Tag Archives: Brandon Hayhurst

Career Breakout: Mobile Madness

Several weeks ago I received the following from Julia Nicole:

I have to be honest with you, I’m on my phone more often than I am on my own computer. I’m just more comfortable with it. The other day I tried to submit a resume with my cellphone and just as I was ready to hit send, a friend of mine said it was a bad idea. I don’t understand why that would be a bad idea. Can you shed some light on the subject?”

Julia, you might be surprised to hear the answer to this question. If this were a couple of years ago, your friend might be absolutely right; however, everything in the modern world revolves around technology–especially mobile technology.

Career Tip: Methods of data transfer have evolved to include cell phone technology.

I remember just several years ago that technological limitations did not even allow cell phones to do anything but move voices… nowadays, cell phones are a lot more like computers. In many ways, come cell phones are more robust and applicable than computers so your question may even be a non-issue to most people.

Take, for instance, smartphones like iPhones and Androids. Most of them contain built-in email programs that allow you to send documents just like you would on your home computer. In fact, employers wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between documents sent from a home computer versus documents sent via an IPhone.

Warning: I don’t recommend creating a resume on your cellphone.

Even though smart phones have apps that work as word processors, the official Microsoft Word is not available at the moment. Therefore, you cannot guarantee your resume will be created in a .doc format that is viewable by all employers.

For best results, create your resume on a computer and then send it by phone if you must.

Sending documents on a cellphone not equipped to do so is NOT in your best interest. In this regard, Julia’s friend was absolutely correct. To simplify things, here’s the fact: Smartphones are the only cell phones qualified to send proper email and documents over the Internet.

Even if you created a text-only electronic resume, text messaging should never be used to send a resume… ever. Text messaging is still considered cheap and tacky, which is a surefire way to seem unprofessional to a potential employer.

At the end of the day and more often than not, it’s simpler to just use a computer. But if you insist, smartphone email is acceptable.

I hope this answers your question and if you did send your resume (and cover letter—always), let me know if you gained the hiring managers eye and was invited back for an interview.

If you would like our career experts to address specific questions or issues related to your career development and success, reach out by using the comment box.

For those interested in cutting-edge career books to guide you along your journey, visit www.edu-cs.com or go to Amazon and search Danny at ECS for a listing of available material.

Written by Brandon Hayhurst
www.EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow us @dannyatecs

Social Networking and your Resume

“This might sound like a silly question, but should I post my resume on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter? I know they’re not really professional, but can it help me at all?”
– Tim Drake

Don’t worry, Tim. It’s actually a very good question to discuss about online networking.

Unfortunately, there is no short answer to this question. Yes, posting your resume on Facebook or Twitter can be helpful for your job search, especially considering employers are sourcing candidates on social networking sites nowadays.

Warning: Not all good things happen in the digital world.

Placing yourself completely out there in the digital world can also eliminate you from the running just as fast as a misplaced tattoo. Recent legislation makes it all so clear: what is online does NOT stay online. As a matter of fact, many companies hire individuals to scour the Internet to better acquaint themselves to their prospective (and current) employees.

Think of it this way, if you were a hiring executive and happened to see inappropriate images or statements from your next interviewee, would that affect the outcome? In terms of your resume, you definitely have the power to present yourself in the most professional manner… always professional.

Control is the keyword here. If you’re going to use your social networking site during your job search, make sure it’s completely professional. Honestly, this is hard for many people. Go ahead and test yourself and check your social networking sites… are there images, texts, or shout-outs which “could” put you in a not-so great light?

According to a recent survey, a whopping 91 percent of Facebook accounts–alone–contain inappropriate information that can be considered a red flag to employers. This includes photos, posts, and even friends.

Do you think you can manage all of your photos, posts, and friends AND keep them strictly professional? If not, then posting your resume on Facebook might not be the best idea.

Twitter, on the other hand, is a little easier to manage than Facebook. People “follow’ others because they’re interested in hearing what they have to say; therefore, if you keep your tweets professional, you will only attract professional followers who won’t be a red flag to your job search.

Keep this in mind: It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.

If this sound overly cautious, it’s because you should be. Social networking sites are a double-edged sword that can hurt you just as easily as they can help you, consider this your final warning!

If you would like our career experts to address specific questions or issues related to your career development and success, reach out by using the comment box.

For those interested in cutting-edge career books to guide you along your journey, visit www.edu-cs.com or go to Amazon and search Danny at ECS for a listing of available material.

Written by Brandon Hayhurst
www.EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow us @dannyatecs

Career Breakout: Shy? DON’T PANIC

We recently received a question from Keith who is having issues getting the word out. He is worried that his introverted nature is holding him back from a professional career. Granted, shielding yourself in the background can be detrimental to your progression, but it’s not the end all. Besides, there are ways to get noticed even the shyest can overcome.

“I’m an admitted introvert who has trouble speaking and acting natural, am I out of luck?”
Keith Mazoni

First step in any direction is defining key terms and then finding solutions to the any blocking issues. With that in mind, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), introverts:

  • Enjoy time alone
  • Consider only deep relationships as friends
  • Feel drained after outside activities, even if they were fun
  • Are often good listeners
  • Appear calm and self-contained
  • Think then speak or act

Looking at the list and you probably see yourself having many (or all) of the characteristics. After all, who doesn’t think before speaking or acting out (Dwight Howard excluding) or consider themselves to be a good listener? Guess, by definition, we are all introverts (to an extent).

Now let’s take a quick moment and look at the list below. Do you recognize any of the people on it. Make sure to keep count for yourself…

  • Albert Einstein
  • Al Gore
  • Bill Gates
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Warren Buffett 

The above are all famous introverts, so there’s no reason to feel like you have no chance at owning a successful, professional career; unless, of course, you limit yourself from having one.

While introverts are just as hirable as extroverts, the latter are more inclined to the two most important aspects of a career search: networking and interviewing. Because both are intended to be highly social activities, you may feel uncomfortable or even frightened to participate in either.

It’s not easy, speaking to people you don’t know. Come to think of it, I must also be a classic introvert… Look for me at the next networking event; I’ll be the one standing alone in the corner, hiding.

I won’t beat around the bush, you have to make networking and interviewing two of your chief skill sets, especially considering they may make you nervous or frightened. I won’t lie; it’s going to take a lot of work and practice on your end, so let’s get started.

Career Tip: You need to participate in networking.

Networking involves creating and maintaining a list of contacts with other career professionals in your industry. Ideally, these professionals who can (and will) help you identify job opportunities, keep up-to-date with current trends and changes in your industry, and even be used as references. As an introvert, this may seem like a daunting task, but the key is to start small and build up.

Social/electronic networking is ideal for the introvert. With sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter, the ability to meet and introduce your skills and many valuable contributions can be done without leaving the house.

Career Tip: When going the electronic route, professional courtesy rules.

As for interviewing, it’s all about being prepared and having plenty of practice. When in doubt, practice answering basic interview questions in front of the mirror or with family members. One of the most important interview questions that set the stage is: “Tell me about yourself.” Here’s a clue, the person asking does not want to hear about your personal life, he or she wants to know the many benefits you offer.

Candidates tend to get nervous during interviews because they go in unprepared. Research the company, any competing companies, the products, and always know the company mission statement. Knowing the basics proves you done your work… a great advantage over the majority of candidates forgetting the research step.

Going back to practicing and being prepared, ask a friend or family to conduct a mock interview with you, asking questions directly related to the job posting and company. During your mock interview session, don’t just think about what you would say… say it. The human brain works in such a way that routine activities are recalled more naturally than foreign ones (ever heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect?”).

To directly get back to Keith, you’re not at a disadvantage at all by being an introvert. Think of it as a challenge that will better ground you as a career professional. Are you ready to put the work in? Besides, look at the crowd you happen to be in… a crowd of extremely successful introverts who are forever remembered for their many contributions.

For more articles on how to handle networking and the interview process, visit Education Career Services at edu-cs.com, search Amazon (Danny at ECS), or follow us on Twitter @dannyatecs.

Written by Brandon Hayhurst
Education Career Services

Career Breakout: Returning to the Job Market

“For the last 8 years I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. It’s been so long since I’ve been in the job market. How can I get a job? Help!”
-Jill DeLano

This week we received a question from Jill that is common in career management, chances are you (or someone you know) is in the same situation as Jill. Years ago you decided to start a family… but now that your kids are older, how can you get back in the swing of things?

There is a process to returning to the job market but realize a great deal of research, self-analysis, and preparation forms the core of a successful career reintegration.

You are not alone, don’t get frustrated, and never give up or lose a positive attitude. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are over 5 million stay-at-home parents present within our country. Many women–even men–elect to put their career on hold to start a family. The trick to reentering the job market when the time comes is no different than when you first entered it… you have to be able and ready to show employers your value. It doesn’t matter how many years it’s been since you’ve worked, as long as you can prove your qualifications.

Career Tip: Though the world has changed (dramatically), concentrate of the VALUE you offer a company.

Can’t get around the fact you will most likely be asked about your gap in employment history during an interview. Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy, but don’t get too chatty and spill potential employer concerns.

Taking the initiative and desensitizing possible hesitations typically works in your favor. When applying for a job, use the cover letter as a means to address the gap. Take a moment to imagine what an employer is thinking: Can I count on this potential new hire to come to work as scheduled or will at-home responsibilities and issues prevent this… for example, a youngster with a fever equates to a no-show. In order to convince the hiring manager, project confidence in your career decision to stay at home with your children but also ensure your dedication to the workplace.

With that being said, there are methods to lessen the severity of an employment gap. Many professionals opt to construct a chronological resume that lists employment history by order of date… this is not for you and, in general, not the most effective format for any job seeker. Instead, learn how to construct a skills-based resume that highlights your skills, experience, and accomplishments before you had children.

The best way to show all of the above is by detailing accomplishments within a PAR structure: Problem, Action, and Result. This is a basic framework for displaying your skills and experience in a way that highlights the value you bring. Take, for example, a basic responsibility for many employees: answering phones…

     Problem: Large volume of callers, all needing to be answered
     Action: Quickly and efficiently directed incoming calls to appropriate work centers and staff
     Result: Minimized caller wait time

Now, you have a complete sentence displaying what the employer wants to know…

“Quickly and efficiently directed large volumes of incoming callers to appropriate work centers and staff, minimizing caller wait time.”

But we may be getting ahead of ourselves. You still need to find the appropriate position to apply for. Time for some bad news… finding a job may be easier if you limit yourself to the same industry and location (if possible) of your last held job.

Career Tip: Tap into your pre-existing network.

If you happen to still be friends with or kept in contact with previous co-workers, these are excellent individuals to network with. Ask them for an informational interview, perhaps over lunch. Have them explain to you how your industry has changed over the years. You’ll be surprised how many things can change over a short time span. The objective here is to prove to an employer that you are still relevant in your given industry.

If you would like additional information or assistance in any career-related manner, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com. Cutting edge single topic career workbooks and complete career lifecycle books are available at our website (www.edu-cs.com) or visit us at Amazon.com (search Danny at ECS).

Written By Brandon Hayhurst
Education Career Services

Career Breakout: Changing Careers Begin With…

I’m thinking about changing careers but not sure about which career to go in. What is the first step?”

This question was sent in by Sandi Collins and seems to be relevant to many people.

Not satisfied with the career you’ve chosen, or is it simply time for something new? Perhaps a career change may be right for you. Contrary to what people might say, it’s never too late to change your path. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, on average, Americans change their careers 3 to 7 times throughout their life.

The first, and most important, step to beginning a career change is to analyze your current career. I know you want to get away from it as fast as possible. But don’t be so quick to jump ship. Grab a sheet of paper or open up a new document on your computer–go on… I’ll wait.

To organize your listing, create a “T-Chart” with two columns. In one column, write down the top ten things you do like about your current career (even though you’re looking for a change, there has to be something you enjoy about it). And in the other column, list what you don’t like about your career. These should be the reasons you’re looking for a change.

Once you’ve completed your list, take it a step further. Looking at your likes and dislikes, what are your skills? In other words, what skills do you possess that you’ve gained and utilized in your current career? Be as specific as possible. To note, hardworking is not a skill.

Career Tip: Changing careers requires diligence, honesty, and more diligence.

Why is all of this effort so important? Because the next step is to select a career you’re interested in. That involves a great deal of research and planning. With this list you’ve just created at your disposal, you’ll know what to look for and what to avoid in a new career. Without this knowledge, you’re bound to repeat past mistakes, ending up unsatisfied again.

Career Tip: Your goal when changing careers should always be to align your skill sets and interests with a path of your choosing.

As far as tools for research, many exist but not all are worth using. For your convenience, we’ve listed some of our top recommendations:

  • This Internet is always a great resource. One great website we always suggest to our clients is O*NET, an online database containing detailed, in-depth information for almost every career and profession in existence. Their website is http://www.onetonline.org/, and their services are completely free to use. O*NET’s listings contain job responsibilities, tasks, salary, equipment, work conditions, and more.
  • Some people prefer to use the Internet; others prefer a more personal method of research. For those, informational interviews are always a winning strategy. Find professionals in a career of interest and invite them to an interview. Not only will you find the same information you would have when using the Internet, you’re also likely to get full accounts of day-by-day routines, which is important in determining whether or not a career is worth pursuing.
  • The above tools not hands-on enough? Try job shadowing a professional instead. This will allow you to see for yourself what a career will entail. Spend a few hours shadowing several professionals in an area of interest, if possible. Granted, shadowing opportunities aren’t as abundant as many of us would like, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t try to obtain one. Many professionals are happy to grant the opportunity as it provides them a new networking contact.
  • Time for an insider secret… look for volunteer or freelance opportunities in the field of your interest. While you might think it’s impossible to find, you have to think outside of the box. Thinking about working with animals? Volunteer at a local animal shelter. Want to get into publishing? Write some articles for a local newspaper. These activities aren’t as far removed as you might believe. Not only will they give you a feel for an industry, whether it’s direct or indirect, it also gives you some helpful resume additions.  

Don’t let all of this get to your head, though. There are many steps in the process of changing a career. These are just some of the first steps you should immediately take. You still have to build experience, especially if you have little to speak of. You still have to find an opening, submit an eye-opening resume and cover letter, and conduct a successful interview. It’s a tall order, but you can do it.

For more tips on enacting a career change, and tips to help you land a position in that brand new career, visit Education Career Service at http://www.educs.com/ where you will find cutting edge single topic career workbooks and complete career lifecycle books or visit us at Amazon.com (search Danny at ECS). Also, send us a tweet at @Dannyatecs. We’d love to hear from you.

Written by Brandon Hayhurst
Education Career Services

Career Dissatisfaction: Informational Interviews, Part 3

We last covered O*NET’s website and how its in-depth database of career information can be an effective tool for preventing career dissatisfaction. While I discussed its many uses, I neglected to mention (trust me, this was on purpose) a major shortcoming of the online database: it’s very impersonal and not always a good indicator of whether or not you will enjoy your work environment.

Sure, O*NET is highly accurate and updated regularly but will it truly give you a feel for the career of your choice? Chances are that it won’t; it should, ideally, be used to weed out careers in which you have no actual interest or compatibility. In order to truly understand a career you must invest a deal of time and personal interest into it.

One effective means of doing this is conducting an informational interview. No, you’re not looking to be hired; you’re looking for information from the most reliable source: a professional in your current field of interest. This information gathered, like O*NET’s, is intended to help you make an informed career decision before you dive into a job or occupation headfirst. Yes, I said gathered. The main difference between a job interview and an informational interview is, in an informational interview, you will be asking all of the questions.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s go over some of the advantages of conducting an informational interview (think of this as added motivation). For one, it’s a great way to network with professionals, increasing the amount of people in the industry you know, which certainly never hurt anyone. Furthermore, since you will be asking the questions, you’re in control of what you learn. Take that opportunity to ask about typical day-to-day activities and relate them to your wants and interests, making sure to note whether or not you can see yourself happily performing these tasks. These interviews also involve much less stress, allowing you to ask questions that are typically taboo during a job interview (for example, benefits, salary, vacation time, etc.).

So how does one go about obtaining an informational interview? Perhaps by social networking; by taking out an ad in the classified section of the paper; by sending an e-mail or personal letter to businesses; or maybe even a simple phone call? Well… yes, actually. All of those are common methods for securing an informational interview with an individual.

Keep in mind, these interviews are informal, so the questions you ask can be very straightforward and honest. Nonetheless, even though informational interviews are informal, there are still some basic ground rules to follow: dress appropriately, be polite and punctual, and, most importantly, prepare the questions you will be asking ahead of time.

There’s nothing worse (and unprofessional) than wasting a participants time by being unprepared. Not only will this lessen the information gathered due to ineffective questioning, but it could also cost you a needed contact, referral, or recommendation. Take the time to think—truly think—about what you need to be asking. You only get one shot with an individual; make it count… trust me.

So—I’m sure this is the part you were waiting for—what questions should I ask during an informational interview? That depends upon you (time to get introspective). You’ve already used O*NET to find careers you’re interested in; now, it’s time to put that career to the test to see if the reality will be right for you, both now and in the future.

Here are some good questions to ask that may prevent future career dissatisfaction:

  • Describe a typical day for yourself to me. Do you have a set routine?
  • On average, what salary level can I expect in this career?
  • What benefits does someone in this profession normally receive?
  • What advancement opportunities, if any, exist and how would I take advantage of them?
  • What settings or environments can I expect to commonly work in?
  • Where is this job heading in the future? What changes can I expect?
  • Does a chain of command exist? If so, who will I be working under or over?
  • What other career professionals can I expect to work with?

 These are just a few of the many examples of questions you should consider asking your interviewee. Be personal by asking questions as simple as possible. If you’re worried you will grow bored of the job, express that to him or her. You have an opportunity to ask questions that are normally off-limits. Don’t waste this chance by asking questions that are easily discovered online on websites such as O*NET.

As a rule of thumb, if you can easily Google the answer, it’s not worth asking.

Remember the person you’re interviewing is participating in this interview mostly for charity. After the interview is over, always send a thank you note. While the choice is up to you, a handwritten note is more personal than an e-mail and shows your appreciation for their time and help. Also, they will be more likely to remember you this way. E-mails get stored inside computers; letters and notes end up on desks and generally stay there for a while.

All of this may seem like a tall order, especially when it’s easier to choose a career and deal with the consequences later. Consider this, you wouldn’t buy a house without walking through it; you wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it; and you certainly wouldn’t marry somebody without getting to know them. Why would you make an important life decision such as a career choice without discovering all the facts?

As I pointed out in part one of our series, a majority of Americans are unsatisfied with their current career. These “dead-end jobs”, as they are lovingly referred to, can be prevented by an investment of your time and effort. Do you want to be another statistic? I didn’t think so.

Presented by Brandon Hayhurst
www.EducationCareerServices.com
Twitter: @dannyatecs