Sunday, November 30, 2008

Job Interviews Show Lack of Preparation

I was on a team of interviewers recruiting a new director to execute a rather extensive job description.

The process to select the job interview candidates was pretty straight forward. The search team scored resumes of job applicants and selected the candidates with the highest scores for job interviews.

One observation from this round of job interviews is that too many job seekers, regardless of the level of the position, are just not well prepared to sell transferable skills.

After watching more than a few candidates squirm under the pressure, I thought I could offer these five tips to help job seekers prepare to sell transferable skills in the job interview.

1. Read the job descriptions carefully. Read it several times to become familiar with the skills that the company wants.
2. Know what knowledge, skills and abilities you have to offer to the employer for the specific job in question.
3. Acknowledge the gaps between what the employer wants and what you have to offer. Job seekers, who acknowledge the gaps ahead of time, have an opportunity to correct them. These gaps should not surprise you in the interview.
4. Identify career and experience stories from your background that will allow you to demonstrate how your transferable skills will compensate for direct knowledge.
5. Learn how to tell interesting stories in the interview that will make the interviewers want to engage in conversation with you.

Sample Resumes for the Holiday Job Search

We have passed Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays are approaching fast. Many teenagers and young adults are looking for holiday part time jobs. Keep in mind that the job market is very competitive right now with unemployment rate among teens 16-19 year olds, at 18.5%.

So instead of trolling the malls this year, empty handed, how about stepping up your job hunt and take a completed resume with you to add with your job application.

High School sample resumes and college sample resumes are now available at BullsEyeResumes. Use the samples to help you achieve an attractive resume layout.

Once your resume is complete please email for a FREE resume critique.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Recruiting Older Workers to Fill Employment Gaps

The Arizona Republic reported that employers realize they need to recruit and retrain older workers -- especially Baby Boomers. The article states that "mature applicants are seeking jobs in drastically changed workplaces that have gone global and digital on them, while often worrying that every rejection is due to gray hair."

Many companies are unsure how to recruit older workers.

Today's job market expects unprecedented tension as millions of older workers postpone retirement and keep working. Many work because they actually must continue to work for financial reasons. Additionally, some industries are growing so fast that they need to consider or rely on experienced older workers in the talent pool. Industries projecting to have these needs include healthcare, education, hospitality, energy, utilities, and information technology.

Companies desiring older workers emphasize flexible schedules, paid training, and phased retirement to keep or attract experienced workers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Make it Easy for Employers to Find You - Fix Your Resume!

Congratulations if you have completed your career education program, a vocational training program or college degree and are now job hunting. By now you should have a professional resume completed and ready to share with potential employers. (See High School Sample Resumes, College
Sample Resumes
and Vocational Resume Samples).

As you embark on your job search, you should know that busy recruiters and hiring managers discard resumes from good candidates all the time. Why? Because the employers are unable to connect with candidates due to incorrect contact information.

If you are job hunting you must make it easy for recruiters to find you. Here are 20 tips to help you proofread the contact information section of your resume.

Also read Resume/Interview FAQs for:
High School Students/Grads
Vocational Students/Grads
College Students/Grads

Monday, November 24, 2008

Going Back to School is Getting Tougher to Fund

One of the big drivers of the increased number of applications for student loans, primarily federal aid, has been the significant increase in the number of nontraditional students going back to school.

Of course, if you read my blog all the time, you know that the term "nontraditional student" is one I don't like. Why? Learning is a life long process and there is nothing "nontraditional" about learning as one gets older. For example, an older student returning to school for a Masters degree is not considered nontraditional, but an older student completing a bachelors degree is?

People are going back to school, many because they want to reenter old careers or start new careers and need to improve job skills. It is expected that the number of adults going back to school will increase as the economy worsens.

The Department of Education suggests that President Barack Obama will face an unusually burdensome financial situation that could force government to trim America's college aid program.

“There are a lot of things going on — more people are applying for student aid, more people are going to college, more people who qualify for the aid are showing up at school,” said Thomas P. Skelly, the Department of Education’s director of budget service, who wrote a memorandum detailing the problem to Congress.

Per the NY Times article, as of 7/31/2008, 800,000 more students had applied for grants than on that date the year before; one of the largest increases ever.

Tips for funding education in a down economy?
- Apply early
- Look for scholarships and grants
- Get advice from your college of interest
- Check employer tuition reimbursement

Debunking the Holiday Job Search Myth

Too many people believe in the myth that companies do not make hiring decisions between Thanksgiving and January.

Companies do hire and in fact may want to make those decisions before the end of this year. In a tight economy, the Class of 2009 can expect some heavy competition in the job market. This holiday season is not the time to slack off on the job search. Instead use time off from college this holiday season to:

- Stay focused and continue to submit resumes for on campus interviews or for entry level career programs with preferred employers.
- Network with family and friends during the holidays. Share your goals and plans if you are graduating next spring and do not be shy about getting help with job leads.
- Plan for an early return to campus after checking out the career center's event calendar. Chances are you can get your resume critiqued and get some early career coaching before the semester begins.
- Shop for some interview attire if you don't already have business professional or business casual attire at school.
- Making connections in a holiday job. Many students are having a hard time getting college loans right now, so if you have to work - do that.

Spending some time this holiday season on your job search will help you get ahead of the competition. Your goal should be to get hired before you walk in the spring.

Check out the Happy at Work Manifesto

If you thought only politicians had manifestos you are wrong.

Alexander Kjerulf, author of The Happy at Work Manifesto, says that being happy at work is a choice you make and if you decide to take steps towards happiness, you can be.

The Happy at Work Manifesto lists 25 rules to live by to be happier at work.

Here are number 24 and 25. Download your own copy here.

24: I recognize that power, status symbols, a corner office or even access to the corporate jet won’t make me happy at work. It feels good at first, sure, but the thrill quickly fades and it can never make up for a bad job.

25: Happiness at work comes from the things you and I do here and now.
I will get others involved and I will start now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Planning for College? Think Ahead to Manage Your Debt

The average debt load for the class of 2007 in Pennsylvania was $23,613. This happens to be the sixth highest in the country. Here are some of the published average debt levels for graduates in the region: (Source – PennLive)

$27,566 at Lebanon Valley College
$26,300 at Penn State
$22,853 at Dickinson College
$20,256 at Shippensburg University
$19,555 at Millersville University

You will notice that the state schools, Shippensburg and Millersville, although lower are not that much lower. The question is whether or not this is good debt or bad debt. It certainly is better than having a car loan. Everyone knows that as soon as you drive off the lot with a new car, it begins to depreciate. In simpler terms, the older the car, the more wear and tear and therefore the lower the value of the car!

That is the exact opposite of the education loan or it should be. The older you get, the more career mileage you get, the more valuable YOU become. As long as you are outpacing the interest on your education loan, and growing your career, the better life should be for you.

That does not mean that college students should go loan crazy. Remember that they will need to be paid back. The more you can do to limit loans eg part-time jobs or community college, the better able you will be to buy that nice car after graduation and the sooner you will be able to move into your own place.

November is National Career Development Month!

The theme this year is "Inspire Your Career, Develop Your Dreams". If your current career is getting the better of you, there is no better time than this month to start making some new choices towards achieving career nirvana.

Of course, as we all know, this is a tough time to make the choice to leave your current employer, if you don't have to. If you are unsure where to start you might want to consider the 30 activities I shared with my blog readers last November 2007, one for each day.

Here they are again:
Day 1 - Career Change Requires a Positive Attitude
Day 2 - Analyze Your Job
Day 3 - Evaluate Your Skills
Day 4 - Grab a Career Book
Day 5 - Focus on Training
Day 6 - Start Reading Career Blogs and Articles
Day 7 - Start a Career Journal
Day 8 - Start Working on a Career Portfolio
Day 9 - Get a Handle on Workplace Stress
Day 10 - Join Your Alumni Association
Day 11 - What's in Your Personnel File?
Day 12 - Enhance Technical Skills at Work
Day 13 - Thinking About Starting a Business
Day 14 - Join a Professional Association
Day 15 - Rejuvenate Your Contacts
Day 16 - Volunteer!
Day 17 - Create a Kudos Folder
Day 18 - Research Upcoming Job Fairs
Day 19 - Update Your Resume and CV
Day 20 - Explore Career Assessments
Day 21 - Job+Holiday=Stress; Get Some Perspective this Season
Day 22 - Look for Work Life Balance
Day 23 - Are career Myths Holding you Back?
Day 24 - Share your Resume and get Feedback
Day 25 - Learn About Informational Interviews
Day 26 - Identify 2-3 Career Options
Day 27 - Identify Gaps in Skills and Competencies
Day 28 - Register with 3 Employment Websites
Day 29 - Put Your References on Notices
Day 30 - Spend Time with a Career Coach

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Free Resume Writing Workshops to be Offered at Michigan Campus

Michigan's Flint Journal (9/24, Mostafavi) reports that a free workshop called How to Write a Winning Resume will be offered to the community on Saturdays at the University of Michigan. Bob Barnett, associate dean of UM-Flint's college of arts and sciences, will present the resume writing workshops.

Barnett said that he was shocked by a recent news article listing prices people would have to pay for help with resume writing especially in a dour economy. His resume writing workshops will cover everything from organizing information and formatting to selling one's self through presentation of work experience and education.

In addition, a group of volunteers who have experience with resume writing will also help Barnett give people one-on-one critiques of resumes.

Barnett said, "I think a good resume is more important now than at any point in recent history because the job market is so tight and so many people are applying for one job." He explained, "Employers are seeing hundreds of resumes. You want your resume to come to the top of the pile in any way [it] can."

If you need resume writing help, use these Vocational Resume Samples. Additionally, feel free to contact BullsEyeResumes for a free resume critique.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Paying it Forward in a Tough Economy!

My husband and I were in line yesterday at a major retailer known for cool cotton attire. It was a pretty long line and we soon found out why. It appears that the store and other affiliates were offering a sale, giving a 30% discount to shoppers who had retrieved a coupon online.

Well, since this store is not on our regular routine, (we were actually in the store next door and thought we would go in), we did not have a coupon. Of course we expected that we would be paying full price or at least the store two-fer sale price.

After a few minutes in line a patron who was exiting the store, having made her purchase, asked who in line did not have a coupon. I spoke up and she gave me hers with the instruction to “Pass it on” since someone had passed it to her. Before the ethics police accost me, I should share that the coupon clearly stated – “for multiple uses by friends and family”.

I think that was pretty nice of her and so I passed it to the person behind me. She was last in line and so as she went on to another cashier, my cashier told her that they would be happy to pass it on to other customers.

Although no one really said it in line, I think I know what people were feeling - the slow economy had caused the scaled down staffing. The line was clearly taking a while since only two cashiers were available to run the entire adult section of the store. The children’s section had two people also and their lines were even longer. Everyone there, I think, was feeling the bad times and so the sharing of the coupon helped to lift spirits and foster conversation.

It made me think about how bad times can really promote unselfish behaviors. If we are all in the same boat, why not help someone else?

So I was thinking, with over a million layoffs and job losses this year so far, chances are you know someone who might be unemployed and looking.

What would it take for you to:
- share some information
- offer a lead on a job
- promise to help someone look out for them
- follow up if and when you hear about an opportunity
- help a jobseeker with someone you know

Chances are – it won’t take much out of you and you could be making someone’s day or a better holiday for doing it.

Paying it forward is not just about job search either - don't let the economy stop you from helping someone if you can. A friend in Florida who is in the Rotary club is still asking for funds to help 5 families with their Thanksgiving. What can you do? If you want to help, let me know and I will send you their address!

Career ReEntry Without More College Education

No one can underestimate the value of new training and new education if you are seeking career reentry into the workforce. However, in the current economic downturn, many potential career reentry workers are worried about getting hired if they don't have the education they perceive employers want.

A recent FOX Business article offered encouraging news for career reentry workers - of the 15 fastest growing jobs for 2006-2016, 10 do not require a college degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Express Employment Professionals, the fifth-largest staffing company in the US, helps about 350,000 employees find jobs in 35,000 companies in the U.S. every year. Here is a profile of the 350,000 jobseekers they help:
- 12% have a four-year college degree.
- 42% have a high school diploma, some high school education or a GED.
- 33% have some college
- 13% have either an associate’s degree or a graduate degree

The jobs they help workers find include everything from warehouse stocking positions to management and executive roles at an average contract rate of about $12 an hour.

For most of Express Employment’s clients, a high school diploma is sufficient--and for those clients who do request a staffer with higher education, they also want someone who has the right skill set. Says Sean Simpson from Express Employment, “A degree is one thing, but if you don’t have the right skill set to match up, they don’t want you.”

Start evaluating your job skills today, develop a comprehensive resume (Career Re-entry Resume Sample) and get ready to start your competitive job search.

Information Source - FOX Business

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thinking Outside, Around and Under the Box in a Bad Job Market

"People are going to have to be creative and take a broad approach to their (job)search," says Russ Gerson, CEO of Gerson Group. Gerson shared his advice with Sarah Needleman in a recent career article for Career Journal.

Gerson Group is a global recruiting firm with offices in London and New York, specializing in placing employees into alternative investment, asset management, capital markets, equity research, real estate and wealth management jobs. In other words, they place employees into lucrative careers on the trading floors and corner offices on Wall Street.

As job losses on Wall Street add up, Gerson is advising jobseekers to think outside, around and even under the box to secure employment. Already in 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that over 100,000 jobs have been cut in the financial sector, making it the largest sector experiencing job losses, ahead of the auto industry.

As expected, smaller banks are jumping in to pick up the slack in business and are actually doing some hiring. The problem for Wall Street ex-employees is that these jobs are not all in New York. That points to one option job seekers should most definitely consider - relocation.

Other options the pink slip crowd from Wall Street will have to explore? Lower salaries. Many of the smaller boutique financial agencies, cannot handle investment bank sized payrolls.

Other career options suggested in the Needleman article for financial professionals caught in the Wall Street conundrum:

- Financial communications: If you're an experienced financial analyst, you are likely adept at determining what information is appropriate to divulge. Consider a career here.
- Wealth management: Ex- traders should look for opportunities on the buy-side at hedge funds, insurers and investment-management firms where their analytical and quantitative skills would be an asset.
- Risk management: Problem identification and isolation is something that traders always do instinctively and so a career in risk management is a definite option.
This career advice to think about parallel industries and transferable skills is not just for those who have lost jobs on Wall Street, but for anyone whose job may have trickled on right out of the economy.

Source - Where the Jobs Are For Wall Street Pros, by Sarah E. Needleman

Take 20 Minutes on this Skills Profiler

If you are considering a Career Education or Vocational Training Program use the Skills Profiler to create a list of your skills and match them to job types that need those skills.

A job skills profile can help you:
- strengths
- areas of weaknesses
- occupations that can utilize your current skills
- find gaps you need to fill
- create a good vocational resume
(Skill Based Sample Vocational Training Resumes)

If you use the Skills Profiler from the Department of Labor, you have the choice to print, save or bookmark it in your browser.

Plan to spend about 20 minutes completing your job skills profile.

Monday, November 10, 2008

10 Things to do Before the Pink Slip Arrives

I read a great article at Career Solvers about what to do before the pink slip arrives.

Many of the career reentry professionals who read my blog are concerned about the pink slip possibility. Many have returned to work and are feeling some "last-in-first-out" anxiety.

Of course no one knows for certain, if a pink slip is in the future, but it pays to be prepared.

Tips mentioned in the article:
-audit your resume (sample career reentry resumes)
-gather testimonials
-do a favor for someone
-join a professional association
-get a flu shot
-manage your finances
-avoid toxic people
-spend time with family

Of course the author Barbara Safani, expands on each and so you want to read the entire article.

Other articles:

Stop Muddling Through Your Job Search; Get Focused!
Is it a Good or Bad Time to Look for Work?
More Job Losses on Wall Street - has some additional ideas about what to do if you fear job loss.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nov 3 was Job Action Day

So even though I didn't blog on November 3, which was Job Action Day, I wanted to share, what I think is a really brilliant concept with you.

The idea is that on Job Action Day, career bloggers would encourage jobseekers, employees and workers to use the day to take stock of their career situation and make plans and/or take action steps to improve their careers.

Of course there is no time like the present to start getting focused on your career, especially since November is National Career Development Month. If you are not sure of what kind of actions to take to improve your career, take a look at my blog entries for November 2007 where we added one activity per day to celebrate career development month.

Here is the Job Action Day press release issued by QuintCareers.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Teen Workers Can be Sexually Harassed Too

A law firm in the state of Delaware runs a great blog on employment law. I found this information that I think is valuable for teens. The blog entry alerts employers to the fact that the number of teenagers filing sexual harassment lawsuits is on the rise.

Here’s a quote:
Employers should also take steps to address the special vulnerability of teen workers to sexual harassment. As an item on this blog noted a few weeks ago, an ABA Journal story reported that the number of teen-aged workers filing sexual harassment charges is on the rise. Teen workers are often part-time or seasonal, and may be in the workplace for the first time. They tend to fall between the cracks when it comes to training. Many restaurants, movie theaters and retail stores have teen-age supervisors and managers as well as workers. Teens tend not to realize that the standard of conduct at work is different from what’s permissible in a social setting.

If you are a teen who supervises other teens at work, be very careful about your actions. Knowledge is power so ask your managers for details about appropriate workplace behavior.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Interview Knockout Factors From Temple's Career Center

Temple University's Career Center offers a ton of online information for college students and graduates.

I found this list of Interview knockout factors in their online interview guide and thought I would share them with you. You may have seen them before, in some form or the other here on the BullsEye College blog, but I thought it would be a good reminder in this tough economy.

• Lateness
• Lack of knowledge or skills necessary to do the job… not qualified
• Poor personal appearance
• Not prepared for the interview… no research on the company
• No confidence or poise… fails to look the interviewer in the eye
• Unable to express ideas clearly
• Only interested in the best dollar offer… instead of interest in the job
• Makes excuses during the interview, evasiveness, hedges on answers
• Negative about past supervisors or other experiences.
• Poorly defined career goals
• Asks few or poor questions about the job.
• No real enthusiasm in the company/industry/field

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

30 Career Lessons from Barack Obama's Campaign

As a registered independent voter, I read news from multiple sources. I read an article a few months ago at the Weekly Standard and thought I would save my comments until after the election.

The article was titled - Would You Hire Barack Obama? The Resume of a Chronic Underachiever, by Dean Barnett.

Barnett, a former headhunter for law firms, was reviewing Barack Obama's career and resume. His ultimate conclusion was: "The net effect is this: His accomplishments haven't been commensurate with his talents."

I wondered what Barnett would say now? Having worked in the career management field for a while, I know that there are recruiters with stories of hires who performed well beyond expectations or those hires that were overlooked and underestimated.

Since hindsight is better than 20/20, I thought I would list some of the career lessons I think one could learn from Barack Obama's campaign for the job of United States President.

1. Set personal goals
2. Stay away from those who say “You Can’t”
3. Plan and prepare for the long haul
4. To land a meaningful job, prepare for a really tough interview
5. Keep improving through the job search and beyond
6. Develop a personal board of advisors for support
7. Surround yourself with a diverse group of people with diverse thoughts
8. Develop a backbone. Even successful careers can have disappointments
9. Think around, outside and under the box. The way forward may not necessarily be clear or straight ahead
10. Don't expect your career paths to be logical to everyone looking on
11. Don’t burn your bridges behind you. You may need a reference or two eventually
12. Be mindful of what your associations can say about who you are
13. You don’t need to have all the experience in the job description to apply
14. Job descriptions get rewritten all the time
15. Be open to the fact that you might be underestimated
16. Some people will like you for the job and some will not
17. Some will laugh behind your back when they find out you are applying for a certain job
18. The real work begins after you land the job
19. Know your competition and do not underestimate them
20. Think transferable skills. eg. What skills did I develop as a community organizer or PTA President that could be valuable when changing careers.
21. You may have to say things during an interview to impress your future boss
22. You have to build consensus to move ideas forward
23. Keep track of your accomplishments; no one else is obligated to do that for you
24. You may find people want to hang around you, just because you are successful – not because they care
25. Education and training mean something
26. Hard work and discipline pays off eventually
27. It is not a shame to strategically plan your career
28. Many people are not working in their college majors
29. The more people who support you and your ideas, the more successful you will be
30. You are always preparing for your next career opportunity, regardless of what you are doing.

Did I miss anything? I am sure I did!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Funding Education in a Tight Economy

I wrote about paying for college in a bad economy a few months ago and wanted to add a new resource from the Department of Education.

The guide is available in English and Spanish and can be downloaded in both PDF and HTML.

If you have questions or concerns about paying for school contact:
Federal Student Aid Information Center by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

Career Assessment Help for Changing Careers

I discovered this career assessment, Rocket Career, for those who might want to switch careers.

Of course no career assessment or career test will guarantee what one should be or not, but the feedback can always reaffirm ideas you may have about your next step.

The assessment will take you only a few minutes and here is a portion of my results.

Innovative & Risk-Taking - Your percentile ranking is 90
"I wonder what would happen if..." is your mantra, and you need a career with an element of risk to get you out of bed in the morning. You're willing to experiment, to learn by acting and doing. Your continual questioning of the status quo reflects your need to find a better way to do what people do now or a new way to do what others don't even realize needs doing. Yours is an entrepreneurial, "start-up" personality. You like to test boundaries, and your innate confidence means you're well placed in careers where power is at issue--business, politics, sales. Since you're willing to take the risks that pay off in tangible rewards, you need a career where money--or its equivalent--is the measure of success.

Creative & Free Form - Your percentile ranking is 60
You need an artistic or imaginative element in your work in order to find the career that fits. Your powers of visualization are strong, as is your ability to see patterns and trends long before others do. Though you can be impatient with restriction, you need to master the conventions of your art in order to find the structure that gives you true freedom of expression. Express yourself you must, and if you find a career that lets you set your own schedule, so much the better. Your productivity and your enthusiasm go hand in hand, so while others may be content to work for money alone, you won't find the right job till you're in a career that gives you joy.

Why I Will Be in the Voting Booth on November 4th?

It is hard to know what specific issues people ponder when they enter the voting booth. Which specific issues put them over the top for one candidate or another? It differs for everyone I am sure and even at this last minute, some people are thinking about the future and earnestly trying to make the right decision.
If the predictions are right, the long lines today, will give us a lot of time to think about our vote.

Although I write a career blog, I couldn’t resist the urge to put my thoughts on paper to express why and for whom I am voting today! There are truly career lessons everywhere.

1. My vote today will be for all the women who have struggled for centuries to balance their need to work and to care for families. For women who have been overlooked in the workplace, whose voices are never heard, who do get equal pay for equal work and who were too tired or scared to fight for that. Say what you will about Sarah Palin or Hillary Clinton, these are women with a point of view who have put themselves out there for our scrutiny and sometimes even our ridicule. Whether or not you consider them intellectually equal or competent, they both have shown us it is possible what can happen if you are brave enough to say, “Yes”, when asked.

2. I vote for those who show up every day to perform, even in the face of stereotypes that would seek to diminish them personally. Be they men or women. Barack Obama’s candidacy reaffirms what many of us who are immigrants have always known - that to succeed you don’t just have to be good; you have to be two or three times as good. We know the bar against which we are measured is higher, as it should be. After all, we have to prove we are worthy of being called – “American”. Unfortunately, that same high bar has been used to measure those born here, but still considered different. I vote for those whose ideas were brilliant, but never acknowledged; those who worked hard, but were never applauded and for those who were passed over and overlooked because they were different. I vote today to reinforce, that stereotypes are just barriers to be broken.

3. My vote today is for those of us who are brave enough to reach “across the aisle”, so to speak, to develop and nurture strong relationships with those who might not look like us, but share our values. I vote for all who are willing to take a chance on the goodness of people, knowing that even after all the hard work and the crowds go home, we might still not be good enough, for reasons over which we have no control – be it race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age or sexual orientation.

4. My vote today is for all the 72 year olds, like John McCain, who know that there is still more to give and more to do to keep this country strong. For all those seniors who are still willing to answer the call for greatness, regardless of age. For all those seniors who never get weary or tire, because they feel their mission is a noble one. It is truly inspiring to me that John McCain traversed this great country, visiting up to seven states within 24 hours of the most significant election in US history.

5. My vote today is for all generations past – the uncles, the aunts, the grandparents, the parents who never even dared to dream the possibility, much less experience the reality of an African American or American Woman in the White House. For those who marched, who died and on whose shoulders we stand as we continue to explore this great experiment that is America.

6. My vote today is for my children, a young man of 17 and a young woman of 16, who are too young to vote, but so aware as are many at their age. Both are first generation Americans, Ja-mericans as we call them, meaning those of Jamaican parents born in the US, for whom the options have never been greater. I vote for them so they can continue to live in an America, where being American means something, both inside and outside this country. I vote so that they can see the greatness of America where power is transferred, without bloodshed and without violence as it should in all free societies. I vote to show them, that as Americans, they too will have a responsibility to support this great nation, participate in this democracy and protect the rights of it’s citizens to free expression. All our futures depend on it.

Go vote. The real work begins tomorrow!

Monday, November 3, 2008

With 760000 Job Losses in 2008, Job Fairs are Overcrowded!

Imagine wall to wall anxious job seekers, tired recruiters and thousands of resumes exchanging hands. CNN Money reports that we have already lost 760, 000 jobs in 2008 and so it is no surprise that job fair attendance is clearly up.

If you are looking for work, one immediate way to quickly improve your career and industry awareness is to attend a career fair. Job fairs generally have the same format and layout, cost you nothing but a few hours and give you a really great opportunity to meet hiring managers and network. Some companies may even be doing job interviews and making hiring decisions on the spot.

If you are searching online for job fairs nearby, use different keywords to find upcoming events since the names might vary slightly. Here are a few alternative ways to find a career fairs which could be of interest to you.

Search by:
- Location – eg Philadelphia Career Fair or Valley Forge Career Fair.
- Education or training – eg MBA Career Fair, Technical Job Fair
- Industry – eg. Sales Job Fair, Nonprofit Career Fair, Healthcare Job Fair
- Niche – eg Diversity Job Fair, Disability Job Fair, Veteran Job Fair, Skilled Trades Job Fair

*Don't forget to search for Virtual Job Fairs as well which are completely online events.

Make the most of these crowded events by:
- Registering ahead of time if possible. Many fairs allow you to register and upload a resume before the event. This way recruiters will get a chance to see you early.
- Identifying who you want to see and make those rounds first. Don't waste time in long lines, visit another employer of choice and come back!
- Planning that 30-second introduction. You don't have a lot of time to make a connection, so the better you handle that introduction, and speak of the position you want, the better it will be.
- Attending job fairs alone. Exploring the job fair is not a team sport. Leave your friends at the door and arrange a time to meet after making your rounds.
- Staying off your phone. Why are you there, if you plan to spend to all your time on your laptop or Blackberry?
- Talking to people. Do not just drop your resumes and run! You never know who you could meet at a job fair.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

No Experience? What Employers Want on Your College Resume?

Having worked with and coached many college students and new college graduates to successful careers, I know that one of the big obstacles they face is - Where will I get the experience that employers seek?

Of course we encourage students to share information and experience from any of the following sources:

- volunteer work on and off campus
- classroom individual or group projects
- internships
- campus work study and non work study jobs
- campus clubs
- student chapter of professional organizations
- greek life leadership
- overseas experiences or study abroad
- working in a family business
- seasonal part-time jobs
- technical skills (self taught or otherwise)
- campus teams (eg. sports and music)

I have just discovered another great resource from QuintCareers. It is the College Experience Worksheet for Resume Development.

The worksheet goes well beyond just work experience but also helps college students identify their own positive skills or behaviors that employers are eager to see in new grads.