Saturday, May 31, 2008

Preparing Young Workers for Career Success

A recent post at HR Daily Advisor offered suggestions for employers on how to engage young workers and prepare 20-something employees for success.

The basic list of suggestions in the HR Daily Advisor included:

1. Teaching them the role of mature professionals
2. Helping them to establish profitable relationships
3. Encouraging them to show controlled initiative
4. Help them master skills that will take them anywhere
5. Showing them how to be proactive their own career growth

There are not many opportunities in college for students to really develop these behaviors. Employers who are looking to keep new college grads engaged realize there is more to learn than just the technical pieces of their new jobs.

A few other tips for graduates to focus on career success:

1. Bookmark a few writing resources that are easily accessible
2. Join a professional association. Many employers will actually pay for this
3. Take advantage of all the training your company has to offer
4. Pay attention to the politics in the office, while you stay out of it
5. Ask for feedback on your work and be open to new ideas
6. Exercise your people skills and find a coach you trust who can help you. Your coach does not have to be someone inside the company.
7. Understand different management styles and know how to work well with different groups.

Effective Online Job Hunting

I read a great post from Scott Schulz of Glendale Community College Career Services recently at

Here is what Scott said about job hunting online:
I have known many job seekers who spend 10, 12 or 14 hours per day searching online endlessly! When I first started looking for a job, someone told me, “Looking for a job is a full-time job!” Since that time, I have come to my own conclusion that quality time is better than quantity of time. My recommendations for job seekers includes balancing of time: Visit Job Fairs, contact your local community college career center which is free and open to the public, visit your local One-Stop Center ( or other provider of career-support assistance to gain further insight.

Scott is so right about not spending all of one's time online. Balance is very important and so a successful job search must include a mix of online and in person connections.

I encourage jobseekers to use a timer when job hunting online. Set the timer for every 20 minutes. You would be amazed at how much more productive you become if you stay on task. This way the time you spend online is meaningful and you accomplish more.

After resetting your timer about 4 times, it means you have been job hunting online for about an hour. Switch gears and make phone calls or schedule time for virtual job fairs as well.

Read Scott's posting here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Online Education Offers us The Perfect Balance

I wanted to share an inspiring blog posting from a learner at Penn Foster Career Schools, an awesome resource for for career training and online education that has served 13, 000 000.

The writer was clearly energized and grateful for how online education was enhancing her life for the better. I have been a supporter of online education since I took my first online class at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA about 11 years ago.

Here's a quote from that blog posting at Penn Foster:

" I have a renewed faith! I can have a great career; I can further my education and still have a life. How? Well, I have Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals, Clorox Clean-up Wipes, and the freedom of an online education!"

I wanted to add my words of encouragement to all of us who are looking to enhance our resumes and professional lives with new skills.

America's Coolest Internships

Scottrade was mentioned in the February, 2008, Inc. Magazine's list of America's Coolest Internship programs. Here are 7 tips from recruiter Amy Meister on the Scottrade website for college students who want to get into good internship programs:

- Use all of your available resources to find great internship programs.

- Take advantage of the career counselors and advisors and upperclassmen at your college or university.

- Practice professional job seeking skills to get into internship programs.

- Take your search for internship programs seriously as if you were looking for a full-time job.

- Show an interest in the company.

- Personalize your cover letter, do some research about the company and point out any prior experiences that would make you an asset for internship programs in a a particular company.

- First impressions are important.

- The interview is your place to shine. Project a professional image with your clothing, manners and enthusiasm.

- Make your experience relate.

- In your resume, include part-time jobs, volunteer work, fundraising and charitable activities, athletics and even school-related projects that may align with the internship you are seeking.

- Think outside the semester.

- Let the internship recruiter know that your goal is to work with that company beyond the internship program.

- Follow-up after the interview.

- Send a thank-you letter by mail or e-mail.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Social Networking Sites and the College Grad

Companies that are recruiting on college campuses are using online resources like Google and Yahoo to do background checks on students looking for jobs or internships. Additionally, some recruiters are checking up on applicants on social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Friendster or video sites like YouTube.

Despite all the stories, college students continue to jeopardize their future career success, by posting personal photographs or comments about "partying". Many college students still think these online videos are innocent expressions which are private and without long term ramifications.

Alan Finder in the article titled "For Some, Online Persona Undermines a Résumé" quotes career center professionals from Wesleyan and NYU.

-Michael Sciola, director of the career resource center at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn, says "It's a growing phenomenon...There are lots of employers that Google. Now they've taken the next step.

-Trudy G. Steinfeld, executive director of the center for career development, at New York University said that recruiters from about 30 companies told career counselors that they were looking at the sites for students.

Many of the corporate recruiters are saying that a negative online persona is making students look "immature and unprofessional, at best."

Here's a podcast for students seeking advice on social networking sites from the Center for Career & Professional Development at the Fox School of Business at Temple University.

Job Hunting On The Net | Length: 12:36 minutes
KYW's Hadas Kuznits speaks with Corinne Snell with Fox School's Center for Student Professional Development about job hunting through social networking sites on the internet.

Blogging Your Way to Career Change

I recently read a blog post at JibberJobber- "Blogging to Bigger Job Opportunities - Interview on".

Jason Alba, Jibber CEO reflected on an article where Alba was quoted about blogging as a career tool to find career opportunities.

Jason rightly says, "Being one of the subject matter experts (SME) or thought leaders in your space is a powerful thing."

In my blog comment, I wrote that creating a positive web persona is important if one wants to use blogging as a route to a new career. Internet research reveals several blogs written by job seekers. A few bloggers wrote negatively about prior bosses and companies where they had interviews. Some bloggers trashed certain professions and careers completely.

Job seekers have a hard time explaining a negative web persona in the interview.

Jobseekers need to be aware of the long term effect on their careers of the persona they present on the web through:
-Networking sites like Facebook,LinkedIn and Spoke.
-YouTube videos.
-Meetup community networks.

As another blogger, wrote - "Your blog IS your brand!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Creative Job Search Strategies for Career Changers

This article from Resumes2Work offers job hunting strategies for Career Changers and Career ReEntry professionals.

Most people who have made the decision to change their careers face the same problem:
How can I get hired when I don't have relevant experience?

It is true that not many companies will hire you as a graphic artist if you simply send a resume outlining your ten-year career in tax accounting! Even the best resume cannot hide the fact that your previous work experience has not qualified you for the position you seek.

The good news is that there are ways to gain entry into your chosen profession.

As Nicholas Lore explains in his exceptional career change book, The Pathfinder, "you gain admittance into any group, social or professional, by creating agreement." In other words, people are accepted into a group (or career field) because other people agree they belong. Agreement is developed through the things we say, the way we act, the knowledge we have etc. If a struggling, unpublished writer says "I hope to be a writer some day," she has already made it clear that she does not consider herself to be a writer. Others will agree with her categorization and accept that she is not a writer. But if she writes every day, submits short stories to small publications, attends writer's conferences and writes free articles for websites and local newspapers, she is now beginning to create agreement that she is, indeed, a writer.

The goal therefore is to become your new profession. Don't wait until someone hires you before you think of yourself as a computer programmer. Start to think of yourself that way now. Begin gathering the knowledge and experience you will need. Surf websites and chat rooms. Join associations and networking groups. Talk to other programmers. Read books. Practice. And most importantly...Read more

Louise Fletcher is President and Co-Founder of Blue Sky Resumes, which provides job search assistance, resume writing services and online portfolios for game industry professionals.

Advanced Manufacturing Jobs Still Available

Although the US Department of Labor projects that the economy will lose 1.5 million general manufacturing jobs through 2016, they also say the economy will need 1.7 million advanced manufacturing workers.

The Manufacturing Solutions Center in Tupelo, MS is a colaboration between education and business designed to meet the workforce training and economic development needs of the region. The center was funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Board for Community and Junior Colleges and the state Workforce Investment Board.

"It's essential that we support existing industry with a program like this, and it's also good to have when you're recruiting industry as well. You want to be able to continue training your employees, and the Manufacturing Solutions Center and the area community colleges do exactly that," says Todd Beadles, Director of Workforce Development and Training.

This is just one such partnership that is attempting to fill the need for highly skilled professionals in the manufacturing sector.

Read complete article from the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

More on manufacturing jobs:
Manufacturing Jobs Are Not Completely Gone
Manufacturing Jobs Desperately Need Skilled Workers

Career Programs a Springboard in Mississippi

Rebecca Helmes • • May 26, 2008
Published by the Clarion Ledger

A global economy still needs masons, plumbers and construction workers.

As the high school Class of 2008 picks up diplomas and starts life's next phase, not all graduates will go to college. Job options vary between rural towns and larger cities, and the earning potential tends to be less for a high school graduate than for those who attend college.

But jobs are out there for students who know what they want.

High school career centers offer what many times is students' first taste of work-force training, although the career centers' role has morphed in recent years.

Once places that focused almost exclusively on vocational training for those who weren't seeking higher education, career centers now are used by many students as a springboard for studies at community or four-year colleges, officials say.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 60 percent of graduating high school seniors go to college the following year.

At the Career Development Center in Jackson Public Schools, students in programs ranging from design technology for fashion interiors, culinary arts, early childhood services and education, business and computer technology and technology application all said they were going to further their education.

Thomas Burl, a graduating senior, plans to study computer science in college. Still, he believes his extracurricular work in the Student Technology Exchange Program, where he and students from other school districts learned about Nissan and programming or robotics, gives him experience that many other students don't have.

Melvin Johnson, principal of the JPS Career Development Center, said students who aren't interested in college can enlist in the military or use the technical skills they learned in high school to land jobs.

"It just depends on the child's aspirations if they're not interested in college," Johnson said. "The majority of our kids go on to community college, where they continue their skill training."

In JPS, someone who goes through the cosmetology program can graduate as a licensed cosmetologist and get to work right away.

Other programs require that students take outside cosmetology coursework before they can be licensed.

"We're trying to attach some kind of certification to all the programs," Johnson said. "At that level, they'd be ready for any of those skills-training-type jobs at an entry level."

The Hinds and Rankin county school districts work closely with Hinds Community College on work force development for young people interested in vocational training.

At the Madison Career & Technical Center in the Madison County School District, Principal Aimee Brown said one of the most popular programs at her school is allied health, which includes classes that start preparing students for careers as nurses, veterinarians, doctors or anything else in the medical field.

"For those not going to college, we try to give them, I guess, more opportunities to get out into the community," Brown said about job shadowing or internship experiences.

With Nissan nearby, automotive technology is the second-most popular field for students at her school, Brown said. Other students want to work in their uncle's body shop or have their own oil-change and car-maintenance stations.

But Brown said construction technology is a big class for students who aren't going to college. Students could end up as carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians or in other related professions.

"That would probably be our biggest area ... where they could go right to work without any extra training," Brown said. "You have to figure out ... what the best thing for each kid is."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Teenagers Singing the Summer Job Blues

By Jeff Mills
Staff Writer
Friday, May. 16, 2008 3:00 am GREENSBORO

Let's say you're 16 years old. Maybe 17. Your junior year of high school ends in a few weeks, and you want to make some money this summer.

So, you go looking for a job — maybe your first real job — in an economy of $3.71 per gallon gas and government stimulus checks.

What can you expect?

"It's going to be tougher this year," said Andrew Brod, director of UNCG's center for business and economic research. "I've seen some figures that say upwards of a quarter of all kids who are able to work are going to be unable to find jobs this summer."

With unemployment about 5 percent, teens could end up competing with qualified adults, Brod said.

And a lot of the jobs out there are part-time and low-paying.

"I'm looking. I'm just not finding," said Zac Herrmann, a 17-year-old junior at Grimsley. "A lot of places require you to be 18. I tried Dick's (Sporting Goods), but you have to be 18 to sell firearms. You have to be 21 to deliver anything. Even (grocery stores) want you to be a certain age to work in the deli or sell alcohol."

Complete article

Using Your Cover Letter to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths

When applying for a new job, it can sometimes be difficult to explain a huge gap in employment, or lack of relevant employment, when all you have is your resume to do the talking. This is why it is recommended that you include a cover letter with your resume.

But what can a cover letter do for you? It can give the prospective employer insight into who you are as a person, as well as why you want to work for their company. And it can also give you the opportunity to turn what may look like weaknesses on your resume into strengths. Let's look at a few ways this can be accomplished.

Focus on Your Special Skills

If you don't have a lot of jobs to list on your resume, but you do have relevant skills that you've acquired over the years, you can use your cover letter to explain what looks to be a lack of experience. A great way to get started is by creating a list of skills you've developed that match the company's job posting, mission and culture. Next you can use the cover letter to explain how those skills can enhance the company.

For example, you may be an expert typist capable of accurately typing 80 WPM, which is perfect for the data entry position you're interested in. The only drawback is that you didn't gain your expertise from your last 20 years as a housewife and part-time babysitter. Instead, you picked it up while volunteering as your church's secretary over the past decade. In this case, you can use your cover letter to highlight this skill and turn around what might be perceived as a lack of job experience.

Hobbies Are Not Off-Limits
Many people have hobbies that they spend a lot of time focusing on and eventually want to turn into careers. For example, you may love to work on computers and have expertise with both hardware and software applications, which has nothing to do with your string of jobs working in factories.

You decide that you are interested in applying for a position with a small start-up company that needs an entry-level IT technician. You know you're perfect for it but don't know how to prove it. That is, until you remember that you keep up with all of the technology, have taken some classes at a local college, and have years of experience fixing computers in your community. By explaining all of this in your cover letter, you have a chance to showcase the experience you've gained.

Keep Your Explanations Simple

While you want to use your cover letter to fill in gaps in your job history, you don't want the employer to spend too much time thinking about the possibility of you being a weak candidate. So instead of spending a lot of time explaining why your skills and hobbies are stellar, it is a good idea to instead keep this part as brief as you would in any other cover letter.

Having gaps in your work history doesn't have to define your capabilities as an employee. So try using your cover letter to highlight your special skills. You might be surprised by the success that follows.

Written by Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and owner of who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end. Posted at College

Attention Boomers: Generation Y Expects To Find You In Social Networks

The following article speaks to why social networking sites have to be a part of your career reentry strategy.

Source - "Attention Boomers: Generation Y Expects To Find You In Social Networks"

"Many career reentry professionals are still unsure of why they need to create a professional profile online on social networking sites such as LinkedIn.

Let me share with you a story that I heard recently.

I was speaking to the HR Director and Head of Talent Management of a division of one of the worlds leading brands and they were sharing with me their experience of attracting and recruiting Generation Y employees, an area I've been researching for a future book project I am working on.

They recalled a recent interview with a Generation Y candidate where they were taken a-back when the candidate said that they were surprised that they could not find the HR Director or Head of Talent Management on the social network LinkedIn.

I should hasten to add that both the HR Director and the Head of Talent Management are both of Generation X - not Matures or Baby-boomers.

I should also mention that the company they work for pride themselves in believing they are connected and have innovative practices about attracting and retaining Generation Y employees - in fact representatives from the company are often asked to speak on the subject. They even have a group on Facebook.

The HR Director shared with me that their immediate thought was:

What's LinkedIn?"

Article by Krishna De and courtesy of Biz Growth News blog posted at

More Reading: Network Your Way to Career ReEntry

In Search of the Perfect Internship

In March of this year, Scottrade sent out a press release in which recruiter and internship coordinator, Amy Meister, listed seven things college students can do to optimize their internship or entry-level employment searches.

1. Use all of your resources to find a great internship. You don't have to look too far to find a great resource. Take advantage ofthe career counselors and advisors at your college or university and look toyour network of friends. Upperclassmen may be able to recommend internships they have held or heard about.

2. Practice professional job seeking skills. Take your internship search seriously as if you were looking for a full-time job. Formalize your correspondence and avoid using text messaging grammar or spelling. Make sure your e-mail screen name is appropriate. Set up a more professional user name, such as using your first initial and last name, or use a university or college e-mail address. Check your voice mail message and ask yourself if that message would resonate well with a potential employer.

3. Show an interest in the company. Your initial query or cover letter should be personalized and reference the company and position you are applying for. Do some research about the company and point out any prior experiences that relates to the company. Once you have booked an interview, take the time to research the company further and know what you seek to gain from the position and what you can contribute. When you sit down for the interview, ask informed questions. Read more...

Posted by Candice Arnold on May 6, 2008 3:27 PM at

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tips for Teens to Succeed on the Summer Job

Teenage workers are an important part of the labor force and have a lot to offer. In 2006 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that more than 8 million working teens were added to the payroll. Although teenagers are valuable in the workplace, many employers experience a difficulty getting them to be productive.

Working teens can succeed on their summer jobs or part time jobs and make a positive impression if they pay attention to these work behaviors.

Be a Team Player. Get Along With Other People
The National Association of Colleges and Employers surveys employers annually to find which job skills employers want from new hires. Teamwork and the ability to work well with others consistently show up on that list. It is a job skill employers expect teen job seekers to demonstrate on their resumes, in the interview and while in their summer job.

Be Respectful
Showing respect for supervisors, co-workers and customers is a good workplace habit that working teenagers should develop early.

Manage Time
The workplace is far more time sensitive than high school. Unlike high school, there are not many opportunities to turn in late work or show up late at work. Working teens may not get a second chance to make a first impression on the job.

Be Dependable; Show up as Scheduled
Employers rely on teen workers to show up for work as scheduled.

Be Willing to Go Above and Beyond Without Compromising Safety
To succeed on the summer job, teenagers should demonstrate a willingness to go above and beyond expectations. Teens and their supervisors should always consider safety first.

Be an Effective Communicator
Teens should develop and use strong interpersonal and communication skills on the job. Although teens exist in a “sound-bite” and text messaging world, a different type of communication etiquette is required at work.

Be Visible
Hiding from work is not an option on the job. Supervisors do not want to search for teen workers who are avoiding assignments or hanging out with friends.

Be Willing to Learn; Be Open to Criticism

Teen workers should keep their supervisors informed of their work and ask for feedback. Ask for clarification of instructions and ask for help. Employers prefer working with teens who ask for clarification rather than make costly product mistakes or, even worse, jeopardize their personal safety or the safety of other workers.

Be Confident; Ask for Additional Assignments or Training.
As new skills are mastered, employers are very open to changing the roles of their teenage workers if it will enhance overall business productivity. Teens should also be confident enough to ask for reference letters and recommendation letters at the end of a job if they have done well.

Do College Graduates Need More Training

In an article published in the Deseret Morning News, Wendy Leonard says, "Colleges and universities dump a lot of new college graduates into the work force, and yet some in the work force still need additional, specialized training to perform well in the jobs they choose."

Whether the college grads come from vocational training, career education programs or 4-Year college or university programs, employers often speak about the need for additional training.

Although qualified in the requisite technical skills on paper, some new grads need extra training on the soft skills required to be effective in their new jobs. Employers and colleges are finding ways to collaborate on custom training to meet the need for this additional post graduation training.

Salt Lake Community College and Utah College of Applied Technology offer programs to help employers tailor training courses to meet their business needs.

One such employer, Stampin Up!, a supplier of craft products for the scrap booking marketplace, operates two state-of-the-art facilities in Utah. In partnership with Salt Lake Community College, they applied for grant money to facilitate a series of communication training seminars for their new college hires.

New college grads should consider availability of additional training as they evaluate the companies where they want to begin their careers. Ask about the availability of training in the following areas:

-Team building
-Leadership or supervisory training
-Customer service and client relations
-Interpersonal skills
-Project management

New employees should also consider working on professional certifications to enhance their professional development. Research professional associations in the career areas of interest and explore the certifications that these professional career organizations support.

New college graduates should consider companies that will pay for membership in professional associations and cover the cost of certification or additional training as needed.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Encore Careers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by the year 2014, an estimated 78 million Baby Boomers will retire from the workforce with only 600 000 workers entering to replace them.

Boomers are retooling, reentering school and looking for new skills to begin new careers.

Retirement is becoming more of a temporary segue into a new life, now increasingly known as the encore career.

A recent blog post for states, "It looks like retirement is becoming a thing of the past for the middle class. No more “winter condos” in Florida or retirement homes in Arizona. With the Social Security System in shambles and the status of our economy I guess it’s no wonder. Regardless, the next 5 to 10 years should be quite interesting!"

Source - Penn Foster career blog posting.

Feeling Pain at Work?

A lot of workers, unfortunately, experience pain on the job.

The pain can obviously be linked to physical activity at work involving lifting, climbing and bending or be the result of accidents or compromised safety.

Killer Jobs: 10 Painful Professionas, looks at the top 10 jobs with the potential for the most pain for workers. Careers like Police Officers and Fire Fighters are listed as expected. Others, probably less expected, include musicians, bloggers and dancers.

Mitchell Freedman, director of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia says, "the instance of chronic pain goes up with job dissatisfaction - a feeling of helplessness about your job."

How painful is your job? Is the pain at work from physical activity, physical space or co-workers?

Workplace Diversity

If you are graduating from vocational or career education training program you, like others, can expect to be in a more diverse workforce. Here are three articles that address some of the current issues in workplace diversity.

Advantages of Hiring First Generation American Workers
by Kathy Bornheimer
With the increase of immigration into the United States comes the increase in the children of this generation. This future workforce will eventually become the current workforce. The three highest groups of immigrants are Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Asian populations.

Resume Tips for Minority Job Seekers
by Taunee Besson
Should minority resumes be any different from those of Anglo job seekers? "That's a silly question. Of course not." says Warren Osby, a Placement Specialist with Career Information and Placement Services at Richland College.

Want to Improve Your Employment Prospects? Learn a Second Language
by Mary Gormandy White
As technology becomes more and more advanced, it seems like the world is getting smaller and smaller. The phrase “global economy” is mentioned in the media quite a bit, and it does accurately describe the 21st Century marketplace. Conducting business across international borders is becom...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tips for Returning to Workforce After Extended Absence

CHICAGO, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Returning to the workforce after an
extended absence doesn't necessarily put you at a disadvantage, a recent
survey from indicates.

Forty-five percent of workers who returned to the workforce in the last 12 months after taking at least one year off said they found a job in less than one month. One-third (33 percent) said they found a job in one to six months while only 14 percent
said their job hunt lasted more than a year.

"This goes back to the labor shortage factor in the job market today,"
said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at "Employers are struggling to find skilled labor and are
recruiting qualified employees before the competition has a chance to do
so. Even in a tighter job market, skilled workers re-entering the workforce
after a leave of absence can find good opportunities and competitive
compensation packages."

When asked about the primary motivator for taking an extended period of
time off from work, workers reported:

-- Medical reasons (17%)
-- To raise a family (15%)
-- To relax and enjoy life (13%)
-- To continue education (9%)
-- To move to a new location (9%)

When asked to identify the main challenge in finding a job when they
returned to the workforce, 37 percent of workers reported having to prove
themselves all over again while 24 percent said it was difficult to explain
the gap in employment. Twenty percent pointed to a lack of required skills
or education as the main obstacle in finding a job while 18 percent cited
the competition with younger workers. Nine percent said they perceived a
concern amongst employers that they would once again leave the workforce.

Haefner recommends the following tips to help in the transition back
into the workforce:

1) Cover your bases. Cover letters not only help to highlight skills and
accomplishments and bring more personality to your application, they
are also useful for explaining an extended absence.

2) Reach out. Chances are you know someone who knows someone who can get
your foot in the door. Talk to family, friends, neighbors, former
colleagues, etc and ask them to keep you in mind for potential

3) Take a refresher. Sign up for seminars and events and online programs
to brush up on new technologies, current trends and developments in
your desired field.

4) Stay active. The majority of employers consider volunteer work to
qualify as relevant experience. Volunteering in your local community
can help to build up your resume, show your continued drive and
establish networking contacts.

5) Make no apologies. Keep the conversation positive. Don't dwell on how
long you've been out of the workforce. Focus the discussion on your
strengths and contributions and enthusiasm for the position at hand

Career Builder Industry Trends Surveys

America's Aging Workforce

Experts estimate that by 2020, one in three workers will be 50 or older. Additionally, many of America's Baby Boomers, a third of the workforce, are set to retire by the end of the decade.

In today's global environment, employees are discovering that career skills developed earlier may becoming obsolete. Baby Boomers have to be open to career training to change careers or reenter the workforce .

Companies are tackling employee recruitment and retention to make sure they access and keep the top talent they need to succeed moving forward.

In a recent survey, Career Builder looked at one of the strategies that retail employers use to maintain their workforce. Nearly 19% of retail employers reported concern over the loss of intellectual capital at their organizations as a large number of workers transition from careers into retirement. Employers are increasingly attracted to the retired worker.

The survey reported that 28% of retail employers are likely to rehire retirees from other companies in 2008. This they say is due to a shortage of qualified workers.
Eleven percent of these retailers planned to provide incentives for workers at or approaching retirement age to continue their careers with the company.

What's your company doing?

Is Your Resume Contact Information Correct?

Having the correct contact information on a job seeker's resume is important to moving forward in the candidate selection process. It is important that this section is free from typos, errors or omissions, be current and be attractive enough to engage the recruiter in a 20-30 second resume power scan. Poor performance in this area is one reason that recruiters discard resumes from great college candidates.

The following checklist can help job seekers proofread resume contact information for content, relevance and accuracy.

1. Using multiple phone numbers? Recruiters won't necessarily call and leave messages at every one. Pick one or two at the absolute maximum.

2. Is your phone number correct and current? It won't leave a positive impression if the employer gets a message that your phone is disconnected or if you can no longer be reached at the number indicated on your resume. Leaving a resume in cyber space with incorrect contact information does you no good.

3. Have you set up a professional voice mail? Is there music that is too loud? Is the voice mail in another language? Are there distracting sounds like dogs barking?

4. At the phone number you have listed, will someone answer who does not speak English? Will a child answer? Will they be able to take a message for you?

5. Does your email address look professional? Are you using multiple email addresses? Have you changed email accounts recently and need to update this on your resume? Are you regularly checking the email account listed?

6. Is your address above your name? Make sure your name is the first thing on your resume and is in a slightly larger font than everything else.

7. Are you using a font that is too small to be readable? Many resume templates currently on the market use a default font that is sometimes too small.

8. Make sure the top resume margin is not less than a half inch. Contact information might get cut off if your resume has to be faxed.

9. Does your address use too many lines? Limit name and address to two lines. eg First line with name and email on both ends; 2nd line with complete address and phone numbers separated by symbols.

10. As you evaluate which email to use, you might want to temporarily lower security level or check your spam or junk folder to make sure you are not missing responses from employers.

11. Do you have an adopted name as well as your given name? Use both. Suggested layout would be to include your adopted name in parenthesis eg. Rosemary (Ginger) Thyme

12. Make sure your name and contact information appears on all pages of your resume.

13. Aim for consistent letter-head look of contact information for resume, cover letter, thank-you letter and reference sheet.

14. Include a fax number if available. This might make it easy for the employer to send you a job application or an offer letter.

15. You may include a website URL for an online portfolio in your resume contact information.

16. Use both a permanent and temporary addresses if you are in college or transitioning to a new region.

17. Contact information does not always have to be centered. Experiment with alignment to left and right as well to improve styling.

18. Make sure the font in the contact information coordinates with the font used throughout the rest of your resume.

19. Use text boxes to save space when aligning text side by side in the contact information section.

20. Use small, appropriate graphic elements such as lines of varying weights for emphasis to separate your contact information from the body of the resume.

If you have already done all the hard work to prepare your resume and get it in front of the potential employer, do not sabotage your own job search with errors or omissions in the contact information. Make sure that employers can contact you. It's the only way to the next step.

Revised - Original written in October 2007

Summer Job Etiquette for Working Teenagers

It is that time again when teenagers start getting anxious and excited about landing a cool summer job this year. For many it will be a first summer job, and they dream about having their own money and the new toys from iPods to video games they plan to buy.

Although teens will definitely learn new job skills on their summer jobs, employers require that teens master certain fundamental summer job etiquette before they arrive at work on day one. Here are a few summer job etiquette tips for working teens that will reduce employer anxiety.

Teen Cell Phone Usage
Oh the cell phone! Everyone knows how important personal cell phones have become to teens. In fact, reports that 25% of cell phone revenues come from teens. As important as your cell phone is, summer job etiquette demands that teenagers take steps to curb the use of personal cell phones in the work place. To be considered a professional working teen at a summer job, keep cell phones off, avoid texting and keep ear pieces out of sight while working.

Friends and Family at Work
Whether this is a first summer job or 10th, having friends and family “visit” an employee at work flies in the face of good summer job etiquette. Of course, it is acceptable if teens are working in the food court in the mall and family stops by to buy food. However, teen friends are just not welcome to "hang out" in the food court just to catch up during the slow times. Just as teens are not advised to look for summer jobs with their friends, they are not allowed to "hang out" while at work.

Time Management
Typically, teens do not have to rise as early in the summer months as they do during the school year. Some teens use the summer as a chance to sleep late and stay up late. Teens sometimes forget that if they set a schedule at work they are expected to be there on time and ready to work. Employers will lay off teen workers who show up late or are no-shows for work. A summer job is an excellent opportunity to develop time management skills and to show that integrity by keeping one's word about the availability to work.

Customer Service
Chances are, a first summer job experience will involve working with customers. Having a pleasant demeanor, being courteous and helpful are all good job skills, or “soft skills” that future employers will want teens to have. Good summer job etiquette requires that employees should be able to speak with many different types of people and represent the company in a professional way, even when customers are upset. Teens should know also when to get someone else involved if the situation gets out of hand.

Summer is almost here and teenagers should be on their best behavior if they want to keep working.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

How To Talk About Being Fired in the Interview

Many people who have been fired from a job, get really anxious in the job interview, when questions about previous employment come up, as they always do.

Let's say you are being asked about why you left an employer? Do you have to say you were fired?

Not necessarily.

Although I have heard hiring managers say they look negatively on anyone who doesn't use a current boss as a reference, many hiring managers are willing to speak with others who can attest to your professional capacity.

You should know that many companies, because of potential liability issues, restrict managers from giving references and route all calls directly to the Human Resources department.

Get more help with handling this tough question:
1. Learn more about your rights and illegal interview questions from the Society of Human Resources Managers website.
2. Joyce Lain Kennedy shares her best answers to the "Why were you fired question?"
3. Why were you fired? Answers from

Job Hunting at the Local Library?

You should be, if you are job hunting, for a new career or internships.

Neighborhood libraries have evolved to house career development tools for job seekers. The goal being to make career and job search information available at the community level.

Dr. Juliet Wehr Jones wrote this great article for
Top 5 Ways to Use Your Public Library as a Career Exploration Tool

Here are the top 5 points she makes about job hunting at the local library:
-Use career information databases and resources
-Find job hunting prospects who might have posted jobs
-Read career books or have them delivered to your branch for pick up
-Listen to podcasts by people in specific careers
-Check out digital or print books about skills needed in careers of interest.

Here are some additional library resources that can help in your job search:
-Many libraries host career professionals who volunteer to do resume writing and interviewing workshops.
-Local newspapers with job listings are often available.
-Employer directories.
-Check out their community notice boards. You might find job listings.
-Speaking of libraries, find out if the career library at your local community college is open to you as well.

Register for a pin # at the Philadelphia Free Library.

Resume Writing Help for College Students

Whether you are a graduating senior looking for a new career, a junior or sophomore looking for the best internships you need to have a college resume that represents you well. Before freshman think resume writing is not for them, think again. It is so important to go to college prepared with a resume if you want to compete for on-campus jobs.

This list of 50 Hot Resume Tips can help college students put their best college resume forward.

Read more on Resume/Interview FAQs!
More on Resumes from BullsEye Blogs!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stumbled upon the coolest job and career site for teens today. It is!

This website is chock full of resources for teens to guide them towards career satisfaction through the following 3 steps:

Self Assessment - Tons of free career assessments to assist with career and job choices.

Exploration - Find out more about great, cool careers and which one could be best for you.

Education and Training - Explore colleges, military options and vocational training

Best Feature from My Cool Career? Web Radio Interviews about everything career.

Kudos to Jill Sanborne and the team!

50 Hot Resume Tips

Does your current resume need a facelift?

Resume writing fundamentals have changed a lot over the last several years. These 50 hot resume writing tips can give resumes a needed facelift.

Professional resume writers agree that there are many correct ways to write a good resume. In fact, get 10 professional resume writers working for the same client and they could feasibly come up with 10 different resumes; all of which could be very good.

Regardless of the resume format and choice of words, resume writers are driven to help candidates develop powerful, professional resumes. The goal is to help create strong resumes so job seekers can promote a unique personal brand.

Here are 50 resume writing tips to help proofread a resume regardless of who does the resume writing.

-Proofread resumes for grammar, spelling and factual errors
-Use consistent font size. Watch bullet sizes
-Limit or avoid graphics completely when writing a resume
-Use upper case letters sparingly and only when appropriate
-Fancy, expensive resume writing paper is not always a priority
-Using bullets will make resumes easier to read
-Do not use “responsibilities”, “responsibilities include” and “duties include”
-Volunteer work and community service enhances a resume
-Adjust margins if the resume is slightly too long
-void personal pronouns like “I”, “my” and “me” except in the objective statement
-Do not list complete addresses of past employers
-Do not include names of references on the resume. Add a separate reference document.
-The top 30-40% of the resume gets the most attention
-Use an ASCII font
-Use page numbers if the resume is more than one page
-Add name and contact to all pages if more than one page
-Try a resume blaster service
-Print out an online profile is not the same as having a resume
-Use tables to align columns and remove lines
-Use a professional email address on your resume
-Hyperlink your email address
-Do not place information above your name
-Set resume margins no smaller than .5
-New college graduates should put education close to top of resume
-With years of experience, move education to the bottom of the resume
-A resume has about 30 seconds to make an impression on the recruiter - make it easy to read
-Change the resume objective statement as needed
-Write a strong "Summary of Qualifications"
-Use industry “buzz words” or keywords on a resume
-Resumes must identify specific successful outcomes
-Use $, % and # to demonstrate achievements
-One specific phrase to try and avoid – Entry Level
-Do not use one word resume objectives eg "Sales"
-Research advantages of the Chronological Resume vs Functional resume
-Be consistent with date formats on the resume eg 09/02, Sep 02, Sep 2002
-Consider the Combination resume
-Get others to proof read your resume – be open to criticism
-It is not necessary to include every job you have ever had
-Keep all resume content relevant
-Not all online resume writing services are equally capable
-Always keep a resume writing guide on your desk for quick reference
-Resumes, cover letters and thank-you letters can have the same letter head format
-Try to bring quality resume paper for interviews
-Lying on a resume is not smart or necessary
-Do not include social security numbers; federal resumes may require it
-Use Action Verbs on the resume to describe accomplishments
-Use short paragraphs. 3-5 sentences maximum
-White space on a resume is not a bad thing
-Make sure resume contact information is current. The recruiter must be able to make contact.
-Consider working with a professional resume writer for a free resume critique

More free resume writing tips:
Resume/Interview FAQs
Which Resume Format Works Best

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oprah Winfrey and eLearner Scholarship

If you can express in 4000 words or less how online education will help you attain your goals, you could win one of the $4500 scholarships from the Oprah Winfrey/eLearner scholarship program.

Register here!

Read more about a scholarship for single moms here as well!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Consider a Career Coach when Changing Careers

Erin Chambers shares six tips for using a coach to assist with transitions for baby boomers.

"Whether you're looking to get a promotion, strengthen your presence in the board room or figure out your next career move, calling in a coach may be just the ticket," says Chambers.

Check out the six tips here.

Coaching Baby Boomers Through Career Transitions

Andrew Susskind who specializes in coaching baby boomers through career transitions says,
"A lot of people are evaluating where they are, where they've been and where they're going."
He discussed the value of using a private coach to help baby boomers make a difference.

Erin Chambers points to 6 tips for using a coach in an article for the Wall Street Journal.

Jobless Claims Drop More Than Expected

Latest news from the ACTE Times:

The New York Times reports that the "number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits dropped much more than expected last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday."

For the week, "the department said that applications for unemployment benefits fell to 365,000, a decline of 18,000 from the previous week. Economists expected a decrease of about 5,000."

Economists "believe that the prolonged housing slump and the severe credit crisis have pushed the economy into a recession," therefore, "they expect layoffs to rise in the coming months as the unemployment rate climbs higher."

Read more about Surviving a Layoff!

Writing Help for New College Grads

College Boards' National Commission on Writing says that American corporations spend approximately $3.1 billion annually to remedy their employees' deficiencies in writing.

As you embark on your new career it is important that you are honest with yourself about both your verbal and written communication skills.

Here are 5 online writing resources to help new college grads master writing skills:
-The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University
-Merriam Webster
-Daily Grammar
-Business Writers Free Library
-PowerHome Biz

Monday, May 12, 2008

Job Offers Going Down?

We have all heard the news about the failing or slowing economy and a possible pending recession.

Career Diva warns against the tendency for job seekers, fearful of losing offers, to take lower salaries than they would normally consider. Her advice? "Don't do it".

"This is exactly what companies want, workers who are running scared prepared to take any amount of money; prepared to take cuts in benefits; time off, hand over your first born".

Career Diva rightly makes the point that accepting lower salaries puts job seekers behind the curve over time, making it harder to catch up.

“It hurts your self-confidence and lowers the money you can make in the future. Or, in other words, there is catch up to do,” says career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman. “The goal in your career is to go forward, not backward.”

Stay-At-Home-Moms Earn $116,805? that I have your should know that this is based on the Mom-Calculator at

Every year for Mother's Day, looks at all the jobs done by stay-at-home-moms and adds a resonable rate based on prevailing wages.

As the survey reports:
Stay-at-Home Moms work a 94.4 hour "workweek" - over half her time spent on the job is overtime. The Working Moms reported an average 54.6 hour "mom work week" in addition to their paying jobs.

Of course the report does not tell us to whom we should submit a bill for these services. (:>

Check out this post for more information on making some real money working from home.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Networking Tips from Workbloom

Workbloom says that building a network is a slow and gradual process. Everyone knows it takes time to stay connected with people we know and to build lasting relationships.

We typically start off new relationships with the best of intentions, but new jobs, new assignments and new life issues can often get us side tracked and we forget our plans to stay connected.

Read this complete article about Networking from Workbloom and learn more about how to build your network and maintain your contacts as you build your career.

Scholarships for High School Students Going to College

If you are graduating this month, there is still time to apply for college. Late - but still time. If you've been accepted to college and still thinking about how it will be funded, here is a great scholarship resource list.

Start the Search Here!
In less than 3 minutes, you can have access to more than 1.3 million scholarships at

After checking out FastWeb, look at this website which offers information on scholarships based on a wide set of criteria, many of which you probable never thought about.

For example, did you know there are college scholarships based on your health condition or where you live?

Top 10 Jobs for the Class of 2008

Summer is almost here and the college graduation season is in full swing. Students everywhere are wrapping up their semesters and taking center stage, diplomas in hand.

CBCamppus offers this list of the "top" 10 jobs for the class of 2008. This list is based on salaries, job growth and job creation information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Financial analyst
Major: Business administration
Median annual salary: $66,590*;Projected job growth: 34 percent; Jobs created:75,000

2. Computer systems analysts
Major: Information sciences and systems
Median annual salary: $69,760; Projected job growth: 29%; Jobs created:146,000

3. Computer systems software engineers
Major: Computer science
Median annual salary: $85,370;Projected job growth: 28%;Jobs created: 99,000;

4. Accountants
Major: Accounting
Median annual salary: $54,630; Projected job growth: 18%; Jobs created: 226,000

5. Civil engineers
Major: Engineering
Median annual salary: $68,600; Projected job growth: 18%; Jobs created: 46,000

6. Marketing managers
Major: Advertising or journalism
Median annual salary: $98,720; Projected job growth: 14%; Jobs created: 24,000

7. Financial managers
Major: Finance
Median annual salary: $90,970; Projected job growth: 13%; Jobs created: 64,000

8. Chemical engineers
Major: Engineering
Median annual salary: $78,860; Projected job growth: 8%; Jobs created: 2,400

9. Electrical engineers
Major: Engineering
Median annual salary: $75,930; Projected job growth: 6%; Jobs created: 9,600

10. Mechanical engineers
Major: Engineering
Median annual salary: $69,850; Projected job growth: 4%; Jobs created: 9,400

Friday, May 9, 2008

Summer Jobs for Teachers

Summer's coming and school will be out soon; not just for students and teens but for teachers as well.

Once the euphoria of a well deserved break goes away, teachers might be thinking about summer working plans.

Debbie DeSpirit says that "many (teachers) begin a mini career in the summer. Construction, Day Care, Landscaping, and Resort Guide are just a few summer positions available for teachers".

Explore this great article at Suite101 with tips for successful summer employment for teachers seeking options in the summer.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Vocational Training Around the Globe

Vocational training is offering hot career opportunities for people globally.

Check out these international training resources:

- Vocational Training and Career Education in Trukey
- More Vocational Training Options for Welsh Teens
- Providing Vocational Training for 200 Women in India
- Vocational Training in Malaysia

Regardless of where you are, vocational training helps people get trained in emerging hot careers in a relatively short amount of time. Use Resume/Interview FAQs to help with job hunting post vocational training.

Barriers to Employment for Older Americans

Cynthia Metzler is president and CEO of Experience Works, a national nonprofit organization that provides training, community service and employment support for older people.

If you are an older worker who wants to re-enter the workforce, find an Experience Works location near you.

In an article for the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals, she states, "We know that older workers are productive, effective and anxious to learn."

She cites these statistics to support the value of older workers to the labor pool:

1. Society of HR Managers ( study shares that 77% have a higher level of commitment to the organization than younger workers.
2. Buck Consultants survey shares that 88% of employers said that mature workers' knowledge provided a significant business advantage.
3. A study by NCOA and McDonalds, says that 97% of employers surveyed said older workers were thorough and reliable.

Here are some of the suggestions Metzler offers to employers bringing older workers on board:

1. Make investments in training
2. Create an older-worker friendly environment
3. Offer flexible schedules and benefits

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

3 Common Job Search Problems

Kevin Dillon surveyed 159 job seekers to identify the top 3 job search problems they encounter and they look for jobs.

Top 3 job search problems identified in the survey:

1. Problem #1: How can I make contact with someone at a company where I'd like to work? I want to send my resume to a live person when applying for jobs.

2. Problem #2: How can I find unadvertised job leads? I want to get beyond recruiters and HR gatekeepers to find someone who cares.

3. Problem #3: How can I find good answers to the most common interview questions?

Kevin offers some good solutions to help job seekers overcome these top 3 job search problems at Workbloom.

Dropping out of High School is Not an Option

According to the Cities in Crisis report by the America's Promise Alliance, 17 of America's 50 largest 50 cities have high school graduation rates of less than 50%. Cities like Detroit and Indianapolis graduate only 3 out of every 10 high school students.

Before we think that dropping out of high school only hurts the individual making that choice - think again. The Alliance for Excellent Education reports that dropouts for the 2007 school year will cost the nation more than $300 billion in lost wages, lost taxes and productivity.

Monday, May 5, 2008

5 Tips for A Successful Job Interview After Graduation

If you are in the Class of 2008 and haven't yet found a job, there are plenty career options in the healthcare field.

Heather Johnson, writer on the nursing profession, offers five considerations for your first job interview after graduation.

1. Preparation is crucial
2. Tend to every detail
3. You can only make one first impression
4. Be punctual
5. Go short instead of long

If you are still job hunting use all the resources you can find.
Read the complete posting here.

Consider Working With Headhunters, Recruiters and Placement Services

Headhunters, Employment Agencies and Third Party Recruiters are all valid options for college grads who are looking for new careers. has a list of questions you could ask a Headhunter, Recruiter or Placement Service working on your behalf.

Using a Placement Service
Questions College Students Can Ask Headhunters
Headhunter Can Open Door You Can't Get Through
Working Well With Executive Recruiters

Saturday, May 3, 2008

AT&T Bringing Jobs Back From India but Can't Find Workers?

In 2006, the city of San Antonio, Texas celebrated the fact that AT&T was planning to bring 2000 jobs back from India.

"I think this is a considerable victory for labor," said Alex Colvin, labor studies professor at Penn State University for an article at about the move.

Fast forward to 2008 and here is what the CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson, "We are having trouble finding the numbers that we need with the skills that are required to do these jobs." So far only 1,400 slots have been filled.

Stephenson blames the public education system in a recent Reuters article. "If I had a business that half the product we turned our was defective or you couldn't put it in the marketplace, I would shut that business down."

Succeeding in the Assessment Center Interview

The Assessment Center interview does not refer to a specific location, but instead to a process of candidate selection. defines an Assessment Center Interview as a variety of testing techniques designed to allow candidates to demonstrate, under standardized conditions, the skills and abilities that are most essential for success in a given job using the following methods:

1. Case Studies -- If a candidate is applying for the job of Marketing Manager, one evaluation component of the Assessment Center could be the creation of a marketing plan for a new product. The solution could require that components include budgeting, promotion, scheduling etc. This type of assessment allows a potential employer to see how candidates analyze data and issues, identify solutions, create project plans and present findings.

2. In-Tray Exercises -- This exercise might have candidates actually role-play in a particular scenario to see how they prioritize tasks, handle interruptions and think on their feet when a crisis situation arises. Recruiters might also be gauging how job seekers manage operational conflicts.

3. Group Exercises -- These Assessment Center exercises give candidates an opportunity to work with a group to complete specified assignments. Job seekers get to demonstrate team work skills and interpersonal interactions in a group environment.

4. Role Plays --These exercises allow candidates to demonstrate communication skills and customer service skills. Scenarios could even be developed to gauge a candidate's listening skills or empathy and the ability to influence others.

5. Job Skills Demonstration -- Job seekers get the chance to actually perform as they would on the job. As an illustration, if you are being hired in a hourly/skilled profession as a seamstress, you may have to sew something. If applying for a position as an electrician, you may have to use a schematic diagram to complete a wiring assignment. Being considered for a Payroll Clerk? You could be asked to reconcile deposit slips or do general ledger entries.

Tips to succeed with the Assessment Center Interview:

1. All the same general rules for interview preparation apply. These include wearing appropriate attire and showing up on time, well rested and prepared to do well.
2. Take the sessions seriously. Your behavior is being monitored so try to behave as you would on the job.
3. Become very familiar with the job description and the expected success behaviors BEFORE the interview.
4. Don't try and "figure out" what they are trying to measure while you are in the interview. Focus on the tasks at hand.
5. If you are given pre-interview materials ahead of time - Read them!
6. Brush up on your industry technical skills before the interview.
7. Read instructions carefully.
8. Do an audit of your materials to make sure you have all you need to proceed successfully.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Succeeding on Your Summer Job

If you are planning to find a summer job this year, think about what you want your co-workers and supervisors to say about you when the summer is over.

Here are two things you DON'T want employers to say about you when your summer job ends:

- You were rude to customers, co-workers or your supervisor. Show respect to everyone you meet on the job, you don't know who you might meet again or want to write you a letter of recommendation.

- You were late all the time or not dependable. Try to manage your time this summer and remember that your employer is relying on you to show up as scheduled.

Learn more about what employers expect from working teens:
Tips for Teens to Succeed at Work
What Teens Ought To Know About Cell Phones at Work
Summer Job Etiquette for Teens

Job Seekers not Showing Up for Interviews?

Whatever happened to not burning your bridges or making a great impression at the job interview?

The fact is you can't make a good impression at the job interview, if you don't show up for the job interview. With the increased numbers of resumes floating in cyberspace, some job seekers have a lot of options.

With the increasing relevance of social networking sites, job seekers should consider ramifications of no-shoing for the job interview. Employers Increasingly Jilted by Job Seekers.

Niche Programs in Vocational Training

The need for skilled employees in specific niches within certain industries will continue to be an issue into the forseeable future.

Many Career Education and Vocational Training programs are responding.

Here are some examples:

- Mount Desert Island High School in Maine is exposing high school students to the maritime industry through boatbuilding class and aiming to produce skilled workers for industry.

- Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School in Charlton, MA is conducting wind turbine studies.

- International Yacht Restoration School is investing in a $500K expansion. The school hopes to add to the more than 6000 employees in the states marine industry.

Read -
Manufacturing Jobs are Not Completely Gone
Manufacturing Jobs Desperately Seeking Skilled Employees