Electronic, print, plain text and full HTML are the most popular options. The reasons for the various forms are simple: prospective employers use a variety of tools to collect and collate resumes. Deciding which is appropriate and properly formatting it is critical for success.

The traditional print resume (like Microsoft Word, for example) often doesn’t translate well online. Because of this job seekers are encouraged to develop a variety of electronic formats for their resume.

  1. Text: A simple text resume that focuses less on fancy formatting and more on presenting clear details is a must. Resume writers also call this an ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange). This format is ideal for posting resumes into formats on websites. While it is still important to review the post, sticking with a clean text format often removes many of the formatting issues seen.
  2. Email: Even more basic than the text format, creating an email ready resume takes into consideration line spacing rules often imposed by email providers. Often a simple matter of tweaking a copy of the text resume, creating an email ready version allows you to post your resume directly in the body of an email.
  3. HTML: As more and more people turn to the Internet for their business needs, many are creating HTML resumes. This is perfect for those that wish to create an electronic portfolio of their work. A word of caution: providing too much information is an easy pitfall of the HTML resume as is simply creating a flashy version of your resume. Only utilize the HTML format if you have basic HTML knowledge.

It is important to acknowledge that where you post your resume online is almost as important as the format it takes. While it may seem like a good idea to attach your resume to a personal website or social media profile, remember that doing so gives potential employers access to all sorts of information that is often best kept private. Marital status, past health issues, ethnicity, political leanings and more can often be found directly on a personal website. It is best to avoid giving potential employers access to this information too early in the process.

In a world where technology is quickly becoming a necessity, not understanding the basic differences in formats is a big mistake. A poorly formatted resume can make you look disinterested and technologically inept. Be sure to spend the appropriate amount of tie developing resume formats to ensure your resume makes the statement you want it to.

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Do you know anyone working their dream job right now? How many people do you know that are working a job they hate just to pay the bills, all the while holding out hope that their dream job will plop right down in their laps? All they are waiting for is the right time, right?

If you ventured a guess, the latter probably outnumbered the former by quite a large margin. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering that people have to pay bills to live, so they have a vested interest in earning a paycheck. But, some people find themselves completely restless with the path they’ve chosen and want to make a break for something new and exciting. That’s when many people break up with their reality and decide to chase a dream. You may not succeed but at least you can say you gave it a try, or you could end up living your dream.

Finding the Dream Job

Even if you have a solid job that is paying the bills and offering security, it may not be enough. If you want something else out of life then why not make the uncomfortable move and leave your situation? The drawback: going from plenty to living on the lower-rung of the pocketbook scale.

If you decide to try your hand at your dream job there will be setbacks, you will have to make sacrifices that, perhaps, you are not comfortable with. That means less eating out and less entertainment plans, you will have to limit your purchases to the essentials, while still leaving some for yourself.

Your friends and family should be your rock at this time. They should be there to provide help and encouragement, but if they’re not, it’s their loss and your life, so go live it.

Before you leave your current job, make sure you have something to fall back on. Make sure you have your dream job in place, even if you are close to getting it there is no guarantee. You do not want to put yourself in a compromising situation that you will have to dig your way out of.

A New Type of Rich

If you make a drastic step and totally alter your life, will it be worth it or will your life be more fraught with peril than before? Who knows, and it depends on your situation. If you decide to quit your job to focus on African alligator wrestling, you will be in for a complete, 180 degree change in lifestyle. But, you also reward yourself both spiritually and emotionally by following what it is you want to do.

The hardest part of making the change may be the fear of what people say about you. Even though your bank account may not be overflowing, your karma bank will be earning interest. And who cares what someone says about you, you’re following your dreams while they slave away in a cubicle working for a faceless, soul-sucking corporation who would just as easily fire them and everyone in the office if it improved their stockholder shares. So why do you care what people say, you have a dream and you’re following it. Live for yourself, even if it means a hit to the pocketbook.

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Getting fired— it can happen to the best of us, and it can even happen when it’s not your fault. Many people have been fired due to personality conflicts between themselves and managers or other employees. The idea of what your job was going to be like may be miles away from what management had in mind. Or you could simply have screwed the pooch. It happens and you’re not alone.

Experts believe that at least 200,000 people are unjustly or illegally fired each year. So you’re fired–now what do you do? Do you sulk and cry for a day (pity party, table for one please), probably, but then you get back up and do your best to find something that will work for you. But, you’re fired now, so what are your options? Regardless of whether you were fired for legitimate reasons or not, where do you go from here?

Being Fired

First thing you do is not beat yourself up over it. Getting fired can happen to anyone, even the best employees have been fired at one point, so do not dwell on it. Keep your focus on what you are going to do next and how you’re going to find another job. But, keep in mind that you have another hurdle to overcome – the tag of being fired – has been added to your job search woes. There are ways to overcome this issue and at least put it in a neutral light.

Legal Issues

Before you start your job search do some research and see where you stand legally. Your termination could be legitimate or it could be considered wrongful termination. Check and see if you are eligible for unemployment benefits. You don’t know whether you are eligible until you file so that should be the first step after getting fired. Ask your state’s unemployment office, especially if you and your employer have a disagreement on the grounds of your termination. In cases where it is not clear, the unemployment office will often lean towards the unemployed person over the corporation, especially when making a decision on unemployment benefits.

Your Resume and Cover Letter

There is no reason to mention that you were fired in your job search, on your resume or in your cover letter. Just make sure that your job search is positive and you portray yourself in a solid, responsible light. In your cover letter, you can focus on the basics, while avoiding long winded explanations of past employment. Your cover letter should address the specific position you are applying for, make sure that your cover letter is correct and matches each job you apply for, as well as addressing why you are applying, and how you are qualified. There is no reason to bring up your firing in your cover letter or resume. That should wait for your interview, if at all.

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January is the time of year when lots of ambitious entrepreneurs decide to start their business. Starting a business can be a risky proposition, but it’s always exciting to start out on your own and let yourself be the one making the decisions. In order to have a successful business venture you need the right resources and help, including checklists, tools and services you will need.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, make sure you have everything in line before your business is up and running. There is a lot of groundwork that needs to be laid before you can even find your first customer, so make sure you have everything lined up before you start your business.

  • Create your businesses identity

You need something that sets you apart, and your logo and brand image are what represents your business. They are the most recognizable, tangible part of your business. Before you start a business you need to create a unique, standout logo for your business identity.

  • Select your legal status

Depending on how your business will be structured, you will need to form a legal structure. Some of the most common legal statuses are incorporated (Inc.) and limited liability corporations (LLC). Decide what type of business model is right for you business before you begin.

  • Get some customers online

Your potential customers are out there…online. You need to create a solid website, have it submitted to search engines and even start some small advertising campaigns. If you can establish an online presence, your business will see sales in no time.

  • Paying your employees

There are payroll services available that will calculate checks and taxes; it’s one of the easiest ways to pay employees. You can find plenty of suppliers online that will make it easier to write paychecks all on your own.

  • Manage your finances, seriously!

Make sure you keep an eye out on your finances, money does not grow on trees but it sure as heck burns like them. You can blow through a pile of cash quickly without even paying any necessary bills or expenditures. Get a solid accountant or software that will manage your finances correctly.

  • Enable credit card transactions for your company

Look up some merchant services account companies. They enable you to run a credit card online, through you computer or over the phone. It’s a simple process that doesn’t require that much information from you, but really helps out with generating revenue. Most people pay for goods and services online through credit cards, they aren’t shoving cash in their modem, so make sure you have the ability to process their transaction. You might also consider PayPal as they also have merchant services for a monthly fee and a transaction fee. Your bank may also provide a merchant service with less fees (mine does… I just made the switch- what a savings!).

  • Have a brick and mortar store

If your business requires it, have a physical location, but if you’re starting an online company a website is all you need. Just have point-of-sale equipment so that you can process payments as they come through the store. Tracking and maintaining customer records allow for faster processing times, this allows you to estimate future expenditures.

Having and running your own business has its ups and downs but in the end, if answering only to yourself is a strong motivator for you, then I would say GO FOR IT!

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**I am a member of the Career Collective, a group of resume writers and career coaches.  Each month, all members discuss a certain topic.  This month, we are talking about trends for 2011. Please follow our tweets on Twitter #careercollective.  You can also view the other member’s interesting posts at the end of the article.

It may not seem like it but the recession seems to be tailing off. More people are willing to spend money, so lending has returned to a degree. But that doesn’t mean anything if you’re one of the ones without a job. 2011 is shaping up to be a great year for job seekers, especially if you are filling a critical need job. Sure there is high unemployment still but that does not mean that you cannot make something happen in the New Year. Having a positive attitude and staying abreast of the trends will put you in the running to find that job you want.

But, what are some of the trends for job seekers in 2011? There are a few different things to pay attention to, that are just over the horizon.

The Outlook:

Job growth is expected to be faster than average, thanks to growing demand for service sector jobs, the looming retirement of aging baby boomers, and broad efforts to create job growth. The volume of jobs is expected to increase throughout 2011, and rates are expected to continue through 2018, which are some of the fastest occupational growth rates being projected by the Labor Department.

Money:

Lending is expected to follow along current levels with some increase in lending to well-qualified applicants. But, lending can be a good thing in this economy, with more money changing hands there are more opportunities for job growth. Keep an eye out to see how the market affects your potential career field choice.

Upward Mobility:

If you want you can choose to go for additional schooling. Some jobs offer postgraduate programs for specialties in certain fields. It helps to be able to showcase strong educational history on your resume. As more people enter the workforce, employers can have the cream of the crop, so it creates incentives for potential employees to build their resume. Postgraduate work is a great thing to showcase on a resume and it can help set you apart from other potential job seekers.

Hiring Tools:

Employers are worried about salaries and specifically new salaries. In 2011 the trend is to develop talent from within, instead of spending the time to evaluate and train an outside employee. More employers are looking to promote from within. This is obviously not something that job seekers want to hear in 2011, but just focus on showcasing your skills and building your resume, and you will be on to your future job.

Job Types:

Expect a lot of graveyard shifts, weekend work and holiday work. Employers know that they have their employees in a tight spot and they are going to work their employees into the ground. Do not expect much help in the way of increased pay for this type of work. Profits are high for the top, not for the people doing the actual work.

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Read below for more tidbits and wisdom from some of our industry’s top career professionals:

Social Media Recruiting to Grow Further in 2011, @debrawheatman

Another Year, Another Job Search Begins, @GayleHoward

In 2011, Increase Your Prospects With Better Differentiation, @WalterAkana

4 Lessons Learned From Job Search in 2010, @Careersherpa

Your Career Action Plan for the New Year, @KatCareerGal

Trends Job Seekers Should Look For in 2011, @erinkennedycprw

Things Every Job Seeker Should be Thinking About in 2011, @expatcoachmegan

Let your presence be known or send out a red flag, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

How to find a job in 2011: Pay attention to emotional intelligence, @Keppie_Careers

2011 Employment Trends Supercharged with Twitter, @KCCareerCoach

3 Traits for Facing Weather, Employment and Chronic Illness, @WorkWithIllness

Everything old is new again @DawnBugni

Career Trend 2011: Accountability + Possibility = Sustainability, @ValueIntoWords

Career Tools to Check Out in 2011, @barbarasafani

What Was in 2010, What To Expect in 2011, @chandlee

The Future of Job Search: 3 Predictions and 2 Wishes, @JobHuntOrg

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