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Archive for April, 2009

April 28th, 2009 by Sergey Novoselov   Posted in Job News, Job Search, Networking, Unemployment

US corporate tax rates are way out of step with our major economic competitors and cause companies to move overseas. Last year Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel proposed cutting the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 30.5 percent. While a 5 percentage point cut may sound significant, it may not be sufficient to meaningfully improve the competitiveness of the United States.

Currently, the average combined federal and state corporate tax rate in the U.S. is 39.3 percent, second among OECD countries to Japan’s combined rate of 39.5 percent. Lowering the federal rate to 30.5 percent would only lower the U.S.’s ranking to fifth highest among industrialized countries.

More recently, other members of Congress—including Sen. John McCain and Congressman Eric Cantor—have released proposals to cut the corporate rate even deeper to 25 percent. While this lower rate would improve the U.S.’s international ranking and competitiveness, that improvement would be mitigated by the high corporate tax rates imposed by many states. Also in just the past two months, at least six countries have announced plans to cut their corporate tax rates: Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, South Africa, Spain and Taiwan.

Assuming that no state cuts its business taxes in the next year, the U.S. federal rate would have to be cut to 20 percent in order to bring the combined federal-state rate down to the middle of the OECD pack. But Washington does not bear the entire blame for America’s eroding tax competitiveness, nor does it shoulder the entire responsibility for fixing it. State officials also have to be cognizant of the fact that they are not only competing against each other for investment and jobs, but against the rest of the world. The emerging low-tax countries in Europe and Asia benefit from the U.S. remaining a high-tax country.

The key to improving America’s business tax competitiveness is a partnership between federal and state lawmakers to work toward the common goal of lowering the overall business tax burden in the U.S. Otherwise, the U.S. will continue to fall behind in the global tax race simply by standing still.

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April 20th, 2009 by Sergey Novoselov   Posted in Job Search, Unemployment

Measuring unemployment is an art that can result in widely varied rates. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Government uses a method that excludes millions of Americans seeking employment. This lower rate is used to prove that America’s economic system is superior to those in Europe. Their higher unemployment rates are blamed on unions and socialism, which guarantee workers health care and paid vacations. The implication is that while many American workers lack such benefits, at least they have jobs. This argument is faulty since unemployment is measured differently.

In the USA, 35% of healthy Americans ages 16-64 are unemployed, but what does that word mean? Millions of women are unemployed as they choose to stay home to raise families. Nevertheless, 25% of healthy American men ages 16-64 are unemployed, yet the U.S. Government reports an unemployment rate of just 8.1%.

The 25% rate is from an annual federal survey last conducted in June 2008, well before the current economic slump added millions to the “official” unemployment rate of 8.1% for March 6, 2009. The 25% rate is the ratio of healthy American men ages 16-64 not working. This is misleading because it includes the two million Americans behind bars, while most 16 and 17-year olds remain in school. It also includes millions of Americans who voluntarily retire before age 65 and house-husbands who care for children while their wife works.

In typical government doublespeak, people who are not “looking for work” but want work and “have looked for work in the recent past” are not counted as unemployed. This figure does not include a few million Americans who excluded by the survey parameters for these reasons:

  • Students seeking work are never counted as unemployed. So anyone taking college classes at night and seeking a full-time day job is not counted as unemployed
  • Pensioners seeking work are never counted as unemployed. This includes those who receive a minimal monthly pension because they retired early, often forcibly. Soldiers in the U.S. military can retire with a small pension as young as age 37, yet they must find work to support their family. However, they are classified as retired and not counted as unemployed
  • Anyone seeking a full-time job who works a few unpaid hours a week at a family farm or small business is not counted as unemployed
  • People seeking their first job, such as recent high school and college graduates, and housewives are excluded. The logic is that since they were never employed, they are not unemployed

These games allow the U.S. Government to report a current unemployment rate of just 8.1%, even though its own data of unemployed Americans who want to work indicates an unemployment rate of around 20%. This should concern all Americans because the unemployed burden society by collecting welfare or resorting to crime. A recent surge in Social Security Disability claims indicates another path the desperate unemployed are seeking.

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April 17th, 2009 by Tatiana Varenik   Posted in Job Search

“References available upon request”. Does this look like a familiar phrase on your resume? Have you put any thought into who you will ask for a reference? How many references do you need to have? Can you use family and friends – they know you the best and can let a potential employer know that you are a very hard worker?

Most employers will eventually request your references before extending a job offer. The strongest references come from previous employers who can vouch for your knowledge and skills, your integrity, and your enthusiasm toward work. Your best bet is to get a reference from an immediate supervisor, manager, or co-worker. The higher the title, the better. Your reference should know who you are and what you did. Of course, you should always ask for their permission beforehand and inform them of your job objective. You might also give them a copy of your resume, so they have something to refer to when contacted by an employer.

Request references only of those people who think positively of you. If you know that your current or previous boss won’t give you a decent recommendation, provide the name of someone else in the chain-of-command who will. Maybe your boss’s boss, another manager, or a supervisor who is familiar with your work. Don’t use family members or friends unless they can truly speak to your work-related skills and qualifications.

Generally speaking, you should only use business references unless the employer asks for personal or character references. Other potential references may include your professors, leaders of organizations or clubs, clients, customers, or others familiar with your work. They should all be professional contacts.

When you post resume, never include your references. Instead, prepare a separate sheet with the heading, “Professional References” or something similar. (See attached Sample). You should list 3 to 5 references under that heading. Be sure to include your name, address, etc., at the top of the page – just as it appears on your resume. Unless otherwise requested, use work addresses and phone numbers. For each reference list the name, title, company or organization, company address, and work phone number. If the person’s title or company does not indicate your relationship, include in parenthesis after name (e.g., former supervisor).

Your Professional References should not be sent in the mail/fax/email with your cover letter and resume unless the employer specifically asks for them at that time. Employers typically ask for references after an interview, so be sure to take a copy of your reference sheet with you to your interviews. It should be on the same paper as your resume – and as with any other job search correspondence, take the time to make sure your reference sheet is of the highest quality. PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, and PROOFREAD again.

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April 14th, 2009 by Sergey Novoselov   Posted in Job News

More than two dozen lawmakers have signed onto a bill that seeks tax breaks for laid-off workers receiving severance pay. The Workers Severance Tax Reduction Act of 2009 (H.R. 154), was introduced by Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., and would exclude up to $40,000 of severance pay that doesn’t exceed $150,000 from gross income.

If this bill becomes law, it would only affect severance pay received in 2008, 2009 or 2010, so it would help only those workers who lose their jobs now and going forward.

That said, one way to make this deal revenue-neutral might also actually help curtail layoffs: Eliminate tax breaks that companies get when they lay off workers and take deductions for the expenses involved. Companies that lose the tax breaks might find it economically feasible to hang on to some workers a bit longer.

Alas, that funding mechanism for this tax break is not part of the proposal.

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Before it’s too late, post resume

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April 13th, 2009 by Andrew Kucheriavy   Posted in Job Search

I would like to share some answers and advice that I received in response to my question about job search tips and tricks that I posted on LinkedIn:

1. Pay attention to when a job was posted and try to apply quickly if a job was just posted. If its been posted for a while, keep in mind that the company may be more flexible in filling the position.

2. See how many different job sites the position was posted to, this shows how serious the company is about filling the position and that they may need to fill it quickly.

3. See if the same posting is given by the actual company AND by other hiring agencies, this also shows how serious they are about filling the position.

4. Use acronyms in the search block, and then try the entire word. For example, IA and information assurance - or information security and INFOSEC. [Note: here is a good resource for acronyms and positions abbreviations: )

5. Find the position on a major site, then look for it on the corporate site. Apply to both the major job board AND the corporate site, hopefully getting noticed faster.

6. Search for jobs outside of your normal online job search, sometimes there are incorrect job postings or similar postings that could be what you are looking for.

7. Google “”, which will often yield legitimate *human* email addresses. Once you understand the email naming convention ( or, call headquarters and get creative about obtaining names of Human Resources personnel. Once you have a full name…VOILA! You now have direct email access to a person, not a resume database. This exemplifies determination, a character trait most employers value greatly.

Special thanks to Benjamin R. and Dave G. for their valuable advice! I hope they don’t mind that I am reposting their answers here - I think this can be very useful to the job seekers!
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