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The handiest list of American cities job seekers should focus on

(BUSINESS NEWS) If you are a job seeker and are looking to relocate, a list has been compiled for you so that you can see the best cities for job seekers.

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So many options

Looking for a job is overwhelming, no matter what. Regardless of your location, your field, and the stage of your career, that job search can seem endless and insurmountable.

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Multiply that stress by a bajillion if you’re open to relocation, and looking for jobs in multiple cities.

Too much oyster

If the world is your oyster but that kinda freaks you out, Indeed has a handy new list of (American) cities you should focus your search on. The job search engine determined that the best cities for job seekers share a few key qualities: a favorable labor market, good cost of living-adjusted average salaries, employers that value work-life balance, and solid job security and opportunities for advancement.

As you can see, a promising job search city isn’t just the place with the most open jobs.

Do you really want to move across the country for a job that pays peanuts and a boss that demands overtime daily? Unless it’s a passion project that you aren’t searching for, but actually finding, the answer is probably no. So check out the top contenders and save yourself a whole bunch of headaches.

5. Sacramento, CA

Number five on the list is Sacramento, California – the highest-placing Californian city. There are more so-called unicorns in cities like San Francisco, but do you really want to pin your career dreams on a technically nonexistent narwhal-horse? Sacramento scored particularly high in work-life balance and salary, which indicates that employers in Sacramento value their employees, and probably listen to them too. Almost a quarter of all the jobs in Sacramento are in government, but there are also some tech giants like Intel, and a diverse spread of other industries as well.

4. Austin, TX

At number four we have Austin, TX, the natives of which will be dismayed to see yet another plug for their sacred hometown, which according to them is overrun with Californians and other vagrants. But like it or not, Austin is growing, growing, growing, largely in part due to its status as an up and coming tech hub, already home to the likes of Dell, Apple, and even Indeed. It too owes the majority of its jobs to government, however. Work life balance is a big deal in Austin – we all need time for tacos.

3. Raleigh, NC

Number three on the list is Raleigh, North Carolina, which has the friendliest labor market on the list, but does fall short when it comes to work-life balance and job security and advancement. Major employers in Raleigh include IBM and Duke University and Health System – the professional services and business industries are booming here.

Orlando, FL

Second on the list is Orlando, Florida, which, believe it or not, is home to things other than Disney World. Orlando’s job market is stronger than 98% of the cities, including the city at the top of Indeed’s list. But Orlando is a pricy place to live, which means a good salary doesn’t go as far here as it might elsewhere. The biggest industry in Orlando is – surprise, surprise – leisure and hospitality, but there are also plenty of opportunities in trade and transport.

1. Miami, FL

*Drumroll, please.* Miami, Florida made the top of Indeed’s list, with the highest overall ranking for both work-life balance and job security and advancement. Again, though, Miami is an expensive place to live, so salaries aren’t as great there. The best industries in Miami are trade, transport and utilities, and professional and business services. Ready to soak up some Florida sun?

The Mason-Dixon charm

You may have noticed that the top four cities are Southerners, and the top 15 on Indeed’s list are in the South or West. Blue skies and blazing suns must make for great jobs, and according to census data, the so-called Sun Belt has many of the fastest growing cities in the country. If you burn easily or have vampire tendencies, you could try Seattle, Washington (17th on the list), Hartford, Connecticut (18th), or Providence, Rhode Island (21st).
You also may have noticed that a few major metropolises are missing: where’s NYC, where’s Chicago?

Recent census data shows that these gargantuan cities are growing less and less popular.

And manufacturing centers like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis are also facing population stagnation or decline. Senior Vice President at Indeed Paul D’Arcy says it makes sense: “Manufacturing jobs have steadily declined over the years and haven’t shown promise for career growth like a generation ago.” Now those states “are working to diversify their economy to attract workers and keep talent in their state,” he says.

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That means that yesterday’s job trends may not match tomorrow’s, so don’t target a city just because it’s booming. But if you like the location, the vibe, and the prospects, get searching!

#JobSeekers

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Business News

So you were asked an illegal question in an interview, now what?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Interviews are nerve racking enough without having to wonder if your potential employer is playing by the rules. Be aware of these tips in case you find they aren’t.

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Interviews are universally nerve-wracking. You’ve got the resume, the references, the outfit – but you never know what your interviewer(s) are going to throw at you.

You expect questions relating to your skills and your ability to do the job, but sometimes a question comes out of left field and you’ve got to scramble for a coherent answer.

“If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors,” asks Apple. And Gallup wants to know, “What was the last gift you gave someone?”

Well, when I ordered a pizza last night, I tipped the delivery person with scissors . . .

Unfortunately, some questions that seem just wacky, or harmless and friendly, are not just inappropriate to ask in an interview, but are actually illegal.

Illegal questions are generally those that request information irrelevant to the job description. Here are the most common categories of illegal questions, shared across all states:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Sex/Gender/Orientation
  • Military discharge
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Birthplace
  • Age
  • Disability/Health status
  • Marital/family status

Any of this personal information could be used, intentionally or not, to discriminate against them. A direct inquiry regarding any of these topics is obviously off-limits, but sometimes the question might come from a tricky angle.

“When did you graduate college?” = “How old are you?”

With this information, employers could decide you’re too young or old for the role, no matter how qualified you may be.

“Orizaga is an interesting surname – is it Spanish?” = “Are you Hispanic?” A biased interviewer could use this information to determine that you are or aren’t a “good fit.” Similarly, “Is English your native language?” = “Are you from an English-speaking country or not?”

“Is that your maiden name?” = “Are you married?” And so on.

These questions are often asked innocently, by untrained interviewers looking to make conversation. Nonetheless, you don’t have to answer them, and your best bet is to tactfully avoid the question without demanding your constitutional rights in the middle of the interview.

Tone is everything, but if you respond to an illegal question with something along the lines of, “Is that relevant to this role?” in a calm, mild voice, most interviewers will take the hint and move on.

If the situation allows for it, you can keep your answer nice and vague without avoiding the question.

For example, if you’re asked about your college graduation date, you could say, “It’s been a while, but I still view college as one of the best experiences of my life.”

It’s important to note that asking an illegal question is not equivalent to committing a crime. The information must be used in a discriminatory manner, as determined by a court.

If you believe that an act of discrimination has been committed, you should contact a labor attorney, or file a charge with your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office. Then, order yourself a pizza and ask the delivery person about their scissors.

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Business News

10 time tracking tools for productive freelancers, entrepreneurs

(PRODUCTIVITY) We’re all obsessed with squeezing more out of each day, but what if we used one of these time tracking tools to inject more chill time into our lives?

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Part of today’s culture is seeing how much one can get done in a day. We’re always so “go, go, go” and we treasure productivity.

This is incredibly true for freelancers, and, as such, it makes total sense that app and software technology would capitalize on this need. The following apps and programs are designed to help you save time and/or increase productivity.

1. Timeular: This app is designed to visually show you how you spend your time and, as a result, become more productive. Instead of wondering where your time goes every day, you’ll see it visually. This is done through a physical time tracker, where you can define what you want to track and customize your Tracker. You then connect via Bluetooth and place the Tracker face up with the task that you are working on (if you’re taking a phone call, the symbol facing up would be a phone). It then tracks all of your tasks into a color-coded visualization of the day’s activities. Dangerous for people like me who waste a lot of time on Instagram…

2. Bonsai: This bad boy is time tracking for freelancers. You can break down each project and track time individually in order to see where your time is going and how much is being spent on each entity. You then are able to automate invoices based on the time spent. Genius!

3. Tasks Time Tracker: Say that three times fast. This is a phone app that has multiple timers so you can track more than one thing at a time. This app gives you the option to input billing rates to easily track your earning. You can then export all of the info in a CSV format.

4. Azendoo: Everything in one place. This is a time-tracking service that assists your team’s needs and workflow. It puts project organization, team collaboration, and time reporting all in one place. A cool feature on this is you can input how much time you anticipate spending on a project, and then Azendoo compares that to how much time you actually spent.

5. Continuo: Similar to Timeular, you get to see all of your activities in a color-coded format on a calendar. This lets you easily breakdown how much time is spent on each activity and allows you to plan for the future. You are able to see your progress over time, and see how you’ve gotten faster and more productive.

6. PadStats: Described as “a simple app will help you to learn more about yourself”, PadStats will help you track and analyze your daily activities or daily routine. This app includes more quanity-based tracking, allowing data to be more user-oriented and stats to be more accurate.

7. Pomo Timer: This productivity boosting app is a “Simple and convenient pomodoro timer based on the technique proposed by Francesco Cirillo in the distant 1980s made in a simple and clear design,” according to iTunes. For those who like visually simplicity, this app is for you.

8. Blue Cocoa: This program overturns the stigma of a smartphone being a distraction, by turning it into a productivity tool. You start by creating a timer and working on something, and, if you get distracted, the timer senses this and tries to help. This is all in an effort to keep you on track of your task, while tracking the time spent.

9. Timely: A fully automatic time app. This features automatic time tracking, project time management, and team time management. It works to improve timesheet accuracy, increase project profitability, and optimize team performance.

10. Toggl: This is a simple time tracker that offers flexible and powerful reporting. It works to crunch numbers that you’ll need for reporting, all while syncing between all of your devices.

Pick one or two of the above ten, and reclaim your time. No need to “go, go, go,” if you’re a more productive person – this way you can “chill, chill, chill.”

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Business News

This fake company weeds out crappy clients

(BUSINESS) The former CEO of Highrise used a fake website to weed out toxic clients. How can you keep problematic customers out of your business?

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Sorting through your client list to weed out potentially toxic customers isn’t a process which garners the same attention as a company removing problematic employees, but it’s every bit as important — and, in many cases, twice as tricky to accomplish. One innovative journalist’s solution to this problem was to set up a fake website to act as a buffer between unwanted clients and his inbox.

If you’re anything like Nathan Kontny, your inbox is probably brimming with unread emails, product pitches, and pleas from people with whom you’ve never met in person or collaborated; unfortunately, many of these “people” are simply automated bots geared toward generating more press for their services.

Nathan’s response to this phenomenon was to create a website called “Trick a Journalist” in order to see which potential clients would sign up for the service.

Hilariously enough, the trap worked exactly as planned. Anyone signing up for Trick a Journalist was blacklisted and prevented from signing up for Nathan’s CRM software, with Nathan’s justification being that the CRM software in question should never be used for something so egregiously predatory as Trick a Journalist.

By creating a product which sets apart unwanted clients from the rest of the pack, Nathan succeeded in both attracting and quarantining present and future threats to the integrity of his business.

While this model may not be practicable at face value, there’s an important lesson here: determining the lengths to which your clients will go to gain the upper hand BEFORE working for them is an important task, as your clients’ actions will reflect upon your product or services either way.

Ruthlessness in business isn’t unheard of, but you should be aware of your customers’ tendencies well in advance of signing off on their behavior.

Of course, one minor issue with Nathan’s model of operation is that, invariably, someone will connect Trick a Journalist to his brand and miss the joke entirely.

There are less risky routes to weeding out potentially problematic clients than blacklisting them via a satirical website — though one might argue such routes are less fun — but the end result is essentially the same: keeping unsavory clients out of your inbox and off of your product list.

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