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As a resource to all current and prospective students, Allied Schools, Inc. has developed this blog to provide relevant information to students, job-seekers and professionals alike. Use this blog as your "career guide," turning to Allied Schools for industry updates, career trends, and job search advice. We thank you for visiting!

You've completed a successful job interview. What's the next step? You send a "thank you" letter thanking the interviewer for his or her time. This simple act can give you an edge over other interviewees. It's a common courtesy that allows you the opportunity to reiterate your interest in the job and keep your name in front of an interviewer.

Some tips for creating an effective "thank you" letter:

* Make sure to send your note within 24 hours of your interview.
* You can either handwrite or type your thank you letter. Tailor it to fit the company's culture. Decide if it's more appropriate to send a formal typed letter or a personal handwritten note.
* If you choose to e-mail your letter, you should send a hardcopy too. E-mail is a fast way to get your letter in front of the right people, but a mailed letter is the best choice.
* Your writing reflects you - make sure it is error free. Check the letter for grammar, spelling and punctuation.
* Make the note personal. Don't just copy your note from an old letter you have on file. Reference specific things you talked about in the interview.
* If you interview with a few people, send a note to each one. Although you can use the same letter for each, try to tailor a sentence or two to that specific person
* If you expect a decision soon, find a way to get your note in the interviewer's hands fast - consider using e-mail, fax, or hand-delivery.

A "thank you" letter can send an important message about you. It shows that you are truly interested in the job and want to project a positive image. It is the perfect opportunity to remind your potential employer of your qualifications and how you would fit in with the company. It also gives you the chance to correct any mistakes you might have made or add anything you might have missed.

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Remember those tedious handwriting classes in school? Dot your I's and cross your T's. The same attention to details that your teachers and parents drilled into you during your elementary school years is the same attention to detail you need when preparing your job search paperwork. First impressions last a lifetime; be sure to give your future employer the impression you want to convey.

If given the opportunity to type rather than handwrite, take advantage of it. Job applications often ask tedious and mundane questions. No matter what the content of an application, take the time to fill it out correctly and neatly. If you cannot type out the application, be sure to print instead of handwrite. If you make a mistake, start over. Do not cross out or white-out a mistake. Nothing looks worse than a job application with eraser marks all over the page and white-out globs inside the application fields.

As for the infamous resume, don't be afraid of this often debated document. If you ask five different people how to write a resume you will probably get 10 different opinions. Writing a resume is a very subjective process. It is your job to make sure your resume conveys your skills and achievements in a clear and concise manner. Remember, if you do not tell your interviewer about your successes, they have no way of knowing what you have done or what you are capable of achieving. Nothing makes a poorer impression than a resume containing errors. Double and triple check your resume for errors and omissions. Spell check your resume, hand check your resume, and then have a friend check your resume. It is difficult to check one's own work, so don't be afraid to have someone review it for you. A resume should be the finest piece of written work you can produce!

Paying attention to the details will benefit you during your job search and throughout your entire career. Employers respect employees who take the time to guarantee the quality of their work. Paying attention to the details shows your willingness to go the extra mile. You want to be the person the director turns to for important projects. A manager's greatest asset is a team member who can get a job done in short order with 100 percent accuracy!

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It may come as a surprise, but most small-business owners say that attitude is more important than a solid set of job skills when it comes to looking for new employees. They're not saying that they don't consider job skills important; however, first and foremost, they want their employees to have positive attitudes.

You can probably relate. Nobody wants to be around someone that is negative or complaining all of the time. This ideal incorporates into the workplace. A positive attitude fosters a positive work environment. An upbeat employee is more likely to be productive, motivated and well liked.

How can you project a positive attitude?
Put on a happy face - You can't help but feel good when you smile. It is also contagious. When you smile, your co-workers will smile and so on. There will be positive energy in the office.
Focus on the task at hand - Don't think about what went wrong yesterday. We all make mistakes. If you give your work 100% of your attention, you will have the concentration to do a good job.

Stop the complaining - We all experience things that we do not agree with or do not like. However, instead of lingering on the negative, choose to forget about it and move on. A positive front will go further to advance your career.
Create an inviting work space - You can create a positive work environment by keeping things organized. Clutter often leads to frustration and missed deadlines. Also, add a favorite photo or keepsake.

Keep a positive outlook - Look at each day as a new challenge. By focusing on the positive, you will be more likely to get excited about work. Think of all the possibilities the day has to offer.
A positive attitude is important, but it isn't everything. There are many qualities that add up to a successful employee. Remember to practice good work habits, follow directions, and use competent communication skills. It is also essential to dress suitably, use appropriate behavior, and demonstrate good job skills and knowledge of work operations.

Remember that a good attitude can get you ahead, while a bad one might stifle your chances for success.

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A resume is the first thing a potential employer sees when you apply for a job. This simple piece of paper represents you and your employment history. It can determine if you get called for an interview or overlooked for another candidate. Considering this importance, you should make sure that your resume makes a good impression. You've created a resume before, but there might be additional tips that you didn't know. Use this helpful advice to get your foot in the door:

-Include a clear and concise job objective. Make sure to highlight this at the top of your resume. Give potential employers a clear idea of your professional goals.

-Modify your resume for the role you are applying for. You should tailor your resume to match the type of job you want. Change the objective and emphasize relevant skills. You don't want the main focus of your resume to be on experience that has nothing to do with the type of job you want.

-Make sure you have relevant job experience. You need to have experience in the type of job you are applying for. Volunteer to get the skills you need, or highlight your existing skills and illustrate how they apply to the new position.

-Include 10 to 15 years of work experience. This can help shorten the length of your resume and provide the most relevant work experience. If you have important experience beyond those years, you can mention it in your cover letter.

-Don't include hobbies or personal information. Unless the hobby or information is relevant to the type of job you are seeking, you shouldn't include it on your resume.

-Use action words to describe your duties. Pick strong verbs to explain your work history. Words such as "managed, maintained, budgeted, performed, and exceeded" are good ones to use to describe your duties.

Make sure you get the interview you want. Review your existing resume and make sure it adheres to the guidelines above. It might make the difference of receiving a phone call or getting passed over in favor of a candidate with a better resume. Even if you are the best choice, you are only as good as your resume.

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Are you being adequately compensated by your employer? Believe it or not, more than 50% of Americans believe that they are underpaid. Salary is one of the most important factors to consider when accepting a job. Whether you already have a job or are seeking a new position, you can make sure that you get a salary that fairly represents what you are worth.

You can prepare yourself by:

Getting the right experience -- Do you have the right training and credentials? Make sure that you are qualified for the position that you want. You can support your claim for a higher salary by being a well qualified candidate. Get the skills that will give you an extra edge.

Conducting market research -- Do you know the appropriate salary range? It is extremely important to do your homework, so you know what other people in similar occupations earn. Use the Internet and resource books to research the salaries by professions and geographic regions. You will be prepared when asking for a raise or receiving a job offer.

Knowing what you want -- Do you have a specific salary in mind? It is important to have a firm idea of the salary you want to earn. Use the research you get to determine a suitable and fair salary based on your experience, skills, geographic area, etc.

Negotiating the right salary -- Did you know you have some bargaining power when it comes to your salary? You don't always have to accept the first offer. If you feel that you are entitled to a higher compensation, you should negotiate your salary with your current or future employer. Sometimes it is helpful to start with a higher salary, so that you can be sure to get what you want when the negotiating begins.

A salary is one of the most important factors when it comes to employment. It's the reason that most of us work in the first place. Equip yourself with the information you need to successfully negotiate the salary or raise you deserve. Remember to research salaries for the career field and the geographic area you're interested in. If you are prepared, you will be able to get the results you want.

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