'Accomplishments' to Leave off Your Resume

In today's competitive job market, you need to show hiring managers that you can make an immediate contribution to a new employer. Including your biggest professional successes in the "Accomplishments" section of your resume is an effective way to do just that.

But keep in mind that any achievement you cite should be a) truly noteworthy, b) relevant to your current career goals and c) relatively recent. Far too often, job seekers miss the mark. For instance, you're unlikely to impress prospective employers by highlighting the fact that you were a finalist in a local pageant held in 1982 -- as one real-life job candidate did.

Following are more examples from resumes collected by Robert Half International that feature "accomplishments" that aren't worth mentioning in your resume, as well as advice for crafting statements that will catch a hiring manager's attention:

Continue Your Education on the Boss's Dime

Education. Nursing. Business. Telecommunications. IT. What do these fields have in common? For starters, once you get your foot in the door, you've got a great shot at getting your employer to pay for advanced studies, which will ultimately lead to a bigger paycheck.

Just ask Maria Sanchez of Miami. While Sanchez was working as a bilingual customer service representative for T-Mobile USA, the company paid for the remaining tuition credits necessary to earn her bachelor's degree in communication with a minor in marketing from Florida International University in Miami. T-Mobile even granted her two months unpaid time off (complete with health benefits) last year so she could participate in a summer abroad program in Germany focused on marketing.

"My degree has opened doors for great opportunities," Sanchez says. "I was able to get additional responsibilities as I advanced with my curriculum's courses. In addition to the outstanding training in customer service I received at T-Mobile, this leadership experience allowed me a smooth transition into the communications field."

Training Secrets for Easy Career Switches

Has your job gone stagnant in a flat economy? Perhaps you've reached the earning ceiling in your profession or you've specialized in a career that offers little flexibility. Today's employers have gotten more demanding of their workers, expecting everyone to handle greater duties than those for which they were originally hired.

If you're feeling left out, it may be time to consider enrolling in a college degree or certificate program that offers a quick, smooth transition to a relevant career.

Professionals who work in health care, education, or technology already know that in continuing their education or career training, or by picking up a new certification or related degree, they can shift toward management and higher earnings. Many employers even provide funds for continuing education or tuition reimbursement on the back end.

Let's look at career training or degree programs that can build bridges between where you're stuck, and where you want to be.

4 Workplace Peacekeepers Who Get Attention

Furloughs, layoffs, burdened bosses, and stressed coworkers: Tension can stifle your office and kill productivity. But if you can defuse that tension, you may also be making yourself a valuable employee, even if you're not the manager.

"Being the office tension manager can be a wonderful reputation to have," says corporate trainer Marlene Caroselli. "Every time you resolve a conflict you really enhance your own skills."

Consider these four types of tension tamers:

The Charmer

"They know the exact moment to insert humor that breaks the tension at work," says Kathi Elster, coauthor of "Working With You Is Killing Me."

The charmer doesn't crack one-liners or riff on the boss's toupee, though. Instead, she:

  • Focuses on policies, not people. "It could be a lot of fun to make fun of a mean boss, but it doesn't cut tension because it has a dark edge and and it could get you into trouble," said Elster's coauthor Katherine Crowley.
  • Tests the office humor quotient. "We work with a high-tech company where all the staff have piercings and tattoos," said Crowley. "Their tension-cutting jokes are going to be very different than the jokes at a bank."
  • Renames it. Reframe furloughs as "funloughs" and say it lightly, with confidence that everything will work out.

5 Myths About Dream Jobs

The dream job: Most people long to have one and spend years in school or working their way up in pursuit of one.

But what is a dream job? One that fulfills your every need and always makes your life wonderful? And is there a dream job for everyone? Hiring experts agree that dream jobs are within everyone's reach, though not every minute at your dream job will be blissful.

Read on for the truth about dream jobs and some tips for how to get as close as possible to your own dream job.

Myth 1: For every person, there's just one dream job.

Reality: There are tens of thousands of different types of jobs. Chances are good that you'd thrive in any number of them.

One step closer: Look at the job you've been happiest in, and think about the core qualities of that job and what made you feel so good about it. This experiential knowledge along with the results from a free career test can help you sort out your dream job options and figure out next steps.

Should You Keep Your Salary a Secret?

You share a lot with your coworkers over time: Projects. Lunches. Office space. Cocktails. Family photos. Birthday cake. But, even after many years of working together, should you share the details of your salary and compensation package?

No, says compensation expert Dick Dauphinais of Strategic Compensation Partners. "We all know employees talk, and things can never remain totally confidential," he says. "But an outright exchange of salary details probably isn't the best idea."

Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe

When companies have different employees on the same job and one of them is paid differently, many unfairness issues surface. "It can happen in any 'open shop' that differentiates pay for any reason (seniority, performance, etc.)," says Dauphinais. You could run the risk of alienating valued colleagues if they learn you earn more for what they perceive to be the same job.

Dauphinais, who has more than 30 years of human resources experience specializing in both the compensation and benefit areas, instead urges organizations to focus on structure. "I am a big fan of sharing the compensation 'structure' and all the components that dictate how employees progress through that structure with staff members."

Where the Jobs Will Be Next Year

Where will you be in 2010? With an economy on the mend and renewed optimism towards job creation, many are considering upgrading their education and job status. With the right education, you could be among the successful job seekers in 2010.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listed its occupations with the largest number of total job openings due to growth and net replacements from 2006 through 2016. Check out a few of the jobs that made the cut, and find out how you can use career training to secure a new position.

Career #1: Registered Nurses

This popular health care career tops the list with an amazing amount of projected growth. Over a million new jobs for registered nurses are expected to open up through 2016. And unlike some medical careers, you don't need to work through years of medical school; some registered nurses earn an associate's degree. The BLS reports that registered nurses earned mean annual wages of $65,130 in 2008, making nursing a caring career with real rewards.

Ceiling Busters: 4 Paths to Career Advancement

Hitting a career plateau can be unsettling and disappointing. You know you've hit a plateau when you've gone as far as you can in your job and you find it unchallenging and well below your earning expectations.

Continuing education can be a real tonic. By adding a certification or advanced degree in your field, you can become more competitive for advancement or find fresh interest in a profession that has gone stale. Online career training or college degree programs can take as little as a year, while some educational pathways take a little longer. But the flexibility of online learning means you can meet your work commitments or family obligations while injecting fresh energy into your professional life.

If you love your field, take a look at these fast-growing careers and advanced training that can boost your challenges, responsibilities, and earnings.

Part-Time Jobs, Full-Time Pay

Who says the way to a healthy bank account is putting in overtime? Offering flexible scheduling and hourly pay high enough to yield a full-timer's salary, these jobs could be your ticket to fast cash.

Translator

Cameron Parker is perhaps the only recent college grad who isn't worried about a slumping economy. That's because he earns $85,000 a year working 10 to 15 hours a week translating medical documents and a novel under one of his former college professors.

"You don't need a college degree to break into the field, but it helps in terms of networking and getting involved in the translation community," says Parker, who holds a bachelor's degree in French from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.

While Parker's salary edges on the higher end of the spectrum -- SimplyHired.com reports that the average hourly wage is $24 -- fluent speakers who specialize in critical needs languages like Chinese, Hindi, Korean, and Arabic can earn more. To break in, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that candidates need fluency in two languages and most hold a bachelor's degree, though not necessarily in a language program.

Is It Too Late for a Career Change?

Career changes come in many varieties. Some people are forced to change careers when their employers downsize or go out of business, while others may choose to leave their field in order to pursue a new interest. Regardless of what prompts the switch, is it ever too late for a career change?

When changing careers, an earlier switch can be easier. The earlier the change, the longer you have to grow in your new profession. Changing careers later in life may make for a more dramatic transition, but if it's something you really want, then it's never too late for a career change.

If you are ready to take the plunge, here are a few ways to approach a change in your career path.

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