Men making the decision to stay at home have become a more common decision these days, with extended paternal leave benefits, and partners who are making as much or more money than their spouses. Stay-at-home fathers are more accepted nowadays too, socially, with more men making the decision with their spouses that the family as a whole would be best served by dad doing the bulk of the child-rearing, while mom heads off for work. I recently read that more women than men are working now.

In the decades previous, it was usually the dad who had the career. Women held the title of caregiver to the children, while men pursued their employment and brought home the paychecks. I couldn’t imagine my dad wanting to stay home with us, nor could I imagine my mom wanting to give up that role, as she always says it was the best time in her life.

With the advancement of equal-pay-for-equal-work initiatives all over the world, disparity between the incomes of men and women is not as large a factor in career viability; in fact, it’s often the women in traditional marriages who bring home the larger paycheck. Interesting!

Most often, men making the decision to stay at home starts off with financial reasons. Who earns more, which parent has the more comprehensive insurance policy, which one has a more flexible career or schedule, and whether either parent is able to work from home all need to be weighed and decided upon. If you can take the financial hit from losing a portion of the parents’ combined income and still be a viable bill-paying team, then your options about primary care-givers are much more flexible. However, if you will be extremely challenged to make your monthly financial obligations, you need to consider other options, such as both parents staying at work, and placing the child into a daycare situation.

New challenges still face the parents who choose to have dad stay at home, with this option still not being seen as socially conventional. While it’s true that it is becoming more popular, it is still not the norm, and some men do not fare well with the unconventional arrangement. Stay-at-home dads need to pay attention to their needs, just as women have had to do for centuries. These include socialization with your peers, and perhaps making sure you stay employable. Going to the park with your baby may be nice, but if you are a more social person, really dependent on your former office or job-site personal interactions, you may want to seek a healthy outlet for your needs.

As I was doing research for this article, I wondered if there were groups or resources for stay at home dads. When my children were babies, I joined MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) which saved my sanity by meeting every other week with moms in my position (little ones at home) for food, talk, speakers, crafts and ADULT TIME. I have been looking all over the internet and so far haven’t seen any groups similar. Hmmm…. maybe someone should start a “FOPS” group?

No matter what your career, there are probably refresher courses or seminars in your field that can provide the social stimulus you might be craving, as well as keeping you up to date in your line of work. There are lots of available resources online and in-print that can help partners not only make the initial decisions regarding which parent stays at home, but also valuable information about how to deal with that decision once it is made. Parenting classes, financial planning seminars, social gatherings for similarly-situated parents…All can be found with a little research and an honest look at how you want your child-rearing situation to happen. Good luck!

How many times have you found yourself in this situation: several days prior, you had an interview.  It seemed to go well and the interviewer informed you that they would ‘get back to you.’  You went home, excited, but as the days passed with no call, you begin to question every aspect of the interviewing, wondering where you went wrong.

This happens more often than many HR professionals would like. Relax. Sometimes a busy schedule of interviews and work sometimes gets in the way of them calling you back.  Learning techniques aimed at discovering how to make employers call you back is an easy and beneficial addition to any job seekers trunk of tricks.

  1. Don’t Expect It: Don’t ever assume that you will get a call back.  Instead, make it a point to discuss the point of next contact before finishing the interview, meeting or phone call.  This can be as simple as asking when an appropriate time would be for you to follow up.  Many job seekers are leery of this, feeling that it will make them appear pushy; however, politely asking for a follow up isn’t being pushy.  I think it shows motivation and Always ask for a follow up.  Never leave it to chance.
  2. You Are Responsible: At the end of the day, you, as the job seeker, are the one responsible for the follow up, after all, it is you that wants the position.  Take responsibility for the part you play in follow up meetings and calls by asking for them, being polite is subsequent contact and following through on any promises you make.
  3. “I’ll Get Back To You” isn’t enough: “I’ll get back to you’ may be the five most dreaded words in the job seeking business.  Don’t ever leave a meeting or interview on this note. If a potential employer uses this line, ask them when!  If they cannot provide you with a specific time frame for a follow up, ask when it would be appropriate to follow up yourself.  Again, don’t be afraid to schedule your follow up.
  4. Keep Calling: If you were unable, or afraid, to schedule a follow-up, wait three days and follow-up yourself. Again, many job seekers shy away from this tactic, but remember that the interviewer or HR manager is busy as well and a gentle reminder is not harmful.  Be respectful whenever leaving a message and always be consistent.

Getting that all-important call back can be difficult and waiting for it can be even worse. Instead of leaving it up to fate, take matters into your own hands.  Be proactive by scheduling follow-ups.  Be polite, but assertive, when asking for a follow-up call or meeting.  Don’t ever be afraid to follow-up yourself.

Waiting is an unfortunate part of finding employment. If you are like me, waiting for anything can be excruciating. You can make this waiting a bit easier to endure by learning how to make an employer call you back.  The peace of mind a scheduled follow-up can give you will make the waiting game much easier.

Many executives who are looking for an opportunity to receive their Masters degree without impinging on their current responsibilities are turning to Executive MBA’s. These unique programs offer professionals a curriculum that fits neatly into their professional world.  The programs are designed for a group setting and in most cases, a group of students will begin and complete the program together.  The short length of the program, typically two years, is also advantageous.  Still, many professionals wonder about executive MBA’s:  are they needed and what’s the value?

Executive MBA programs are similar to more traditional MBA programs. Courses include advanced finances, accounting, management, statistics, information systems and marketing.  In the competitive world of upper management and executive positions, obtaining an advanced degree is often a necessity.  The nature of the executive MBA makes this possible for those who otherwise would not be able to.

People who are attracted to the Executive MBA program are varied. Most share a desire to grow professionally and who do not have the time to complete a more traditional program.  In most cases, EMBA candidates have ten or more years experience in their given field.  Individual schools may have a variety of other requirements as well.  These may include professional recommendations, GMAT scores and a complete professional resume.

Obtaining an executive MBA can have a large impact on your career. The degree represents another level of experience and sophistication.  Advanced knowledge and new skills allow you to expand your roles.  In a world that is competitive on a global nature, this experience and these skills can be invaluable. For self-employed individuals, the degree is equally useful.  It will provide you with yet another platform from which to launch future business endeavors and successes.

Price may be a concern when deciding whether to obtain your executive MBA. It is true that the cost can seem quite steep; however, the price of the degree is an investment in your future. In some cases, it may be possible to defray the cost by working with your employer.  Even if this is not the case, understanding the inherent benefits of an MBA and an executive MBA in particular, often makes the price of the degree well worthwhile.

Determining if an executive MBA degree is ideal for you is a personal decision. The price and time commitment often seem steep.  Still, the benefits and the potential for future job growth and potential increased earnings often make working towards this degree a simple decision for many professionals.

If you are considering working towards an EMBA, discuss the matter with your employer. Doing so may help you defray some of the costs.  It will also give you an idea of what benefits you can hope to reap upon completing your degree.

There has long been a debate regarding references and whether or not to include them in a resume. Many applicants are uncomfortable providing the information up front, preferring instead to simply state that references are available upon request.This is an outdated method and I always encourage clients NOT to write that on their resume, rather bring them with you to the interview. Whichever route you choose, it is critical you be aware of what information you are providing to potential employers as well as their ability to check that information. In other words, check your references because you never know who does.

References typically fall into two categories: personal and professional. Professional references are preferable as they give a potential employer the ability to confirm our work history. Personal references work well for those with little work history. The important thing to remember is that both types of references can be checked.

When offering references, be sure to carefully follow these three guidelines.

  1. Provide complete contact information: When providing a reference, be sure to provide complete contact information. This includes full names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses (when possible). Also include employment dates, job titles and supervisor names. Failure to provide complete information gives the appearance of attempting to avoid the references being creference information for people who do not know they are being included in a reference list. It not only puts them on the spot but failure to call and receive approval can mean providing bad contact information or worse…a bad reference.
  2. Know what they are going to say: When asking permission to include a former supervisor or co-worker on your reference list, take the opportunity to ask what they will say. While this may seem awkward, ensuring a positive review or reference is the best way to control this portion of the application process.
  3. Lastly, some states or companies place restrictions on what information a former employer can provide. In many cases, they are allowed to only confirm employment dates and salary history. It is always a better idea to use a reference that can provide applicable information about your work history and ethics. Be sure to confirm that your references can provide additional information to potential employers.

Some say that not everyone checks references, but I think today with such easy access via internet and reference checking companies, most do. The point is, you don’t know. Because of this, it is critical that all reference information be accurate and positive.

References can be an excellent way to personalize your work history. Carefully select the people you would like to use as references and confirm with them what they will say so you are aware of the information that potential employers receive. By properly preparing them, being honest in your answers and the information you present, you have a much better chance of presenting the best possible ‘face’ to potential employers.

For any newbies to social networking, it might seem unusual to use a site such as Twitter to find a job. However, many people can find the right contacts on Twitter to help them to find a job–but it can be a little complicated in 140 characters or less? When using Twitter as a job search tool, it is best to keep content as neutral and professional as possible. Remember, as with anything you write and post online, once you “tweet” it’s out there FOREVER.

The first thing to do when starting up a Twitter account is to choose your user name wisely and word your 160-character bio in such a way that it becomes more searchable, or Google-friendly. Your bio should share a little bit about your career so that when other people look up that keyword, you can gain more traffic to your profile. An avatar will also make your profile more appealing. Choose a professional portrait or a simple picture in which you’re facing the camera and you are not accompanied by anyone else.

A basic rule of thumb when it comes to using Twitter as a job-search tool is to keep content favorable to anyone who might stumble across it – your tweets should balance your work and personal life. If you are looking for a job, you can tweet about the types of jobs in which you are interested. Also, you can tweet about your hobbies or interests so that employers get an idea of what you are like outside of work.

In that same vein, keep in mind that there are many recruiters who actually look to Twitter for new hires because it gives them something of a real-world perspective of what that person is like. In an extremely competitive economy, where plenty of people are qualified for the same job, many companies look at an applicant’s personality to see whether they would be a good fit in the company’s culture. In this case, it helps to follow these recruiters for the companies in which you are interested.

On a similar note, you can connect with these recruiters and industry leaders and show them your interest in their tweets. You can either “retweet” to forward their tweets along or you can address them directly by putting the @ symbol before their user name. By keeping in touch with these people, you will have access to the latest information in your industry. Therefore, when you are called in for a job interview, you will have that extra edge over other candidates by speaking confidently about your knowledge of their field.

Like any real-world networking situation, a Twitter presence cannot be expected to build overnight. It takes time and patience; however, by connecting with the right people, you might very well find your way to your dream career. The key to a successful Twitter profile is keeping it professional with a glimpse of your personality, hobbies and interests outside of work as well.

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