How to speed up a career switch

How to speed up a career switch

A hot career could be closer than you think. Check out these 5 careers you could start with an associate’s degree.

Associate’s Degree Career 1: Medical Assistant

Want to work in the growing health care field – without spending years and years in medical school? Look into earning an associate’s degree in medical assisting.

Medical assistants are indispensible to the operation of health practitioner offices, often handling a range of administrative tasks including obtaining patients’ medical history and scheduling appointments.

Career Growth: The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment for medical assistants will grow 34 percent between 2008 and 2018.

Average Earning Potential: $29,760 per year.

Associate’s Degree Career 2: Computer Support Specialist

If you want a quick-prep career that will incorporate your love of technology, consider earning an associate’s degree in tech support or information technology, which could prepare you to pursue opportunities as a computer support specialist.

Computer support specialists help people with their computer problems. Some work out of call centers, where they try to help customers figure out what’s wrong with their computer. Others might be on the staff of a company or school.

Career Growth: The U.S. Department of Labor predicts the field will grow by 14 percent between 2008 and 2018.

Average Earning Potential: $49,930 per year.

Associate’s Degree Career 3: Paralegal

Love the law, but don’t want to spend years in law school? Consider studying to pursue paralegal career opportunities through an associate’s degree program.

If you’ve seen the Oscar-winning film “Erin Brockovich,” you know that a career as a paralegal can be far from boring. And while it’s not all Hollywood glamour and sticking it to the man, paralegals do perform many of the same exciting tasks as attorneys, such as researching cases and conducting interviews.

Career Growth: This exciting career is seeing equally exciting growth – the U.S. Department of Labor predicts the field will grow 28 percent between 2008 and 2018.

Average Earning Potential: $49,640 per year.

Associate’s Degree Career 4: Bookkeeper

Love to crunch numbers? Prepare to pursue bookkeeping opportunities by earning an associate’s degree in accounting.

Financial records are often the most important aspect for any business, and bookkeepers are the ones who make sure they are complete and accurate.

Career Growth: The U.S. Department of Labor calls this “one of the largest growth occupations in the economy,” and predicts that the field will add about 212,400 new jobs between 2008 and 2018.

Average Earning Potential: $35,340 per year.

Associate’s Degree Career 5: Real Estate Agent

If you want to pursue real estate opportunities, an associate’s degree in business is a great place to start, especially if the college or university you choose offers real estate-specific courses. Note: All states also require that real estate agents be licensed – and licensure requirements will vary by state.*

Real estate agents manage and negotiate the sale of homes, offices, and other buildings. They might help people who want to buy a house or help those who want to sell.

Career Growth: While it might seem like the housing market is still on the decline, job growth is projected to increase by 14-19 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Average Earning Potential: $52,490 per year.

New York Career Guidance

New York Career Guidance

Career guidance can be a critical intervention for residents of large cities like New York where the network of educational, training, and employing institutions is too complex and differentiated to be readily understood. Without informed help during the decision-making process, many city dwellers find it difficult to plan courses of action that will enable them to make the most of their career options.

As New Yorkers attempt to negotiate the interlocking educational, training, and employment structures, the mediation of guidance counselors may ease their progress into and through the labor market and help them to surmount institutional barriers that restrict their range of choice. Since career decisions are made by both youths and adults, an effective guidance system must aim to serve people of all ages.

A person’s career options are affected not only by his personal attributes, but also, to a significant degree, by the availability of family and community resources which can be devoted to the development of his potential and to the pursuit of his goals. “Guidance specialists share with most Americans, the belief that a man is largely in control of his own fate. However, guidance has paid relatively little attention to the ways in which the economic and social status of some families restricts the opportunities for education and work available to their children.”

In New York, for example, at one extreme we find people with sufficient resources to select and realize any of a large number of career possibilities. At the other extreme are those whose circumstances drastically restrict their opportunities. In the first instance, while guidance may provide a measure of reinforcement to the decision-making process, the determinants for successful outcomes preexist. In the latter instance, socioeconomic barriers to the realization of choice severely limit the potential contribution of guidance to effective decision making.

Most New York residents fall between these two extremes. Few are so well situated that they never require or seek formal help in decision making. On the other hand, few are so unalterably disadvantaged that they cannot derive some benefit from guidance, especially if it is combined with supporting services. Guidance cannot produce major social transformations, but skillful intervention can contribute to decisions that may improve an individual’s prospects.Certain aspects of the New York labor market which bear upon the provision of guidance services in the city are set forth below. Many of these are discussed in other chapters in this volume.

Related Link: New York New York Website

Work habits that ruin careers

Work habits that ruin careers

If you have a disorder or a drug addict multitasking desktop email, change your habits pronto.

Experts agree that the climate of current employment, the bad behavior of employers something becomes less and less tolerated – and more than a passable offense. “To all of you, there’s a 100 people lined up to take your work,” says Kiki Weingarten, a career management coach based in New York. “Employers are more able than ever to be as picky as they want.”

Here, four leading career coaches offer bad work habits they saw that send employees on the road to bad reviews. Check yourself before you wreck.

You are addicted to email: In meetings with clients, your boss, you can not stop scrolling through your BlackBerry. You think you’re being productive by ensuring that you do not miss a message while stuck in the weekly sales, but your colleagues (especially speaking) see it as a personal insult. Constantly checking your smart phone sends a real sense of arrogance, says Princeton, New Jersey-based communication coach Matt Eventoff.

How to break it: Put down the BlackBerry,” said Eventoff,” especially if you’re in a meeting “Turn it off, put it away, leave it in your office.” If you are waiting for a particular time. sensitive email, let your colleagues know in advance, “Eventoff said,” Otherwise, your BlackBerry has no place in the meeting.”

You are a brown-noser: Nobody likes a kiss-up, and in the office one too many well-placed compliments could leave you with this reputation vilified. Say yes to everything to him a higher demand, and your teammates can easily return your enthusiasm. Even worse, your boss can see through your constant praise and you feel more a nuisance than a constructive team member.

How to break it: Take a look at the last 10 things that you said yes, if the views of your supervisor or tasks in the office. Is there something you do not agree when you think honestly about them? Learn to say no every now and then show both your supervisor and your teammates that you actually a spine.

You are a busy-body: Do you mind your own business or is your ear constantly perked for the latest gossip or happenings in office? Check yourself. You used to need to be in the know is probably a source of stress for your colleagues. Whether the movement of their colleagues within the company or is WHO meeting for post-work cocktails, do what your company spells trouble.

How to break it: If the information you need to do in your position, schedule weekly meetings with colleagues and team meeting to stay on top of relevant happenings. Otherwise wait until the information comes to you and avoid the temptation to jump into the conversations heard. If all else fails, invest in a helmet.

Your e-mail etiquette is lacking: If your outbox reads more like a firing squad as friendly exchanges, it may be time to take a look at your communication style. “It’s very rare that the emails are perceived as too soft,” said Eventoff. “As email has no tone, no emotion, no intonation, it is very easy for your emails short to be perceived as arrogant, demanding and impatient.”

How to break it: If the poor email habits persist, the bad feelings are bound to stir in a team, Eventoff said. Get into the habit of reading e-mails before sending, and measure how they might be received, especially if they are addressed to someone outside your office.

You’re full of excuses: You forgot the zip drive with your presentation notes, but you’re not about to admit it. You do not know the answer to questions of your supervisor, but try to talk your way around. The result is that you lose not only your own time, but your manager and colleagues as well.

How to break it: Set a reminder ten minutes before the start of each meeting of your case, says Patrick Flannery, a management consultant based in Arlington, Virginia. “Better 10 minutes of your time to gather the necessary paperwork and collect your thoughts while 20 minutes devoted to apologize in front of colleagues.”

Top careers for better work – life balance

Top careers for better work - life balance

These fields let you scrap the 9-to-5 routine and work a flexible schedule.

Are you tired of the same old, same old 9-to-5 office routine? Want to change to a career with a more flexible working schedule? You’re not alone. More than three out of five working adults agreed that flexibility is one of the most important factors to consider when looking for a new job, according to a recent Business News Daily article.

The good news is that with the right education, you could be prepared to pursue a career with flexibility built in…

Career 1 – Registered Nurse

Want a career that offers a flexible work schedule? Look to nursing. These physical and emotional health care providers generally help perform a variety of tasks – from recording medical histories and symptoms to doing diagnostic tests and helping with patient follow-up and rehabilitation.

Flex Factor: Instead of being confined by normal business hours, registered nurses (RNs) usually have the flexibility to work night and weekend shifts. At Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, Dana Dye, chief nursing officer, RN, says the hospital allows nurses to choose between eight-hour or 12-hour shifts. And during the weekends, nurses could have the option to work 24 hours.

Education: Look into either an associate’s degree in nursing or a nursing diploma from an approved nursing program.

Earning Potential: The mean annual salary for RNs was $67,720 in May 2010.

Career 2 – Dental Assistant

Dental assistants usually play an important role in preparing patients for treatment, sterilizing dental equipment, organizing instruments, and updating dental records. During procedures, assistants usually work alongside the dentist to provide patient care. They also could perform laboratory duties.

Flex Factor: Many dental assistants don’t subscribe to a 9-to-5 schedule or a 40-hour workweek. Some put in hours on nights and weekends, while others work for more than one dental office to form a more balanced work-life routine. In 2008, nearly half of all dental assistants had a 35- to 40-hour workweek, says the Department of Labor.

Education: While there’s no formal requirements for dental assisting gigs, the U.S. Department of Labor notes that dental assisting diploma and certificate programs – which could take as little as one year to complete – are growing in popularity.

Earning Potential: The mean annual salary for dental assistants was $34,140 in May 2010.

Career 3 – Accountant

If you excel at organization and attention to detail, you may want to consider an accounting career. Accountants usually help to ensure that firms are run efficiently, public records are kept accurately, and taxes are paid properly and on time.

Flex Factor: Off-site work and travel for audits are two fun flex factors that can be found in accounting. At Ernst & Young, workplace flexibility has been built into the culture, says a recent New York Times article. Ernst & Young’s Chairman James S. Turley said, “We listen to our people and they tell us very consistently that flexibility is incredibly important to them and to their family.” Nearly 10 percent of Ernst & Young’s 23,500 U.S. employees are on flexible arrangements.

Education: If you want to prepare to pursue this career, consider earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related area like finance or business.

Earning Potential: The mean annual salary for accountants was $68,960 in May 2010.

Career 4 – Graphic Designer

Using tools like color, type, illustration, and various layout techniques, graphic designers generally convey visual messages in a variety of mediums. From designing magazines and promotional displays to marketing brochures and packaging, this career is usually about having an eye for design.

Flex Factor: If working normal business hours at a big design or advertising firm doesn’t excite you, there could be work-life balance alternatives for a graphic designer. Many creative types are self-employed and usually work from home on a contract basis, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Just note that since this has the potential to be a self-employed position that revolves around production schedules, night and weekend hours could be necessary.

Education: If you want to start a graphic design career, a bachelor’s degree in graphic design is generally needed to land an entry-level position, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Earning Potential: The mean annual salary for graphic designers was $48,140 in May 2010.

Career 5 – Police Officer

Uniformed police officers usually protect lives and property by carrying out law enforcement duties. From responding to a traffic accident to confronting criminals, these everyday heroes work to keep our communities safe.

Flex Factor: The prospect of flexible or part-time schedules seems to be attractive to police job candidates – it appears on many career hiring sites, including the NYPD Cadet Corps’ web site. Although police officers usually work 40-hour weeks, hours can be flexible, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Since police officers provide around-the-clock protection, shift work could be necessary.

Education: Educational requirements vary for each agency – from a high school diploma to a few years of college coursework.

Earning Potential: The mean annual salary for police officers was $55,620 in May 2010.

Online degrees that are career-focused

Online degrees that are career-focused

One of these five bachelor’s programs could help prepare you for the workforce.

Want to earn an online degree? Staying career-minded could be the way to go. The most popular online programs prep students “for careers in high-demand areas like business, computer science, health care and criminal justice,” according to a 2011 New York Times article “Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to a College Degree.”

Eduventures, a Boston-based research firm, found a similar career-minded trend when it tracked enrollment data for 2.14 million online students in 2009. That year’s most popular online degrees included criminal justice, computer and information technology, health care, and business, in that order. Whether you want to change careers or hone skills that will help you get ahead at work, we’ve put the spotlight on five online degrees to consider.

Bachelor’s in Business Administration

Welcome to the 21st century, where an online presence is a must for any successful business, and students can get a bachelor’s in business administration online. All you need is a computer and internet connection to get started.

One of the benefits of the online format is that students can make sure that they are really absorbing the material, according to Jennifer Humber, an academic advisor at the University of Alabama.

“They can look at the assignments over and over again,” Humber told the school newspaper in September 2011. “They can do it on their own time.”

An online business administration degree could help you prepare for careers in multiple industries, all on your own time. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor recommends studying business administration for a wide range of tracks, including human resources specialist (average salary: $57,830), marketing specialist ($66,850), and financial analyst ($86,040).*

Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

Earning a criminal justice degree online is a popular trend. According to Eduventures, enrollment in online criminal justice programs jumped 41 percent in 2009.

At North Georgia College & State University, it’s not unusual for online classes to fill up within seconds during registration, according to Ross Alexander, the school’s criminal justice department head.

“With online, a student can log in anytime and work on classes,” Alexander told the Gainesville Times.

Maybe you’ve got your eye on a career in the private sector – as a security guard ($26,870) or private investigator ($47,830) – or perhaps you’re more interested in pursuing work as a police officer ($55,620).* Studying criminal justice online could help you get ready for these careers – and more – without giving up your current one to do so.

Bachelor’s in Nursing

While it may surprise some to see an online bachelor’s degree in nursing on our list, the simple fact is nursing is an in-demand profession. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 581,500 new registered nursing jobs are expected to be added between 2008 and 2018, and earning your bachelor’s in nursing online can help already working or busy aspiring nurses to prepare for a role as a registered nurse.

Though individual online nursing programs vary, some help working nurses earn a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) online. With more employers requiring a BSN, online programs everywhere are seeing a bump in enrollment, according to Elizabeth Regan-Butts, director of marketing and recruitment at Rowan University in New Jersey, which offers a bachelor’s degree in nursing that you can earn online.

“Nurses in the past only had to have an [associate’s] degree,” Regan-Butts told SouthJerseyBiz.net, a New Jersey-based website and magazine. “Now, most hospitals want a bachelor’s of science.”

If you want to pursue registered nurse opportunities, you’ll most likely need to get a BSN, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Registered nurses have an average annual salary of $67,720.*

Bachelor’s in Information Technology (IT) & Information Systems

Some people call it the 21st century; others call it the information technology age. Whatever name you prefer, it’s hard to imagine a more current degree you can earn online than IT and information systems. Among other things, you’ll learn how digital technology is changing businesses and the way we live.

Your online coursework may include everything from network and database administration to cybersecurity, the latter of which is a global problem these days, according to a 2011 report by computer security firm Symantec.

“Cybercrime costs the world significantly more than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined,” Symantec concluded.

Want to break into the technology sector? Studying IT online could help you get started. A bachelor’s degree in information technology is one of the recommended courses of study for aspiring database administrators ($75,730), according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department adds that cyber-security specialists often go by more general job titles like database administrator or network and computer system administrator ($72,200).*

Bachelor’s in Health Care Administration

Looking for a career-focused degree? How about health care administration? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 10 of the 20 fastest growing jobs in the country are in health care.

No matter where you live, all you need is a computer and an internet connection and you too can start studying up on an industry that exists in just about every single town and city on the map.

Earning a health care administration degree online could help prep you for a career as a health care administrator ($93,670), according to the U.S. Department of Labor. While a master’s degree may be preferred by some employers, a bachelor’s degree could be enough to get you started, the Department says.*

The worst words to put on a resume

The worst words to put on a resume

Including the phrase “salary negotiable” is just a waste of valuable space.

Your resume needs an update — that is, if your resume is like that of most people, it’s not as good as it could be. The problem is language: Most resumes are a thicket of deadwood words and phrases — empty cliches, annoying jargon and recycled buzzwords. Recruiters, HR folks and hiring managers see these terms over and over again, and it makes them sad.

Wouldn’t you rather make them happy? It’s time to start raking out your resume, starting with these (and similar) terms.

1. “Salary negotiable”

Yes, they know. If you’re wasting a precious line of your resume on this term, it looks as though you’re padding — that you’ve run out of things to talk about. If your salary is not negotiable, that would be somewhat unusual. (Still, don’t put that on your resume either.)

2. “References available by request”

See the preceding comment about unnecessary terms.

3. “Responsible for ______”

Reading this term, the recruiter can almost picture the C-average, uninspired employee mechanically fulfilling his job requirements — no more, no less. Having been responsible for something isn’t something you did — it’s something that happened to you. Turn phrases like “responsible for” into “managed,” “led” or other decisive, strong verbs.

4. “Experience working in ______”

Again, experience is something that happens to you — not something you achieve. Describe your background in terms of achievements.

5. “Problem-solving skills”

You know who else has problem-solving skills? Monkeys. Dogs. On your resume, stick to skills that require a human.

6. “Detail-oriented”

So, you pay attention to details. Well, so does everyone else. Don’t you have something unique to tell the hiring manager? Plus, putting this on your resume will make that accidental typo in your cover letter or resume all the more comical.

7. “Hardworking”

Have you ever heard the term “show — don’t tell”? This is where that might apply. Anyone can call himself a hard worker. It’s a lot more convincing if you describe situations in concrete detail in which your hard work benefited an employer.

8. “Team player”

See the preceding comment about showing instead of telling. There are very few jobs that don’t involve working with someone else. If you have relevant success stories about collaboration, put them on your resume. Talk about the kinds of teams you worked on, and how you succeeded.

9. “Proactive”

This is a completely deflated buzzword. Again, show rather than tell.

10. “Objective”

This term isn’t always verboten, but you should use it carefully. If your objective is to get the job you’ve applied for, there’s no need to spell that out on your resume with its own heading. A resume objective is usually better replaced by a career summary describing your background, achievements and what you have to offer an employer. An exception might be if you haven’t applied for a specific job and don’t have a lot of experience that speaks to the position you’d like to achieve.

‘Passive job search’ may pay off

'Passive job search' may pay off

Creating a wish list can be a first step to exploring employment options while you still have a job.

Is your boss taking you for granted? Is business slowing around the office? You may not be ready to jump ship just yet, but you should start to explore other professional options. You need not engage in an all-out active job search. Rather, you can put out feelers in another way. Follow these five steps to start your passive job search:

Post Your Resume Online

The easiest way to begin exploring your professional possibilities is to post your resume. By doing so, you’re letting thousands of recruiters, human resources professionals and employment experts know what your unique qualifications are and that you’re interested in new opportunities.

Remember that your current employer might see your resume online, which may prompt your boss to give you a raise or a promotion if she’s worried you’re going to jump ship. But you can also post your resume confidentially.

Create an Employer Wish List

Even if you’re not ready to leave your current job yet, there are probably other employers in which you’re interested. Create a comprehensive list of these target employers. Research them and see if they show up on Fortune magazine’s popular “Best Companies to Work For” list. Then, find out if these companies employ people with your skill set.

Enlist Your Network

Now that you have a list of dream employers, make inquiries to people in your network. Lauren Milligan, owner of ResuMAYDAY, a career-management services firm, warns against being too casual when reaching out for assistance. “If you’re too casual, your network may not take your requests seriously,” she says.

Ask if they’ve ever worked for any of the companies, or if they know anyone who does. Request contacts (at any level) for each organization.

Harness the Power of Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are a powerful tool for the passive job seeker. Because you’re not formally in the market for a new job, employers may welcome the opportunity to speak with you, as there is less pressure on both parties.

Milligan says informational interviews are a great way for any job seeker to gauge how attractive a candidate he is. “Near the end of the interview, ask, ‘Do you mind looking at my resume?’ Ask your interviewer to tell you what it’s lacking so you can make yourself more marketable in your industry,” she says. Then, find a way to acquire those skills or experiences while you still have your current job, she says.

Follow Up

Whatever the immediate outcome of your search, continue to follow up with everyone in your network.

“Reach out and keep the people who’ve offered advice in the loop,” Milligan says. “If you’ve heeded it, drop them a note saying, ‘I’ve taken your advice and I just want you to know you’ve been a big part of my success.’ Or better yet, pick up the phone. Thanking someone ensures that they’ll be there for you the next time you need help.”

Conversely, if you know you want (and are now qualified for) a job at an informational interviewer’s company, Milligan says you should ask for one: “Contact the person and say, ‘I’ve done X, Y and Z. I would like to pursue a position at your company. Can I send you a resume?'” Don’t be afraid to be direct, she says. “You have to ask for the sale, so to speak,” she says. “People rely on other folks to reach out, but the person on the other end has her own agenda. It can be a real time-saver to just come out and ask for what you want.”

The top myths about job searching

The top myths about job searching

Some don’t bother to look for work around the holidays and many believe no one reads cover letters. Do you think one of the myths about the job search?

1. Myth: You need connections to get a job.

Reality: The connections are useful, but many people find work by identifying an ad, send a CV and interview. Sometimes it may not feel this way because there are so many job seekers competing for a limited number of jobs, which means most people are less interviews (and job offers, even less). But many jobs are still people with no connection to the company.

2. Myth: No one reads cover letters.

Reality: A letter written well with the personality that you can get an interview when your resume alone can have. Of course, there are some hiring managers out there who do not bother with cover letters, but there are many who do, and you have no way of knowing what type you are dealing. With so many stories of cover letters open doors that otherwise would have remained closed, it would be foolish to miss this incredibly effective way to get noticed.

3. Myth: Employers will respond to you right away if they’re interested.

Reality: Some employers take weeks or months to meet the candidates. Sometimes it is because they wait until the end of the period of application prior to contacting all candidates, and sometimes it is because higher priority work gets in the way. (Of course, sometimes it may be because the company is disorganized.) Whatever the reasons, job seekers should not jump to conclusions if they do not hear back right away.

4. Myth: In a crowded field, job seekers must find creative ways to stand out.

Reality: If you want to stand, to write a great cover letter and build a CV that demonstrates a history of success in the region of the employer is hiring for. Drawings of fantasy, to have your resume delivered by mail during the night, the video resumes, and other gadgets do not compensate for the lack of skills.

5. Myth: Do not bother looking for jobs around the holidays.

Reality: Many recruitment is done in December! In fact, some hiring managers are scrambling to fill positions before the new year. And you can even have less competition, as other job seekers may have slowed down their research at this time of year.

6. Myth: Your resume should be one page.

Reality: At one point in the past, again were supposed to be limited to one page. But times have changed, and two pages shows the Commons today. People with only a few years of experience should always stick to one page, but two pages are fine for everyone.

7. Myth: Lower your salary will make you a more attractive candidate.

Reality: Employers will hire the best person for the job, within the limits of what they can afford. They are not likely to prefer someone else just because he or she is less expensive.

8. Myth: Your partner knows what he or she is doing.

Reality: Although all investigators should be trained in how to interview effectively, the reality is that many are inexperienced, unskilled or otherwise unable to conduct interviews fort. They can be prepared, ask questions wrong, or just be rude.

9. Myth: If you want to stand, you must call to follow up your request.

Reality: Most employers will tell you that these calls do not help and sometimes painful. These days, with hundreds of applicants for every opening, if all candidates to follow up, employers would spend all day fielding calls. Believe me, they do not want.

10. Myth: Employers will only call the references on the list you gave them.

Reality: Employers can call anyone you worked for or could you know, and a good reference ladies are not limited to the official list of the references you provide. They call former managers, listed or not – and sometimes, especially those that are not listed because they know the omission may be intentional and thus remarkable. After all, the list you hand over is, of course, those likely to present in the light most flattering, and they want to see you in brighter lighting. The only thing generally considered off-limits in the reference check is to call your current employer. Everyone is fair game.

Secrets of highly successful people

Secrets of highly successful people

It may seem counterintuitive, but going on breaks helps you accomplish more.

While your co-workers start every day enjoying a cup of coffee together in the break room, you’re barely able to find time to call your doctor. While they’re taking lunches, you’re rushing through another meal at your desk. Sound familiar? Here’s the good news: This apparent discrepancy may not mean you’ve got a bigger workload or that you’re a harder worker. Instead, it may mean that they’ve mastered certain time-saving skills and habits that you haven’t-until now. From prioritizing your workload to learning which projects don’t need to be perfect, read on to discover eight workplace habits that’ll boost your productivity and lower your stress levels.

They make it a point to take breaks.

Americans seem to think that constantly working is synonymous with being productive, but unless your brain is functioning at its maximum level, you may not be getting as much work done as you think. “[Taking breaks] is like hitting the reset button. It helps you empty out your ‘brain cache’ so you have room to refill it,” says Christine Hohlbaum, author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World. First and foremost, she recommends taking lunch every day-and leaving your desk to do it. “When you have a ‘working lunch,’ it’s just not very efficient. At some point you’re going to lose attention,” she says.

Ultimately, eating while you work will cause you to suffer on two fronts: you won’t be able to pay attention to your food-a surefire way to overeat-and you won’t be giving your work the proper attention it deserves. In addition to a “real” lunch break, Hohlbaum suggests allotting time for other breaks as well. She recommends taking five minutes in the morning, before starting work, and at least a 10- to 15-minute break in the afternoon.

Whether you take a short walk, read a book or stare out of the window with a cup of tea, it’ll help you recharge and improve your overall productivity. “It’s really important to take time off because otherwise your brain will reach a saturation point,” Hohlbaum says, explaining that when this happens, it becomes hard to focus on even the simplest task. “At that point, you need to push away from your computer and take a break.”

They start their day off on the right foot.

According to a recent study at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, if an employee is in a bad mood when they arrive at work-whether because of familial problems or a stressful commute-it can decrease their productivity by as much as 10% that day. So unless you come in to the office every day in a great mood (and who does?), start your day with 5 to 10 minutes of time dedicated to decompressing. “Create a ritual. Maybe it’s meeting in the coffee break room or going around the office to greet everyone. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you foster a sense of connection [with your coworkers],”

Says Holhbaum. “Swinging by to say ‘hi’ to your colleagues when you walk in gives you a sense of focus. When you feel you’re part of a bigger effort, you feel more connected to why you’re there and that can make all the difference in the world.” Re-focusing your mind at the beginning of the day will also create a sense of calm, helping you to disregard outside stressors and zero in on your daily tasks. “If we’re actually able to start the day centered, then we’ll have a longer tolerance period before we get off track,” Holhbaum says.
Read more “Secrets of highly successful people”

How to become an FBI agent

How to become an FBI agent

Becoming a special agent can start with five types of jobs many people already have.

Since Jimmy Cagney played an agent in the movie 1935 G-Men, the public’s imagination was captured by the FBI. Since then, the emblematic figures as Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs and Mulder and Scully in The X-Files have only fueled the fires.

You probably think that your chances of becoming an FBI agent are almost as likely to become a professional footballer or an astronaut, right? Well, think again. So how can we really become an agent yourself? If you think everything is about how you take a gun and conducting interrogations intense, you’re wrong.

According to the FBI, there are five different entry programs “through which job seekers can be considered for the role of Special Agent. And the surprising news? Some of these trails are anything but rare, special type housing career. In fact, there is a good chance that people of all normal days have what it takes to be a G-Man.

1. Accounting

If you are an accountant, you might not think of you as raw FBI – but the Bureau begs to differ. In fact, if you’re a CPA certified with a bachelor’s degree and at least three years experience in Accounting or equivalent business, the FBI would be very interested in talking with you. That would be an interesting career change, would it not?

2. Information Technology / Information

If you want to inject a bit of intrigue and excitement in your IT career, you might consider working for the FBI. Given that many surveys have changed in the digital world, it is not surprising that the FBI is looking for computer experts. Investigators regularly comb through massive amounts of digital data to find the clue that could solve a seemingly unsolvable crime or prevent a terrorist attack.

The FBI is looking for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or electrical engineering or any degree with a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification or Internetworking Expert (CCIE) certification.

3. Language

Based on the current needs of the Bureau, the mastery of certain language is absolutely essential. With an honors degree in a discipline – more knowledge of Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Hebrew, Hindi, and many other languages, you can benefit from this route of entry of the FBI, assuming you can a test of high competence.

So if you’re fluent, you have a chance to put those skills to good use. And you thought the language of your mother made you take were worthless. Find courses and foreign language curriculum now.

4. Law

Another way the FBI is to become a lawyer. You must qualify in obtaining a doctorate from a law school approved. Before attending law school, people tend to earn a bachelor’s degree in a discipline such as English, political science or criminal justice.

5. Diversified

The FBI program enrollment fifth and last may in fact be called “the other” because it covers all fields other than the Board deems appropriate. Are you a psychologist, policeman, scientist or a mathematician? This may be your ticket to become a special agent.

If you are interested in this program, you’ll need an undergraduate degree as a BA or BS plus three years experience of full-time work in your field of expertise. Or for those with a graduate degree, you need two years of professional experience.

So as you can see, today the FBI has come a long way with machine guns and busts bootlegger, and, therefore, is actively seeking a wide range of talent agents and different backgrounds. Chances are, with the right training, you too can join the ranks of the FBI proud.