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Next Avenue's Top 10 Career Tips of 2012

Our most helpful advice, whether you’re looking for work or just want to keep your juices flowing on the job

By Richard Eisenberg

As the editor of the Work & Purpose channel for Next Avenue, I’m constantly trying to provide the latest, most useful career information and advice.

That might mean helping readers find jobs, keep the positions they have, start businesses and avoid work-related health problems.

Here are my 10 favorite tips from Next Avenue articles and blog posts published this year:
Advice for Job Seekers
1. Take the 10-20-70 approach when job hunting. In “The Right (and Wrong) Ways to Use Job Boards,” New York City career coach Paul Bernard recommends devoting only about 10 percent of the time you spend looking for a job responding to online ads and job boards, 20 percent interacting with recruiters and 70 percent networking in-person, on the phone and online.
(MORE: 10 Reasons December Is a Great Time to Find a Job)
He says this approach will put the emphasis on cultivating relationships, differentiating your candidacy in ways that are singular and memorable.
2. To get a government job, start by visiting three websites. Our weekly Work & Volunteering blogger, Nancy Collamer, suggests starting at the government Web portal to learn about federal agencies and the positions they need to fill. Two other helpful sites (both sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service): The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government and Making the Difference, which describes public service jobs and advises you how to apply.
You can find more tips from Collamer, a career coach in Old Greenwich, Conn., in her article, “5 Tips for Getting a Government Job.”
3. When looking for work, take advantage of your alma mater. In her article, “6 Ways Colleges Help Alumni Find Jobs,” Catey Hill explained the myriad ways colleges are increasingly offering career assistance to past graduates, from webinars and e-newsletters to one-on-one counseling sessions.
4. Volunteer — unpaid work could lead to a paid job. Cincinnati career coach Julie Shifman, author of Act Three: Create the Life You Want, said employers often prefer to interview people who are working in some capacity. So listing a volunteer position on your resume under “Current Employment” will prevent a hiring manager from thinking you’re jobless. (From “7 Reasons Volunteering Can Lead to a Paid Job”)
Advice to Keep Your Job
5. To become a “Generation Flux” employee, mix up your media. Fast Company magazine coined that phrase to describe people who easily and eagerly adapt to ever-changing work environments. In her blog post, "4 Tips to Become a Generation Flux Employee," Collamer noted that traditional media outlets don’t always keep up to speed with the latest trends and recommended that you follow blogs and Twitter feeds related to your job.
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6. Find a young “reverse mentor” at work. Bernard says employees in their 50s and 60s can learn a lot from colleagues in their 20s and 30s, especially about the latest technology. A “reverse mentor” can show you the ropes to keep your skills from getting rusty. (From “Why You Need a Reverse Mentor at Work”)

7. Add your LinkedIn and Twitter handles on your e-mail signature. When you do this, said our Women & Money blogger, Kerry Hannon, anyone getting an email from you will know how to find you through those social media outlets, and that shows you’re plugged in. Men should heed Hannon’s advice, too. (From "3 Social Media Tips to Help Women’s Careers")
Advice for Would-Be Entrepreneurs
8. Business incubators and accelerators can be terrific ways to help get a company off the ground after age 50. Elisabeth Isele provided a how-to guide for using these start-up advisory services in her article, “2 Innovative Programs Can Help Launch 50+ Entrepreneurs.”
Advice on Work and Your Health
9. You need to protect your heart if you’re unemployed. I recently blogged about a new Duke University study that found people age 51 to 75 who lost their jobs have a much higher incidence of heart attacks than others in their age bracket.
(MORE: Meet the Inspiring 2012 Purpose Prize Winners)
The odds of suffering a heart attack among those who lost multiple jobs was on a par with smoking-related cardiac events. I offer advice on staying heart-healthy in “Losing Your Job Could Give You a Heart Attack.”
10. When you’re burned out, turn off the noise and tune into your true self.  In “How to Recognize – and Survive – Burnout,” Denver career coach Carol Ross wrote that it’s important to create an environment where you can nurture yourself.
When Ross felt burned out at 50, she temporarily disconnected from social media, limited her time on email and declined requests from friends asking to pick her brain. Unplugging “allowed my mind to quiet down and my soul to be heard.” I think forcing yourself to do that can be enormously useful, whether you’re burned out or burning up the tracks at work.

Photograph of Richard Eisenberg
Richard Eisenberg is the former Senior Web Editor of the Money & Security and Work & Purpose channels of Next Avenue and former Managing Editor for the site. He is the author of "How to Avoid a Mid-Life Financial Crisis" and has been a personal finance editor at Money, Yahoo, Good Housekeeping, and CBS MoneyWatch. Read More
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