Tag Archives: Danny Huffman

Career Breakout: Interview Preparation (Part Two of Two)

A few days ago we rested in the middle of number one. For a quick recap, here’s the list once more:

  1. Do your homework
  2. Know where you fit and why
  3. Be ready to ask questions as well as answer them

If you happened to miss our last discussion, refer back to the previous submission and get caught up in a hurry. As it is, let’s examine how company personality can be used for your advantage as you head into an interview.

We left off after highlighting company research resources available at your fingertips. Use these same resources to learn about key people in the organization, particularly the area you’re interviewing for. If you’ve been provided a contact in case you have questions, you might politely inquire as to the name or name(s) of the individuals you’ll be meeting in your interview and their titles within the firm.

Receptionists, administrative assistants, and HR personnel are very busy individuals often answering to and supporting a number of individuals in a company at once, so don’t make multiple calls to them or abuse the opportunity to communicate with them. Only call when you have gathered as much information as possible on your own. Make your inquiry short and polite, and thank them for their time and help, even if they can’t provide you the answers you’d hoped.

Career Tip #1: As a potential employee, learning as much as you can about the company is the only way you can successfully accomplish number two on our list.

Let’s take a look at number two on our list of how to prepare for an interview, “Know where you fit and why.”

Now that you’ve studied up on your future employer, have an idea how big the firm is (a team of five family members or an international conglomerate of 50,000), what’s important to them, and gained a sense of what they value and what kind of culture exists within the firm, you’ve got the information you need to figure out where you fit and why.

Career Tip #2: Being prepared shows confidence, initiative, and career readiness.

Know how to respond to expected questions such as “What led you to apply to this firm,” “What strengths do you bring to this position,” and even “Where do you see yourself in five year?”

While you can answer these questions without knowing anything about the company, consider how much better you’ll look as a knowledgeable and prepared candidate. Packed with information, imagine how much more clearly you can make your case for your being THE RIGHT INDIVIDUAL for the job if you can answer common (and no-so common) questions with specificity, using the information you gleaned in Step one!

You can probably see how Step one has also set you up to “Be ready to ask questions as well as answer them” (taking us to number three on the list).

Everyone arrives at an interview expecting to answer questions about themselves and their qualifications. And everyone interviewing for a specific position likely has very similar answers to one another (after all, you’re all up for the same job!). Visualize what that’s like for the interview, though. It’d be like watching the same scene from a movie over and over and over again.

How can you make the interview experience different for the interviewer? How can you stand out from the others interviewing with the same credentials, and same background as you have?

In addition to being able to give specific answers to your interviewer’s questions–answers that demonstrate you’ve done your homework, know about the company and know where you might fit in the company–you can also ask great questions when given the opportunity.

Very often, at the end of an interview, you’ll be asked “Are there any questions we can answer for you?” Be ready! Ask questions that help you learn even more about the company and about the position for which you’re applying. Working relationships go both ways so think of asking the right questions as an opportunity to interview the company. After all, you need to decide whether working for them is right for your future.

In effect, you’re both interviewing one another. So, when given the opportunity, have two or three great questions ready to ask that demonstrate that you’ve studied the company, care about the job, and are seriously interested in whether you’re the right fit for the position. These questions give you one last opportunity to SHOW your future employer who you are.

I know you can’t imagine NOT wanting a job! But sometimes it’s important to know that you can work for a firm and be happy.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful as you prepare for your interview!  Good luck!

Presented by Kathryn Broyles, Ph.D.,
Program Director of General Studies
American Public University/American Military University

Thank you once again Kathryn, your advice is greatly appreciated. For those interested in learning more about American Public University/American Military University where they are expanding access to higher education with more than 100 affordable degrees and certificates to prepare students for service and leadership in a diverse and global society, visit their website at www.apus.edu.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS

Career Breakout: Interview Preparation

Throughout our Career Breakout series, career professionals from across the country offered to take the reins now and then, sharing their career expertise and diverse background for your benefit.

In response to today’s question, Kathryn Broyles, Ph.D., Program Director of General Studies at American Public University/American Military University, will be taking control.

“I’ll be graduating in May and looking for a job. I have an interview scheduled but have no ideas on what to do besides show up with resume in hand. What do you recommend I do to prepare for an interview?”

Interviews are crucial to snagging the job you want. If your professional documents have made it past the initial HR screening and on to the desk of a hiring manager, feel confident that you’re being seriously considered for the job. Congratulations on having an interview scheduled!

However, recognize that it’s rare for a company to interview only one person for a position. Therefore, it’s essential that you put your best foot forward and make a good impression on the interviewer as well as on anyone you come in contact with as you make your way to and from the interview. You never know who’s a friend of whom or what tactics an employer might be using to evaluate all aspects of a future employee’s “fit” in a new company.

Career Tip #1: The individual you think is “just the receptionist” in fact might be a very important voice in the office whose opinion is respected, so being rude or disrespectful, or underestimating the value of such individuals can mark you as unprofessional and can even lead to your eventually not getting the position.

A few companies actually resort to creative ways to evaluate the tendencies of future employees and whether or not they’re a good “fit” for the company. It’s been reported that some companies even monitor what magazines you pick up off a coffee table as you wait in the lobby for an interview. Do you go for light reading? Are you attracted to business journals or company brochures? Are you pleasant to those around you? Do you make eye contact and seem poised and confident?

In today’s job market there more qualified people for every position than ever before and competition is stiff, but at least you can be confident that you’ve put your best foot forward and done nothing to hamper your chances. You may even find that you end up in the future with an opportunity you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Career Tip #2: A great strategy is to see every moment you’re in the vicinity of a potential employer as an opportunity to learn, to make contacts, and to make a good impression. If you adopt this as you’re attitude, you can’t go wrong. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the position, of course.

Okay, we’ve ventured slightly off the path to disclose hints about “how to be” when you show up for the interview, yet you asked specifically about “how to prepare” for the interview and what to take with you. Time to get back on track…

First, here are several steps which, taken together, can help you prepare for the interview:

  1. Do your homework
  2. Know where you fit and why
  3. Be ready to ask questions as well as answer them

Let’s take a look at number one, “Do your homework.”

Given an interview has been scheduled, it is safe to claim that you know the name of the company you’re interviewing with and you may even know the specific position for which you’re interviewing. Now what you need to do is to learn as much as you can about the company itself as possible.

Companies, like people, have “values” and “culture.” If you’re a fan of Thirty Rock or The Office, you already know this. These shows, of course, are exaggerations of a kind of company culture taken to the extreme to get a laugh from the audience, but they still point to an important fact: companies and the people who work in them, together create a kind of culture shaped by what the company values and its work environment.

Career Tip #3: Companies have, in effect, “personalities.”

As you head into an interview, ask yourself:

  • What kind of company is this?
  • What sort of personality does this company have?
  • What does it make?
  • What does it value?
  • What kind of culture does it support and create for its employees?

Trying to find the answers to questions like these by researching the company website, studying any materials its published about itself in ads, in brochures, and on the web, as well as reading about the company at the Better Business Bureau, or if its big enough, in past articles (on the web or at your local library) of The Wall Street Journal, Business Weekly, or Fortune is an essential part of preparing for an interview.

This looks like the perfect lead for a break. Join me in a couple days as we complete number one and journey to numbers two and three.

Thanks Kathryn, your advice is greatly appreciated. For those interested in learning more about American Public University/American Military University, where they are expanding access to higher education with more than 100 affordable degrees and certificates to prepare students for service and leadership in a diverse and global society, visit their website at www.apus.edu.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS

Career Breakout: Performing Due Diligence

A few days ago I noticed a question on LinkedIn which I believe is a fairly common concern for most people seeking a job or those undergoing a career jump. Though the individual asking will be graduating soon, the issue is relatable for all levels. Here’s what Priya had on her mind:

Just graduated, what is the first step in finding a job?”

As a career textbook and publishing company, we hire a great many soon-to-be and fresh graduates. Nothing is more powerful for the candidate than displaying confidence and taking an initiative.

For the recent graduate, I suggest performing several weeks of due diligence in the form of researching companies of interest. After examining their blogs and website information, develop a single page introductory letter (filled with plenty of professional courtesy) and snail-mail prospective contacts within the selected organization.

Career Tip #1: Keep your letter to four paragraphs packed with personality and company benefit.

Your introductory letter is NOT a plea for a job, rather this letter briefly describes your education, knowledge, interests, and desire to learn more about your field of choice by eliciting a quick 15 minute (roughly) informational interview. Many graduates would be shocked to find out that the vast majority of executives and company personnel are willing (and desire) to share their experiences and methods to graduates beginning their journey(it’s kind of an ego thing too).

Remember that this is NOT a time to ask for a job. At the conclusion of your informational interview, ask if he or she has a few minutes for a face-to-face meeting where you can learn more about the hands-on environment within the company. Your goal is to develop a relationship and having the other person’s buy-in as this informational relationship bridges into a professional one.

Due diligence, research, and building a professional network conceived by an informational interview is one of the most effective techniques for career success, no matter your level of experience or education.

Career Tip #2
: Take advantage of your research by incorporating key concepts within your introductory letter.

Though the question was posed by a recent graduate, the benefits of performing due diligence by way of research and developing relationships can benefit everyone.

If you would like additional information about developing an introductory letter or assistance in any other career-related manner, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email me directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com or you can even check visit us at Amazon.com (search Huffman at ecs).

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Twitter: @dannyatecs

Career Breakout: Ink or Excuse?

In response to our most recent article dealing with tattoos, Christopher responded in the following manner…

I also have tattoos that are mostly where no one can see them but the few on my wrist are obvious. What do you suggest I do? I am a hard worker getting ready to graduate college.”

First of all, being unemployed and owning tattoos are not exclusive to each other. In other words, career success and ink can cohabitate. Not knowing your exact situation or background, I offer these general guidelines and job hunting strategies to enhance your personal career success:

  • Prepare an effective resume AND cover letter highlighting your knowledge, skills, and abilities. Overall, companies look for candidates with a proven track record. The reasoning here being that if you improved operations or increased sales with another company, you will do it again for their company. As a result, time to brag about achievements is NOW (detail accomplishments and responsibilities with numbers when possible)… simply stating you managed a sales team is not enough. To place your resume on the right pile, state the number of people you supervised and the bottom-line result due to your hard work and superior team leading skills.
  • Once you gain an interview, dress the part. Males should wear a suit accompanied by a tie (get over the tears and just do it) while the ladies should dress      professionally in a business suit of their own. Remember first impressions can ruin an opportunity.
  • Speaking of first impressions, let’s focus on your tattoos. As you will be wearing a long sleeve shirt (to go with your suit), unless there are facial markings, our concern      resides on the wrists. Wearing a watch on your right hand may shield a sliver (or most for some) and should be considered. I suggest the right hand as that is typically used during the initial handshake. Regarding your left hand, do not keep it in your pocket as that will raise suspicion.
  • If your tattoo catches a concerning eye, facial twitch, or remark, be honest but do not state any prejudicial quips. For example, don’t make mention that during a college drinking binge in Las Vegas you woke up in a bathtub to notice a      permanent mark or during a three-year stint with the state it was part of a gang initiation. Not sure why but some companies don’t think kindly on such information. Being honest (but not prejudicial) may work in your advantage.
  • Be prepared to counter negative responses or smirks with a positive. After your reply transition and refocus the interview on the many advantages you bring to the company. You may be surprised at the positive responses received once the white elephant in the room is recognized. You may be even more surprised by knowing how many of those same hiring managers have tattoos.
  • To summarize, be confident and always brand yourself as a problem resolver, not a problem maker.

It is true that many “conservative” companies are not tattoo-sensitive and discriminate, but the number of those organizations is shrinking. No matter the situation, see through the eyes of the employer and respond to his or her concerns. To be blunt, hiring manager concerns boil down to two things:

1. Can you increase sales, bring in revenue, or expand the customer base
2. Can you decrease costs, develop new methods of production, or enhance team development

Quite simply, it’s all about the bottom line. Tattoo or no tattoo, you are the right candidate if you can satisfy one of the above conditions. Going into an interview passively or not confident due to a few ink spots is not conducive to your career. Quite honestly, in the midst of the total package, it’s all about the money so get over any excuses and get into your groove.

If you have any questions for our career professionals, we are ready.

Interested in learning more about Education Career Services library of career resources, books, and workbooks, visit our website or go to Amazon.com (search Huffman at ecs).

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Twitter: @dannyatecs

Career Breakout: Tattooed, what’s the big deal?

Questions keep coming in from our audience; your voices do not fall upon deaf ears. Providing you an advantage, career professionals across the United States will be offering recommendations throughout our continuing Career Breakout series, where YOU control the question.

I have tattoos and each time I go to an interview, people stare at them and I can’t get a job offer. What’s the big deal with a few tattoos?

No doubt about it, the use of tattoo art is increasing. WARNING: Tattoos may be dangerous to your career. According to the top career management associations, tattoos are not always a welcome site on prospective employees. I know you are simply expressing yourself in an innocent fashion but not everyone knows that.

Through the employer’s eye, let’s uncover some of the stereotypes associated with ink on skin.

True or not:

  • Those with tattoos are rebels, not team players
  • Hiring executives link ink with gang membership
  • Non-tattooed employees are uncomfortable around those with tattoos
  • Customers become intimidated when approached by inked representatives
  • Hiring executives often associate tattoos with individuals who have been in prison
  • Companies dealing with face-to-face clients prefer conservative looking employees

The above perceptions many companies (especially conservative organizations) hold as truths and will be a factor during the hiring process.

Regarding our original question, though tattoos may not be a big deal to me, to many they are. As mentioned in a previous submission, perception and attitude are directly related. Thus, if the hiring manager sitting across the table holds any prejudices (and we all do), you may be doing yourself a disservice by showcasing ink.

Another consideration may be more difficult to swallow. Perhaps your qualifications are not as strong as other candidates or your interviewing skills are lacking. Either factor could be the reason there have been no job offers. Ultimately, to blame tattoos may be your way of rationalizing?

There are multiple factors why individuals do not make it beyond the initial interview process. Perhaps it’s not the ink but something else. On a side note, it is not uncommon for hiring managers to eliminate candidates due to bad teeth, body odor, un-polished shoes, a gut feeling, or a fishy handshake. The list goes on and on. My advice to you is to receive an objective career evaluation from a career coach. Asking a friend or family member is nice, but knowing the truth is nicer.

If you have any questions for our career professionals, we are ready.

Interested in learning more about Education Career Services library of career resources, books, and workbooks, visit our website or go to Amazon.com (search Huffman at ecs).

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Twitter: @dannyatecs

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

Career Dissatisfaction: Cause and Consequence, Part Two

Last time we talked about the importance of conducting research before selecting a desired career path, lest you end up in that miserable dead-end job so many Americans commute to daily. You were probably left wondering about effective methods and sources for researching career information; after all, it’s no fun researching how to research (right?). Don’t worry, you won’t be left to hang in the wind. As it so happens, a website exists that is a one-stop source for career information for almost every profession and job in existence.

That website is O*NET (http://www.onetonline.org). As the website itself states, “There are a lot of jobs in the world of work. Our job is helping you learn about them all.” O*NET is a career exploration and job analysis database containing up-to-date and  in-depth information and analysis of jobs in the workplace.

I know what you’re thinking: Something so powerful and all-knowing surely must be so advanced that it costs a lot of money, requiring much practice and learning. Wrong. O*NET is a free resource to be used by anyone; all you need is Internet access.

Once inside this great site, enter a job title or keyword into the search field. Then, the site brings up a list of related jobs to choose from. Upon selecting one, you will be greeted by a list of information, including common job tasks, necessary skills, required education and training, and so forth. These are insightful examples of things to reflect upon before selecting an occupation.

Being satisfied with your career BEGINS by knowing the reality behind the position; entering with eyes wide open and clear can place you in among the few who actually enjoy what they do. Just think how your life would be (or could have been) if your career choice was an educated one.

The old saying, ‘information is power’ brings a new meaning in your pursuit of happiness. The fact is, many people end up in dead-end jobs because they didn’t align desired expectations with the realities of their selected career path. As in my case with Marine Biology, I thought I’d be swimming with friendly sea creatures such as Flipper and Nemo, but chances were I’d be cooped up in a laboratory all day; maybe satisfying to you, but NOT for me.

There is more to consider than just your personal expectations when using O*NET when considering a career path. Many stereotype and myths exist for common occupations. These are more than personal beliefs; these are held by a large majority of the population. No doubt you’ve experienced common career myths and prejudices… for examples, males in the nursing field are still not as common as female nurses. Fortunately gender discrimination is not as prevalent as before, nevertheless, all things affecting the position should be considered.

Humor me for a second. Go to O*NET’s website–go on, I’ll wait. Search for a career or occupation you’re interested in and enter the job title into the search box. Once you’ve found the career, read the “Tasks” section. Yeah yeah, I know it’s a chore (stop your crying) but this extra effort could make a huge difference in your life.

Count how many tasks you were unaware of:

SCORING
7 or More Tasks: There’s a lot you didn’t know. Aren’t you happy we did this exercise
3 – 6 Tasks: At least you knew something. But it’s still not enough to make an informed decision.
0 – 2 Tasks: Wow! Impressive, to say the least. You’ve really done your research but I may have to hook you up to a lie-detector test.

Time to get real, don’t think that scoring “0 – 2 Tasks” means you can toss O*NET to the curb just yet. Here’s another unsung fact about career dissatisfaction: Expectations change… always. Of course, you may not like these changes; in fact, they may even be a deal breaker.

Let’s take an example to highlight how technology forces one’s career applications to change. Years ago, sports writers simply tuned-in to the radio to cover games with a pen and a pad. Now, they’re expected to travel to home and away games, cover them wirelessly via laptop, and publish their story shortly after the game. Not only does this entail a change in equipment and training, it’s also a change in work environment and job description.

How about this one: Remember the milkman? Neither do I.

Guess what, CHANGE applies to all careers and occupations and since O*NET is a constantly updating database of career information; you should bookmark the site as a favorite. After all, you never know when your desired career destination will update with new tasks, training, locations, and even pay.

All of this information definitely won’t be on the nightly news after the Kardashian’s newest escapades, so make sure you visit this West Orlando News often as we bring career insight to you regularly. And make sure to join me next time as we cover the ancient art of informational interviews, an extremely useful tool for researching career information directly from the source: the employer.

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

The Nutcracker: Orlando Ballet’s Magic Comes to Life

Conceived in 1816 by E.T.A. Hoffman, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” was a story not intended for children. After all, the initial resolve was to show the not-so kind side of mankind… then again, think about how life without Twitter would be. Recognizing a Divine inspiration, and after 76 years in print, Tchaikovsky produced music for a grand opening ballet performance on December 18th, 1892. Enough of the history, let’s race to December 15, 2011 and the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre where magic came to life.

Nearly 119 years from the original performance, the Orlando Ballet exhibited a high level of dedication and skill as performers danced to an audience delighted by the wide vision and creative application of Artistic Director Robert Hill. Placing an interesting twist, this weekend’s production introduces over 130 children into the acts. Though much praise can be said of each scene and dancer, let’s keep to the highlights.

Clara was represented flawlessly by Briana Berrios, a young and talented star in her own right. As the main character guiding the storyline, Clara was not-so quietly upstaged by a remarkably talented supporting staff. Which makes me wonder who was supporting whom?

As the story began to unfold, Clara received a toy nutcracker on Christmas Eve from her Uncle Dosseimeyer, detailed to precision by Douglas Horne. In a fit of jealous rivalry, Clara’s brother broke the gift during a tussle.  From here the power of imagination and dreams morphs into an enchanted story for all to enjoy.

Sustained by oversized props blasting vibrancy and color, the stage carried attention tirelessly without distraction as a hefty crowd delivered approval by way of applause. As Act I progressed, I could not notice the lack of cadenced steps as Robert Hill constrained his ballet dancers, teasing those in attendance who were begging for action.

By the end of act II, most of the children left the stage as a beautiful snow queen, pirouetted by Rosalinda Moeller, mesmerized all with her eloquence and supporting snowflakes. As the final snowflake fell, I was sold.

As opposed to Act I, Act II was dominated by mature dance, beauty, and magnitude. No doubt the mischievousness imposed by Robert Hill was allowed release for the better part of 30 minutes, exploding passion with every twirl, move, and engagement.

For those seeking to begin (or reinforce) a new family holiday tradition, Orlando Ballet may be your best bet.

Feeling overwhelmed and ready for rest, the following shout-outs are in order:

* Robert Hill for his creative wisdom and impeccable splash of humor
* Andrea Harvey who’s animated doll scene transfixed our devotion
* The Russian Dancers, Stefan Grigore Drach, Dylan Santos, Balazs Krajczar, and Telmo Moreira, your devotion to detail raised the bar
* The Dew Drop Fairy, Katia Garza, your seamless splendor entranced my soul

Orlando is fortunate to have such a great team in our midst. Each player is amazing. Each performance delivers. Thank you Orlando Ballet, we BELIEVE in you… please don’t go.

Feeling the spirit of the holidays, I am

Danny Huffman
educationcareerservices.com
Twitter: dannyatecs

Dwight Howard, Baby Mo, and Binky Throwing

When my toddling granddaughter doesn’t get what she wants, her natural reaction (or is it a learnt behavior?) is to throw her binky to the ground and test her lungs in a manner she knows will attract attention to her satisfaction. No doubt Baby Mo will one day learn she is not at the center of the universe and her methods of attaining satisfaction will change… after all, she just turned two. But what if Baby Mo’s parents allowed, expected, and encouraged bad behavior. As an unbiased grandparent, should I fault my granddaughter or should the blame be placed upon those directly responsible for NOT teaching her right from wrong?

Thought this would be an effective transition to the core topic of the sports day: Dwight Howard’s threats and temper tantrum… then again, is this truly fair as Dwight is well beyond the chronological age of two and is a polished product of a culture known for misplacing priorities. Raising the next topic, is Dwight’s binky throwing really his fault? If not, who or what are the influencing factors?

I’ll throw out the first line… the media, fans, owners, and coaches should be receiving the finger-pointing, scrutiny, and fury. On a private note, think about what you have done to propagate bad behavior (not just in sports but in the manner and method we live) before smashing a reflection scarcely reviewed without aid of makeup, pretend, or denial. What have you done lately to promote and progress society and/or cultural advancement? I thought so.

Due to an imperfect social education buffered by fear of sudden departure, Dwight acted out in the only way he knows. Quite bluntly, WE have become his enabler. This is part of the lecture where the class gets into human nature and social conditioning but we will forego that part and go directly to the advanced chapter. Then again, being a grandparent, I know we (as in ALL of us) turn our heads or cover our eyes, defending our simplicity by blaming the consequence, not the cause.

I’ve had the pleasure to write for WONO for the past few years and watched Dwight mature into the man he is today. During this time I have taken a front row seat to witness how his growth, as a player and as a person, has become stunted and tarnished by the very people claiming to be his friends, his fans, his coaches, and his agents (go ahead and throw the media in the lot too).

This brings up the real question: Should Dwight Howard’s and Baby Mo’s binky throwing be the target of blame or are they both simply the result of misguided reinforcements? Think about it for a few minutes before denying that faint voice lurking behind your eyes. For superstars and grandbabies, the word “NO” rarely reaches their ears, mostly because culture seldom takes the chance of saying that two-letter word. It’s so much easier, don’t you think? But are we doing ourselves and the other a disservice?

For growth and an eventual championship, as a society, as parents, as fans, as media agents, and even as business owners, we all need to say no once in a while. With a message of tough love, let the binky’s fly and let progress take place in its natural course. Each time we reinforce negative behavior, a piece of our mirror cracks, ultimately shattering culture all together or, as we are bearing witness, a “Chosen One” packs up and departs to where the sun sets and ultra-cuddling defines the day.

Time has come to say no to Dwight, no to binky-throwing children, no to coaches who allow their players to control the court, and no to anyone or anything going against the principle of right. For the past seven years Orlando has acted as an enabler, cuddling athletes with bloated salaries (I’m not just talking about Dwight) and an open invitation to throw their binky or lay limp on a grocery floor without consequence.

Okay, I get what you’re thinking; laziness via acceptance and social complacency is so much easier. Besides, how can one person or single act change the world? History will tell you, one act cannot, but multiple single acts from multiple single causes can. Or for the vast majority, we can live today as we did yesterday, rationalizing and blaming the consequence until the end of time and doing nothing about the cause. In the end, each one of us can refuse to look into that mirror. I say no to numbness! Each one of us each day should seek deeply into the reflection and realize the person looking back has the power to craft without fearing the creation.

Look into the mirror; examine who you are and how your action (or inaction) enables bad behavior. Then look at Dwight and see the situation as it really is and not how we comfortably want rationalize it to be.

No doubt Dwight could have handled the business aspect of his life a bit differently but if one has never been taught, should that person be blamed and held accountable? His reaction to blaming the Orlando Magic coaches and owners to not listening to him is a symptom of being immature; really that’s about it.

For so many reasons, the way we are processing his trade request and childish knee-jerk manner of resolving conflict is taking precedence over the real issue. You guessed it, WE bottle-fed, snuggled, permitted, and exposed this to be acceptable behavior.

Dwight Howard is the consequence, not the cause.

As for my little angel Baby Mo, I have a feeling this grandfather will allow her to do anything she wants. Don’t’ worry though, to better prepare myself in this hypocritical stance, I plan on covering all mirrors.

Next time you enable anyone (Dwight included) by supporting binky throwing, think twice about the cause and the consequence… I believe you may be surprised.

See you at the game,

Danny Huffman
http://www.Education Career Services.com
twitter: dannyatecs.com

Responding to a Job Posting 101

A few weeks ago I placed a job posting for an editor/writer/researcher with the UCF Knight listing. Though UCF carries a solid academic program, the response to my job posting was a tad concerning. As a result, I spoke to several university career directors from across the United States and it appears to be an epidemic. No doubt you are wondering what has gone viral. 

Over the past few weeks I received close to 45 responses to a very specific posting. The next few minutes of reading is simply meant to be a learning experience and not intended to hurt any feelings.

1. Five candidates submitted a cover letter though the posting made it clear that a cover letter was required. For those sending resumes out, ALWAYS provide a cover letter. Those who do so, begin with an advantage. As a matter of record, according to the Professional Resume Writers Association, over 35% of hiring managers will disqualify a candidate if a cover letter is not submitted.

2. Keywords missing in action. I can count with one finger how many applicants actually took the time to incorporate keywords from the job posting into their cover letter and/or resume. Think about this for a moment and envision what a hiring manager would feel if the applicants do NOT use keywords from the posting or company web site. Nothing says lazy like lazy… are you feeling it?

3. Diluted job objective/summary. Most of the applicants did not have a summary letting me know why I should even consider them for the position. In other words, the vast majority of responses used the gun-shot approach. For those looking to impress a reader, showcase the immediate value you bring in the top section of the resume and support it through your cover letter.

4. Grammer. Ooops, I meant grammar. No matter what you do, always proofread before hitting send. Simply running a spell check sponsored by Word does not do the trick (another testament to laziness). Over half of the resumes were filled with grammar issues, misspelled words, constant use of first person (don’t get me started on that topic), and spacing concerns.

Needless to say, I did send positive replies to five potential candidates, requesting a 300 word sample of their writing skills. Naturally I gave them the topic. As of this evening, not one of the five have returned their writing sample. Once again, I am not impressed. Consequently, I am still looking for a writer/editor/researcher.

Though the above does not go beyond a surface conversation, the message is quite clear. For those responding to job listings, always engage in due diligence, research the company, examine the job posting, incorporate keywords from all sources, and produce a polished product designed specifically for the posting. I know it means a bit more work on your side, but it does offer great rewards.

If you have any questions or would like specific insight on a career-related topic, please let us know.

dhuffman
Author/Publisher
Education Career Services