PBJ - People Between Jobs
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
      ( 9:12 AM ) diamonddick  
May 11,09) Rick Horner of Hill & Associates will speak on confusion of COBRA.
There will be a Linkedin.com training session, bring your laptop.
May 18,09) Samaritan Center discussion on stress of joblessness.
May 25,09) No meeting - Memorial Day
June 1,09) Bill Loftus - finances
June 8,09) Dave Flock - Executive Recruiter

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Monday, March 02, 2009
      ( 2:14 PM ) diamonddick  
Upcoming speakers

Monday, March 9, 2009
Dorinda Heiden-Guss, President-- Economic Development
Corporation of Elkhart County
Topic: An overview of what activities and efforts have been
ongoing with the State and the Elkhart County Business
Development Group to attract business to the region, keep
business in the area.

Monday, March 16, 2009
Kate Cochrane, President of WorkOne
Topic: Provide an understanding of the various training and
support programs available to people in transition.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008
      ( 6:37 PM ) axmc  
Courtesy of Dick Bracken:

Dick Bracken

Opinion: Jump-starting a stalled job search

By Katherine Spencer Lee
May 19, 2008 (Computerworld)
If you've been looking for a job for a while, there's a good chance you're frustrated with your inability to find one. The longer you're on the hunt, the less likely it seems that you'll ever be employed, especially given today's uncertain economic climate.

But the job market remains strong for the most highly skilled IT professionals, and with the right approach, you can significantly increase your chances of landing the position you seek. Here are six ways to fend off frustration and revitalize your job search:

Revisit old possibilities. It's likely that you sent out a flurry of resumes in the early part of your search and received responses from — or even interviewed with — a few hiring managers. Even though you weren't offered a job, that doesn't mean these businesses aren't interested in hiring you now, especially if you reached the later stages of the interview process. So consider reaching out to the firms you initially contacted to express your continued interest in working there and to find out if new openings exist.

Broaden your network. One of the best ways to find a job is through people you know, because resumes from referrals often receive top billing among hiring managers. If you've been networking through friends and family and still haven't found work, it's time to expand your list of contacts. Talk to former co-workers and managers, college alumni, and members of professional organizations you belong to. Or schedule informational interviews at businesses you're interested in so you have a contact when a job opens up. It never hurts to get back in touch with people you've already spoken with, either to let them know you're still looking for a job or to more clearly specify what sort of position you hope to find.

Identify and address your weak points. Instead of making small changes in multiple areas of your job search, it's often better to step back and take a look at the search from a broader perspective. Chances are, altering one aspect of your search, based on where you're having the most problems, can have a big impact on your success with employers.

For example, say you've gone on several interviews and have even been called back for additional meetings with some companies, but you still haven't received any offers. The problem may lie solely with your interview skills — after all, your resume and cover letter are drawing heavy interest from employers. So instead of trying to "fix" something that's in good working order — your application materials — devote extra attention to your interview skills. You might review questions you've been asked by hiring managers thus far and practice your responses with a friend who can critique you.

Keep your skills fresh. It's never a bad idea to work on your skills, both technical and nontechnical. Training, whether it's an online course in a programming language or an offline workshop on business communication, can bolster your skills while keeping you productively engaged during your job search. If a certification you lack keeps popping up in job descriptions that interest you, seriously consider investing the time and money it requires.

Diversify your target employers. If you've been contacting mostly well-known corporations or companies whose names carry a lot of technology cachet, broaden your approach to include different types of employers. For example, smaller firms, nonprofits and organizations in the educational sector all have a wide range of interesting IT opportunities, and competition for these jobs may be less intense.

Consider project-based employment. Although you're probably searching for a full-time job, it might be worth considering part-time or project-based work. These engagements can not only help you build new skills, but may also introduce you to valuable contacts or even lead directly to a full-time position. In addition, many IT staffing firms offer free professional development to keep your skills up to date.

Whatever you do to jump-start your job search, be sure to give thought to all employment opportunities that come your way, even those that don't seem promising at first. For example, a position that doesn't offer the starting pay you'd hoped for might provide other benefits, such as the ability to quickly advance within the organization. You never know what will lead you to your next job, but remaining motivated and marketable will help you find it sooner.

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Monday, May 01, 2006
      ( 2:29 PM ) Pamela  
Seven Signs It's Time to Toss Your RésuméBy Kate Lorenz, CareerBuilder Editor

They've reviewed millions of résumés and seen it all. From the candidate whose stated objective was to "seek a high-paying, relaxing job" to the software developer who included a photo of himself bare-chested, cavorting in the surf. Corporate recruiters say you'd be surprised at how many candidates leave out important facts, such as the names and locations of companies where they've worked, or include too much information, like the candidate who asterisked her dates of employment with the caveat: "Please do not misconstrue the fact that I have had 12 jobs in six years as job-hopping...I have never quit a job!" Is your résumé working for you or against you? Here are seven signs it may be time to tweak (or toss) your résumé:

1. No Career Summary/Introductory Statement Most hiring companies don't have time to match unspecified résumés to open positions, so lead off with a career summary or introductory statement that makes it clear what type of position you are seeking and why you are qualified for the job.

2. Lack of Keywords and Phrases To pass through a company's applicant tracking software, your résumé must contain the keywords and phrases it is screening for. These words are not the verbs stressed in paper résumés, but nouns such as job titles and technical skills. To find out what keywords you should be using, read the job posting or obtain the actual job description. You also may want to check out the book 2,500 Keywords to Get You Hired by Jay Block and Michael Betrus, which lists critical keywords for each career and shows examples of how to use them in your résumé.

3. No Evidence of Your ExperienceYour résumé should not merely list the jobs you've held; it should provide specific examples of how you achieved success. Résumé-writing professionals recommend using the PARS formula: Describe a Problem, the Action you took, the Results you achieved and Skills you applied.

4. Use of Personal Pronouns and ArticlesWith just two pages to sell yourself, make each word count. Write in a telegraphic style, eliminating all personal pronouns and articles like "the," "a" and "an." Removing the "I," "me" and "my" from your résumé not only frees up space, but creates a subliminal perception of objectivity.

5. Irrelevant InformationIrrelevant information keeps the reader from seeing your selling points. Weigh each portion of your experience from the hiring company's perspective to decide what to include and what to emphasize. If you're applying for an engineering position, for example, don't devote a whole paragraph to your job as a camp counselor unless the position has elements that are transferable to the engineering job. And never include information about your marital status, personal situation, hobbies or interests unless they are relevant to the job for which you're applying.

6. Poor FormattingUnless you have no work experience or have held a number of different jobs in a short amount of time, a chronological résumé is the most effective. That means using the following order:
Header (your name, address, e-mail address and phone number)
Career summary, profiling the scope of your experience and skills
Reverse chronological employment history emphasizing achievements
Education Since poor alignment, spacing and use of bolding and caps make a résumé hard to read, you may want to use a résumé template.

7. Typos and Misspelled WordsFrom the would-be administrative assistant who claimed to be a "rabid typist" to the executive who boasted that he was "instrumental in ruining the entire operation," misspellings communicate that you have poor writing skills or a lackadaisical attitude. Proofread your résumé carefully and have several friends and family members read it as well.

Last, remember that the purpose of your résumé is to communicate your experiences and accomplishments as they relate to an open position and to obtain a job interview. Because each situation is different, you should tailor your résumé to each opportunity. #


      ( 2:28 PM ) Pamela  
PBJ - People Between Jobs #



Wednesday, March 08, 2006
      ( 9:15 AM ) Pamela  
PBJ - People Between Jobs: "2006

Networking Tip
Try this at the next Biz-Ness Event!
From the The Art of Schmoozing - Guy Kawasaki
The key is to establish a relationship before you need it.Understand the goal. Darcy Rezac in his book, The Frog and the Prince, wrote the world's best definition of schmoozing: "Discovering what you can do for someone else." Herein lies eighty percent of the battle: great schmoozers want to know what they can do for you, not what you can do for them. If you understand this, the rest is just mechanics.

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Friday, January 13, 2006
      ( 6:43 AM ) axmc  

CAREER PROS: Is Your Job Search Too Passive?

by Carole Kanchier


Gail has sent out two hundred resumes within the past three months, but only landed one job interview. Is this happening to you?

Passively sending out resumes – regardless of how well-written they are – to employers or recruiters won’t necessarily get you an interview or job. You must get your resume to the right person, which requires creativity and work. Try the following.

Know the type of job you want. Identify the industry, title, function and organizational level, specialty area, type of company and location.

Don’t select a job because experts predict it’s in demand, to please others, or just to be employed. Rather, select one that’s congruent with your personal qualities. What’s your passion? What skills and other attributes do you want to use?

It’s difficult to maintain enthusiasm when you are applying for positions that don’t excite you.

Prepare a scannable resume. Many large organizations use computers to scan resumes for key phrases or buzz words mentioned in job descriptions.

To make your resume easy to scan, use crisp type, such as that produced by laser printers. Use white or light-colored paper, with standard typefaces such as Helvetica or Courier, and font sizes of 11 to 14 points. Use all capital letters for section headings.

Avoid fancy treatments such as italics, underlining and graphics. Use common headings such as career objective, skills summary and work experience. Include the job code listed in the ad.

Employ key words from the text of want ads to define your skills, accomplishments, education and other strengths. Include numbers, dollars and evidence of quality. Use nouns such as manager and technician, and industry jargon.

Develop a different resume for each job target. Also craft two variations of your resume: one with a scannable layout to send by email; the second with a more creative arrangement to bring to an interview.

If you’re using email, save your resume as a text document. Ask someone to proofread it.

Use the appropriate format. Since most employers prefer chronological resumes, use this format if you’re applying for a similar type of job in a related industry.

If you’re an older professional who is changing fields, consider the functional format (organize accomplishments and skills to match specific job requirements). This enables you to cluster accomplishments of a particular function such as marketing, regardless of when and where you performed them. Include a section outlining your employment history.

Write a short cover letter.
In two or three succinct paragraphs, identify your job objective, highlight related accomplishments, and indicate how you can benefit the employer. If you’re sending the resume by mail, consider including a portfolio with sample accomplishments, commendations, publications and other achievements.

Network. About eighty-five percent of all employment comes from networking. It enables you to increase your contacts and get useful information, such as unadvertised positions and companies that are hiring.

Identify people who can connect you with decision makers in the organization. Personal referrals to hiring managers increase the likelihood your resume will be read.

Increase your contacts by joining professional, trade, alumni or civic groups. Attend career fairs, trade shows and professional conferences.

Create ways to meet people in hiring positions. Ask for introductions. Make cold calls.

Research. Effective research can identify job possibilities with prospective companies and hiring managers. Check The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Rich’s Guide, other publications and company Internet sites.

Look for hidden leads. A newspaper story or television program describing a new company or product may suggest positions with a growing company or expansion of a larger one.

Use a variety of search strategies. Contact employers directly. Identify the hiring managers at companies of interest to determine job availability and skills required.

If appropriate, revise and send your resume. Show that you’re qualified for the targeted position. Request an interview.

Contact small companies. Try executive recruiting firms, temp agencies, and trade and professional associations.

Be proactive. Make things happen. Follow up each mailing with a phone call or email within three weeks. If you don’t hear from anyone, call again. List things to accomplish daily. Completing these will help maintain optimism, motivation and energy.


Carole Kanchier, author of Dare to Change Your Job - and Your Life, is principal of Questers, a career consulting group. E-mail her at questers@daretochange.com or call 1-888-206-0108 #




Thursday, December 01, 2005
      ( 12:49 PM ) axmc  
Why Resumes Are Just One Piece of the Puzzle
Impressive credentials are nice. But character and values are the qualities that matter most when making a hire.
By Jeffrey Pfeffer, December 2005 Issue Business 2.0

Many companies use flawed techniques to find, screen, and hire executive talent. The problem begins with the emphasis placed on resumes; it just doesn’t make sense to base a hiring decision on a few sheets of paper that tick off past experience. Even ignoring the fact that candidates routinely exaggerate (or worse) when they describe their accomplishments, a resume is merely a summary of positions held and degrees attained. It says almost nothing about the traits that matter most when it comes to predicting candidates’ workplace effectiveness -- how they behave, the values they hold dear, and what it’s like to actually work with them side by side, day after day.

That kind of information is hard to come by in our litigious society, where labor attorneys counsel employers to confirm only functional information about a former employee, such as formal title, dates of employment, and possibly salary. Compounding the problem, many follow-up interviews also miss the mark: We form opinions based on first impressions, respond to candidates on the basis of interpersonal similarity, and squander interview time reviewing the resume instead of probing to learn what a person is really like.

A few years ago, I served on the board of a small software company that wanted to hire a new CEO. We did what most companies do: We scrutinized resumes to see who would best fit the job. We were particularly impressed by one candidate’s credentials -- MBA from a top school and a senior position at a similar company -- so our interviews focused mostly on recruiting him. Trouble is, interviewing well is a talent based on quick responses and smooth talk, but those aren’t the skills one needs to manage people and technology. Ultimately, we got exactly what we hired -- smart talk and great presentations -- but sales stagnated and employee morale declined.

Focusing on credentials can be misleading. Sometimes it can exaggerate a candidate’s abilities. Remember the Peter Principle? (That’s the idea that people get promoted to their level of incompetence.) In other cases, resumes can overlook valuable traits that transcend formal training. You wouldn’t find much academic experience on the resumes of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, for example -- both are college dropouts. At the other extreme, one might assume that an entrepreneur from Stanford’s computer science Ph.D. program would concentrate on the technical dimensions of business. But when I had lunch with Google (GOOG) co-founder Larry Page a few years ago, he was obsessed with the company’s organizational culture -- a “touchy-feely” concern that he views as key to its continued success. And indeed, Google’s fast-moving and wildly creative workplace environment remains a significant source of the company’s competitive advantage.

The U.S. Army has an interesting perspective on leadership development, which is nicely captured in its slogan “Be, Know, Do.” Obviously, it’s important to have technical skills (knowing) and the ability to execute (doing). But basic values -- being -- come first. The military recognizes that character is essential to a leader’s nature, not something acquired by taking a class or holding a particular job title. In the post-Enron, post-Tyco (TYC), post-WorldCom era, that’s a lesson that American corporations should have learned by now. So how do the smartest companies find out what lies beneath the resume?

Firms such as Southwest Airlines (LUV) emphasize behavioral interviewing, asking people not so much about accomplishments but how they might react to hypothetical situations, how they spend their free time, and how they embody core values. Some companies actively match individual values to corporate culture by having job candidates fill out a survey to see if their responses match those of company leaders -- a strategy that’s been shown to accurately predict corporate effectiveness. After all, talking yourself into a top job isn’t really all that difficult. But commanding respect and leading successfully are skills that are almost impossible to fake

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People Between Jobs (PBJ) is an outreach program of the First Presbyterian Church, Elkhart IN. PBJ is a resource point for those in job or career transition. Contact us at http://presby.net

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