Monday, September 28, 2009

A Temporary Job Solution; U.S. Census Bureau

Every ten years, the Census Bureau conducts a count of everyone living in the United States including, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas. The next census will begin in March 2010. This census information guides the distribution of federal funds to state and local governments each year, determines each state’s congressional representation and guides planning decisions such as, placement of schools, hospitals and transportation.

To manage this big undertaking, the U.S. Census Bureau hires thousands of temporary workers, at the local level, to fill census taker and office jobs. The peak recruitment period begins now with the majority of hiring taking place in spring

To find out more about the jobs available and associated requirements, go to

Friday, September 25, 2009

Working with Uncle Sam; Check It Out.

Have you ever considered a government job? Government jobs have a legacy for job security and great benefits, which can be appealing in today’s unstable job market. Government jobs can be found across various agencies at the local, state and federal levels. A sampling of jobs includes:

Administrative assistant
Registered nurse
Maintenance worker
Environmental protection specialist
Food service manager

To get started exploring the types of government jobs available, go to "Find Jobs" in Career Transitions and enter government in keyword search, or check out the federal government’s Web site

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How About A Virtual Job?

With an evolving global economy and a growing population of people with access to the Internet and other technology tools, coupled with job security and longevity becoming a thing of the past, it is not surprising that more and more people are finding virtual jobs appealing. A virtual job allows an employee to work from a remote location, often times from home, in completing job tasks for an employer. This arrangement can provide flexibility for the employee while reducing an employer’s operating costs.

Virtual jobs are typically a result of one of the following three scenarios:
1. Change existing office-based job to virtual-based (home-based)
2. Initial job arrangement virtual—100% virtual-based from day one
3. Self-employed or freelancer—working independently in contracting out “work for hire”

The below are jobs that are often conducive to being performed virtually:

Call center representative
Administrative assistant
Writer (grant, technical, etc.)
Technical support—supporting businesses and consumers with Internet, Web hosting, desktop support, etc.
Web designer
Sales representative

Before you jump into a virtual job, make sure it is a good fit for your personality. It is important that you are self-disciplined and self-motivated, and can keep with a daily routine and regular work hours. Plus, it will be necessary to establish a private and quiet work space.

To start a job-search for virtual jobs, use the Career Transitions “Find Jobs” section and search for jobs using keyword (virtual) search, with or without, using “my targets”.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Don't Shy Away From Salary Negotiations

Even in a tough job market, negotiating salary is something job candidates should feel comfortable doing with prospective employers. In fact, many employers expect job candidates to negotiate—demonstrating confidence and a valuable, core business skill. But many people are unsure of how and when to discuss salary. The below are some general tips on negotiating salary.

Do your research: Be prepared and empowered with information—know what you’re worth. Salary information is abundant, and it behooves you to research the range of salaries within the industry and occupation you are pursuing. One source you can use is the career optimizer in Career Transitions. By selecting at least one career, industry and state target, the career optimizer will display average salary results for these targets based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sell your value: Sell your abilities and skills—see yourself as an asset to any company. Find out as much as possible about the role you’re applying for in terms of how your filling the position will help solve a major issue for the company or increase sales, etc.

Determine your salary range: Before you can start salary negotiations, you need to identify what you consider a comfortable salary range. Don’t be afraid to aim high, but make sure your range is also a fair market price.

Talk with the decision maker(s): In many cases, your first few interviews may be with a recruiter or human resource contact, and not the hiring manager. It is in your best interest to quickly identify who will be making the final hiring decision, and conduct your salary negotiations with this individual.

Negotiate later and let the employer make the first move: Keep salary negotiations at bay until you have a firm job offer. However, many employers will raise the question earlier in the interview process. If this occurs, respond by stating that you are flexible about salary and that your decision is based on the complete compensation package. If the employer presses further and you have an understanding of the job’s salary range, state the top-end of that range.

Take time to consider any job offer: Take some time to consider the job offer, before making any final decision. Look at the entire compensation package, and if you find the salary less than you desire and the employer unwilling to budge, consider negotiating non-salary benefits like additional vacation days, etc.

To read about a real-life example of negotiating salary in this down economy, click here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Put These Job Search Action Steps Into Motion First

When it comes to looking for a job, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about where to start. The below are some common, first job search action steps you can take:

Contact everyone you know in making them aware you’re looking for a job. Use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.

Develop a job search plan that includes targeting the number of hours to spend each day and/or week job searching; outline daily job search tasks before the start of each week, and monitor your progress.

Create an outstanding resume—be sure it is proofread and critiqued. Have print, electronic and text-only versions of your resume available. Consider customizing your resume to a job, so that you emphasize those skills that align with the requirements in a job posting.

Post your resume on job boards and update every few months to garner renewed attention from prospective employers and recruiters.

Line up your professional references before you start interviewing.

Contact recruiters in your professional field and geographic area.

Network at professional association events.

Tap into the full potential of the Career Transitions resource to easily navigate through and manage the entire job search process.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interview Follow Up Is A Must

When it comes to job-search expert advice, there are certainly varying views on any given topic. However, one piece of advice experts appear to agree upon is that job candidates must follow up after a job interview. In fact, some experts mention that monitoring candidate follow-up is a purposeful tactic for some employers, and factors into their selection process. What should your follow-up plan be? Take a look below for some simple pointers:

Ask for the interviewer’s business card or accurately notate their contact information, if they don’t have a business card available, prior to your departure from the interview.

Inquire about next steps and the timeline for filling the position.

Ask for immediate feedback before leaving the interview, and explore whether they’ve identified any barrier to why you may not be the right candidate for the job. You should attempt to address this in the interview, however if time doesn’t allow or if you’re caught off-guard, you may decide to address this in some form of post-interview follow-up.

Review your interview notes to identify a particular point to emphasize in your thank you notes (e.g. if the interviewer mentioned a new client, and you’ve done a little post-interview homework on this client, you may want to share a tidbit of information that you’ve come across). This demonstrates you were paying close attention in the interview, as well as reflects your willingness to go the extra step in learning more about their clients and business.

Underscore your appreciation of their time and interest in you, and succinctly restate why you consider yourself the ideal candidate for the job.

Send a thank you email immediately.

Send a follow-up hand-written thank you note, by snail mail, within a day or two after your interview appointment.

Proofread all your written communications for perfect grammar and clarity.

Make a phone call approximately a week after your interview if you haven’t received a status update on the hiring process—this is an opportunity to build rapport, inquire as to whether there is a need for any further information, and remind them that you are an ideal candidate for the job. Plan and practice what you want to say in advance. Be sure to get right to the point of your call.

Be patient and persistent without pestering. The hiring process inevitably takes longer than expected, so be patient. Be persistent about your follow-up, but do so in a manner that doesn’t come across as pestering. Be perceptive to how the interviewer is responding to your follow up thus far, and discuss a reasonable plan for obtaining ongoing updates.

Whether and how you follow up after an interview makes a powerful impression—be sure your impression is a positive one by implementing some of the tips above.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Resume Formats, Which Is Right For You?

Deciding which resume format to use is important, since it will determine how you present and favorably highlight your professional information. There are two basic types of resume formats: chronological and functional; and then there is a hybrid of the two.

The chronological resume is a listing of work experience chronologically, starting with the most current job and working backwards. Information is typically ordered with employment dates, job title, name and location of employer, and job description. Education, professional memberships, awards and recognition information can follow. The chronological resume is ideal for showcasing a steady employment history and/or progressive growth in a particular career path. It is the format most commonly used, and as a result employers are very accustomed to receiving chronological resumes.

A functional resume may be the right choice for you if your goal is to emphasize your skills, and is ideal for those changing careers and looking to demonstrate their skills are transferable. It is also a good option for people with gaps in their employment history or just starting out in the job market.

The third resume format is a hybrid of both, and starts with detailed paragraphs on job functions followed by a brief listing of employment experience that would include employers and dates. This is a good resume choice if you have a solid employment history but are looking to change jobs, or wish to highlight specific skills in matching the necessary requirements and qualifications in a given job posting.

Consider your situation, and do further exploring of resume formatting, samples and templates to create the resume that is right for you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Next Time You Network or Interview, Remember Their Name

If you’re finding you are spending more time networking and interviewing, you may also be experiencing the frustration of not being able to recall the names of all the new people you’re meeting. If that is the case, you may find the memory strategies below helpful.

Focus your full attention on the person you’re being introduced to—some memory experts suggest to create a strong memory, a person needs 5 to 15 seconds of uninterrupted focus on a particular piece of information

Use your senses: In addition to listening to the person state their name, look at the person’s face and see if there is something distinctive or familiar about their physical character that can trigger name memory recall. Imagine their name written around their head and write their name with your freehand in the palm of your hand.

Elaborate on their name: Is that spelled like the actor’s? etc.

Repeat the person’s name: Within the first 20 or so seconds of your being introduced to them, repeat the person's name in your conversation if possible, and do so in your head several times shortly after your conversation has ended.

Tie the name to another piece of information: If a part of the person’s name is the same as someone you know, a celebrity, or is the name of a town or event, you can tie the two pieces of information together to improve your recall.

Associate a person’s name to a visual: If you’ve just met Mike Brown and he has brown hair, you can associate the two to improve name recall. Or if the person’s name is Megan Sail, link it visually to a sail on a boat.

The skill to remember and recall people’s names takes some practice, however it is well worth the time and effort. Acquiring and using this skill can make a favorable impression on your audience, and when your audience is prospective employers, a positive impression helps move you one step closer to a new, fabulous job.

For more information on this topic, click here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Setting A Career Goal

Many people have a vague or even precise idea of their career goal however, most forgo writing their goal down and identifying the necessary steps for achieving their goal. A career goal can range from pursuit of a particular occupation, position or level in an organization, to setting a specific salary target. Your career goal should determine how you focus your efforts and time, and can help guide a job search for those looking to transition from one career to another.

As a starting point, get a current pulse on your values and interests and how they match up to your skills and experience. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to take the Interest Assessment in the “Discover My Interest” section of Career Transitions.

The following are some basics things to consider in setting a career goal:

Set a clear and specific goal—you should be able to measure your goal progress, and to do so requires you use specific language (e.g. a goal to be an expert in corporate training is not clearly defined, since expert can take on several different meanings)

Establish a reasonable timeframe for reaching your goal—consider breaking a long-term goal (3-5 years) into several short-term goals that roll up into your long-term goal

Set a realistic goal—you need the ability, skills, and in some cases, the financial means to reach your goal

Create an action plan—action steps that will lead you to your goal

Modify your goal, if and when, necessary—be flexible to change your goal if circumstances change (e.g. life change) and consider your values and interests may change over time

A career goal can keep you on the path to career success. If you haven’t set a goal already or you need to consider whether your current goal still makes sense, now is the time to do so.

For more information on setting a career goal, click here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cover Letters Do Matter; Make A Good First Impression

If you’ve heard cover letters don’t matter, the experts say otherwise. In fact, no cover letter or a poorly written one can result in your resume being tossed. A cover letter is truly an opportunity to get the attention of a prospective employer, and bring more life to your resume. Your letter will allow an employer to get a sense of your personality, quickly identify your career objective, as well as assess your overall skills to determine if they relate to the job opening.

Be sure to take a little extra time to research the company you’re interested in, and weave in a current company detail or two about what you’ve learned into your cover letter. This demonstrates a sincere interest in their company.

A cover letter is also an excellent way of addressing questions that may arise when an employer reviews your resume, such as gaps in employment, change in career direction, and willingness to relocate if the company is not based locally.

A cover letter is an opportunity to grab their attention—and may be the difference to whether your resume ends up in the trash or in front of the hiring manager.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Add A Mentor To Your Career Resource Collection

A mentor acts as a professional advisor, coach and trusted counselor. You will reap many benefits from having someone or several people act as a mentor throughout the course of your professional career. And if you’re going through a career transition such as searching for your next job, a mentor can be a great resource.

Mentors can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and formulate strategies for skill development. A good mentor will encourage you to work toward your goals, challenge you to grow, listen intently, provide constructive feedback, connect you to their contacts, and help you navigate through a job search, and new or existing job.

Where can you find a mentor? Look to people who are in the same or similar profession as yours, but have a higher ranking position and/or more experience. Scout out those who you respect and have an easy rapport with, and who you believe have an innate willingness to help others move toward professional success. Look at people in your network who may not be ideal for mentoring, but more likely can point you to someone who may be. Also consider current or past co-workers, and those you encounter through trade or professional associations.

Have your radar on and be willing to broach the subject with those you identify as potential mentors. You will soon find yourself reaping the rewards of a fulfilling mentor and mentee relationship.

Click here for additional information on mentoring.