Reconnect with your professional network

Professional networking is key to career development, but there are only so many hours in the day you can devote to it. Ideally, you’d keep in regular contact with your entire network so that your connections are on tap when you need them for, say, a reference or a job lead. But, alas, we’re all human, and things can get in the way of our even best laid plans.

“Keeping in touch with professionals in your sphere is a great thing to do, but more urgent tasks, like a pressing deadline, often take precedent,” says Devora Zack, CEO of Only Connect Consulting and author of Networking for People Who Hate Networking. “A lot of times, staying connected with people falls to the bottom of your to-do list.”

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How to tell if job cuts are coming

Getting handed a pink slip and being told to pack up your desk and exit your office is a terrible experience, no doubt—but it happens. Companies have job cuts for a number of reasons, and oftentimes these layoffs aren’t a reflection of a worker’s performance, which means there’s little you can do to prevent the inevitable. The people who land on their feet, though, are the ones who can spot a layoff before it happens.

So, how can you tell if your job might be in jeopardy? Check out some clues that a pink slip may have your name on it in the near future—and what you can do to keep your career moving forward.

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How to answer the job interview question: Describe your ideal work environment

Job seekers and employers alike care a lot about cultural fit, so when you’re asked in a job interview to describe your ideal work environment, you can be sure everyone in the room is interested in what you have to say. According to one survey, 88% of recruiters said cultural fit is important when assessing job candidates. Likewise, job seekers want to find a work environment that suits their personality and work preferences, says executive coach and HR consultant Paul Thallner. In fact, 73% of respondents to a recent Monster survey said they have left at least one job that wasn’t the right fit for them.

Knowing the type of work environment that allows you to thrive is half the battle. You also have to know how to answer the question without unintentionally knocking yourself out of the running for the job. Take these steps to prepare a well-crafted answer.

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How to handle five types of toxic co-workers

Like toxic waste, toxic co-workers have to be handled with care. And it’s not healthy to have prolonged exposure to either.

“Whether it’s chronic backstabbing, extreme defensiveness, narcissism, cruelty, bias, discrimination or other forms of mistreatment or misbehavior that they demonstrate, [toxic co-workers] are intolerable to work with or be around for an extended period,” says Kathy Caprino, founder of Connecticut-based career-coaching firm Ellia Communications. “They’re toxic because they’re like a poison to your system and to the organization’s ecosystem, making it hard to maintain your own well-being, professionalism, and collaborative spirit when you’re around them.”

Worse yet, working with a toxic co-worker can negatively impact your job performance and even derail your career if they’re allowed to continue their behavior.

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5 job interview questions you should never ask

You may be camera ready with a spiffy job-interview outfit and your resume (15 drafts later, phew) and cover letter in hand, but now it’s time for the hardest part: preparing what will come out of your mouth. The job interview questions you ask a hiring manager can make or break your chances of getting an offer.

The key is to ask the right questions and “always think about how you’re being perceived,” says Courtney Templin, president of JB Training Solutions, a Chicago-based career development firm.

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What not to say during salary negotiation

Finally, after making it through a grueling interview process you receive that job offer you’ve been gunning for all along. Still, there’s one more hurdle to cross, and that’s salary negotiation.

Though salary isn’t the only factor to consider when weighing a job offer—other incentives, such as a signing bonus, flexible work schedule, or relocation assistance, may help sweeten the deal—getting a fatter paycheck would certainly be nice.

To nab a higher salary, however, you’ll have to do some negotiating. Now, here’s a lesson that may surprise you: What you don’t say is just as (or potentially even more) important than what you do say.

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8 resume mistakes that can make you look old

When was the last time you overhauled your resume? As an older, more experienced job hunter, it’s not enough to simply change a few dates and descriptions when you start looking for a new position. The resume style and design that got you in the door years ago can make you look downright prehistoric now.

It’s tough enough out there already: Unemployed job hunters age 55 to 64 spend a median of 34.5 weeks looking for work, vs 22.2 weeks for workers of all ages, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

And in a recent AARP survey of workers 45 and older, three-quarters cited age discrimination as a reason they weren’t confident they could find a new job in short order.

To make sure you don’t look like a dinosaur in your field, don’t make these eight mistakes on your resume.

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