Dress for Success or, The Idiot’s Guide to Ironing

Having your new certification and a brain full of knowledge is great, but as we all know, landing a job often comes down to making a good first impression at the interview.  Part of making that good first impression is obviously the way you speak and interact with the interviewer and how you convey your qualifications.  Yet, even more subtle but no less important is the visual first impression you make.  How you’re dressed and how you take care of your appearance is a powerful, unspoken indicator of how you will be as an employee.  To this point, it is critical that you wear appropriate clothes and that these clothes are nicely pressed and creased in the proper places.  This brings me to the point.  I don’t know about you, but I cannot afford to spend $12 per outfit to the dry cleaner for pressed shirts and pants.  Furthermore, I am challenged when it comes to ironing these items myself.  That was until I found this great post on Lifehacker.com explaining the finer points on DIY clothes pressing.  Read up on how to bone up your appearance and show up at the interview crispy, smart and ready to impress.

Resumè Samples

Getting ready to capture the return on your investment into online job training and education?  That means you’ll be taking your newly earned certification out to the market to land yourself a j-o-b.  The first step in that process is to line up some interviews.  And that means putting together a new resumè.  This is a task that a lot of people find daunting.  But, have no fear.  The best way to understand how to structure all the job history and qualifications information into a memorable resumè is to see some examples of other peoples’ resumès.  Here’s a great list of about 90 resumes from the folks at Monster.com, collected from people seeking many different kinds of positions.  Even if some of the samples are for jobs in other industries, it is still very instructive to see how people structure the information they include.  Have a look at some of these and remember, what you leave off a resumè is just as important as what you include.

Leading Edge of Medical Innovation

How lucky you are to be entering into such an exciting field?  The field of medicine has made significant advances in the last 100 years.  Quantum advances.  Advances that would have been scoffed at as flights of science fiction fancy by medical contemporaries in 1911.  Case in point, Mitch Hunter, a man whose face was dramatically disfigured in a car accident.  At age 30, he has successfully undergone a face transplant.  (No, not a face plant like this old blogger makes when trying to ride his 6 year old’s skateboard!)  I’m talking about an actual face transplant.  Only the seventh successful such surgery in the world.  Click here to read more about this fantastic medical advancement and be stoked to be training in a career field that holds such enormous potential for good.

Got MRSA?

According to a Reuter’s article, scientists have found Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aurelius in raw milk samples in the US and UK.  The superbug has been growing in prevalence and represents a significant challenge to medicine because it is an infection that, as the name implies, is resistant to antibiotics.  Concurrent to this story is the outbreak of a new strain of E. Coli across Europe.  It would seem to this blogger that both these outbreaks are rooted, at least in part, in the practices of large corporate food producers and the sometimes shoddy agricultural processes in which they engage.  Read these past posts, here, here and here for more information on both MRSA and animal husbandry/food safety.

And Press ‘3’ to Shoot Yourself in the Face

New laptop malfunctioning?  Cell phone service wrongly interrupted?  Utility company make a mistake on your monthly bill?  You’ll have to dial a toll-free customer service number and then navigate through level after level of recorded messages trying to find the answer to your problem.  And after an hour on the phone, you’ll be no closer to a solution and about ready to kill someone.  Sound familiar?  We all have had to deal with customer service issues like this.  Well, awesome site, Lifehacker.com recently published this great piece on how to get better customer service when you should need to.   Included in the article is a link to an application called “Lucy” that does the “holding” for you so you don’t have to glue the phone to your ear while the company you’re calling is “experiencing unusually high call volumes resulting in long hold times”.  That’s a godsend to be sure.  And if that’s not enough, and the tips in this article still don’t get you satisfaction, the article provides a link to the Consumerist.com’s list of customer service executives from the world’s top companies so you can call a supervisor direct to lodge your complaint about the sorry state of their customer service department.

Interviewer: “Any Questions?” You: “Uhhh…”

Acing the interview is pretty much the key to landing a job.  The rock-solid resume gets you in to the interview.  But the interview itself is the “make-or-break” step in the job hunting process.  If you’ve done enough of these, you know that they typically ask you alot of questions about your background, experience, skills etc.  Then at the end, they always ask, “Do you have any questions for us?”  Most people don’t know how to answer this and either say, “No” which indicates unpreparedness or worse, being intellectually incurious.  Or many respond, “When do I get vacation” or “how much does the job pay?”  Both these questions do more damage than good.  There are questions you may ask of an interviewer which demonstrate that you are interested in the job and have a good head on your shoulders.  Click here to read “The Six Must Ask Interview Questions” as listed by Monster.com’s Joe Turner.  He explains why these are the most important questions to ask and what they say about the person who asks them.

New Jobs Numbers – Mixed (But Good For Medical Field)

In April, the U.S. economy added 244,000 jobs — the third straight month to see an average of over 200,000 new positions created, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  However, despite the growth in employment, there is real concern that the jobs being added to the economy are not the high-wage, “quality” jobs lost over the course of the brutal recession.That’s bad news if you’re a manufacturing factory worker or a homebuilder as those fields don’t show the resiliency reflected in the latest employment figures.  If you’re in the following career fields, professional and business services, health care and leisure and hospitality, the news is good.  Those fields were called out specifically by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as areas where job and wage growth shows continued strength.  Now’s a good time to be studying for a career in medical billing and coding.  Don’t you feel smart?

Don’t Stress!!!

A new report circulating on the internet lists the top 10 most stressful jobs.  You’ll be glad to learn that only one of them is in the medical field, and that is “emergency medical technician”.  Reattaching someone’s severed arm on the side of the road after a motorcycle accident?  Stressful.  Also stressful?  Advertising Account Executive, Architect, Stockbroker, Emergency Medical, and Real Estate Agent.On the other hand, more than half of the top 10 LEAST stressful jobs in the report were in the medical field.  These included audiologist, dietician, dental hygienist, chiropractor, speech pathologist and occupational therapist.  Flossing someone’s teeth while listening to soft rock in a clean white environment?  Not so stressful.  Medical billing and coding did not make the list of either most or least stressful jobs.  But its good to know many of you will end up working in the offices of low-stress industries.

Doing a Career U-Turn

If you’re considering ditching your old career in favor of a new one in an exciting field like medical billing and coding, you may be wondering if it is the right thing to do.  With the employment picture being difficult to say the least, it can seem like a daunting challenge and one that you might consider holding off on.  However, there is never a better time than the present to make a life change and change can be fraught with challenges in any environment.  At the Geek Mom blog, Julia Sherred discusses her thoughts on mid-course career corrections.  Read her post and then share your thoughts and feelings on this topic in the comments below.

As If Busy Students Needed an Excuse

Happy to report I found this research which seems to promote the idea that moderate coffee consumption is actually good for you!  Yes, science finally catches up to what this blogging genius already knows.  Coffee RAWKS.  But seriously, the high anti-oxidant content of coffee seems to have a positive effect on brain plasticity, liver and heart functions and a host of other benefits.  Read all about the good news in this article from Eating Well magazine’s Dr. Kerri-Ann Jennings.