24. May 2007 | Show Originial
When I turned 18, I ventured off into the world, excitedly awaiting the arrival of my first job. Overly optimistic, I assumed that I would get hired at the first company I applied to. When this proved to not be the situation, I assumed that there were simply no more available jobs. Little did I know that I was going about it the wrong way. Instead of searching the Web and narrowing down my search, I aimlessly roamed the mall, applying at any and every store that would give me an application. It took almost two weeks before I found a job using that method.

But now, Job Heaven is at our fingertips. I can use any search engine and type in "customer service," and be overloaded with an array of available positions. Sure beats walking around the mall for three hours, looking like a lost puppy. Ignorance is most definitely not bliss, at least not in this situation, and the power of knowledge can not be overlooked.

So, picture this: Sitting at your computer on a Saturday afternoon with a Blended Frappuccino® from Starbucks, watching re-runs of Seinfeld from the comfort of your own home, as you apply to at least 15 different companies--all looking for people just like you. I don't know about you, but I wish I knew this much at 18.

23. May 2007 | Show Originial
It's wedding season, and for me, that sends shivers down my spine. It's a mixture of frustration and happiness for my friends...and the excitement of getting to dress up! We're going to establish very early on that I very much like to get dressed up. For any occasion. At any time...and yes, watching the "Grey's Anatomy" season finale counts as a reason to get dressed up, trust me. There is just something about forcing your body into a collar and tie...and vest, and pin stripes, and suit jacket, and wing-tip shoes, and...oh, am I the only one who does that?

All of this black-and-white-tie-affair business got me thinking about how we all dress in the workplace, and better yet, how we present ourselves even before we get the job. We all want to maintain our individuality, almost stubbornly--especially if you're still green behind the ears and entering the workforce. Believe me, I'm guilty of pulling some fashion faux pas in my day in the name of individuality. We won't even talk about when I couldn't figure out what size waist I actually wore...or where my waist actually was. Yeah.

But, it's a general rule of thumb that you should always dress for the position you want. Meaning, you could be the lowest totem on the totem pole, but you should still come in looking like a million bucks every day--because we all want that million bucks. So I thought I'd give some examples of do's and dont's that I've encountered over the years. (Names withheld to prevent nominations for What Not to Wear, of course.)

First, guys, your pants should always fit. This means they should be at your waist, and it shouldn't appear that you're housing all of Texas in them, or getting ready to host the next summer Olympics. The good thing about men's fashion these days is that you can even get by without a belt. That's right--I'm totally advocating suspenders. Okay, so Urkel wore them, and so did Gallagher...but trust me, they keep your pants up, which your boss will like. You have no excuse for your pants not at least appearing to fit now. Something that even I'm guilty of is wearing the wrong shoes to both interviews and on the job...oops. I know it's hard for others not to see how rad your shoes are, but if your boss can't see himself in your shoes then don't wear them! This means no tennis shoes, canvas slip-ons, or those new Reebok Pump Omni Lite Metallic numbers that you've been keeping in your closet for just the right occasion. Go with dark dress shoes, in good condition, shined, primed and ready for your boss to admire him or herself as they offer you your new fantastic job. Dress conservatively, sharply, and ready to make bank--and you will.

Ladies, let's talk about you for a minute. Yes, you wake up and you're fabulous, but there's some stuff you need to watch out for, too! Guys can't always be the only offenders. I know Mac had a super sale over the weekend, but please don't wear it all at once when you go in for that interview or to work on Monday. Besides being super uncomfortable for you (I can only imagine what it must feel like to not be able to feel the breeze on your skin), a lot of people are terrified of clowns. Be respectful of that. Seriously. All kidding aside, too much makeup can be a serious distraction for your prospective employer, and we want to be sure you get across just who you are and that you're the prime candidate for the job. I have a confession. I am addicted to fragrances. I am so thankful there's no longer a Sephora in my local mall, because I didn't have a paycheck thanks to them for about four months, not too long ago. I know there's a veritable cornucopia of fragrances Chanel so generously decided to mix just for you, but don't bathe in it! The point of a bath is to wash the day before away, not to announce your arrival 15 minutes before you even get there.

In general, you should look clean, manicured, and ready to be on television every day when you go into work, or when you land that interview. The point is to keep the focus on whom you are as an individual so your boss or prospective employer will know that you are exactly the right person to fill or be in your position, not to distract from that. So hang up those Jnco's (oh man, remember those?), put away the Cadillac Red lipstick and hook on the suspenders and get to it.

Don't make me get all Stacy and Clinton on you.

17. May 2007 | Show Originial
I still consider myself relatively new to the whole day-job thing; I can't even tell you how hard it is for me to swallow the concept of wearing a tie on occasions to anything other than a wedding or holiday mass! Which isn't to say I don't like getting all spiffy for work. There is a lot to be said for walking through downtown and well...okay, pretending everyone might be looking at you.

Having said that, there's also a lot to be said for the experience and opportunities summer and seasonal jobs literally bombarded me with growing up (and okay, even when I was trying not to grow up). I think I worked almost every possible summer job: fast food, animal shelter, movie theater, lifeguard, clown for the elderly, and almost every single one of those little ditties gave me the tools I needed to do the things I do today...with the exception of the clown job. That was just fun.

You can find unexpected opportunities to fill your summer and beyond just about everywhere you look. Summer gets people moving, which means more opportunities for you to get your face out there in the working world! A few friends of mine moved in some really unexpected directions when they took on some interesting summer jobs.

Rod was maybe a sophomore in college when he took on what he thought would just be a really cool (literally, it was basically a huge freezer) summer gig for his first job ever: cashier at a flower shop. His main duties included talking to sweet old ladies, soccer moms and his two doting managers. After a while he got to be a little creative and arranged some flowers for clients. One of which ended up being a higher-up for the Virginia Opera. They ordered a ton of bouquets for one of their productions...unfortunately, they didn't know much about plants, like most of them need light in order to survive. Rod suggested they instead go with some ferns and pretty sustainable flowers that could last for a few days without a ton of light, instead of the potted arrangements they had. He made up some pretty inventive arrangements with the help of his managers and the Opera loved them! The cool summer gig Rod had found was turning into a pretty awesome opportunity--as his clientele increased, he was able to network with more and more people for more and more opportunities. And as it turns out, the Opera was so impressed with him that they hired him on seasonally as the Opera's on-set floral designer! It wasn't a big freezer, but he got used to it pretty quickly.

Another friend, who forces us to call him Little D, got his sales experience at a really early age. He's a pretty small dude, so when he went Christmas tree shopping with his parents when he was 13 and tried to pick the 6' tree up by himself, the owner of the lot thought he was so tough (read, so cute) that she offered him a job selling trees with her on the lot after school. He was young, and so he made mistakes--like forgetting to tie the trees to the roofs of people's cars, which ended up in a lot of trees not making it very far down the road. Forest relocation is what he called it. But his mistakes gave him plenty of customer service experience, often making deals with his forlorn tree-less customers to purchase similar trees even after paying for one tree already. I'm not suggesting you go out and dupe some poor saps (ha-ha! Get it?) out of their money for the sake of a holiday, but it was then that Little D realized he could really use his skills later in life as a high-energy real-estate broker. Those Christmas trees set him on a path that really gave him the right stuff to get ahead in life.

The point is, when you're out there looking for a summer or seasonal job, don't limit yourself to the same ol' burger joint, movie theater or construction site. Start with your interests, dip your feet in the water and dive in head first into the search for a job that's really going to satisfy all of your needs and lead to something fantastic!

10. May 2007 | Show Originial
If the idea of summer jobs calls to mind classics like babysitting, lifeguarding, or manning the counter at your favorite fast food joint, keep in mind it?s a whole new world out there. More than ever it?s a job seekers market, and the hourly and skilled worker rules when it comes to seasonal work. Here are some suggestions for non-traditional summer jobs available now that may be able to lend a hand to your future career track:

1. Personal Trainer at the YMCA of the East Valley in Redlands, CA

2. Skilled Trade Jobs in for Condustrial, Inc. in North Charleston, SC

3. Part-Time Recreation Therapist & Senior Aide for the City of Pembroke Pines in Hollywood, FL

4. Operations Front End Manager at Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Altamonte Springs, FL

5. Taxi Driver for Gator City Taxi in Jacksonville, FL

6. Warehouse Order Selector for Reinhart Foods in Warren, MI

7. Package Sorter for ABX Air in Wilmington, OH

8. Appointment Setter for The Gutter Genie in Alpharetta, GA

9. Bus Driver for First Transit Fairfax County in Landover, MD

10. Field Service Representative for Cox Communications in Herndon, VA

02. May 2007 | Show Originial
Ah, summertime jobs. I remember one of my first was working as a receptionist at a portrait studio. I was so excited to finally be earning some money that was not based on chores at home--especially since it was the summer before I turned 16. The only problem was, the day before I started this new job I was in an unfortunate boogie boarding accident in which my face hit the ocean floor. Ouch! To make matters worse, I had sunburned skin that peeled off quite easily. Needless to say, I looked somewhat similar to the Bride of Frankenstein (but not nearly as pretty) on my first day, but at least I wasn?t the one getting my portrait taken!

As summertime is almost here, we are celebrating the season with a new component of Employment Guide 2.0. By simply clicking on the Summer Jobs icon in the upper left corner of the www.EmploymentGuide.com home page, you can now search for hourly and skilled seasonal work. This will take you to a landing page featuring cities that are currently offering seasonal work. From there it is easy to navigate through various local opportunities by clicking on the company icon of your choice. Just be wary of how you spend you recreational time, especially if your new job is in customer service!