Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Underused Resource

When was the last time you visited your local library. You might be surprised at the resources available to you through the library. Everything from current books on job searching, résumé writing and interviewing to classes on computer skills, including a class on Social Networking is at the library.

Many of the county’s libraries are open on the weekend.

Go to their web site and explore what is available.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Character is Always in Demand

It can be difficult to know people, in spite of the recession, who seem to “have it all” and continue to keep your game face on while you rebuild your life. This article reminds us that character is really the true pillar of success.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Local Colleges are the first line in push toward Green Economy.

A recent article in the New York Times that spoke of the drive by forward looking colleges toward training individuals for the new green economy. It reminded me that our local college is also one of the more forward thinking educators across the nation as they try to accomplish similar goals.

Quantity vs. Quality

Do I send a gazillion applications, and sacrifice detail and quality - or do I send a handful of applications, and risk not getting to the application that would have gotten me the job?

You probably face this dilemma every day. Worse yet, you probably hear people make a case for either strategy just as often... I am sorry to say, but I am another one of these people trying to convince you... Since I am being honest, give me the benefit of the doubt.

Let's analyze our options in more detail: If we choose the quality route we are putting many eggs in fewer baskets (read: invest more time to apply for fewer jobs.) This approach will win us all the cookie points, sure. But the problem is not knowing if the supreme being with the God complex (aka: hiring manager) has very "peculiar" expectations, which would disqualify us from the race, regardless of the cookie points. Under this light the Quantity route seems more appealing. Send tons of applications, that way you increase your chances of coincidently meeting the "peculiar" expectations.

With that said, think about this: If hiring managers nowadays will only call people who dazzle them in the application (read: submission of the cover letter and resume,) then going for the quantity route will never, ever get us through the door.

To help you make up your mind about pursuing a quality route, click on this article. It is a written piece about applicants who submit suboptimal cover letters and resumes. The cool thing is that it is written from the perspective of a hiring manager.

I wish you success in your job search (luck is for the unprepared.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How To Be A Top Contender

As a job seeker you are always looking for an edge, something that will set you apart from the competition. This article I found has some good advice on résumés and interviewing, while it is mainly targeted at Freelance Writers, the information is easily adapted to any position.

Give it a read at 5 Steps to Be a Top Candidate Every Time

Monday, August 23, 2010

Don’t be “THAT Guy or Girl” at the Next Networking Event!

This article outlines tactics to deal with a pushy salesperson at a networking event. It’s also a good tool for self-analysis to ensure your approach isn’t aggressive when you are selling yourself at these events.

Friday, August 20, 2010

New labor market statistics are out

The unemployment rate in the Center for Business Excellence region (Flagler and Volusia counties) was 12.6 percent in July 2010. This was 0.9 percentage points higher than the region’s year-ago rate of 11.7 percent. The state unemployment rate was 0.6 percentage points lower than the region at 12.0 percent. Out of a labor force of 289,284, there were 36,573 unemployed residents in the region.

The July 2010 unemployment rates in the counties that comprise the Center for Business Excellence region were 15.6 percent in Flagler County and 12.3 percent in Volusia County. These were down from the record high rates for both counties in January 2010.

So what do these numbers mean? Are things getting worse again?

Actually these numbers don't mean much in terms of identifying a trend. We can't really draw any conclusions yet, because the increments are still statistically insignificant (too small.) With that said, keep in mind that the unemployment rate will likely bounce around in foreseeable future - sometimes higher, sometimes lower.

Bottom line: Take these numbers with a grain of salt. If anyone (particularly the media) push the idea of a double-dip recession, keep your cool. Store this information in the back of your mind and continue pushing forward in your job search.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Story of Unemployment

The following is a story submitted by someone who has experienced the cycle of unemployment. Maybe some of this might hit home with you. Athough the story has a happy ending you will note that many of the highs and lows that he addresses were mentioned in a previous blog about how to deal with the stress of unemployment. It is important to talk with your spouses and family and to network with friends and coworkers. If they know that you are looking many times they can help keep an ear out for jobs you might like and offer a supportive ear when you need it. I hope you find his story helpful, if for no other reason then to know you are not alone. Here it is:

"Being unemployed is usually not a place any of us would like to find ourselves in. As someone who has been unemployed for almost 9 months, I can certainly relate to this. There are so many different waves of emotions you go through, and a rollercoaster ride of stress levels too. This is especially true when you’ve been out of work for as long as I have.

Fortunately when I was let go, I knew it was coming and was able to beef up my savings. I was also compensated with a severance package that included several months pay. So even though this happened during the holidays, it wasn’t as big a disappointment for me as it might be for others. After all, my career expanded almost 15 years in the same profession, so I felt quite confident I would be finding a new job relatively quick.

Since it was the holidays, I took the time to enjoy it without any concern for being jobless. I knew the percentage of hiring during this time was very low, and was certain any suitable job would sort of be put on hold anyway. So after the New Year I started reaching out to all my contacts and posting resumes on the job boards. I also worked out a budget with my long time girlfriend so we had an idea of where we stood financially, and how long before we were in serious trouble.

During the first few months I was not really concerned, and was being select of interview opportunities to try and find a comparable job to my last. I played golf, visited friends and family, and did things around the house. I didn’t want to be stressed out and negative about something out of my control, and I definitely didn’t want it to reflect in any interview possibilities.

The next few months my concern only mildly started to climb, however I noticed my personality starting to change. There was a lot more self-doubt, and I could tell a little depression was starting to set in, especially when I didn’t hear back from the interviews I had been too. A couple of these interviews were even through some of my contacts, and the process appeared to me that I was going to receive an offer. But with no offers, the self-doubt was really starting to kick in. I started thinking with unemployment so bad was it really possible there were others more experienced then I was for these position? I found myself starting to become more lazy, watching more TV, doing less chores, and could generally see the depression in myself.

The last few months have just been a jumbled up wave of emotions. The savings was starting to run out, my 6 ½ months of unemployment compensation ran out, and the extended benefits was being delayed. I didn’t really have any good leads, and realized trying to stretch my experience into other job opportunities wasn’t working out either. Even though I recognized my own depression, I didn’t really do anything to change it, and was just sort of going through the same mundane processes each day. I referred to my unemployment as ‘semi-retired’ and definitely realized my sanity was starting to go during this time.

Fortunately, just this week I received an offer letter from a company after several interviews. After so much time, I'm kind of in shock, and know it will take a little bit to get back in the routine of the work world. I’m hopeful this will be my chance to lose the rut I’ve got myself in, along with losing the weight I gained, and bring back the confidence I should have never lost. I can only say to others in a similar situation to work on not losing your confidence, do something active every day, learn all you can about unemployment benefits, and never stop looking for a job! Good luck, Leighton"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why Use Social Media for Job Searching?

Last week I shared a video with you on getting registered with Linkedin. Today, I’m offering you another video on Linkedin to help you use it to its greatest potential.
Take a look at the video explaining the POWER of Linkedin and remember the details may be different, but the reality is all social networking is basically the same, so if you’re starting with Linkedin, don’t stop there. Spread the tentacles of your job search as far and wide as you can.
Social media can be a powerful tool to assist you in your job search. The more you know about how to use it to your best advantage the better off you will be.
Some people think that networking in all its many forms is about using people to get something. The reality is that when done properly networking, whether you’re using social media or doing it face-to-face, is about forming relationships. All relationships are give and take situations. Today someone may help you find a job and then further down the road of life you may be given the opportunity to return that service.
Just remember information about you on social media sites should be businesslike. People have been fired and lost out on job opportunities because of inappropriate or less than professional information on their social media sites.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A bit of inspiration to get you through the day

Looking for a job is grueling labor for two reasons: (1) You don’t get paid for it, and (2) you get no recognition for your efforts. It takes great stamina to sit in front of a computer an entire day to do your job-searching tasks. Where do you draw your inspiration from? For me it was videos like this one.

Hang in there – you can do it.

Transferable job skills? Do I have them?

Think you’re not qualified for any position other than the one you had before you were laid off? Think again. Check out this article about transferable skills:

Friday, August 13, 2010

To move, or not to move – that is the question that torments you.

A dialogue with yourself:

Moving You: “The local economy is too small. It will be nearly impossible to find a job here that pays what I am worth. I might have to move to a bigger city to access better opportunities.”

Staying You: “On the other hand, what if we stay, get a plain job, and keep our life simple until things get better?”

Moving You: “If I go, what would I do with the house?”

Staying you: “We are upside down tens-of-thousands of dollars. Selling would be suicidal.”

Moving you: “Should I let my mortgage go?”

Staying you: “That will destroy our credit.”

Moving you: “Rent it?”

Staying you: “The tenants will destroy our house.”

This dialogue plays in your head every day, every hour, every minute. You explore every possible angle, and change your mind just as many times. In the end your body and your psyche take a huge toll. You go to bed stressed.

The thought of moving to seek better employment opportunities is so powerful and distressful that it can induce two contradicting emotions at the same time: (1) make you appreciate your surroundings more than ever before. Suddenly you start valuing the very simple things around you, out of fear that you will lose them in the near future; and (2) make you detach yourself from everything around you. (Why spend energy and time to meet new people or contributing to the community if you could potentially go away?)

I will not try to convince you either way. My only suggestion is that you create a plan for both scenarios. Ask yourself what would happen if you had to move; then create a list of all the things that you would do. Ask yourself the same question if you stay.

If you are seriously considering moving, here are some things to keep in mind:

During this economic downturn companies have had little motivation to hire someone from out-of-town, because they have a sufficient pool of people to draw from locally to fulfill their positions. Yes, I know you have a unique set of skillsthat they lack. But companies often fail to see it beyond geography. To them the “Moving You” equals moving expenses and an uncomfortable commitment to keep you hired (they may feel an obligation to retain you, because they brought to their town in the first place.)

With that said, the picture seems to be slowly changing. Companies are looking harder for new talent. Check out this graph to see which states have more jobs available. If you are using a nationwide job searching strategy, you may want to focus on the states that are on the right side of the dotted line.

I wish you success in your job search (luck is for the unprepared.)

Click on image to enlarge.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lessons learned

As I reflect on the time I spent being unemployed, I keep coming back to the same thing: I felt like I was in a particular episode of the Twilight Zone that I saw growing up. It aired during the first revival of the original series, in the 80’s. The episode was “To See the Invisible Man.” The central character, Mitchell Chaplin, was found guilty of a crime and his punishment was to be rendered “invisible,” a social outcast, for one year. A scarring implant placed on his forehead warned others to ignore him on penalty of being sentenced to a similar fate. The punishment was meant to be a lesson in humility, compassion, and empathy.

Misfortune after misfortune befalls Chaplin, with his lowest point reached when he is denied medical care after being hit by a car.

Four months after completing his sentence, Chaplin is approached in public by a woman who wears the scar of an implant. Knowing the law, initially he ignores her, but her crying moves him to turn around and hug her. As they are surrounded by drones warning him of a new sentence of invisibility for his crime, he declares that he can see the woman and that he cares.

He had learned his lesson in humility, compassion and empathy well.

This story has many parallels to my experience being unemployed – and I will share two with you: (1) Being unemployed WAS like being invisible – I tried to reach out to people who made an effort to avoid me, and (2) I promised myself that once I found a job I would “see” the invisible people (it is part of the reason I am writing this post.)

To help me remember the lessons I learned from being unemployed I sent myself an email to the future. The email is set to arrive four years from now. I vaguely remember what I wrote, but I am looking forward to reading it. In it I told myself in as much detail as I could muster all the things I felt. It was an incredible healing experience for me then, and I know it will be again, when I read it in the future. Perhaps this can help you too…

Visit http://futureme.org/ to send the future you an email. Tell yourself what today was like.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Your Best Career Coach- The Future You!

A co-worker sent this to me today and I just had to share. What amazing advice!
By: Marshall Goldsmith
August 10, 2010
The best coaching you’ll ever get will not come from another person. It will come from inside you.

Take a deep breath. Take a deeper breath. Imagine that you’re 100 years old and you’re getting ready to die. Before you take that last breath, you’re given a wonderful gift: the opportunity to go back in time and talk with the person who is reading this blog post today, to help this younger version of yourself have a better life — both personally and professionally.
What advice would the wise 100-year-old you — who finally knows what really mattered in life — have for the you that is reading this blog post? As you think of the older you, whatever advice comes to mind, just do that.
In terms of performance appraisals, this is the only one that will matter. At the end of the day, the only person that you will need to impress is that old person that will one day look back at you from the mirror. If that old person thinks that you did the right thing, you did. If that old person thinks that you made a mistake, you did. You don’t have to impress anyone else.
Some good friends of mine had the opportunity to ask old people who were facing death what advice they would have for their younger selves. Three themes emerged:
1. Be happy now. Don’t wait for next week, next month or next year. A common regret of old people was, “I got so focused on trying to get what I did not have, I failed to appreciate all that I did have. I had almost everything. I wish that I would’ve taken the time to appreciate it.”

I‘ve asked thousand of parents around the world to complete this sentence, “When my children grow up, I want them to be…” One world is mentioned more than all of the other words combined — no matter what country I am in. What is that word? Happy.
Do you want your children to be happy? Do you want your parents to be happy? Do you want the people that love you to be happy? Do you want the people who respect you at work to be happy? Then, you go first. They want you to be happy, too.
2. Build relationships and help people, especially friends and family. When you’re 100 years old and you look around your death bed, no fellow employees will be waving good-bye. You’ll finally realize that your friends and family are the only ones that care. They are the ones that matter.
Of course, building relationships and helping people are also keys to ultimate satisfaction with your professional career. I have asked many retired CEOs an important question about their professional lives, “What were you most proud of?” So far, none have talked about have large their offices were. All they talked about were the people they helped.

The main reason to help people has nothing to do with money, status or promotion. The main reason is simple: the 100-year-old you will be proud of you if you did — and disappointed in you if you didn’t.
3. If you have a dream, go for it. If you don’t try to achieve your dreams when you are 25, you probably won’t when you are 45, 65 or 85. None of us will achieve all of our dreams. The key question is not, “Did I achieve all of my dreams?” The key question is, “Did I at least try?” Old people almost never regretted the risks they took that failed. They almost always regretted the risks that they failed to take.
No one else can tell you how to find happiness, who to love or where to find meaning. Only you can answer these questions. The best coaching that you will ever receive will not come from any other person, it will come from inside you.

Back to school!

Students return to school in both Flagler and Volusia Counties next Monday, August 24th. If you have been home with children all Summer what can you do to refocus on pursuing your career???

Maybe YOU are interested in going back to school. If you are, we CAN help! We have career planners to assist you with school/career choices and money available for scholarships. If you are interested in some type of training please contact us at careerplanning@cbe-fvc.org.

Maybe it is time to get out network. The Daytona Beach News Journal online has each week a list of the area business events. Here is this week's NJ business events link.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why use an internet networking site to job search?

Gone are the days of walking into a place of business, introducing yourself to the manager/owner, explaining to that person your skills and abilities and getting hired. Fading are the days of submitting your résumé, getting called for an interview and getting hired. Today’s world is all about networking and most networking is done via computer. Maybe you already have a Facebook account and that’s good because it’s a networking tool with which many are familiar. However, if you don’t also have a Linkedin account you could be missing out on opportunities. The friends you made at your last couple of jobs, your college friends and even your relatives, in most cases, don’t live anywhere near you. You stay in touch with them via email, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. If you’re not staying in touch with them via one or more of those methods, you are missing opportunities. Think about it! If your old college friend is on either Facebook or Linkedin and has a couple hundred friends and each of those friends has a couple hundred friends… Well, I think you’re beginning to see the potential of social networking in the job search process. Most people know about Facebook and you may even already have a Facebook account. Why stop there? Get registered with Linkedin, too. The more feelers you have out there when you’re job searching the better for you.
Just remember to keep the information about you on social media sites businesslike. People have been fired and lost out on job opportunities because of less than professional information on their social media sites.

Signing up with Linkedin is free and relatively easy.
This video will help you with the process.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Coping with Stress Due to Job Loss

We have an idea how you feel. Here are some valuable tips on how to cope with job loss and stress: Click here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Volusia County Economic Development Quarterly Update

Once a Quarter, the team over at Volusia County Economic Development perform a simple, but highly significant act. They update many of Volusia County's movers and shakers on the state of our local economy. The Center for Business Excellence (CBE) has had the pleasure over the past number of years to have received an invite, and let me just say the event is filled with a variety of excellent information. The ECO DEV team gives details on an assortment of local statistics such as; local unemployment numbers, employment by major and select industries, a breakdown of our local labor force by individual local cities, employers that are being vigorously courted for relocation to our county by their team, local wage comparison data, residential permit data, commercial permit data, local home foreclosure data, and a whole host of other local economic information.

This is great information whether you’re a local jobseeker, business person, politician, etc and the best part is that it is provided on their website free of charge. Today’s info may take a couple of days before it reaches their site, but let me say, it is well worth the wait.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Helpful information for youth with disabilities

There are times when I am asked questions that I do not know the answer to. Instead of faking intelligence in that area, I tell the person I will find it out and get back with them. Most of the time they are understanding and grateful that I just didn't make up an answer. Here at CBE I don't always have the needed information for all youth I help and so when I find something that will give them information that may help them, even if it doesn't come from us, I will share it with them. Here is one of my favorite websites that has lots of information for youth with disabilities:


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Check, check and then triple check!

This morning I reviewed seven resumes and five of them had rather simple/grammatical errors in them. Make sure that you are carefully proofing your resume and then giving it to someone else to proof as well. So many times, your resume is an employers first impression of you!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why You Should Consider Seeking A "Survival Job"

There are pros and cons to taking a survival job. Each individual must weigh the pluses and minuses for themselves. The article I’ve provided a link to touches on both sides of the issue. Give it a read.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Business Wardrobe on a Budget

I know it's hard to let go of the piano tie that looks so good on you, but every now and then we need to dress professionally. Is money an issue? Check out these tips to look "all business" (read: less awesome) for a fraction of the price.