Category Archives: Employment

Chili Cook Off and Networking

Senator Alan Hays and Baby Mo
Senator Alan Hays and Baby Mo

Research is clear, when it comes to professional progression, networking is the key. Over the past weekend, I happened to be in the middle of a well-kept networking secret: can you say Chili Cook Off?

Participants and cookers mingled for hours at one of the most relaxed environments thought possible. Though our team were part of the cookers, Tropical Air of Central Florida and Baby Mo’s Chili, connections made were priceless. For those lacking networking expertise, a Chili Cook Off offers an ideal stage to rehearse and expand those in your circle while becoming comfortable and confident around others.

With chili in hand, striking up a conversation never has been easier. I hear you, the topic of employment rarely comes up while dipping chili, but establishing networks can be as natural as fiber and peanut butter.

For tasters, simply venture table to table, complimenting along the way while learning about the companies behind the chili. To what seem as a surprise for many (not to me), I noticed over 20 local and regional businesses behind the chili. Some would call this an opportunity as one taster approaches:

Taster: “Baby Mo’s Chili? Where’s the chef?”
Server: “The young one with the gloves. She’s the master behind the chili.”
Taster: “Awesome chili. She got it right and I’ll be voting for you!”
Server: “Thanks, do appreciate it. Not only do we make great chili, we take care of air conditioning and heating needs throughout Central Florida.”
Taster: “I like the logo and no doubt keeping people cool in Florida is always a challenge. Are you a technician?”
Server: “Actually I own the company.”
Taster: “I like how Tropical Air of Central Florida is taking part in the community and would love to be part of a company like this.”
Server: “We enjoy keeping people cool and serving chili. What are you looking to do?”
Taster: “I’ve worked as an office administrator over the past two years. Now going to Seminole State. I really want to work with a small company, learning all I can and growing with the company.”
Server: “We’re always looking for positive people, grab my card and give me a call in a few days. We may be hiring part time office help next month.”
Taster: “Definitely will give you a call. And I really mean it, this chili rocks.”
Server: “Don’t forget to vote, last year we were two votes shy of placing.”

Networking can happen anywhere… the only limitations to networking are the limits YOU place on it. 

One never knows who will be walking around as well. During chili cook offs, special judges are often called in to assist, another networking advantage. During the “Apopka Old Florida Outdoor Festival Chili Cook-Off,” one of the judges happened to be Senator Alan Hays. For those interested in politics, business, and community opportunities, this was your chance to connect.

Not just for the votes, but I encourage you to attend the Orlando Chili Cook-Off March 7th. Baby Mo will be cooking the chili and I’ll be serving… hope to see you taking advantage of this networking opportunity.

Seeking awesome chili, employment, promotion, or career transitioning support, self-help job development books and resources, including material designed for those transitioning out of prison, visit www.edu-cs.com or www.CareerBreakOut.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com 321-972-8919
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: http://www.CareerBreakOut.com

Week one on the job, an employer’s view

Image by Matthew Wiebe
Image by Matthew Wiebe

With job offer in hand and a new adventure on the horizon, cautions need to be taken to ensure your first week on the job (typically the most important) portrays not only that you are the right candidate but also that the hiring manager does not second guess his or her selection.

To better prepare your initial week on the job, let’s examine a few pointers from an employer’s point of view:

  • Timely: No doubt you made it to the interview on time, now’s the time to make sure the good habit continues. During the first week you will be looked at closely, including when your work duties begin (notice I did not say when you walked through the front door). It is recommended you arrive to the office 10 minutes early, allowing you plenty of time to grab a cup of coffee, get your good morning howdy’s out of the way, and warm up your seat. In other words, don’t walk through the front door at the exact scheduled time only to take care of morning rituals prohibiting you from being productive in a timely manner. Know your supervisor notices when coffee pouring and real work begins.
  • Attitude: Are you the same positive, team-playing, and confident person displayed during the interview or did you suddenly turn Jekyll? Recognizing people put their best face forward during interviews, companies are often displeasingly surprised at the stranger walking through the door… yeah, the new not-so improved you. One way to make a quick departure from your new position is to not be the person so eagerly anticipated by fellow co-workers. Advice: don’t fake who you are during the interview process as the “real” you will always surface, oftentimes with unwanted consequence.
  • Appearance: While running a former organization, I hired a receptionist to handle front-end clients, answer the phone, and be the front face. During the interview process (two formal interviews), the individual’s appearance was business casual and her professional appearance impressed all decision makers. Unfortunately on day two of her first week, she shed any semblance of what we had come to expect. Though individuality is encouraged, recognize there are lines in the sand… the first week is not the time to test the line… the first week is the time to become fully aware of cultural expectations and what is considered appropriate. The receptionist originally hired decided her true identity needed to be expressed… raw and unadulterated Gothic… being a conservative company dealing with conservative clientele, the line was crossed and she did not make it beyond a month.

Fair or not, the reality and consciousness of the company culture must be appreciated. Violating any of the above three bullets most likely will not work in your favor. No matter the position, try to place yourself in your employer’s shoes and then ask yourself: “would I want my new hire to…” Be honest with yourself as you evaluate actions, attitude, and appearance.

It’s easy to fool yourself into believing anything you want… it’s not so easy fooling your employer.

Seeking employment, promotion, or career transitioning support, self-help job development books and resources, including material designed for those transitioning out of prison, visit www.edu-cs.com or www.CareerBreakOut.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com
321-972-8919
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: http://www.CareerBreakOut.com

Employer Interview Decision Time

Image by Chelsea Francis
Image by Chelsea Francis

Over the past week much has happened. Not only did I receive numerous emails asking which candidate was selected, I was asked how the decision was made.

Quick recap: Recently, Tropical Air of Central Florida, located in the Longwood area, searched for an administrative/office support staff. With the help of Goodwill Industries (Job Connection) and Christian HELP, applicants were interviewed, resulting in four final and well-qualified candidates.

Second interviews were held over a three-day period (last week):

  • All four applicants earned great marks for dress attire.
  • All four applicants arrived in a timely manner, approximately ten minutes early.
  • Nonverbal communication went well; eye contact, voice tone, attitude, and hand shake matched expectations.
  • Three of the four asked well-researched questions at the conclusion of the interview.
  • Two of the four sent follow-up notes within the appropriate time (two neglected the letter).
  • One of the four not only followed-up with a note, but also initiated a phone conversation, inquiring about the position while desensitizing latent employer concerns.
  • All four applicants felt comfortable with the environment and confident job functions would be handled with little hesitation.
  • Two of the four applicants offered beneficial unique contributions.

Decision time: Impressed by the four candidates, a choice had to be made

  • The decision was made based upon who we felt wanted the job more than the other candidates. For the two candidates not submitting a follow-up note or call, the impression was they were not as interested in the position as the other two.
  • The follow-up letters “showed” a desire to be part of our team. With this said, two candidates remained in a slot designed for one.
  • An additional phone call and strategy by one of the candidates in an effort to desensitize our concern leaned the decision her way.
  • Though education level was not officially considered, offering an advanced degree and unique value beyond the other three candidates helped sway the decision.

To summarize: There are many factors employers take into consideration during the interview and hiring process.

  • Appearance: Dress appropriately. Never wear sweats, jerseys, jeans, or fun casual.
  • Nonverbal: Show interest with good posture (no slumping in the chair), eye contact (do not stare as that can be creepy), firm hand shake, and always wear a smile.
  • Arrival: Ten minutes prior to scheduled time is considered proper. Do not arrive more than ten minutes early as this is disrespectful. If you are going to be late, call and explain (most employers know things happen and will understand).
  • KSA: Prove you possess the fundamental knowledge, skills, and abilities to get the job done.
  • Professionalism: Courtesy goes a long way.
  • Company research: Have several questions ready, proving homework and diligence is on your side.
  • Follow-up: This is often the tie-breaker. A simple hand written note and quick call often differentiates close calls.

If you are invited to interview but not offered the position, always follow-up with a thank you note. Truth is, not all initial hires are the right choice. Changes can (and do) happen, making the next in line the newest employee.

To review and consider career development books and resources, including material designed specifically for those transitioning from military service, resume / cover letter construction, networking, and interview strategies as well as employment guidance for ex-felons visit http://www.edu-cs.com, http://www.CareerBreakOut.com, or http://www.2ndChanceUniversity.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com
321-972-8919
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: http://www.CareerBreakOut.com

Interview Expectations: Following Up

Last time we reviewed interview expectations from the employer’s perspective. This time we are going to go one step further and (re)discover simple techniques you should (not can) use to gain the second interview.

Picture by Paula Borowska
Picture by Paula Borowska

As previously mentioned, I am in the market to secure an office administrator for Tropical Air of Central Florida. In this effort, I reached out to two local organizations, Goodwill Industries/Job Connection and Christian HELP. Both provided top-notched candidates.

A week has progressed and now it’s time to schedule interviews with those who may fit into the position and our culture well.

Deciding factors employers consider for second interviews:

  • Professionalism is ALWAYS number one. Don’t let others tell you otherwise. How professionalism is defined and weighed differs from organization to organization but there are commonalities. Fair or not, appearance is always a concern. To eliminate appearance concerns, dress professional business. This means no shorts, no jerseys, and no funky hats. Unfortunately, three candidates were not professional in their attire. These three could have done the job but have yet to be asked back simply because of their lack of professional attire.
  • On a similar professionalism note, a proper handshake, firm, not limp or sticky, begins and closes each interview. Believe it not, some jobs were lost due to a creepy handshake.
  • Professionalism equals research. ALWAYS know what the company and position is about. Two candidates were lost when asked about what our company does, neither earned a second interview.

Of the 20 resumes and applicants for this one position, the initial interview had the task of finding a manageable number for the second interview stage. With this in mind, the following also influenced the invitation to meet the boss:

  • Follow up note. Of all the candidates, two individuals went that extra step to follow up with a personalized/professional note. One of the individuals took advantage of snail-mail by sending a two sentence post card. The handwritten note was a nice touch, allowing me the opportunity to re-examine the original application. I also received an email follow up, though not my favorite means of messaging, I appreciated the effort. On this note, both of these individuals sending the follow up have been invited to meet the boss. Of the remaining candidates, only one has been invited back.
  • Follow up latent meaning. Ever wonder why follow up notes play a role in the hiring decision? After all, anyone can jot a couple sentences together after the initial interview. No doubt this is true, ANYONE can jot a couple sentences together… my question is, why don’t they? Often times, hiring managers look for those going that extra step and question why so many don’t take an effort to impress.
  • Personality. Hiring managers look for personality and how your personality will fit into the environment. Many factors are considered, such as tone of voice, attitude, sense of humor, will you get along with differing demographics within the area, and the belief you want to be part of the organization for longer than three months.
  • Gut feeling. At the point where push comes to shove, gut feeling will rule the decision. Problem is, of the 20 candidates, I remain confident well over half have the capacity to get the job done well. How does one filter the final ten into a top three? Though not measureable, it comes down to subjective impression… things that cannot be measured by conventional methods. Here’s where soft skills, nonverbal cues, research, follow up, and personality raises the top.
  • Final three. Knowing ten would be ideal candidates for the position, the final three were selected due to candidate persistence (follow up letters and phone inquiries). Their persistence led me to believe they conducted due diligence and WANT to work in our small office family atmosphere.

Over the next few days three individuals (who were ultimately selected over seven equally qualified candidates) will be meeting the boss. On paper, these three offer little more than the others, which makes me feel badly because the remaining seven would have been offered a second interview IF they had only followed up with a note.

Though many employers are not sticky when it comes to follow up letters, many are and will not consider qualified candidates unless initiative is shown. Truth is, it’s easy to say “I want that second interview and I’ll do whatever it takes…” while a postage stamp, quick note, and an envelope shows you really do want that second interview.

As for the remaining three in consideration, I’ll let you know what happens later in the week.

To review and consider career development books and resources, including material designed specifically for those transitioning from military service, resume / cover letter construction, networking, and interview strategies as well as employment guidance for ex-felons visit www.edu-cs.com, www.CareerBreakOut.com, or www.2ndChanceUniversity.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: www.CareerBreakOut.com

Interview Expectations: What Hiring Managers Expect

Congratulations. After two months searching for an ideal career match, you receive a call and interview invitation… now what?

Blog Jan 2015 dont just stand thereLast week I had the pleasure to conduct interviews for an office administrator at Tropical Air of Central Florida. I reached out to Goodwill Industries and the Sanford Job Connection… a great move on my part. To be clear, the experience was fantastic as the group at Goodwill Industries were helpful, the offices excellent, and the candidates impressive.

After interviewing nine individuals, I recommended four to be extended a second interview. Calls will be going out later this week.

The following summarizes the experience (valuable information for anyone currently or planning on interviewing):

Gaining that second interview:

  • Looking the part: Though most were dressed appropriately, in a competitive market, what one wears does impact perception. The final four were dressed professionally, delivered well-written copies of their resumes, and presented themselves respectfully. Unfortunately, several candidates were not prepared with proper dress or resume.
  • Focus and matchmaking: The four finalists knew what the job entailed and delivered details as to how their experience and career goals met what I was seeking. Encouraged by researching our company and industry, most of the interviews were fluid and conversational. Unfortunately, several knew nothing of the company and little of the position. Though some most likely could perform the job well, limited focus and research rarely impresses any hiring manager and can lead to a disconnect.
  • Communication: The finalist spoke with confidence, aptitude, and honesty. To be clear, these are characteristics all companies seek in potential employees.
  • Non-verbal elements: Interviews begin with a smile, then a handshake. If either element misses, candidates find themselves behind the eight-ball. On the “not-so” impressive side, I did have two candidates interview while chewing gum. I am one who perceives gum chewing during interviews low on the respect totem pole.

Overall, I am impressed with Goodwill Industries and the Sanford Job Connection Center, recommending their services and candidates without hesitation. To be specific, Alba Vazquez offered a great deal of help and support by coordinating and aligning qualified candidates in a hurry.

  • Now what? I am confident the four finalists will be notified within the next two days regarding a second interview; problem is, not one (or any applicants) has taken the first interview to the next level… not one has sent a follow-up/thank you note. I find this disturbing and surprising. If one was keeping score, and I do, thank you notes have the potential to add points to any close decision and have meant the difference between a second invitation and no consideration.
  • Thank you letter: Without going the final step in the interview process, the tape is rarely crossed. What does a thank you letter mean? Interest in the position and with the company.

Regarding the final four interviewed last week (where all four were extremely close), who will take the lead by taking professional respect to the level it needs to be? Who will follow-up? Not to worry, I will clue you into what happens next.

If you have any questions or situations you would like to share, please send it in to me directly or go through the comment box.To review and consider career development books and resources, including material designed specifically for those transitioning from military service, resume / cover letter construction, networking, and interview strategies as well as employment guidance for ex-felons visit www.edu-cs.com, www.CareerBreakOut.com, or www.2ndChanceUniversity.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com
Tropical Air of Central Florida, http://www.Tropical-Air.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: www.CareerBreakOut.com

Job Expectations: What Employers Expect

Once a job offer has been accepted, you agree to the terms, conditions, salary, and expectations placed upon you.

woman and fire blog Jan 2015With acceptance comes expectations… over the next few weeks, we will be clarifying what exactly is expected from you. For today, the employer’s point of view will be simplified; truth is, you were hired not just to do the job, but to champion the company while being professional on and off site.

Doing the job: You were hired to get the job done. You may be the greatest chap in the world and perhaps even smooth-talked your way through the front door, but if you cannot deliver, the back door will soon feel your shadow. Take notes during training, stay late (on your time), research, do, whatever it takes to prove your employer made the right choice.

Scheduled hours: For many (if not most), being at your desk and ready to perform five minutes BEFORE your scheduled time is considered a sin. Latest scoop, employers expect you to be producing from jump. Producing does not mean making or waiting for coffee, running to the bathroom, gossiping, sitting in the parking lot, Facebooking, or any other non-work related function.

Last year I had to council an employee who constantly walked in the front door eight minutes after her scheduled time. In an attempt to justify daily tardiness, she explained how each morning she was in the parking lot, listening to a radio host while thinking about her work day. Unfortunately, until our chat, she felt the parking lot was an extension of the office.

Employers expect you to be functioning on the dot, this includes prior to departure. In other words, do not stretch down the final 15 minutes of your shift. If you must clean up, prep for the night out, look for recipes, or re-discover Facebook’s irrelevance, do it on your time… after your shift concludes.

Champion the company: Employers expect each employee to represent on and off the clock. Given the digital world, instant electronic gossiping, and social networking, what you do, what you say, and what you write will be reviewed not just by friends (and perfect strangers). Fair or not, it’s just the way it is.

We’ve just begun to examine job expectations from the employer’s perspective… oh, there’s so much more to consider. Not too worry, this month is dedicated to getting you in the know while making sure you do not make simple mistakes leading to confusion or termination. In case you’re wondering, the parking lot lady was terminated the following week; for some reason, she just couldn’t grasp this employer’s expectation.

If you have any questions or situations you would like to share, please send it in to me directly or go through the comment box.

To review and consider career development books and resources, including material designed specifically for those transitioning from military service, resume / cover letter construction, networking, and interview strategies as well as employment guidance for ex-felons visit www.edu-cs.com, www.CareerBreakOut.com, or www.2ndChanceUniversity.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: www.CareerBreakOut.com

New Year, New You: Nothing New

Next year I’m going to…”

Kyle Richner
Kyle Richner

In predictable fashion, the end of the year means promises will be made. For most, promises are made with the intent to come true until reality shows us otherwise.

Don’t have to be Nostradamus for this: By February, previous month promises and the intent behind them will fade into a distant memory. By March, justification and amnesia will kick in full throttle, until “Nothing New” rules the remainder of the year.

A bit gloomy prediction on my part, suggesting you will be failing on the self-imposed challenges being made over the next week. Here’s the problem many simply don’t understand or refuse to believe: in order for promises to come true, change MUST become part of the equation.

If nothing changes, nothing changes.”

Good news, defeat does not always happen; maybe there is a chance this year will be YOUR year of change, progress, and happiness.

Though no guarantee, there are specific guidelines to follow in your journey to the new you:

  • Active: Rarely does change become a reality for those sitting on the sidelines. For those wishing for better health, your dust-layered treadmill can no longer be used as a cup holder.
  • Attitude: Without believing change can come about, it will never happen. Psychologists have proven time and time that the power of a positive attitude can (and will) ignite change.
  • Visualize: In order for you to secure a destination, you have to know where you are going. Visualization is one of the most influential elements defining success. After all, without picturing the result, the path will never be defined or ventured.
  • Valley: Before beginning, recognize there will be obstacles (many call these temptations) causing hesitation. Preparing for a stumble allows you to develop preconceived options to overcome.
  • Career: Reflect on 2014 and perform a private inventory how the year went for you. Did you accomplish anything at work? Did you take any professional development courses or attend seminars? Did you cross-train or make yourself more valuable to an employer? If the answer is no, don’t blame others for career complacency (no raise or promotion).
  • Journal: During the first week of January (or final week of December), write three areas you would like to change. The key is to be specific. Don’t write: get a job (or promotion) without a plan on HOW you plan on achieving the goal.

What are YOU going to do this year? Are you going to play the armchair role, waiting around for something great to happen and then blaming others or circumstance once again 12 months from now?

New Year, New You? It’s not going to happen unless YOU make it happen. I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I would place my pot of silver that NOTHING NEW will define 2015 for you… as for me, I’ve got a plan and know 2015 is going to be one of the most progressive and successful years of my life.

Double Dare: Prove to me (mostly to yourself) 2015 is going to be YOUR YEAR.

To review and consider career development books and resources, including material designed specifically for those transitioning from military service, resume / cover letter construction, networking, and interview strategies as well as employment guidance for ex-felons visit www.edu-cs.com, www.CareerBreakOut.com, or www.2ndChanceUniversity.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: www.CareerBreakOut.com
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com

Sittin’ on a Simmer

Woman ShouldersHeard it over and over again… “No one is hiring during the final weeks of the year so might as well wait until mid-January to get things rolling again.” Though there may be a sliver of reality to the quote, this is not the season to be “sittin’ on a simmer.”

No doubt you’re asking what does “sittin’ on a simmer” mean. Here’s a quick reality check and what you need to do NOW to get off the back-burner and back into action.

You are “sittin’ on a simmer” if you:

  • Begin your morning looking for excuses NOT to begin your morning (attitude leads the charge, positive or negative)
  • Remain in your pajamas, slumbering around the house waiting for something to happen
  • Have yet to perform industry research and uncovering trends which may be helpful to your career advancement (and during interviews)
  • Have not conducted any professional development (online) courseware
  • Allow your cover letter, resume, and references to collect dust (not updating value-added accomplishments)
  • Refuse to engage in networking events designed to highlight and share your KSA’s to potential contacts
  • Make a conscious decision to put your career on simmer until season’s end (what the heck… what’s another week of feeling sorry for myself?)

Enough of the sittin’, time to take a stand in your professional career by:

  • Making a commitment to yourself (an affirmation by any other name) that today IS THE DAY for action (I will NO LONGER play the victim… I am valuable and nothing or no one will distract me from achieving my goal)
  • Researching companies of interest (go to the library if you are without Internet access), examine their mission statement, products, competitors, key players, and New Year goals (this is also where LinkedIn can become your ace in the hole)
  • Reviewing accomplishments over the past 12 months and developing stories behind each accomplishment (placing you at the advantage during the interview process as this adds confirmation and credibility—not to mention confidence). This is where the STAR format comes in handy:
    • Situation: What was going that required attention; was money or labor being wasted?
    • Task: What needed to be done and what would have happened if nothing had been done?
    • Action: What was your involvement; did you come up with a time-saving process or a way to improve customer satisfaction?
    • Result: What happened as a result of your direct (or indirect) involvement? How much money did your suggestion save? Did ratings go up?
  • Committing to attend a minimum of two networking events (and make sure you bring a confident/winning attitude as well as a value-laden elevator speech)
  • Reviewing and updating all career documents (online profiles included). This means taking advantage of any company research, industry trends, and your STAR stories.
    • When it comes to reviewing and updating documents, it may be in your best interest to have a professional resume writer review your material and offer suggestions for improvement. The fee is industry-reasonable while the rewards are potentially high. On this note, our writers conduct this service remotely to clients all across the globe. If you go this route (with us or another experienced career management company), make sure you feel comfortable with the secured professional offering this service. Rates for a formal written review and coach consultation ranges between $250 and $500, depending upon which company you select.

Securing a dream position during the month of December can be challenging, but this is the season of dreams coming true. To be blunt, the final weeks of the year are an ideal time to give your career documents a holiday workout.

Do yourself a favor, stop sittin’ on a simmer and commit to making 2015 a year of fulfillment. I’m simply asking you to devote TWO hours a day, adding up to ten hours of career stretching weekly. If this sounds like I’m asking too much from you… you are stuck on a simmer and can’t get up!

Hoping your career journey is an exciting and rewarding one.

For those interested in a professional career document review/coaching session, securing cutting-edge career focused material, or other professional employment empowerment services, visit www.edu-cs.com or www.CareerBreakOut.com or contact me directly at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: www.CareerBreakOut.com
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs

Seasonal Slow or Holiday Go?

December 2012 059With seven weeks to go until Christmas, many seeking employment or a career shift downgrade activities to a seasonal slow. Though I acknowledge the psychological rationalizations to slow to a turtle pace and enjoy the remainder of the year; that lack of action may not be in your best interest. As a result, I strongly recommend the second of two choices: holiday go.

According to recent labor report cards, NOW is the time many companies are hiring. True most opening positions are seasonal and part time, it does not have to stay that way.

Here’s a suggestion: Instead of not earning an income over the next two months, step out of your comfort zone and secure a part time seasonal position. For those afraid or embarrassed to work in retail (and yes, go ahead and admit you have an attitude problem needing resolve), there are benefits beyond standing on your feet. For example, you never know who your next customer may happen to be. Suppose he or she is a hiring executive at a company you have always wanted to work for, by treating the customer professionally and attentively, networking skills can push you into an interview.

True story: Several years ago I was looking for a receptionist and two office personnel. I happened to walk into a Kohl’s and was helped by a young lady with such professionalism that I asked her if she was interested in a position outside of retail. Needless to say, three weeks later, she was one of two selections I found during a holiday shopping spree.

Did you know: Part time often equates into full time… but this is not automatic.

Keys to transitioning from seasonal to full time

  • Always look and act professionally (to peers, supervisors, and customers)
  • Never complain
  • Let your supervisor know you are interested in continuing employment beyond the season
  • Be yourself
  • Don’t be arrogant
  • Don’t fool around, Tweet, or Facebook while on the job
  • Be positive and keep in the holiday spirit

Okay, so you are on the holiday go mindset… now what? Fortunately for you, I happened to be listening to the Clark Howard show this morning. A topic of discussion he presented was entitled “Who’s hiring this holiday season?” For a complete listing, is suggest taking a look at http://www.ClarkHoward.com and check it out for yourself. To summarize, here’s a peek at the top five companies hiring (based on projected hires):

  • UPS: hiring 95,000 seasonal workers
  • Macy’s: hiring 86,000 seasonal workers
  • Amazon: hiring 80,000 seasonal workers
  • Target: hiring 70,000 seasonal workers
  • Kohl’s: hiring 67,000 seasonal workers

Looks like NOW is NOT the time for a seasonal slow.

Hoping your career journey is an exciting and rewarding one, I am always here to help in the process.

For those interested in developing proven career success techniques or securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a career disadvantage, take control by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions). Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support or contact me at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com

Cross Country Career: To go or stay?

DSC_0341Continuing from our previous cross country top three considerations, it’s time to evaluate emotional specifics and locate/resolve potential psychological/financial dissonance. I know you were expecting cover letter and resume tips this time but going there may be a bit premature.

Truth is: Before investing a great deal of energy in your career relocation decision, establish the groundwork.

We best begin with a balanced mindset by answering the following two questions:

  1. What are the top three reasons you do NOT want to remain in your current area? (Recognizing driving forces pushing you away must be dealt with… you know you want to leave, but why?)
  2. What are the top three elements you will miss after relocating and how will you resolve the emotional / psychological dilemmas? Though you may not want to accept it, there are fragments of your current condition you will miss. This could be anywhere from environmental to family to a favorite place to hang out… and throw in a friend or two. Purpose of this step is to ensure the right decision is made by recognizing and acknowledging what is really going on.

Once the above questions and answers are reflected upon honestly, decision time has come. If you have family or an attached one, I suggest discussing with those in your circle your determination to relocate. Being prepared by acknowledging both sides of the fence and discussing with a loved one or peer helps place considerations into perspective.

Truth is: Packing and rushing out the door rarely ends with success.

Once a final decision has been made and you are determined to pack your bags, take stock at the inventory of assets at hand and projected expenses. In other words, with an unclouded head, take a realistic look at:

  • Budget:
    • Are you financially prepared to live without steady income for several months?
    • Do you have a savings account or money in reserves?
    • How much money will it take to live to your satisfaction on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?
    • Are you emotionally prepared to sacrifice leisure items until your feet (and employment) are securely on the ground?
  • Housing:
    • Where will you be staying?
    • Where will your clothing be stored?
    • Have you priced apartments as well as cost of living?
  • Transportation:
    • Do you have a reliable vehicle?
    • What will you need to alter your driver’s license to fit the new state?

The top three considerations cannot go ignored (as they often are); to better prepare in the review/evaluation stage, perform due diligence by taking advantage of Internet research. A great beginning can be found at ONETOnline.org. At this free Internet source, information regarding job duties, responsibilities, and expectations are a click away. Additionally, on this site job postings and salary averages can be detailed.

If you know the city/state of particular interest, check out their city websites and get the “feel” of where you will be living. One area many of my clients neglect to consider is the weather. For example, several unhappy clients from Florida decided to relocate to Minnesota. They moved during the summer months, happy as a lark. Then winter arrived… suddenly the lark decided snow, wind, and plowing white stuff was never consideration. Three weeks into the season, they returned to a snow-less sunny state. For many, Chicago (or Minnesota) could be a deal breaker simply due to the weather.

Okay, you’ve spoken to several peers, family members, and/or friends about the move. You’ve also performed diligence and fully understand the basics of the relocation. Now what?

Remaining patient but progressive is the key to career (and professional) success. Next time we’ll look at one of the most important vehicles available at your fingertips, the cover letter.

The cover letter hooks the reader by giving him/her a reason to continue and consider you as a potential candidate. Even for those not considering a move, you will find value in what’s coming up in our next episode. In other words, don’t miss out.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a career disadvantage, take control by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions). Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support or contact me at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
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Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com