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Keeping your Career Intact During Maternity Leave Since, for the most part, maternity leave in this country is not paid, the reality of returning to work after having a baby comes much sooner than it does in most countries. No one wants to return to absolute chaos after they have the baby. Cut down on the stress of going back to work by being prepared. The length of your maternity leave can determine the amount of stress you return to. If you are willing and able it is a good idea to work as long as possible. Of course, everyone is not willing and able. For those that need a longer leave, they should put some plans in place to make the transition back to work smoother. How long you are on maternity leave varies. However, if you plan on returning after you have the baby, you do not want to return to a totally chaotic situation. That means that you want to have the needs of your career in tact before you take your maternity leave. Nothing should interfere with your new addition to the family. While you are bonding and spending time with your newborn you do not want the stress of the office hanging over your head. Lay the ground work so that you do not have to worry about the office while you are away. If you are the boss, you have a lot more stress to manage. It is important that you leave a responsible and capable person in charge of things in your absence. Start training that person to deal with the aspects of your job that they will have to handle as soon as you know you are pregnant. Nothing is more annoying than getting “How do I…” phone calls when you are on maternity leave. If your job is massive, split the responsibilities between two employees. You do not want to split up the tasks among too many people because this can lead to confusion. Two should be the maximum. Be sure to leave things in order. If you are not the most organized person, get that way when you find out you are pregnant. While you are on maternity leave anyone should be able to walk into your office and find what they are looking for in a very short amount of time. If things are messy there is more of a chance for things to go wrong. If you are one of those women that needs to have an extended maternity leave because of pregnancy complications, don’t fret. Enjoy your time offer and relax but also, if you can, try to stay on top of what is happening in your career field. Take an online class and brush up on skills. If you are not sure you want to return to your 9-5, research a new career. The Internet has made working from home a very real and popular option. Search for a job that will allow you to stay at home but also bring in some income. Some jobs, such as Computer Programming, can fetch a pretty penny. Do some research and find out what will suit you best. Work part time until you are ready to have the baby. While some women are eager to take their maternity leave, others are not so excited about it. If that is the case, talk to your employer about working part time until you are due. Some women work until they go into labor. There is no need to do that if you are uncomfortable but if you are having an uneventful pregnancy and love your job, why not?

Get Noticed at your Job by Doing it with Flair Doing your job with “37 pieces of flair” may have entered the pop culture vernacular through the famous movie about life working an office, Office Space, but there may just be something to it. You might not need 37 pieces of flair, but doing your job with a little bit of flair and a lot of hard work is a great way to get noticed in the office and to move on to bigger and better things. How do you go about doing your job with flair? The first way to make sure you are doing your job with distinction doesn’t involve much flair at all – it simply involves doing your job and doing it well. Know exactly what your responsibilities are and attend to them every day. Don’t let any of the things that come under your job description fall by the wayside because you think they are unimportant. If you are unsure exactly what all of your responsibilities are, ask your boss for a meeting and discuss your job description with them. You will get noticed simply for your desire to make sure you are covering all of your bases and not letting any of your responsibilities fall by the wayside. Another way to do your job with flair is to add to the good morale in the office. Everyone has at least one person in the office that is like a black cloud hanging in the air. Gloom, doom and pessimism don’t really have a place in the office. Even if you feel like you are heading for a fall with the way a certain project is coming together or because someone on the team is not pulling their weight, look for solutions instead of standing around and complaining about it. When your attitude can help people stay on track with their work and not dread coming into the office every day, you are bound to get noticed. If you really want to add some flair to your work performance, learn how to manage your time and avoid procrastination. Time management is one of the biggest problems all employees face, and when you don’t manage your time efficiently, you are not being as productive as possible for your boss, which never wins you any fans among the management team. If you find yourself always rushing through your work at the last minute trying to meet your deadline, try keeping a journal of all of your activities at work for a few days. When you see how much time you spending doing things like talking with co-workers by the water cooler and surfing the net, you might see ways you can improve your work habits, so you can get things done well before the deadline is pressing down on you. Increasing your productivity by managing your time is a surefire way to earn some praise from the people over your head. Another way to add flair to your work performance is by being a team player. It can be tempting to thing that to have flair you have to go out on a limb and try to do everything yourself, but that is not the case. Employers don’t like to see an employee trying to hog credit for things that everyone has worked on together or trying to one up everyone else on the staff. When you work together with the team, you show your employer that your interests are with making the company a success and not trying to advance you own personal agenda. If your employer understands that you see the bigger picture of making the company succeed, you are sure to get noticed and rewarded.

Let your Resume Speak Volumes for that Next Big Job Before you even get through the door of any job interview, there is already one document that has done the talking for you – your resume. A good resume can mean the difference between getting the call of the interview and waiting by phone, and a well written, thoughtful resume can make you stand out over and above other applications with similar skills and work experience. Let your resume give you the edge on that next big job by following a few simple tips. When you sit down to write your resume, you need to plan it out before you start typing. There are two main formats for a resume: the chronological format, in which you simply list your job history, starting with your most recent or current job and moving backwards, and the functional format, in which you highlight your skills and experience rather than specific jobs and specific employers. The chronological format is definitely the most common, and many employers prefer this kind of resume, but choose the format this is going to show off your skills in the best light. If your work history is a choppy and a chronological format resume would only draw attention to that, use the functional format. The key is to choose the format that will give you the best chance of getting noticed for the job and to stick with the format throughout your resume. No matter which resume format you choose to use, the top of your resume should always include your name, contact information and work objectives. Name and contact information is pretty straight forward, although experts do recommend that if you have a “gender neutral” name that you include a helpful “Mr.” or “Ms” to clear up any confusion. Your work objectives should be your career goals. For instance, if you want to manage a small team of sales people, then say that, so your potential employers know that you are moving in a certain direction with your career and not simply apply for jobs willy-nilly. After your work objective comes your work experience. List your jobs in reverse chronological order. Instead of simply creating a bullet pointed list your work related tasks, look for a way to frame all of your responsibilities so that they sound like you showed leadership and problem solving capabilities. For instance, if you were in charge of keeping the expensive accounts in order, say that you were in charge of troubleshooting monthly expense account records, saving the company hundreds of dollars every month. If you have a few blips in your work history, be clear about what you were doing in the downtime. If you were raising children, traveling, or in school, say that you were. If you weren’t really doing anything, put as positive a spin on things as you can without lying. Never leave gaps in your work history unaddressed on your resume. After your work history, it is time to list your education credentials. If you didn’t finish a degree, say how much college work you completed and highlight any coursework relevant to the job. If your college degree or post grad work is in progress, say when you expect to be finished. This is another place where gaps matter. If there is a gap in your education history, again say what you were doing in that time, referring back to your work history where appropriate. You can overcome these gaps as long as you don’t pretend that they don’t exist. Round out your resume by listing any awards and professional memberships you may hold. Don’t get into your hobbies unless they are specifically related to the position for which you are applying. Personal details like religion and race have no place on your resume and you are not required to disclose your age. Instead, let your experience do the talking.

A Woman’s Appearance Do’s and Don’t for the Job Interview Proper dress and interview attire is one of the first and most important things that you have to work with when you are invited to an interview. Whether you are trying your luck on a position of CEO or as an entry-level worker, the person hiring you will make a great deal in out of the clothes you are wearing. Appropriate clothing is one of the first things that an interviewer will see of you and if you are off with it, you do not even have to talk much anymore. For a woman the dress to impress factor is way more complicated than for a man. A man can always choose to wear a business suit and tie, while there is not quite such an equivalent for the female clothing market. To give you a good idea about what women’s clothing articles you should wear when going for an job interview, here a short list: blazers, closed-toed shoes, dress pants, dress shirts, dress coats, women’s suits, skirts, hosiery and turtlenecks. All these clothing articles should be in solid colors and patterns. It is recommended to wear such colors as black, blue, navy, gray, brown and white/beige for shirts and tops. Colors and patterns need to be subtle and should not give the interviewer the wrong idea about you. Bright red attire might suggest that you are wilder or need to be the center of the room and this is not one of the traits that an employer wants to see in their employees. For women it is also very important that they do not wear to sexy cloths. No deep cut shirts that are exposing too much of the chest area, as this could suggest sexual tendencies to the future employer. Going along with this point is the skirt lengths. Should you decide to wear a skirt to your interview, keep your skirt lengths long enough to reach the knees or surpass them. Anything shorter is seen as naïve or even worse. Especially important when wearing a skirt to an interview is to wear tights and similar hosiery. Hosiery should be plain and without patterns. The colors should be complementing your business attire but not be too contrasting. When getting ready for your interview, besides the apparel you are wearing, the way you look is just as important. How about your hair? Make sure your hair is neat and do not style for a party. When putting on make-up, tread lightly. Do not use provocative colors such as way to red lips, especially in pale skin types. Make-up needs to be subtle and needs to emphasize your business attire. Most women do like their fingernails adorned with nail polish. When getting ready for an interview, it is important that your fingernails are neat and clean and when using nail polish, the color needs to complement your attire. Bright red is one of the colors that is not recommended to be used. Rather a clear, golden or darker subtle red color is more appropriate. It is also important to remember that anything that distracts from you as a person while being in an interview can take away the chance to land the job. Whenever you are going for an important interview it is recommended to have friends, family or maybe even colleagues check out your attire. Often times you might be wearing something that is not appropriate or does not fit right and in the excitement and rush of getting ready you might have not even realized it. Also, keep in mind that you need to feel comfortable in what you wear to be confident and secure when talking to the interviewer.