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How To Make Your Name Professionally

Think of yourself as a product on a grocery store shelf: Do you want to be a popular, sought-after brand like Kraft or do you want to be a generic, lifeless brand?

In many ways you’re viewed in your professional life like a brand in a grocery store. Without a shiny packaging, you’re just another cheap commodity that anyone can buy anywhere. But as a powerful and recognizable brand, you can charge more, appear more valuable, and ultimately get chosen over the generic guy next to you.

Much like popular brand names don’t appear overnight, making a professional name for yourself and raking in huge checks doesn’t happen incidentally. It takes a ton of work and requires you to leverage every possible outlet to get your professional name out there. Fortunately, making your name professional doesn’t require a huge marketing budget or a big name PR firm. You can do all the hard stuff yourself.

Survive The 3-Month Crunch

You’ve surely experienced it yourself, the sudden production rush that occurs during the fall season, making the months of September, October and November a living hell in most offices. In some sectors, this labor-intensive period is due to the approach of Christmas and all its commercial opportunities. In others, it’s got more to do with the fiscal year coming to an end. Regardless of the cause, it’s best to prepare for the difficult times ahead. Here are six tips on how to survive the 3-month crunch without damaging your career or your personal life.

Pace yourself

Don’t procrastinate, but don’t try to do everything at once either. You wouldn’t want to burn out on the first week. To survive the 3-month crunch, schedule your workload with care, making sure to accomplish a reasonable number of tasks every day, and be mindful of your peak hours. Most workers get a bit groggy in the late afternoon, so use this period to handle repetitive assignments that demand little attention. You should also leave yourself time, especially in the last month, to deal with unforeseen complications. You can bet there’ll be more than a few.

How to Reinvent your Career

If you work long enough, something along the way will probably happen to you. You will work with a co-worker who drives you crazy, a boss that doesn't get you, or an employee that keeps you up at night.

It's all a part of the working world.

At other times, things will happen to you that will throw you for a loop. Your job is eliminated. You are fired without reason. Your industry goes away. This is when it's important to take stock in who are you, what you want out of life, and where you want to go next.

So, how do you get yourself back on track; find your passion and purpose again, and reinvent the next phase of your career? You soul-search and ask lots of questions.

Helping Teenagers Find Their Dreams

Q. What, if anything, can parents of high-school-age children do to guide them toward their true professional calling?

A. Some parents are apt to put pressure on their children about choosing a first career, thinking that it will determine the course of their lives. Yet as adults, we often reinvent ourselves more than once, moving among professions. So whatever your children choose now won’t necessarily define their future.

“I see many teens who jump on the first career track that someone recommends just to avoid being directionless, only to find themselves miserable a few years later,” said Tamar E. Chansky, a child-and-adolescent psychologist in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., and author of “Freeing Your Child From Anxiety.”

Ms. Chansky says it’s best to have conversations with teenagers about their strengths and interests, rather than a specific career, and then to listen to what they have to say. “If the parent is putting out all the ideas, you wind up with the parent’s dream, not the kid’s,” she said.

Gossip Your Way to a Great Job

Titillating as it can be, gossip is something most people realize they should avoid, especially at work.

But there is an upside to gossip. In a recent survey by staffing firm Randstad USA, more than half of the respondents felt gossip was useful to job hunting. Gossip can also help you identify new opportunities within your own workplace. And even the most casual office chit-chat can give you insight into your work, your company, and even your own job security.

Follow these tips to gossip to your career advantage:

1) Rethink your idea of gossip. Work gossip isn't just about who's dating whom in the office. Any piece of information about a company or industry can be used to your advantage. Reading journals and websites specific to your industry may give you useful information about which employers are growing their workforce. Or hearing a rumor that free snacks in the break-room are a disappearing perk can be a heads up that your organization is doing some belt-tightening.

How to Stay Positive, Proactive, and Productive

Are you stuck in a rut and anxious to leave a job you used to like?

Perhaps after receiving several promotions, you're spinning your wheels in a role where there's little room for further advancement. Maybe your company's corporate culture has taken a turn for the worse, or a new manager is placing unrealistic demands on you. Feeling unchallenged, underappreciated, and overextended are just a few of the many reasons people become disillusioned with once-appealing jobs.

The problem in a tough economy is that it can be extremely challenging -- and time consuming -- to secure a new position that fits your career goals. With countless other professionals looking for employment today, you may discover you need to remain with your current employer until conditions improve. If this is the case, use the following strategies to make the most of a bad situation:

'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.

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.

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