Thursday, June 30, 2011

Job Clubs for the Unemployed.

Whether you've been unemployed for three months or three years, there comes a time when you don't know what to do next.
You've written and rewritten resumes, done a new cover letter for each job application, networked until you don't have anyone left to talk to and volunteered with social service agencies just to get your foot in the door.
Now the unemployed in some areas are forming job clubs. There you can get leads on newly posted positions, free training and classes. And you can network with others in the same situation.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor's Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership announced a new effort to coordinate with job clubs at the state and federal level. And it's a top priority.
"When people lose their jobs they feel like crap," said one club leader. "On the emotional level it's not far down to losing a loved one to death or divorce."
Here are some ways job clubs can help you and others who are unemployed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Dreaded Salary Question

In the last couple of weeks I’ve talked about Information Sharing and Listening. Today, I want to talk about an interview question. That’s right, one interview question.

It’s stated many different ways but the information requested is the same.

What salary would you be willing to accept?

Your heart jumps into your throat because you know that if you tell them a figure that’s too low they’ll think you’re under qualified for the job. Or they’ll hire you and pay you that lower wage instead of the higher salary they had in mind. Either way you lose.

If you quote a figure that’s too high, they’ll think you’re over qualified and they can’t afford you. You lose again.

What should you do when they ask the dreaded salary question?

There are various ways you can handle it.

One way, is to turn the question around and ask what they were planning on paying? Sometimes they’ll be willing to share that information.

Another way is to say something like, “Before we discuss salary I’d like to get to know a little bit more about the position and your organization and I think it would be advantageous for you to get to know a little more about me.”

Or you could say, “Are you offering me the job? I ask because I’m not accustomed to discussing salary until there’s an actual job offer.”

Of course, if they insist that you provide them with a dollar figure you need to have done your Labor Market Research ahead of time and don’t give them a specific dollar figure. Instead, provide them with a range. Something like, “I’d be happy with something between X and Y, depending on the total compensation/benefits package.”

Regardless of how you answer the question you must first do your homework on the company you’re applying to, do your labor market research and practice your interviewing skills.

Monday, June 27, 2011

True Success: Finding Your Perfect Wave

By: Lori McMullin, APR, Director of Business Operations & Communications

Center for Business Excellence

Here's to a very tripendicular Monday! “What,” you say?

Well, I must confess I was watching a movie on LMN last week and it gave me the idea for this week’s blog post. Yes, it was a mushy romance, but that’s beside the point.

One of the characters said, “You’ve got to swim out of your comfort zone to catch the wave that will change your life,” and it rang true with me.

I most definitely did this during the past year and discovered who I really am, what truly matters and, most important, love once lost and now returned. The ride has been filled with joy and, sometimes, pain. Nonetheless, it has been an incredible journey of self discovery.

Check out the first link for tips on how to find your perfect wave. Then, check out the second link just for fun!

P.S., seems like the perfect wave is perfectly imperfect. Wouldn’t you agree? Fer Sure!

Friday, June 24, 2011

One in 3 Workers Wants to Leave her/his Job

In today’s economy, with almost 14 million Americans unemployed it still seems that there are a few individuals dissatisfied enough with their current employment that they are willing to brave the current economic unemployment winter that grips the nation. If the idea of this concept appears difficult to understand then just take a look at the latest Mercer LLC survey. This 74 year old HR consulting firm conducted a recent survey of 2400 employees and found that a number of workers were seriously considering leaving their organizations.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Keeping Those Creative Juices Flowing

By Suzy Kridner
Career Specialist
It's summertime and the living is easy.
But sometimes we're too busy being laid back to keep our creative juices flowing.
In this job market, we need to stay on top of our game and be quick with new ideas.
Blogger Mike Michalowicz has several good suggestions for staying alert, including taking a walk. Even though it's hot, going outside for a few minutes will increase oxygen to your brain and get the blood flowing -- and maybe get ideas flowing too.
Another idea is cleaning your office. Although I've only been in my current job a few weeks, it's amazing how quickly the stack of paper piles up.
And a little break to do something different each day keeps us all fresh and out of a rut.
Read more ways to get your creative juices flowing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Are You Listening?

Last week I talked about information sharing and I mentioned listening to what others were saying so you would know how to be able to help them.

Today, I’m going to talk a bit about how you can actually improve your listening skills.

Our teachers and our parents were/are always telling us to pay attention. How do they know you’re not paying attention? It probably has a lot to do with your body language. Are you looking at something other than the speaker? Are slouched down with your arms crossed on your chest? Are you texting or playing a game on your phone? Are you blowing bubbles with your gum? If you answered yes, to any of the above questions – STOP!

Pay attention means to look at the speaker, appear interested, let go of the thoughts in your mind and listen to the words being said. You also need to watch the body language of the speaker. You must also stop thinking about how you’re going to respond while the person is still talking. When they stop talking paraphrase what they told you to make sure you understood the message. If you do these things you’ll be able to form a more accurate response.

So how does this help you in the listening situation I introduced last week? How about a scenario to illustrate?

A colleague and I recently had the opportunity to go out to dinner with the two individuals that would be providing us with some training. My colleague is one of those people who listen very well. One of the people we were out with expressed a desire to have a piece of real Key Lime pie. She was very emphatic about how it needed to be the real thing, not one of those green, out of the box imitations. The Key Lime pie ordered at the restaurant was a disappointment. Our training was ending the next day. My colleague makes a delicious Key Lime pie and considered making one for our trainer. However, she knew the trainer wouldn’t be able to travel with a pie. So instead of making the pie, she purchased a bottle of Key Lime Juice and presented it to the trainer. On the bottle of juice is an easy to follow recipe for real Key Lime Pie.

Most likely the trainer will remember my colleague’s name long after the rest of us at that training are forgotten.

Remember, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Pay attention to what people say, you’ll learn a lot more that way than you will by talking.

Coming next week The Dreaded Salary Question

Monday, June 20, 2011

Office vs. Home. Both Challenging

By Suzy Kridner

CMI Career Specialist

Working from home always looks good to those toiling away 8-5 in an office.

But those who maintain an office at home find different challenges. It's easy to get distracted with chores, friends, Facebook and often difficult to stay on task.

The same challenges of working at home apply to the unemployed.

When I was first laid off several years ago, I set up a home office to conduct my job searches and do some freelance writing. But it was very difficult for me to stay focused after working in an office atmosphere. And I missed the camraderie of co-workers with whom I had lunch every day.

The following article on "Five Office Habits to Take Home With You" apply to those who work at home and also the unemployed, who have found looking for work becomes a full time job.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Approaching Critical Awesomeness!!!

We really want to know what you think of us. We want to know if you find us awesome and even want to know if you find us not so awesome at times. Please, please take five minutes to complete our survey.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Information Sharing

Approximately 80% of job openings never get advertised. They aren’t in your local paper. They’re not going to be on a computer job board. They’re not going to be in a trade journal. So how do you find out about these jobs?

Talk to people. Talk to people? What are you, crazy?

No, I’m not crazy. I’m very serious. You find out about these jobs by talking to people, because that’s how the jobs are promoted.

If you go fishing, you don’t just sit in the boat and wait for the fish to jump in. You bait a hook and drop it in the water. If you’re looking for a new doctor, dentist, mechanic, or hairdresser what do you do? If you’re like most folks, you ask people you know who they use and how they like them. Finding a job that is only advertised by talking to people is done the same way. You talk to people you know, let them know what you are looking for and at the same time you listen to them. Learn what they need and if you can help them, great.

You may ask, why do I want help them? I’m the one looking for help. Yes, you are. Think about it for a moment. Aren’t you more interested in helping someone who has helped you?

Coming next week Can You Hear Me Now?

Monday, June 13, 2011

How to stop a racing mind

By: Lori Stone, APR, Director of Business Operations & Communications

Center for Business Excellence

The world is full of commitments, stress and general brain over stimulation. I’ve had a variety of things to juggle lately and noticed last week I started to get annoyed hearing a text message come in while I was on the land line, had staff at my door and receiving an instant message on my computer! Enough already!

Clearing your mind is easier said than done. Sometimes, it’s hard to keep stress and anxiety at bay. I found an interesting article on the subject to share with you:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Scholarships for Occupational Training

CBE awards scholarships for eligible individuals to pursue training of a targeted occupation and at a local approved training vendor. Click the links below for more information or send an e-mail to

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eyes Play a Major Role in Connecting

Making eye contact is difficult for some people.
And keeping eye contact is even harder.
But according to blogger Nagesh Belludi, "Our eyes play a major role in our interpersonal communication. The eyes express our moods and reactions more overtly than does other body language. By and large, observant people can attempt to understand our attitudes through the nature of our eye contact, our facial expressions and body language."
Nicholas Boothman, in his book, "How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less," says "Make eye contact and smile … it’s a simple courtesy and leads to a relaxed conversation. If you tend to be a shy person, this may be somewhat difficult for you. You may tend to look down or away when greeting someone. This can break the conversation right away."
"When you meet or greet someone for the first time, just make a mental note of their eye color. This simple technique is amazingly effective. If you are looking for their eye color you’ll automatically make eye contact for a second or two."
Read more tips about making and keeping good eye contact.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Like Sands Through an Hour Glass

Do you have enough time in the day? All right, you can stop laughing now. Of course, you don’t. Most of us find that we always need just a few more minutes so we can get done those things we have to finish. You’re in luck because someone recently sent me a link to a wonderful article with some easy to do, practical ideas for saving time.
It’s definitely worth the time it takes to read it. I know I plan on using a couple of the ideas presented.
To read article click here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The only sound advice? Wear sunscreen.

By: Lori Stone, APR, Director of Business Operations & Communications
Center for Business Excellence
Several years ago, a song (really more a poetry reading to a beat) hit the pop charts advising the class of ‘99 to count on wearing sunscreen. Other sage observations are made, but bottom line, life is too unpredictable.
The lyrics really came from a “Chicago Tribune” columnist. I thought in this time of commencement exercises, we might all find reading this column of interest:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Email Etiquette for Everyone

We all rely on email. Who doesn't?
But email etiquette needs to be observed just like other forms of etiquette.

But as with anything, the more e-mails we send, the more likely we are to screw one up, according to Andrew G. Rosen, in his blog, "18 Common Work E-mail Mistakes."

And simple e-mail mistakes can be disastrous. They can cost us a raise, promotion — even a job, Rosen says.

These tips apply to employees but also to jobseekers, who need to be extra careful about the emails they send.

Here are some good email tips for jobseekers and employees.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Transform Those Negative Thoughts

By Suzy Kridner
Career Specialist
All of us have negative thoughts at times.
On the tennis court, I think “I could run faster if I lose weight.” While that is true, I don’t think about the good shots I make, only the ones I missed.
Even the most positive person occasionally has negative thoughts.
Rule No. 1 in 10 Steps for Transforming Negative Thoughts into Positive Beliefs is “Don’t should on yourself.”
When you think I should be a better parent, a better wife, a better tennis player, you’re thinking your current status is not good enough.
A friend on Facebook posted this column from the web site, The Bridge Maker. It says should statements put our thoughts and attitudes in a box and constrain us from seeing other solutions. Remember, it’s a matter of balance.
Read other steps for transforming negative thoughts here.