Tag Archives: ONETonline

“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

Advertisements

Holiday Season Vacation or Vocation

Knits By Elaine
Knits By Elaine

As the holidays approach, it does NOT mean that your job search must come to a halt.

I get it, with vacations and holiday plans imminent, you may have other things to focus on, and you may even wonder whether anyone is hiring at all. Truth is, if you find yourself uncertain about taking career advantage during the holiday season, let me assure you: Employers are hiring.

As many successful career seekers can attest, that perfect position may be one jingle away. Whether a college student on break, unemployed, underemployed, or changing careers, this holiday break can be an invaluable time to refresh and recharge your job search. But there are a few rules of the trade…

Career rule of thumb: Don’t panic.

Remember that it is the holiday season and anxiety has a way of pulling away from the task at hand: gaining your career advantage. The best thing you can do is stay proactive even when it seems like there’s nothing to do. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the more attractive you will be to employers when the time comes.

Right now, there are four things you can do before New Year’s Day:

Goals
Now is the time to reassess realistic goals and to make career affirmations you will keep. If your job search has not been producing the results you want, take a moment to objectively analyze your goals and company contributions. Taking your goals and contributions to the next level does not mean you have to change your mind when you’re done. This simple exercise of “refreshing” or “rebooting” has the potential to energize a second wind that will carry you through any stale point. Feeling confident and motivated, you are now primed for the research stage.

Research
Whether you’re getting a much needed break from college or you’ve had plenty of time to yourself lately, now is THE time to research. Industry and company trends are readily available on the Internet, taking only an ounce or two of diligence. Specific research topics can include: How has the job market changed in the last few months in your area? What companies are most likely to be hiring in the New Year? What’s currently happening in the career field that you have chosen to follow? Another great place to research job-specific expectations is www.ONETOnline.org. I strongly encourage an hour of your time to this site BEFORE your next career move. Truth is, a little bit of research can go a long way, and it can help you to know what direction to go after the holidays.

Network
If you haven’t kept in touch with your network, look through your LinkedIn and your list of professional contacts. No matter how long it’s been since you were in touch with someone, wishing happy holidays is a great way to open that communication back up. During this revisit, don’t make the mistake by sounding self-absorbed by asking for a job. Many people may not take kindly to a year of silence and then, out of the blue, a job request. Instead of being overly aggressive, open up with holiday cheer and begin rebuilding that connection – it will benefit you in the long run.

Resume
When you last updated your resume, you probably made it shine the best you could and then put it away for another day. Here’s an idea, let’s make today that “another” day. Fast forward from last revision to now take advantage of the research you recently performed. By incorporating keywords from ONETOnline, industry research, and your professional development, you not only add depth to your selling swagger, you gain confidence.

Investing some time during this season will recharge more of your job search than you realize. Not only will it help you when it comes to making resolutions, but as the New Year approaches, you will be able to charge back into the job market more prepared than ever before.

If you have specific questions needing attention, email or submit comments and one of our professional career writers/coaches will handle with immediate care.

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

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: 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 Breakout: Pre-Interview Strategy

Congratulations on receiving a job interview, NOW is not the time to panic but to prepare. Seems like each day “what to do next” interview questions come in. As a result, the following goes out to Bianca who asked:

“I have an upcoming job interview at the Grand Hyatt hotel, what advice can you share?”

An obvious response on my side of the equation is “why would a potential employer want to interview you?” Think about it for a second, what qualities do you offer which are considered valuable? What knowledge, skills, and/or abilities do you bring to the table?

Career tip: Once these questions are answered honestly, the next step is to expand and strengthen your contributions.

An easy task? Not really but one which must be performed. Here are a few steps I suggest you take prior to the interview:

  • Review your resume and cover letter, making sure you can respond to any questions in a confident and quantifiable manner. For instance, if you trained peers, be ready to detail the number of peers, your direct involvement, and the outcome.
  • Research the job position, description, and company. A typical question asked is “what do you like about our company” or “what interests you most about the      position.” A huge turn-off is when the applicant is unable to respond adequately or states he or she did not have time to research… a big time no-no. http://www.onetonline.org is a good job position description source.
  • Dress professionally… there is no compromise when it comes to how you look. Remember you will be representing the organization.
  • Be kind and courteous to all you come into contact with, including and especially the receptionist. Professionalism goes a long way!
  • Ask pertinent questions when given the opportunity; this is where research comes into play.
  • After the interview, send an electronic thank you note AND a hand written thank you note. This display of professionalism is often neglected.

Though the above points are not all-inclusive, this is a great foundation no matter the level of experience you happen to be at.

Oh yes, one more before this concludes: BE and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

I hope this helps and you secure a successful interview. Let us know how it goes…

Education Career Services, pens and publishes career development textbooks and single target booklets. Our “Interviewing Like a Star” single topic guidebook offers hard hitting questions, truths, activities, samples, and proven strategies to improve your career station. If interested in this or any career collateral, go to our products page on our website (www.edu-cs.com), or go to Amazon (simply search Danny at ECS).

For additional information or assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email me directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com).

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