Use this A-to-Z list of ca­reer­re­lated ad­vice to kick-start your job search or pro­vide ideas to keep your search mov­ing in right di­rec­tion.

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - JOBS & WORK - — Marco Buscaglia, Ca­reers

A: Ac­com­plish­ments: What have you ex­celled at in life? When you fig­ure it out, tai­lor your job search to the tal­ents that have helped you achieve your great­est ac­com­plish­ment. If that ac­com­plish­ment in­volves pop­ping your shoul­der in and out of its socket to a room­ful of cheer­ing fans, try again. If you’re aware of those strengths that helped lead you to past suc­cesses, you can shift your fu­ture plans to use those strengths to your ad­van­tage. B: Ben­e­fits: Not sure you should ac­cept a job be­cause of pay that’s lower than you ex­pected? Keep in mind that your salary isn’t the only form of com­pen­sa­tion. Don’t over­look unique ben­e­fits like on­site day­care, flex­i­ble hours or tu­ition re­im­burse­ment. Still, money talks. Don’t be fooled into think­ing that bring­ing your dog to work is worth tak­ing a job that pays you $7,000 less than the place across the street. C: Co­or­di­na­tion: You need to re­search, net­work, im­prove and ed­u­cate. Find­ing a job isn’t about sin­gu­lar things, like the per­fect resume or a strong in­ter­view. It’s about all of the as­pects of your job search work­ing well to­gether. Make sure you pay at­ten­tion to all facets of your quest for a new ca­reer.

D: Di­rec­tions: Want to be on time for your in­ter­view? Then get clear di­rec­tions to your in­ter­view lo­ca­tion. Get­ting lost on the way doesn’t make for ca­sual prein­ter­view con­ver­sa­tion. It only re­flects on your lack of prepa­ra­tion and your mi­nor­league pro­fes­sion­al­ism. E: Eye con­tact: If you’re in­ter­view­ing for a job, it’s es­sen­tial to main­tain eye con­tact at all times. OK, don’t be creepy. If your in­ter­viewer takes a phone call, don’t stare her down. But when you’re talk­ing, eye con­tact shows that you’re pay­ing at­ten­tion and are ac­tively en­gaged with your in­ter­viewer. Ask any re­cruiter: A job prospect who glances out the win­dow ev­ery 20 sec­onds ex­presses a lack of in­ter­est in the po­si­tion. F: Facts: Are you sure you want to claim you were the man­ager of that lo­cal pizza place in Ma­comb, Illi­nois, when you were a stu­dent at Western Illi­nois Univer­sity? Af­ter all, one phone call and your sta­tus as an un­kempt pizza de­liv­erer who drank Sprite di­rectly out of the ma­chine could be re­vealed. Tell the truth on your resume and dur­ing your in­ter­view. Small claims can be fact-checked fairly quickly so just stick to the facts. G: Goals: You can deny the touchyfeely as­pects of goal-set­ting all you want but it’s im­por­tant to have a blueprint for your life. Set short-term and long-term goals. Where do you want to be in one, two, five and 10 years in terms of salary, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and po­si­tion? Use your an­swers as a roadmap for your cur­rent and fu­ture job searches. H: Hand­shake: When you meet with prospec­tive em­ploy­ers or in­ter­views, of­fer a firm hand­shake. It may seem corny but your hand­shake is in­dica­tive of your con­fi­dence and ini­tia­tive. Don’t of­fer a limp hand when some­one ex­tends his or her hand to you. Be as­sertive, be pro­fes­sional and give a hand­shake that would make your grand­fa­ther proud. I: In­di­vid­u­al­ized: While you may have an over­all strat­egy you use when look­ing for a new job, it’s im­por­tant to change how you ap­proach cer­tain em­ploy­ers. Tin­ker with your resume, change up your in­ter­view an­swers and make the small ad­just­ments that may di­rectly ap­peal to a po­ten­tial em­ployer. J: Join: Sur­round your­self with suc­cess­ful peo­ple in your field. Sign up for pro­fes­sional or­ga­ni­za­tions — and not just

on­line. If you at­tend meet-ups with oth­ers in your field, you’ll en­counter men­tors and peers who can help ad­vise you on ca­reer strate­gies. You also may be able to take classes and sem­i­nars through the group, which will help strengthen your skills. K: Knowl­edge: Be well in­formed for your job in­ter­view. Do some re­search and not just through the in­ter­net. In ad­di­tion to find­ing out a com­pany’s mis­sion, its re­cent his­tory, its goals and its pri­or­i­ties, talk to some­one who works there. A quick con­ver­sa­tion with a cur­rent or for­mer em­ployee might pro­vide you with some un­ex­pected-but-es­sen­tial in­for­ma­tion. L: Lo­ca­tion: Where you work im­pacts your phys­i­cal and men­tal health. Do you need to work within 15 min­utes of your home? Do you want to spend two hours stuck in traf­fic each day? Be sure to con­sider lo­ca­tion when look­ing for a new job.

M: Money: As much as we are afraid to ad­mit it, the almighty dol­lar still dic­tates the job search. Are you be­ing paid what you’re worth? Job ad­vis­ers often frown on lat­eral ca­reer moves but what’s so lat­eral about the same ti­tle and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties if you’ve just in­creased your salary by $10,000?

N: Net­work­ing: Yes, the cliché is true — it is who you know. Cre­ate a list of peo­ple who can help you find a job, find them on LinkedIn and make a con­nec­tion. Re­mem­ber not to ask your con­tacts for a job di­rectly. In­stead, ask them if they have any ad­vice or sug­ges­tions about your job search.

O: Or­ga­nize: When you in­ter­view for a job, have any rel­e­vant doc­u­ments with you in case your in­ter­viewer needs more in­for­ma­tion. She finds your work with Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity in­ter­est­ing? Well, here’s a let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion from the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s lo­cal li­ai­son. P: Prepa­ra­tion: Be sure to brush up on your in­ter­view pre­sen­ta­tion. Don’t ex­pect to im­pro­vise — come pre­pared. Prac­tice in front of a mirror and tape your­self giv­ing an­swers be­fore­hand. Lis­ten to your re­sponses and ad­just your voice, tone and speed ac­cord­ingly. Q: Ques­tions: Al­ways come pre­pared with a list of ques­tions about the com­pany, the job and the po­ten­tial for ad­vance­ment. Don’t ask about va­ca­tion time or how long em­ploy­ees get for lunch. R: Resume: It should sum­ma­rize your ex­pe­ri­ence and il­lus­trate why you are an ideal can­di­date for the po­si­tion. Read it over, send it to oth­ers to check and con­tin­u­ally re­vise it un­til it re­flects the per­fect sum­mary of your past, present and po­ten­tial.

S: Sav­ings: It pays to have a sav­ings ac­count set up in case you find your­self out of work un­ex­pect­edly. Even a pay­check or two worth of sav­ings can help you bridge the fi­nan­cial gap un­til you find a part-time job or be­gin col­lect­ing un­em­ploy­ment.

T: Thank you: Never over­look a thank-you let­ter — both an email and a hand­writ­ten, snail-mailed note. The dig­i­tal-print, one-two com­bi­na­tion reaf­firms your in­ter­est in the job and shows po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers a level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism they’ll ap­pre­ci­ate in a can­di­date.

U: Up­date: Up­date your resume, even if you’re work­ing full time and adore your job. You never know when your sit­u­a­tion may change. Up­date it and any on­line pro­files when you score a ma­jor victory at work as well. You’ll de­scribe your ac­com­plish­ment in more vivid terms when it’s fresh in your mind. V: Vol­un­teer: Whether you’re work­ing or not, find a way to help oth­ers with one of your ob­vi­ous or hid­den tal­ents. You’ll make new con­tacts, sharpen your skills and — most im­por­tantly — do your part to make the world a bet­ter place. W: Whin­ing: Don’t do it if you’re out of a job. Your friends and fam­ily mem­bers know you’re out of work. If you want to dis­cuss it with them, fine, but don’t sit there and com­plain. That goes for on­line as well. Whiny peo­ple on­line? In­suf­fer­able.

X: Xenophile: Ac­cord­ing to the dic­tio­nary, a xenophile is some­one who em­braces other cul­tures. Ap­ply this phi­los­o­phy to your work­ing life. Find ways to ap­pre­ci­ate com­pa­nies, em­ploy­ees, meth­ods and styles of work that aren’t in your com­fort zone. You may find out some sur­pris­ing things about your­self. Y: Yawn: Get more sleep. Not just be­fore an in­ter­view, ei­ther. There’s a ton of in­for­ma­tion on sleep so there’s no ex­cuse for not know­ing its draw­backs and ben­e­fits. Get more sleep each and ev­ery night. You’ll be health­ier, more alert and less ir­ri­ta­ble. Z: Zeal: Find a line of work that gives you a rea­son to get up each morn­ing — some­thing you’re pas­sion­ate about. Don’t set­tle for some­thing you ab­so­lutely hate when you can do some­thing you truly love. You can also find some­thing you like, and then slowly shape your ca­reer un­til you end up do­ing some­thing you love. But let’s face it, “lik­ing” a job is a great place to end up. There’s a bal­ance be­tween enjoying what you do and be­ing able to pay the bills. Find your sweet spot.

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