begging-dog-250“Hey—I got to hop, I got some friend of a friend I have to talk to. I’ll lose him in 10 to 15 minutes.”

Ummm, I am waiting right outside your office. I can hear you.

So that’s how I met Kevin, a friend of a family friend who runs a $2.5 billion hedge fund. When I actually met him I was greeted with a terse, “How can I help you?” No pleasantries with Kevin—after all, our informational conversation was going to last 15 minutes tops and he was doing me a favor. But I was determined to stretch it to 20. Ha. That’d show him.

I have been to too many meetings in my professional career to count, and along the way I learned that every single face-to-face is an opportunity to establish your standing in the power structure…

red-check-mark-150Maybe it’s been a while since you were on the receiving end of a job interview. Maybe your current technique isn’t helping you snare a job. Or, are you simply ready to take your interviewing game up a notch? Whichever stage you’re at, these six tips will help you make the most of your next meeting.

  • Craft an answer to “Tell me about yourself.” And write it down. And practice it. We suggest the response be three to four minutes long, and highlight your accomplishments and experience with the skills that are critical to the job, as well as explain your progression between positions.

You may have a hard time sympathizing with top executives who are now out of work. But getting laid off is tough, no matter how much power and income your old job afforded you. A great little piece in yesterday’s New York Times focused on canned executives who are searching for new positions. Unlike most of us, they have big severance packages and their companies paid for a top-notch outplacement service that gives them free lunches and views of Boston as well as expert advice. But their experience offers a few lessons for everyone…

twitter-150Still getting used to the verb “tweet?” It seems like practically everyone is Twittering.

If you haven’t set up a Twitter account yet, here’s a good reason to do so: people are putting great information out there that can help you get through the recession. Everything from finding a job to shopping deals and the latest recession news. We combed the Twittersphere to find useful, unique and consistent feeds…

taxesYou already know that networking can help you find a new job. But you might not know that the IRS offers an assist, too. You can deduct many of your job-hunting expenses. That’s not that surprising, since it’s in the Internal Revenue Service’s best interest to have you earning taxable income. Uncle Sam’s tax help, however, does have its limits. Here’s what you need to know.

Itemizing required
You must itemize deductions on Schedule A to count your job-hunting expenses. That task is further limited by a threshold amount you must meet. Your job search costs are considered miscellaneous expenses. As such, they are deductible only when they, and all other allowable expenses in this category, are more than 2 percent of your adjusted gross income.

light bulbChances are growing that you or someone you know has been laid off in the last year. The unemployment rate pushed further upward last month with the loss of an additional 663,000 jobs, to 8.5%. It’s beginning to look a lot like 1983, the last time the unemployment rate hit this level.

But is it? In 1983, the national mood was not very hopeful – despite a new president in the office, the Cold War still raged on, crime was holding strong, the inflation rate was 3.22% and unemployment actually hit 9.6%.

Times are hard now, there’s no denying that. Breadlines have appeared in some areas around the country, and Michigan is struggling with a mighty burden of turning around or replacing its major industry and employer to chip away at its 12% unemployment rate…

resumes-briefcase-150Looking for a job can be as time-consuming as a full-time job, but luckily, these days you can also be social about it. Mashable featured a great list of “Social Sites for Resume Building” from Me 2.0 author Dan Schawbel.

Some of them are literally for building your resume — and ResumeSocial are two that let you create yours online and the community will give you feedback — while others…

people networking 150There’s more fear than usual floating around these days. Fear about savings, spending, housing, but most of all fear about work—and that holds true whether you’re unemployed or looking, employed and scared about losing your job, or just plain stuck.

On March 31, motivational speaker Gabrielle Bernstein will give a lecture for women, Clear Fear from Your Career, with step-by-step advice on how to remove the psychological blocks that hold you back. Full disclosure: She’s a friend. But that also means we’ve experienced her workshops. Aimed mostly at women in their 20s and early 30s, they’re positive, practical, and have a strong spiritual element.

If it sounds too heady for you, you can’t make it, or you’re a man, there are plenty of other career events coming up in New York:

Each week, “Joe the Trader” chronicles his experiences with life after Wall Street.

red-x“It’s not you.”

I’ve been told that—let me see—at least 15 times in the past. There was Molly, Jen, Claire, and Aisha (no wait, that was me). You get the picture. I was never the reason the girls broke up with me. You would think that, having been dumped on a fairly consistent basis since 1984, I would have been steeled for today’s bad news from one of my most promising job prospects.

Stylist Julie Greene offers expert advice on looking dashing in a downturn.

people silhouettes 150Right now, many of us are dealing with big transitions. Some of us are unemployed for the first time, others are having to shift the focus of their business, and still others are concerned about whether they’ll be able to move ahead. In short, everyone’s questioning their identity.

As I’ve said before, your clothes can help shape your future. Whether it’s a full style overhaul or just some refining, there are ways to approach how you dress that will reflect a new attitude towards your career and life—and managing your image and your message might help you land the next opportunity. Last week you started getting to know your unique sense of style. Now we’ll more firmly define it. Consider which of these 10 style identities best fits you—or who you want to be.