Tag Archives: Employment Postings

“F” is for Focus

NY Subway by Nicolai Bernsten
NY Subway by Nicolai Bernsten

As a certified resume writer, I’m asked often by job seekers to construct effective resumes and cover letters. Being in the business for 15 years, there’s little I haven’t seen or produced. Over the span of these years, much has changed in format, style, content, and presentation… but one element has remained steady throughout the storm.

The significance of “FOCUS” has yet to fade, remaining an elemental factor determining results. Unfortunately, the concept seems to have been misplaced by many seeking career progressions.

Reason for bringing focus back to the forefront: This past week I was contacted by a potential client to develop a professional resume and cover letter as he had not found interview offers for months. After our initial consultation, I sent the usual post-consultation questionnaire in order to ensure we were on the same page and path.

To be fair, if answered properly and with insight, the questions I ask can be time consuming as they force introspection and objective clarification.

During our discussions and paper trails, client responses are not necessarily meant solely for document incorporation, they are springboard opportunities guiding the interview process and career coaching sessions.

Before I lose concentration on the topic at hand, focus relates to letting whoever receives your resume and cover letter immediately recognize the position of interest and what you bring to the table. As a writer, I insist all potential clients deliver a career objective, one or two ideal job postings, and a statement as to why he or she matches the dream job (from an employer’s perspective) BEFORE drafts are prepared.

Fair or not, I choose to work with very few individuals, only the serious ones committed to success. Discounting my support and expectations tells me the individual seeking help is not serious about professional progression… as a result, why would I waste my time and services?

Dealing with the potential client from last week, my questions to him: “Please locate and send a targeted job posting/description and where you see yourself professionally? My desire is to correlate objectives to your background, knowledge, skills, and abilities.

In this capacity, please send:

  •   The ideal job description/posting / Two paragraphs summarizing why a hiring manager would consider you as a viable candidate”

His response: “How much does a general resume cost?  I don’t have a target job, I wanted a edited copy of my current resume.”

 

Looking at the questions I ask during initial consultations, how would you respond? Would you make the effort to respond 100% or would you look for an excuse not to work on your career?

Put in another way: Are you FOCUSED?

Hate to break bad news, a “general” resume will not secure career progression. Perhaps an entry-level job will appreciate a general resume, but for anyone looking to go beyond entry-level, FOCUS on the job at hand, tailoring to the posting (or career objective), and do the homework (like investigating the questions asked above).

Focus fosters:

  • Writer confidence
  • Writer ability to sell him/herself directly
  • Writer to interview transitions
  • Hiring Manager’s ability to connect job to candidate
  • Hiring Manager’s confidence in the applicant

 

To be clear, resumes without a target will always miss the mark. For those uncertain about job titles, tasks, duties, and hiring manager expectations, I encourage you to take advantage of ONETOnline.org. This free resource is a must – and should be one of your Internet favorites.

Seeking employment insight and career collateral, visit www.edu-cs.com or if you are seeking material designed for those transitioning out of prison, check out www.CareerBreakOut.com and consider the most powerful book that will change your life: Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose.”

 

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

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Cross Country Career

DSC_0135In a world where career opportunities are no longer limited to a tight neighborhood stretch, we are, by definition, without boundary.

Good news: The Internet allows job candidates to search and consider regions never before imagined.
Bad news: The Internet has taken your job search from a few competitors to literally thousands of candidates who are also claiming they are the right match.

Job Posting Insight: It is not uncommon for one job opening to receive over 500 responses from candidates far and near.

Recognizing all coins have two sides, how does one take advantage of a global market while, at the same time, not get lost in the crowd? Truth be known, there are no one-way or sure-fire ways to take complete advantage of worldwide opportunities, meaning each individual is left to create his or her unique advantage. Actually, this could be your gain… we’ll get to that later.

When considering a career-search, determining the geographic area must be top on the priority list. In other words, don’t take a gunshot tactic and send applications without regard to location; not only is this a waste of your time, it is a waste of time for the hiring manager. Thus, keep professional courtesy high on your list.

First step: When determining country or county, top three things influencing your decision to consider are:

    • Professional background and educational experience:
      • If you have minimal professional experience and education, hiring managers typically will not consider an out of state candidate. Here’s why: there may be plenty of healthy candidates in the area to choose from and with a large pool, hiring managers often select an applicant with the least amount of risk. For entry level or low-level managers, it is more common (though a few out of town folks can prove me wrong) to select from a nearby pool of applicants.
      • If you have a significant amount of experience or education, your value increases instantly and so does your reach. Additionally, the risk factor decreases, meaning the chances of you working out begin to sway in your favor. To the high-skilled advantage, the pool of applicants shrinks as fewer are able to support the many contributions offered, effectually magnifying a second look from the hiring manager.
    • Family: For the individual with a spouse and two kids (just an average family size), moving across the state or country is not only physically demanding, it can also be costly, financially and psychologically (imagine the nagging spouse and kids yelling “are we there yet” every two miles).
      • Advantage: If you are lugging a family around, chances are you are more committed to succeed in the new position (inherently more at risk to lose—who wants to hear the nagging spouse and kids on the rebound? Not me) than others in the area. Bringing this point up during a phone interview could give you an advantage, no, not the stuff about the nagging. Hiring managers recognize applicants willing to sacrifice and relocate for a position are serious about their intentions and more likely to stick around through choppy times.
      • Disadvantage: For the young stand-alone candidate, it is not uncommon for the hiring manager to discount applicant seriousness as the current open position may simply be a medium to relocate and, once in the new city, will look for a more interesting job. To mitigate this perception, if the applicant is able to show a proven job history, kudos to you. If you are a recent college graduate, you can use that for your advantage by creating a sincere interest to take your talents to conquer novel challenges. In many ways, it is easier to support cross-country traveling as a recent graduate than any other candidate.
    • Career interest: Follow your dream… period. If your dream career hot-spot is concentrated in a specific region, go for it… no matter what.
      • Advantage: Contrary to what many people think, phone interviews say much more than words. Hiring managers pick up on tone, pace, context, and patterns, giving clues about the person on the other end of the line. For the person truly interested in the job (and worth further consideration even if miles away), passion can be your trump card. When asked about a responsibility, if the voice speeds up, increases in depth, and “feels,” hiring managers take notice.

    • Disadvantage: If passion for the job is not displayed over the phone, no hiring manager would ever give second consideration to bringing in an applicant from afar. Here’s a few clues indicating noninterest:
      • Long pauses between sentences
      • Lack of questions from the interviewee
      • Monotone responses backed by “yes” or “no” answers
      • Lack of research and knowledge about the company and area

        Career tip
        : Confidence is contagious!

For those considering a move across the country (not the county), these three topics need time for conversation and reflection. But this is just the beginning of the career adventure.

First: the decision
Second: the design

In our next submission, we will take a few minutes to examine effective design methods one can use in cover letters and beyond.

Are your bags packed? If so, hold’em up as we need to chart out a map. Thing is, how can you hit the road without knowing the destination.

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

Career FEAR

Fear image

I want you to look very carefully at the picture above. Read the big word, feel its effect on you. The thoughts and pictures that fill your mind when the element of fear is introduced; let them flow. Then look again. Read the small words. Play it against everything that ran through your mind at the thought of fear, and try to find one instance where it isn’t true.

I charge you to find one fear in your mind that does not meet the requirement above. One fear that is logical. One fear that has a rightful place between you and your destiny. One fear that is true evidence proving your failures, inadequacies, and flaws to be real without a shadow of a doubt.

You can’t. If you say you can, you are not being fully honest with yourself.

One thing we have all got to let go of is our fear. It’s one thing to recognize danger or an uncertain situation. It’s an entirely different thing to change your course of action because you fear what is in front of you. Especially if your goal is on the other side of that fear. This is when you are charged to move ahead, regardless of what may seem to be blocking your way.

How many people stay in jobs they hate because they fear the unknown?

How many people keep their head under the radar despite excellent qualifications for a better job due to a fear of failure? Shirking the responsibility because they’re scared they don’t deserve it… Is that you?

Career Reality: You don’t have time to be scared. You don’t even actually have a reason. Behind every worst case scenario, there is another option. Another challenge, another opportunity to learn just what it is you are truly made of.

When you have a daunting decision to make, anxiety or fear is only going to cloud your mind. This will only make it harder to make a good decision. Here are some ways to beat the fear and keep your head in the right place to decide what’s really best for you:

The “5” Perspective

Ask yourself how this is going to affect your life in the next 5 minutes. Let that sink in. Now ask what it will matter in 5 weeks. How much is this, right here and now, going to affect your life in the next 5 months? And finally, ask yourself how much this is going to matter in 5 years. Be honest with yourself during this, and listen to the reactions in your mind. If tension pops up, hear it out, rationalize it, and move on. If you start to relax, relax. Don’t fight it. Changing perspective is often enough to quell uneasiness.

Write it Out

Of course this is my favorite. Write out the worst thing that could happen, write out any reaction you may have to that scenario. Then, even if it’s fiction, write a new ending. Write how you would want to react, what you would want to see happen next, what you would want to gain from it. As we’ve discovered recently, the power of visualization is not to be taken lightly. Therefore, make use of it. Use it to counter your fears and create the courage you need to move on.

Talk it Out

Never underestimate the positive influence of an outside perspective. As sure as there are people in your life that you admire, they are sure to want to help you come to a better understanding of the dilemma you face. Truth is, your fears could be entirely fabricated, and it just might take the advice of a good friend or well-respected colleague to point that out to you. Listen to them. If you go to someone that will only want the best for you, then you need to take the next step and put as much trust in them as possible. Line it all up with your values, and go from there.

Just Go For It.

It’s the career of your dreams! Maybe you’ve been comfortable long enough, just working the job that pays the bills, regardless of the strain it puts on you and/or your family. If you’ve worked out everything you can, it might be time to simply take the leap. Find what gives you the deepest peace, regardless of surface-treading fear, set yourself free, and go for it. You’ll be so glad you did.

In no way am I suggesting you give into reckless spontaneity that will damage your current standing and promise you no future. This is about finding your destiny and removing fear to listen to the inner voice that guides you. Follow that, not just superficial desires that will lead you nowhere. Don’t compromise your future, and that goes both ways.

If you’d like to discuss more, I’m always here. Write me anytime at rpayne@edu-cs.com. I’d love to hear from you!

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Career Etiquette: DOA?

Fact: Job postings are presented because hiring managers want YOU to be the right candidate for an open position.

DSC_0001Are you (or your student base) delivering or destroying on arrival? Before responding, take a look at what’s going on now… really… now.

Currently seeking a writer/office associate for our Longwood, Florida headquarters; for those interested in working with a team of professional writers and partnering with academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and individuals seeking career transitions, send cover letter and resume to dhuffman@edu-cs.com.

The above posting remains active, unfortunately.

Our management team is in the initial phasing-out stage and what is going on is rather disturbing: When it comes to candidates seeking employment, professionalism and career etiquette are an ignored strategy.

Let’s begin with a showing of several email responses in their uncut, uncensored form to the job posting mentioned a few moments ago:

1. “im interested.Evaluation: Grammar aside, responding to a job posting with two words is a slap in the face. By the way, no cover letter, resume, or sample was attached. Result: Not a chance to be part of our organization.

2. (No text at all) Evaluation: The prospective applicant submitted a dat. file which could not be viewed. No words were stated in the subject line; no words in the email at all. Our team replied with a Word of pdf format copy but a second dat. file was generously returned an hour later.  Result: Do I really need to say?

3. (No introduction or attachments—simply copied and pasted a resume to the open field) Evaluation: Without a cover letter or introduction, the resume lacked a reason to read… not to mention the disfigured display. Result: Another easy no even though this applicant did appear to offer a few positive attributes which may benefit ECS. Unfortunately the lack of professionalism forced a quick and negative reaction.

4. Four candidates did not submit a copy of their resume… is this really happening?

Our team could continue highlighting what not to do but I believe you know where this is going without further confirmation.

Over all, over 35 candidates responded to the writing position thus far. A slight majority (63%) did not supply a cover letter or formal introduction;
meaning most simply pasted their resume without forethought or intent to be called for an interview.

A total of one candidate appeared to perform research on our organization and the position (company name and contact was clearly stated within the posting). I say one because only one mentioned our company mission and/or products/services we offer.

Career etiquette means a brief introduction as to the value, contribution, and support as to why the candidate makes a good fit.

Career etiquette means designing a resume specific to the job posting, organization, and industry.

Career etiquette means letting the hiring manager know you really want the position… by way of following up.

5. Speaking of following up, NOT one of the 35 candidates submitted a follow up note, call, letter, telegraph, smoke signal, or message by pigeon.

Evaluation: Hiring managers know nothing about the candidate other than the job posting response. By not displaying professional courtesy (providing a tailored cover letter, resume, and follow up), you place yourself at a distinct disadvantage instantly.

With so much on the line, it would be a pity a few moments of diligence got in the way between an ideal/dream job and reality.

As a rule:
*
Compile a cover letter based upon the job posting and company research
* Send the resume as an attachment, Word or pdf
* Create the belief that you want the position by sending a follow up note, phone call, or both
* Professional courtesy will lift you above the many too busy on Twitter to show career etiquette

In regards to the open writing position, if you know of a writer in the Orlando area, send him or her my way. Before you do, make sure he or she follows proper career etiquette… or is that too much to ask?

Fact: Hiring managers desire the right information delivered in the right package and in the right way.

We’ll continue offering professional insight and review career marketing strategies so continue checking for the next submission. With this in mind, if you have career questions and would like a team of professionally certified writers and coaches input, don’t hesitate to ask.

For those interested in securing cutting-edge career focused books, including how to write effective resume/cover letters. Visit “Danny at ECS” on Amazon or go to www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available products and support. You may also contact our staff directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how we can help you.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Follow me on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Career Breakout: Where are the jobs?

Over the past few months more and more people throughout the Greater Orlando area have been writing in with one basic question: “Where are the jobs?” Though there are no job-warehouses impatiently waiting for your application, rest assured, companies ARE hiring.

Unfortunately for most, jobs are NOT growing on a tree where all you have to do is pluck the one you want as you passively stroll on by. Taking a passive approach does not do you or your career success a favor.

For the record, I consider an individual putting in less than four hours a day pursuing for a job to be taking a passive approach. How about a quick survey of sorts, raise your hand if the following refers to you: I spend less than two hours a day on my career campaign? If you raised your hand, congratulations as your complacency will allow you take advantage of unemployment longer than your aggressive counterpart… do you feel lucky!

As many career management studies indicate, most people undergoing a career transition spends an average of 3.5 hours daily looking for employment.

After looking at this morning’s job classified in the Orlando Sentinel, I came away quite under-whelmed as the amount of jobs were an embarrassment… so glad President Obama’s job stimulus program is working the same way most politicians work… not at all (oops, did I say that out loud?).

Despite political efforts to dampen the field, companies are hiring. For those living under a rock, companies skipped rope and have jumped away from the traditional method of newspapers to another medium. So, where are jobs to be found?

Did you know: The top career management associations in the United States suggest that only 20% to 30% of all job openings are listed traditionally; meaning that 70% to 80% of all jobs are not advertised!

The above statistic is bad news for the passive job seeker but GREAT news for the aggressive job seeker. The aggressive job seeker works at finding work six to eight hours daily and is finding payday (on average) four to six months quicker than the second-handers (any Ayn Rand fans out there?).

If job listings are not advertised, why did they leave and where are they?

Let’s tackle the first question first and understand why companies turned away from traditional advertising. Though the main reason is obvious, I’ll say it anyway: MONEY. The cost of print advertising has skyrocketed to the point of absurdity (even more than the price of gas—go figure).

In addition to the increased cost factor, demographics come into play. Newspapers cater to a limited area and to a limited audience. In order for companies to be competitive, they must attract and keep cutting-edge employees from across the globe. No longer is a village good enough (sorry Hillary, this is not child-rearing); companies on the move reach across village lines, state lines, and country lines to gain their competitive advantage.

With cost high and reach low, companies are taking advantage of low-cost methods to attract high quality candidates via two main avenues (both of which reside under the networking umbrella):

* Employee referrals: Companies enjoy this method of finding quality hires as it is cost effective while empowering current workers who now play an active role in the hiring process.
* Digital networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter has become the number one place for companies to secure help.

How does the shift from traditional advertising to a digital and employee referral system affect you? To be blunt, if you want to find your perfect job, networking is the key though you must maximize your efforts. Not to worry, we’ll review networking techniques as well as some of the do’s and don’ts in upcoming articles.

No doubt about it: In this day and age, an online presence is important. In fact, in some professions, not having an online presence is an immediate disqualifier.

Think about it the suspicion: If the hiring manager enters a name in a search engine and nothing comes up, he or she may wonder several things:

●  Why doesn’t their name show up?
●  Are they behind on the latest trends?
●  Do they not know how to use the Internet to its fullest?
●  What are they trying to hide?

Time to draw a line between professional networking and social networking. Professional networking is a place for business related discussions, not so
much social networking. Social networking, however, IS ALSO a place for business related discussions as well as personal.

Warning! Everything you do, post, or say on the Internet is fair game for employers.

Data triangulation is part of the hiring process… hiring managers are not just going to check the references on your reference document, they’ll do a Google search and more detail searches as part of your background check.

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.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs

Company Connection

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to meet career professionals from across the United States as well as beyond our boundaries during the APSCU and NACE conferences held in Las Vegas. One common theme among participating career professionals had to do with the methods one can one to “speak the right language” when responding to a job posting. In other words, what can one do to enhance a company connection and get called in for an interview?

Like I tell all of my clients, the resume and cover letter MUST detail, in a valuable and error-free fashion, what the employer is seeking, not what you want from the company. I know it sounds easy but the truth of the matter is YOU must take an active role if you want to succeed. Enough said as this is common sense; after all, who in their right mind would send a resume highlighting electrical skills for a bartender job posting? Certainly not you! With this said, time for company connection…

Rule #1: Make sure your cover letter and resume is targeting the right job posting. Yes, you guessed it, this means redoing your cover letter and resume for each job posting.

For those wanting to take the easy way out and decide to send a one-size-fitting all resume, think about the employer for a moment. Nothing like impressing a human resources professional like reading a template… NOT.

On a first-hand basis, when I receive a resume that I know was not tailored to the position, the candidate is automatically disqualified. In case you’re wondering, it’s easy to tell which are tailored and which are not… so don’t fool yourself.

Rule #2: Research the company (if possible) and incorporate relevant information (check out the mission statement) in your cover letter. For example, if you are interested in a position with a company who engages in community involvement, don’t forget to mention the volunteer work performed over the summer at the local animal shelter.

Rule #3: Take advantage of keywords and phrases from the job posting. One method of making sure you don’t forget to highlight what the company needs is to take advantage of a free online tool from tagcrowd.com. For those unfamiliar with this resource, this is your lucky day.

* Copy and paste the job posting into tagcrowd.com, change word redundancy to 3 (or more), and submit. The result will amaze you by displaying the most common words used within the posting. Once you have these high priority words at your disposal, incorporate those applicable to your skills and interest.

By following the above three rules, you will increase the odds of a company connection by speaking the right language. Not only will these rules assist you in being recognized as the right candidate, your interviewing skills will also improve (as you will now respond to questions based upon what the company wants… NOT what you want).

For those interested in guidelines, samples, and applications on how to improve your resume and cover letter, consider investing in the Career Intelligence Series job search library of cutting edge workbooks. Visit www.edu-cs.com or Google (search Danny at ECS) for more information and a complete listing.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC

Education Career Services
Follow me on Twitter: DannyatECS

Career Breakout: Where the jobs are…

“I can never find any good job listings. Am I missing something or searching in the wrong place?”

This question was sent in by Kirsty Walden, who, like many, can’t seem to find any of the jobs they’re looking for. To answer her question directly… yes, you are searching in the wrong place.

According to the Career Thought Leaders Group, 80% of job listings are located in what is known as the “hidden job market.” This means your searches on sites such as Monster.com, or even local newspaper listings, are only advertising a minority of the jobs that need to be filled. In other words, you are, like many others, concentrating on 20% of the jobs out there. How can this be? You ask naïvely…

You see, the truth of the matter is, not all companies advertise jobs that need to be filled. Before shaking your hands in the air, there is logic to their madness. Companies that hire/promote from within, for example, will not spend the money to advertise. Would you? Additionally, given tight budgets and vast pool of qualified applicants, many companies don’t have the time or resources to create several listings for an opening. So why not tap a free online resource of global applicants and place an advertisement at a lower cost (if at all) via the World Wide Web?

Regardless of the reasoning, the key thing to remember is there are many perks for searching in the hidden job market. You want to be looking here, trust me. After all, would I steer you wrong?

Once you’ve found the hidden job market, you can expect less rejection, less waiting, and, best of all, less competition. According to Dice, on average you’ll be competing with fewer than 10 people for a position.

While this may sound too good to be true, I challenge you to think otherwise. Many people, like Kirsty, don’t know there is a hidden job market. The mainstream approach is to visit a common job search engine such as Monster and hope for the best. While this is not a bad approach and should be your first of many steps, strategies such as these don’t often lead to hiring.

A better approach, instead, is to find jobs in this hidden market by networking–it’s one of the most useful skills you should master as a career professional. It’s not hard to master either; it simply takes time and effort.

Here at Education Career Services, we teach the 1:50 rule. For every 1 person, there are at least 50 potential contacts to be used. These contacts can be from your personal, social, or professional life.

Career tip and activity: Make a list of all these people mentioned above, noting what industry and career path they are part of. Ask them if their companies are hiring in your line of work.

The results will be surprising!

One of the many perks of networking is familiarity. If one of your contacts does find a job opening for you, they can put in a good word… placing you immediately in the advantage. Likewise, hiring managers will be impressed by your ability to find the opening, rather than browsing online listings. Any advantage is a good advantage.

Don’t give up on the networking strategy. If none of your direct contacts have anything for you, expand your network. Find contacts of your contacts, then ask them for an informational interview or send them a networking letter introducing yourself.

Career tip: The job market is a system powered by who you know; therefore, the more people you know, the more power you have.

The important thing to remember is don’t be discouraged. Contacts may not always have useful information for you or job openings that need to be filled. That’s to be expected. However, you never know when a contact of yours will suddenly have an opening or a tip for you. Maintain that network and it will pay off eventually.

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