6 Mistakes that Could Get You Fired

No one wants to even imagine getting fired from their job, so most people assume that as long as they remain cautious while on the clock, losing their job is outside of the realm of possibilities.  After all, if you’re not embezzling money or getting drunk at work every day, it’s safe to say you’ll be around for a while, right?  Not necessarily… there are a few seemingly lesser mistakes that might land you in the doghouse.  Read on for some blunders to avoid:

1.  Yakking on the Phone

It’s okay to take a few personal calls during the workday (although it’s important to abide by proper office phone etiquette).  But when your personal life starts to conflict with what you should be doing at work, you may be asked to take a hike.

2.  Internet Browsing

We’re all guilty of checking our personal email from time to time or even of taking pause to read a funny article.  However, spending excessive time surfing around on websites that are irrelevant to your job will likely get you into trouble.  Try to save Facebook or online shopping for after work, and never visit adult sites during working hours.

3. Lying During the Hiring Process

This goes back to when you were originally brought on – even if you’re now a stellar employee and a perfect fit for the job overall, if a company finds out you lied in order to get the job, they may still terminate your employment.

4. Gossiping

Gossip can hurt company morale, and you never want to get caught up in spreading rumors.  Stay away from idle chatter that could potentially endanger your paycheck.

5. Searching for Another Job

Never get caught searching for another job while you are on your current one.  Being terminated may seem less drastic if you plan on leaving anyway, but imagine how much more difficult it will be to have to address this new issue during interviews.

6. Dating a Coworker

Companies have different policies regarding dating coworkers, so make sure you know what your company rules are.  You don’t want to get involved in a fling that will cost you your date money.

These are just a few pitfalls that may cost you your employment, so whether you believe it’s justified or not, steer clear of these transgressions during your workday.  A general rule to abide by is that if you have to think twice about something before doing it, make sure to proceed with caution!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

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7 Ways to Turn Up the Heat on Your Job Search

 

Don’t take a vacation from your job search simply because it’s summer. By acting against the myth of a summer slowdown, you can heat up your job search and scorch the competition! You may be surprised to find that there is often less competition because the rest of the pack is acting on the outdated assumption that companies don’t hire in the summer. Follow these tips to put some sizzle in your summer job search.

1. Don’t Let Vacation Mentality Sabotage Your Search

A job search is daunting and summer is a traditional time for vacations or time away with families. However, if you succumb to temptation and set your job search aside, you will lose valuable momentum and are likely to miss opportunities. Job seekers tend to follow a traditional academic schedule and put their efforts in full force in the fall. Getting a jump on the competition by maintaining a steady effort over the summer puts your name at the top of the list for interviews now.

2. Don’t Miss Important Calls

With mobile devices, you can still make yourself available even if you do take a few days away from home base. Just remember to be professional when answering your phone and get in the habit of excusing yourself from the fun to take those important calls. You can continue your phone and email follow-ups from the road and get right back into your job search schedule upon your return.

3. Business as Usual

Recruiters and hiring managers continue to operate on typical business schedules during the summer months. Though scheduling interviews may be more complicated because of staff and search committee vacations, the timing may actually work to your advantage. Hiring decisions may be made more quickly than at other times of the year as staffers scramble to complete deadlines before their summer break. Hiring in the summer often contributes to an efficient business cycle by allowing training time before a busy fall season.

4. Attend Seasonal Community Activities

Summer is a prime time for festivals, fairs, and other types of community events. Attend as many of these as you can to network and spread the word about your job search. The casual nature of these events often gives you the opportunity to approach important hiring contacts that may be less accessible at other times of the year. Be prepared with a business card in your pocket and your updated resume ready to be sent out. You may even use these casual contacts to build a network of like-minded job seekers for support and sharing information about available job leads.

5. Update Your Resume and Online Profile

If your job search has slowed, summer is a great time to revamp your resume by removing older entries and adding industry keywords that highlight your strengths and make your resume pop during electronic scanning. Be certain to post the updated version of your resume to websites. If you notice any skill gaps during your resume review, summer is a great time to build skills with a workshop, training, or independent study. Classes and workshops also offer great networking opportunities.

6. No Shirt, No Shoes, No Interview

Summertime is not an open invitation for flip flops, khakis, or bermuda shorts. Regardless of the heat outside, be professional! Don’t blow an interview by being too casual. Pull out your best professional wardrobe for an interview or when dropping off your resume. Make the same choices for professional attire when interviewing via Skype as well.

7. Stay Current

Maintain subscriptions to online sites to remain abreast of the latest job openings as well as company expansions in your region or industry. Although the competition may seem fierce online, many of those likely candidates may be unable to attend an interview. Your diligent monitoring of varied sites will put you at the top of the interview list because of your qualifications and availability.

Update your resume, expand your network, and maintain your momentum by staying consistent with the job search. Heat up your chances of landing an interview during the final days of summer while the competition takes a vacation!

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Up Close and Too Personal – What to Leave OFF Your Resume

A resume serves as a reflection of who you are:  it contains your education, your illustrious work experience, various ways to contact you…  But then, a resume should never really reflect who you are.  We’re talking about the personal details – the little things that make you the fabulous person you are today, but that should really have no bearing on landing a job.

So whether you’re just starting to apply to jobs for the first time, or are a seasoned job search veteran, here’s a refresher course on things that you should never include on your resume:

Religion

If you’re not applying to a job at a religious institution, keep your views off the page.  It’s irrelevant to the job, and hiring managers are not allowed to take it under consideration anyway, so there’s really no place for it.  If you volunteer at a religious organization and you consider this experience especially relevant to the job you’re applying to, you can mention it briefly.  However, if you must include it, keep the organization anonymous and focus on your role instead.  For example:

Volunteer Instructor – once a week, taught a classroom of thirty children, ages 10-12.

Also, keep in mind that anything you mention in the resume is likely to come up during the interview, so include this information at your own risk.

Politics

Again, if you’re not going into politics, leave it off.  These sorts of matters are controversial in the first place, are irrelevant, and if anything, just take up valuable space.  Like with religion, if you consider your political experience extra valuable and relevant to a particular job – and just can’t bear to take it off the resume – avoid mentioning the organization name, and be prepared to discuss further during an interview.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual preference may be a key component to who you are, but it has nothing to do with how well you can perform on the job.  More than this, even though discrimination in the workplace is illegal, it still exists in some places, so don’t take your chances.

Age

Though you may be the perfect fit for the position, ageism in the workplace certainly exists, and you may be eliminated from the pool prematurely if you are perceived as being too old or too young.  If age is an issue, be cautious with including specific dates on your resume as well (most hiring managers can do the math).  So if your 30-year college reunion is around the corner, you might want to keep that graduation date to yourself and also leave off some of your early, less relevant experience.

Health and Disabilities

The law protects persons with health issues or disabilities, but again, you should leave this information off of your resume.  It’s irrelevant and opportunity for discrimination exists.

Criminal Record

The general rule with a criminal record is to be upfront and honest with a hiring manager, but the resume is not the place for this.  Wait until the interview to bring this up.

While you want to give the hiring manager a good idea of who you are, there’s definitely a point where you can become too personal in what you decide to disclose.  Always aim to flaunt how great you are on your resume – just be a bit discerning while you do it.

 

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Overcoming the “Under-Qualified” Stigma

Investment Banking Analyst, Chicago, IL
Marketing & PR Internship, Miami, FL
Vice President, Philadelphia, PA
Sr. Consultant, Boston, MA
Quantitative Analyst Intern, New York, NY

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It’s happened to everyone: you come across a job description for a position that’s right up your alley. The job is interesting and looks like something that you are completely capable of and excited to do. And then your eyes wander to the “Qualifications” section… You don’t have a Masters degree, 5+ years of experience, or a Series 7 license. So what do you do? Scrap it and move on? If you’re lacking many of the key qualifications that appear mandatory, then indeed you’re probably better off allocating your time and effort applying elsewhere. But if you’re only a few qualifications away from that ideal candidate description, you might be selling yourself short if you give up before even trying. Read on for a list of tips on overcoming the “under-qualified candidate” stigma.

Emphasize Your Skills

Ok, so maybe you don’t hit every bullet point with your qualifications. But don’t give up hope just yet. For many positions, the “Qualifications” section is merely a list of attributes of the ideal candidate. This doesn’t mean that they’re unwilling to consider someone who meets only some of the requirements. So instead of dwelling on what you haven’t done, focus on what you’re great at. Many skills that you acquire throughout school, volunteer work, or another job are transferable to other positions, and can be used to replace any prerequisites that you might not meet. Highlight these skills or experiences in your cover letter, and explain how they will help you excel in that specific job. One important caveat: don’t waste your time applying for jobs that you’re completely unqualified for – for example, if you’re looking at a position for an Associate Attorney at a top law firm, you better have a law degree.

Go the Extra Mile

If you come up short on knowledge or experience, emphasize to an employer that you are willing to work harder than any other candidate to brush up on your skills and become well versed in the subject matter. Don’t underestimate the value that hiring managers place on a strong work ethic. Include in your resume and cover letter examples of your ability to learn quickly. If you possess many of the other qualities of the ideal candidate, you may find that your enthusiasm to learn and contribute may very well land you the position.

Network

Networking is a great way to gain introductions into a company. Networking can also help you establish someone on the inside as an individual who can vouch for you. When you come across that tricky job description, mention to your contact that you’re planning on applying, and explain why. Be honest, and address any points that might weaken your application. Companies want to hire individuals they can trust. If someone with a good history at the company is able to put in a good word for you, it will further bolster that company’s confidence in bringing you on.

Volunteer or Intern

If you find that no matter how you try to spin it, you just can’t land the position you want based on your qualifications, offer to volunteer your services for free. This isn’t to say that you should ever allow a company or an individual to take advantage of you. But if you volunteer or intern for a company, you’ll gain valuable experience that you can parlay into a future opportunity at the company. Get in, work hard, and show them that they need you. Even if doing so doesn’t lead to another prospect within that company, you’ll gain important knowledge and skills that will qualify you for a position similar to the job you had hoped for at the outset.

It’s easy to look at a job description, think, “There’s someone out there who’s better,” and quickly abandon the effort. But have a little faith in yourself – play to your strengths and commit to working even harder than the next guy, and you may find yourself more qualified than you think. So take a chance – you’ve got nothing to lose – and you may find yourself one step closer to your dream job!

All the best,
The Doostang Team

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Tips for Relocating without a Job

Investment Analyst, Colorado Springs, CO
Administrative Intern, New York, NY
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Simply picking up and leaving is romantic when you’re young, but as you come into your own and have bills to pay and mouths to feed, it’s a lot more difficult to work out the logistics of a move. At Doostang, we advise you to always look before you leap! However, we also recognize that sometimes circumstances may dictate that you have to leave on short notice, and without a job lined up.  If you thought finding a job in your own hometown was difficult, finding employment in a new one is even tougher.  You won’t know as many people and you will have a myriad of other things to juggle with the move.  Here’s some advice on how to lessen the burden of finding a job in a new town:

Do Your Research

Before you pack up and leave, try to do as much research as you can about the city where you are moving.  Figure out what the hot industries are, which companies call the shots, and whom you might be able to contact to help get you in the door.  The more you get to know your new city, the less likely you are to feel like a deer in headlights once you get there.  Try to gain your bearings prematurely, and you’ll be primed to hit the ground running.

Grow Your Network

Yes, networking is tricky enough from the comfort of your hometown, but it’s important to reach out a little bit before your big move. Try to leverage the network you have to help you meet people in your new city.  Make it a goal to get in touch with a short list of new people, so that when you get to your destination you can immediately start to grow your social network. The more people you know, the more opportunities you will have access to, and the more individuals you will have on your side looking out for your best interests.

Reach Out to College Career Centers

Oftentimes, college career centers will be happy to help recent graduates who have moved to a new city.  Check to see which ones are around you, and stop by for an informational meeting.  Your own college may also have a reciprocity program with another school in your new area, so look into that as well.

Consider Temporary Work

If nothing seems to pan out, don’t be afraid to take on temporary work.  This is another great way to establish connections and get your foot in the door with your new city’s job industry.  Don’t take just any old job out of desperation, but find something for the interim that keeps you busy, gives you face time with people, and perhaps teaches you a few new skills.

Have a Solid Plan

You should put together a plan for your new life in the new city, including your living expenses and how far your money will take you while you don’t have a job.  It’s also important to bear in mind an exit strategy if worse comes to worst.

Making a big move is exciting and presents a multitude of opportunities.  It can be stressful as well, but do your best to plan ahead and do the leg work before – as well as after – you get to your destination, and you will certainly lighten your load.

Bon voyage,

The Doostang Team

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Get Paid for Your Work – Negotiating a Freelance Contract

Associate, Dallas, TX
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During a time of unemployment, some individuals make finding a full-time job into their main pursuit. After putting in long hours and hard work, something ultimately comes through and the task is done. Then there are those people who work for themselves. While freelancing allows great latitude and more control over what you do and the time you spend doing it, it also confines you within the realm of constantly seeking out work and renegotiating your terms of employment. There is more job security, as you control your own destiny, so to speak, being your own boss and in charge of seeking out new projects. And yet, there is less security, for there is no way of telling how long that lag between the end of a project and the beginning of a new one will be. Read on for a list of negotiating tips, so that you can ensure you get the most out of your freelancing experience.

Write it Down

First and foremost, whenever you negotiate a contract with an employer, be absolutely sure to put all terms down in writing. If you instead opt to commit to something verbally, you run the risk of having an employer change the terms on you, or conveniently remembering them in a different way. Write it down, and should troubles arise, you can take your documents to a third party and settle the problem accordingly.

Agree to a Price Upfront

When you discuss project details with an employer, it’s important to discuss compensation at the outset. Don’t wait until you’re halfway through the job to bring it up – by that point you might already be too embroiled in the work to easily get out of it if an employer refuses to compensate you properly. And never, under any circumstances, hand over work without first agreeing on the value of your efforts. If you turn over your work without first setting a price, you turn over all power.

Set a Date

Negotiate a date on which you will be paid in full – and write this down in the original contract. That way, you hold an employer accountable, and if they fail to hold up their end of the bargain, you can pursue the next necessary course of action. If you don’t set a date, you give the employer the opportunity to continue pushing off payment later and later, which keeps you in a state of limbo and prolongs an already unhealthy business relationship.

Procure a Retainer Fee

After you have set a price and a pay date, require that your employer pay you a retainer fee. This is an amount of money that an employer pays you upfront in order to secure your services. Even once you draw up a contract with an employer, you can still run into a tricky situation at the end of your business relationship: your employer may claim that you did not live up to the terms of your end of the bargain, or may lack the finances to pay out to you in the end. A retainer fee ensures that you do see at least some of the money for your work, regardless of your employer’s funds or their opinion on the quality of your work.

Understand the Time Commitment

It’s important to have as thorough understanding of the project as possible, at least to a point where you know how much time you will be spending on it. Why? Several reasons. Some people may wish to negotiate pay based on an hourly rate. If you originally underestimate how much time a project will take you, it may be difficult to go back and convince your employer of the time that the work actually took, and of how much you truly deserve to be paid. It’s also imperative to know how much time you need to devote to the project so that you manage your time well. Getting the work in on time is built into your part of the contract, and failure to do so may delay or nullify payment. Finally, understanding time constraints can be helpful so that you can convey this information to the employer. If you establish exactly how long you will be spending on a project with an employer beforehand, you can avoid having them demand superfluous work or hours from you throughout the process.

Understand the Project

A nice segue from the discussion on time commitment, you must understand the project you are undertaking, and so should your employer. If you are asked to complete one thing, make sure that this is the thing that you deliver in the end. This will help keep you on track, as well as lessen the likelihood that an employer will claim that you did not provide the work you were supposed to, thus ensuring that you don’t run into unnecessary issues when it comes to getting your paycheck.

Freelancing can be tricky – more often than not, you don’t have someone else advocating on your behalf, and there are many uncertainties that you run into working for a new employer every few days, weeks, or months. But freelancing can also be a lot of fun. Who doesn’t like being their own boss and changing the scenery every now and then? Just follow these simple guidelines and enjoy the ride!

Until next time,
The Doostang Team

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Doostang Success — My Dream Job after Just One Week

Crystal

Georgetown University ’10
Financial Analytics Generalist – Bloomberg L.P.

“For me, Doostang was an amazing resource because it offered two critical factors that helped me propel a successful job search: credibility and visibility.

I wanted to make my job search as efficient as possible, and I chose Doostang because it was recommended to me by a trusted and highly accomplished friend from a leading university and career, who was also a site member. So credibility was a big piece that got me started.

Every few days or so, for about a month, I re-ran a search based on my criteria, shortlisted promising jobs and companies, and took the time to apply at the end of each week.

Ultimately, I was contacted back by a great company for a cool role, and offered a job just one week later after several interviews. I realized throughout the interview process that this was a dream company for me.

That said – what I also loved about Doostang is that it let me manage my entire job search from a single online location, and its extensive database of high quality jobs enabled me to consider opportunities I wouldn’t have thought of applying to otherwise (including the one that I ultimately obtained).

I would particularly recommend Doostang to people who are in a similar situation I was recently in: open to a range of types of opportunities that will propel your career, and wanting immediate and efficient access to a tried and true job board and resource recommended by top graduates and professionals.

Doostang really opened up my eyes to the wide variety of opportunities out there, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome!”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Research Analyst – Powerful Financial Firm, New York, NY

Sales & Marketing Intern – Renowned Internet Company, San Francisco, CA

Investment Manager – International Private Equity Firm, Italy

Contract Consultant – Preeminent Research/Advisory Company, San Francisco, CA

Legal Administrative Analyst – Renowned Investment Firm, Chicago, IL

Search jobs on Doostang

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The Best Way to Answer “YES” to “Have You Ever Been Fired?”

Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
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For some, the question “Have you ever been fired?” can inspire a pit in the stomach when the answer to that question is “Yes”.  You may be among an unfortunate bunch who had a horrific experience at a company (or with a certain coworker or boss), ending in a not so ideal ending.  And whether your termination was your fault or not, it can continue to haunt you in your search for future prospects.  So what is the best way to field this tough issue?

Be Honest

First things first:  don’t lie.  It may be tempting to dismiss the topic altogether, hoping that the company you’re interviewing with never finds out – but what happens if they do?  If they find out during the interview process, you’re certain not to get the job.  And if they find out a few years down the line, no matter how great an employee you are, they may still decide to let you go.  A second termination is not what you want on your record, so do yourself a favor and be upfront and honest from the get go.  It’s much safer, and you’ll stress about if far less in the long run.

Provide Some Context

Explain the circumstances surrounding the incident.  If it was a conflict of interest, let the interviewer know.  If it happened 15 years ago, tell them that you now have a lot of distance from the incident and that your stellar work performance since then speaks for itself.  If it occurred in the more recent past, explain that you have learned quite a bit from the incident, but don’t spend your time making excuses.  Lay down the facts, and focus on what you’ve done since and will do in the future to demonstrate that you are a valuable employee who understands what it takes to be an asset to a company.

Don’t Give Away Too Much

While it’s important to be forthcoming in your response to this question, you also don’t want to spend too much time addressing the matter.  Keep the focus of the interview on what makes you the ideal person to hire, and spend as little time as you can conveying what the interviewer needs to know about that particular incident.  People who feel the need to defend themselves tend to over-explain, and this can portray lack of confidence and lead you down the wrong road.  Certainly stray away from speaking ill of your former boss or company, remaining as objective and succinct as possible.

No one likes getting fired and everyone wants to find a new job.  Don’t let one obstacle in your past set the tone for the rest of your career.  Concentrate on what you need to do to land your next job and on the reasons you’re a perfect fit for it, and the rest will follow.

Have a wonderful day,

The Doostang Team

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Doostang Success — My Dream Job in Venture Capital

Himani

UC Berkeley, 2010
Investment Analyst – Hercules Technology Growth Capital

“I ended up at Doostang after trying multiple job seeking platforms. The experience here was so much more interactive, unlike other places that felt like a black hole – sucking my applications with no response.

In contrast, at Doostang I was impressed by features like status notifications, which showed me when my resume was downloaded and which employer viewed it.

There is a great amount of credibility in Doostang, so I could be sure that my unique skill sets and qualifications would reach the right set of employers.

I’ve been ‘job watching’ for almost 2 years, and I’ve never seen such a relevant aggregation of specific ‘field-positions’ until Doostang.

Their investment management space in finance has the most updated and selective postings. And that’s how I landed my job at Hercules Technology Growth Capital. Doostang has been an ideal platform for me to end up at my dream job in venture capital.

Kudos to the team, and sincere thanks.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Finance Intern – Leading Capital Placement Firm, New York, NY

Sr. Marketing Analyst – Leading Ecommerce Retailer, Boston, MA

Start-Up Hedge Fund Operations Associate – Start-Up Hedge Fund, Manhattan, NY

Chief Executive Officer – Rising Nonprofit Educator, Charleston, SC

Entry Level Treasury Analyst – Top-Tier Financial Company, San Diego, CA

Search jobs on Doostang

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