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Career Advice:
Choosing a career that's right for you is a difficult thing to do. Make no mistake - most people at some point in their lives need some career advice. Whether it's from a professional career coach or from a career advice site such as this, or even from friends and family - sometimes you just need a help along with things! Our career advice section has free information and advice for job seekers.

Our free career advice section contain information on how to progress your career as you want and not how circumstances or situations dictate! Take control of your own future and find some career advice that is relevant to you!

• Create a good impression in your new job!
• Maximising your free time at work
• Salary Negotiation - is that your best offer?

Create a good impression in your new job!
Congratulations! You've just been appointed to your new job.
Now the real work begins.

• It is important from the beginning to convince your new employers that, in selecting you, they have made the right choice.
• Demonstrate that you are highly-motivated and eager to get started.
• Discuss your duties and responsibilities; and establish your priorities. Set challenging, but achievable, short-term and long-term goals.
• To enable you to fit in quickly, find out as much you can about your company and its organisational structure.
• Identify the most successful and highly valued people in the firm and analyse the reasons for their success. Use them as your role models. Associate with colleagues who are perceived as ideal employees.
• Prepare carefully for meetings with your boss. Try to anticipate questions and be ready with positive and considered responses. Make sure you are always well-informed. Keep up to date on current issues.
• Learn all you can about problem-solving techniques.
When you are given a problem to solve, tackle it enthusiastically and systematically.
• Establish a reputation as a good team player by developing good working relationships and cultivating friendships with as wide a range of people in the company as possible.
• Participate fully in your company's training programme; and avail of all opportunities to extend your knowledge and develop work-related skills.
• Learn from your own mistakes and the mistakes of others.
• Do more than is specified in your contract. Volunteer for assignments that will help raise your profile within the company.
• Complete all work on time. Don't make promises unless you are sure you can deliver.
• Develop a reputation for honesty, loyalty and integrity.
• Since your job description will form the basis of your performance appraisal, it is important to review it regularly.

Maximising your free time at work
There are always times in every job where you have nothing to do. For some it's a bonus - a break from the routine - for others it's dull and boring.
This article will look at how you can make best use of your free time at work (or skive and get away with it!).

Is there anything you should be doing right now?
Be honest - do you really have spare time just now or is there something you can be getting on with?
We all have stuff that doesn't have to be done right away, so sometimes we put things aside and have a break, don't we? Or is it just me?
Motivating yourself to start that task you have been putting off can be difficult, so here are a few tips to get the ball rolling:

  • Make a list of what you need to do.
  • Break each task down into sub tasks - you will find these much more manageable (and less daunting!).
  • Just start from the beginning and work your way down the list. Before you
  • know it, your task will be complete!
It is always difficult to get started on something new if you have no particular interest in the task at hand. But, you have to remember that regardless if it is your job to do or not, then it has to be done.

So you do have free time after all?
OK, you have done all that you need to, so what now?

Well, it really depends on your own work ethics. Do you want to progress your career and skills or do you just want to pass the time until the end of your shift?
No-one is judging you here - you need to do what you are comfortable with - it's your life after all!

I don't believe in imposing ethics and morals onto individuals (organisations are a whole different story though, but that's for another article!).
You have to do what you are comfortable with.
But please don't mistake comfort for complacency!

It is all too easy for you to sit back and do nothing while your own ambitions remain unachieved. I know - I did it for way too long!

You can do two things with your time:
  • Work at achieving your ambitions.
  • Or not.

  • Work towards your goals.
    You may already be heading along your desired career path or you may be way off it. Either way, you can use you free time to help yourself along the way.

    If you are in a situation at work that you are happy with, ie, you like the company you are working for and are in a job you like, then you should do what you can to be the best you can be.
    Whatever you do, you will show those around you that you are dedicated to your job.
    If you are not in your ideal job, then you can use the time to do what it takes to get your ideal job:
  • Find out what the requirements are.
  • Match these to your own skills.
  • Identify areas that need addressed.
  • Work on them!

  • If you find yourself in the position of not being in a job you like within a company you don't want to work for, then all you can do is look for a better job!
    I found myself in many temp jobs that left me with nothing to do and I used some of the time to look for other work. Generally temp employers are fine with you applying for other jobs if you having nothing else to do.

    But, if you work in a permanent position, you may want to be a bit more discrete!
    Some things you can do:
  • Surf the Internet! Find jobs, training courses, discussion forums, etc.
  • Work on your CV - update it.
  • Print / photocopy your CV.
  • Type up covering letters.
  • Email your CV to recruitment agencies.
  • Check out industry news.
  • Basically, do what you can to keep up to date with your job search!

    Ok then, you're not bothered about your career - you just want to pass the time.
  • Fair enough! Here a few tips (some are easier to get away with than others, depending on you job!):
  • Surf the net if you can. Be aware that it is fairly easy for most companies to monitor your surfing habits and time spent online, so don't go overboard.
  • Discussion forums. Some forums allow you to customise the look of them - if you were so inclined you could make them look like your companies intranet.....(don't get excited, very few forums let you do this - ours doesn't!).
  • Read the news. Justify it as research.
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts (pressing Alt and Tab cycles you through open applications - great for quickly hiding something if your boss walks in). Solitaire? Battleships?
  • Email your mates - unless your boss is right behind you, you won't have a problem. Again a lot of companies monitor emails, so be careful about what you send out and what your mates send you!
  • Maybe have a think about what you would rather be doing and how you could do that for a living!

  • Is that your best offer?
    Dealing with the salary question is often the most difficult interview question facing job seekers.
    Most job seekers feel understandably anxious, embarrassed and uncomfortable when the time comes to discuss salaries. Advice such as "never bring up the issue of salary, let the interviewer say it first," is rarely helpful if you don't have any idea of how to respond when the topic does come up.

    The Top Twelve Tips to Negotiating Salary in an Interview:

    Be prepared. Before going to the interview, it’s crucial to research the company and salary range for the position you are applying for persons with your background and experience. Have a salary range in mind and be prepared to discuss these figures once salary negotiation has come up.
    Know your absolute bottom line. Know what your minimum salary range must be to support the life you want to live. So decide, before you go into an interview, what salary you want to earn, what you need to live on, and what you will be willing to settle for.
    Market yourself. Emphasise the reasons you should get the offer. Document your skills and accomplishments, and be prepared to talk about them.
    Never discuss salary until you have a job offer. If you do, you could price yourself out of a job before the employer is convinced they need you. If pressed by the interviewers, tell them you’re flexible and would be happy to discuss salary when you learn more about the job.
    Get the employer to disclose salary before you do. Don't be the first to mention salary during the interview. Let the employer bring it up as many times as necessary until you feel ready.
    When questioned about desired salary, the best response is one that returns the employer's ball back into his court: You can say, “what kind of salary range are you working with?” or “Well, I’d like to make as much as other employees with my qualifications.” or “What is a typical salary for this position?” Another strategy is to avoid a specific salary and name a pay range instead. Say: “I was thinking of a salary in the Tk20,000 to Tk.350,000 range.”
    Do not disclose past salary. Once your past salary is on the table, your negotiating edge goes out the window. By not disclosing exactly what your current salary is or exactly what it would take to get you to leave your current job, you’ll force a potential employer to make its best offer.
    Don’t forget the value of benefits and perks when negotiating a salary. Sometimes the salary offered may seem low, low enough for you to turn down the job. Benefits and perks can add up to 40 percent to your basic salary. Some benefits are fixed, but others are negotiable such as stock options, bonuses, employee discounts, training, holiday time and sick leave.
    Make your salary discussion a friendly experience. Be amicable when discussing salary. You should make the employer feel that you are on the same side and working together to find a package that would satisfy everyone's needs.
    Don't say yes to an offer right away. Be enthusiastic and appreciative when you get the job offer, but ask for at least 24 hours to respond. This gives you time to get over your initial joy at being selected. If you feel the salary is insufficient, express your concern to the employer when asking for time to consider the offer. You'll find out right away whether the salary quoted is set in stone or is flexible.
    Get it in writing. Once you have accepted a job offer and salary level, be sure to get it in writing.
    Declining an offer. If you decide not to accept the offer, make sure you leave on the best of terms. Treat every offer seriously and graciously. You can never tell who you may be doing business with in the future so don’t burn any bridges.
    Never underestimate the importance of negotiating salary in an interview. Employers tend to prefer those candidates who already earn a greater income. While these candidates cost more to employ, their higher incoming salaries are assumed to reflect greater competence, initiative and achievement. So it's in your interest to pursue income increases at every legitimate opportunity.

    Firstly, you immediately increase your income each time you succeed.
    Secondly, you make yourself more desirable as a candidate for your next position.
    And lastly, you increase your future income; the higher your salary/benefit package going into a new job, the better the offer a prospective employee must make to attract you.
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