Monday, April 30, 2012

Handling conflict at work

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

“Yeah, we’re going to need to talk about your TPS reports.”  Some days, no matter what you do, you can feel like Peter Gibbons in the movie, “Office Space.”  If you don’t understand this reference, stop reading and go rent the movie! It’s a classic.

In all seriousness, conflict in the workplace, is inevitable.  Believe it or not, it can also be a good thing if properly managed.  Here are some excellent tips on the subject:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How I Used LinkedIn
By Larry French

My LinkedIn Profile page
I began this series to share what I had learned using LinkedIn as a part of my job search strategy. If you’ve arrived late to these articles, check the archive for topics on LinkedIn that we’ve already covered. If you are consistently using the tools provided to you in LinkedIn things will start happening. I know because of my own LinkedIn experience. That is why I need to pause now for some reflection and update. You should do a regular evaluation of your own LinkedIn Profile routinely to determine its effectiveness in your job search.

Profiles Should be Tailor Made
Since we’ve gone through the basics of establishing a Profile on LinkedIn let’s do some recap. How you use LinkedIn in your own job search will vary or may be completely different from someone else. That’s because your Profile is a reflection of you and your particularly unique talents and core competencies. In the beginning of this series I mentioned that everything I am sharing is based upon my personal experience. That’s important to reiterate because we all may not be going about using the tools of LinkedIn in the same way to achieve our individual goals. True, we are seeking jobs but those jobs and how we go about landing them is likely to be as different as each individual.

Take my job search strategy for example. After being a cubicle rat doing editorial work for over 20 years, I was set in my ways. Like some of you, I suddenly found myself having to rethink how and what work I was now going to do. I strongly believe you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it, and that you should grow where you’re planted. Keeping that in mind, it was tough trying to find the same kind of work without moving somewhere else. Instead, I decided to embark on a new pursuit and seriously become an established author. Writing was something I had done continuously all of my life and my former editorial profession now seemed like a stepping stone. That’s the point in my journey where reality also had to seriously come into play. As many of you are probably aware, the publishing industry has changed almost as drastically as the job market.

Make Yourself Informed
If I wanted to be a successful writer and author, I had to first understand the current trends and the market. The explosion of electronic media not only opened new opportunities for job seeking but it also created a whole new venue for publishing. People no longer had to go through the painstakingly arduous task to find a literary agent to land a publisher; they could skip that process and go straight to electronic publication via any number of Self-Publishers, Independent Publishers, and do-it-yourself platforms. Devices like the Kindle and the Nook made this fast lane to publication very inviting but some old traditions die hard, like the printed book. That’s where I am. I was determined to go the Traditional Publishing route to establish for myself a platform as a nationally recognized author. Since that goal is almost akin to becoming an athletic rock star, some serious work had to be done. Work is what we’re all looking for, right? The question was how do I work and write at the same time?

If I could become a freelance writer or contract editor to pay my bills, then I could also keep writing and seek a publisher for my novels. So, like every serious job seeker should do, I did some research on my goal. Some supplemental reading helped get me started. I read the books, How to Get Happily Published by Judith Appelbaum and My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire by Michelle Goodman. These two sources informed me of ways to reach my goal. Blending
them together in a job search strategy was where the Pro-Net Professionals group and LinkedIn helped me.

Plan Your Own Work Search Strategy
You see, most of you probably are simply looking to find a job. I, on the other hand, had chosen a bit more complicated plan. I wanted to continue writing and seeking a publisher for my novels but at the same time needed to have a job. When I became aware of the features available with LinkedIn my own work search strategy began to come together.

Article reference from Poets & Writers
A year ago, I started out building a LinkedIn Profile that presented to the www my skills as an editor and writer. Using as many of the features as possible to go beyond the confining design of resumes, I worked to establish both a means to find freelance and contract work and networking. I’ve been seeking networking with other writers, authors, and eventually publishers. To do this I had to use the Jobs, Company, Contacts, and other LinkedIn features to establish contacts and associations that could be beneficial in furthering my eventual goals. I also found information sources outside of LinkedIn that looked at LinkedIn from my own particular writing perspective for effective use,  That’s why sometimes when I illustrate a particular LinkedIn page image, to display a function, in some of these articles the content viewed doesn’t always relate to what most job seekers may be looking for. If the example helps demonstrates to you how working a job search strategy using LinkedIn can work for you, then it’s been effective.

Find Your Dreams at Last
At the beginning of this article I said that effective use of LinkedIn will produce results for you. I’ve been doing freelance editing. I now have a couple of production houses considering my contract services for future projects. My Profile has been getting pulled up in the Keyword searches of recruiters. In just the past four weeks, I have been contacted by four separate recruiters who are trying to match up my skills with employers they are working to find employees for.

I’ve been asked to share what I have learned about using LinkedIn. This Friday, I will be giving a presentation at the Daytona Beach CBE One-Stop on How to Make a LinkedIn Profile and Use LinkedIn. This may be my last presentation and article. Next Monday, I begin fulltime temporary work as the result of one of my LinkedIn Contacts. All of the activity and my new job can be attributed to effective use of LinkedIn. LinkedIn can gain you attention too. It may not be the exact way that LinkedIn helped me but it’s certainly a tool you should seriously consider in your own work search strategy. Best to you!

Larry French is a novelist, speaker, editorial writer, and content provider of Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Mathematics curriculum. He is now seeking a publisher for his first novel, Time Will Tell, The Awakening which blends his love of history and science and is set during the American Civil War.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is Your Answering Machine Costing You Jobs?

Posted by: Darlene Duncan CWDP, JSS, CCC, JCTC, JCDC
Training Coordinator

What do people hear when they call you and get either your answering machine or your voice mail?

You may think that your two year old telling people Mommy or Daddy can’t come to the phone right now is cute. However, a potential employer may not agree.

Perhaps you have the television blaring in the background while you record the message callers hear or maybe you intentionally played your favorite song as part of that message. Neither of those is going to help you get a job.

We all like to demonstrate our individuality and some choose to do that through their answering machine/voice mail message. However, during your job search is not the time to be a non-conformist.

When job searching, how employers perceive you is of vital importance to you. You want them to view you as a responsible adult capable of excelling in the position for which you’re applying. Toward that goal your answering machine/voice mail message needs to be short and businesslike.

Something like this, “You have reached 999-999-9999. Please, leave a brief message including your phone number after the beep and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you.”

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tips for organizing your job search

By: Lori McMullin, APR

Director of Business Operations & Communications

Center for Business Excellence

Sometimes, devising an organized system you will actually use is a major key to feeling more in control. This applies to job search, home life, work projects, volunteering, etc. You get the picture.

Whether you like to get organized in an electronic fashion, by paper or some combination, you have to choose something that will work for you.

Here is a link to some interesting tips regarding job search, but again, seem to apply to almost anything:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Using LinkedIn to Find Employment
By Larry French

At some point in your life you may have to make changes that are totally outside your comfort zone. I know because I’ve been living it ever since I was laid off. That event in my life is what prompted me to embark on the job search journey that lead me to learning about LinkedIn.

As I’ve stated in previous articles, LinkedIn is a tool that you can use in your own job search strategy. When I first began my job search, I went about it the same way I did more than 20 years ago. But then I realized things today were different. Newspapers weren’t posting employment ads like they did in the past. Any advertised job opening notices were pretty scarce. I also found that I could send out hundreds of resumes and never get a response. The search methods I had once used weren’t working in our current market place. I had to get updated.

Adapt or Stay Unemployed
Except of Lindsey Pollak Linkedin Blog Post
I got out of my comfort zone and started looking into the resources of the CBE and PRO-NET.  In that effort I began seriously exploring what LinkedIn was and how it might help me in my own job search strategy. I’ve learned a lot in over a year. I’ve been using LinkedIn as a tool to get myself back into the job market. Being an educator it naturally was only a matter of time and I found myself sharing what I had learned. That’s how this series of articles came about.

The foremost thing I have learned in this present job market is that it is possible to be successful in your job search. It’s a process that takes effort and learning, but is is possible. So, now that I’ve acquainted you with some of the basics of LinkedIn, it’s time to begin looking with detail into some of its functions. Here again, you can find some good information out there on the www and on LinkedIn. Check out this LinkedIn blog post about the LinkedIn Job Search function, How LinkedIn Company Pages Can Help Your Job Search by Lindsey Pollak, April 5, 2012,

Also go to the CBE One-Stop Employment Division website at and check out the resources, such as the Job Seekers and Customized Services tabs. Schedule an appointment to meet with one of the staff to discuss your job search strategy and begin re-inventing yourself. Find the CBE Blog link and also check out the other articles posted to help you in your job search.

Larry French is a novelist, speaker, editorial writer, and content provider of Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Mathematics curriculum. He is now seeking a publisher for his first novel, Time Will Tell, The Awakening which blends his love of history and science and is set during the American Civil War.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Posted by: Darlene Duncan CWDP, JSS, CCC, JCTC, JCDC
Training Coordinator

I’m sure you remember hearing that question on a regular basis when you were growing up. Some of us had very definite ideas and others were all over the map. If you’re among today’s unemployed, that question once again has relevance for you.

Perhaps the career field you’ve been working in is going the way of the blacksmith. A lot of jobs that used to exist have either been automated out of existence or they’ve been combined with other jobs. These new combined jobs require more and different skills.

So regardless of your age and work experience you may be facing that question again, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Don’t look at this as an obstacle to overcome. Look at it as an opportunity. On average in our society we will each have about nine careers and probably three jobs in each of those career fields.

It’s not like you’re quitting a job to join the circus. It’s not like you’re being irresponsible and quitting a good job to go off on a quest for a childhood dream. You’re already unemployed. Since we spend more time on the job than we do with our families you really should pick a job you’re going to enjoy.

Don’t limit yourself to thinking like a responsible adult when you start thinking about what you want to do. Instead, perform your job search with the abandon of a youngster. The reality is that the possibilities are endless.

Take interest surveys and career assessments. Figure out where your abilities and interests intersect with the job market. Once you find that intersection start thinking about ways you can turn your abilities and interests into a money making proposition. Is there a job out there that matches up to you? Or are you one of those people with the self-discipline to be an entrepreneur?

Just remember that whatever route you choose, it will have its ups and downs and twists and turns. Every job has its negative aspects so pick something you’ll enjoy in spite of its negative parts.

Monday, April 16, 2012

How to build an amazing wardrobe on a budget

By Lori McMullin, APR, Director of Business Operations & Communications
Center for Business Excellence

As hiring starts to slowly pick up, many newly re-employed people are finding themselves in need of a wardrobe update. For most people, a new look makes them feel confident and invigorated.

Adding to the wardrobe a little at a time and following some tips can make it affordable as well. Ladies, check out this link for some good advice:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How Can LinkedIn Groups Help My Job Networking?
By Larry French

As mentioned in previous articles, your LinkedIn Profile will be a changing entity. As you learn how to use your Profile in your job search strategy, updates will become a routine process in developing your own effective LinkedIn Profile. In time, you will begin to receive definitive responses as a result. Now, let’s take a look at another one of the features you can use in your Profile, LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups
Image provided by LI
Remember, your LinkedIn Profile is a tool you can use in your job search strategy. Like any tool, it can be useful but will produce the best results when you use it for the right task. That’s where LinkedIn Groups can come into play. To help get your Profile noticed you want to participate in groups. The groups are a place where you can meet other professionals like yourself, find expert advice and share your knowledge and experience. To acquaint yourself with this LinkedIn feature, go to the ‘More’ tab on the tool bar at the top of your Profile page and select the Learning Center, and then choose the ‘Groups’ listing under Site Features in the sidebar.

Image provided by LI

Take the time to view the media clip that you find on the ‘Groups’ page of the Learning Center. This brief presentation will run you through the basics of what the Groups feature is all about. Then go to your own Profile and explore the Groups available to you. Look for Groups specific to your job search and also those associated with your geographical area. Use the Groups Directory. Select a group that seems like a good fit for your field of expertise. You may also wish to associate yourself with groups near your location (such as ProNet Central Florida, ProNet Central Florida Job Vacancies, Linked: Daytona, or Job Openings, Job Leads and Job Connections!). To join any group, simply click on your selection and follow the prompts to request admission to the group. You’ll receive a confirmation notice once you’ve been admitted.

Image provided from Larry’s LinkedIn Profile
Participate in Groups
Find a group or groups that match your job interests and skill sets and follow the conversations that go on. Look for topics or discussions you can comment on. By commenting on posts, you can respond to questions being asked and present yourself as an expert in your field. There is an option in discussions to acknowledge that you ‘like’ a comment someone has posted. You can also ask good questions on topics and participate. Your participation will add value to your Profile.

Keep in mind your activity in various Groups and Discussions is going to show up in your Profile Activity. Take a look at the example from my own Profile. This can gain the attention of people (recruiters/HR managers) who may be browsing LinkedIn looking for talent. Pulling up your activity in a Group can display at a glance the comments you’ve posted. This is one of the ways you can position yourself using LinkedIn to stand out and be noticed. It’s a quick way for a recruiter to find out just how knowledgeable you are.

Start a Group Discussion
Image provided from Larry’s LinkedIn Profile
In addition to joining in Group Discussions, also consider starting your own Group. If none of the groups you explore seem to match your own job strategy or work area, create one that does. For example, you could start a group discussion centered on your specific profession or on some aspect of your work that you could lend some expert advice on. Check out the LinkedIn Learning Center again for tips on doing this. You can invite other professionals on LinkedIn to join your group and interject comments to keep the discussion going. By doing all of this you increase your exposure on the www and gain the attention of would-be employers.

You will find that your reach for notice on the www will increase as you continue building your Profile and incorporating these tools in LinkedIn. This will work exponentially for you the more you add to your Contacts. Use your Contacts, Jobs, and Groups participation to build functionality into your job search strategy. LinkedIn can help you stand out and hopefully this series will you to do just that. If you find this series helpful engage in discussion at the CBE Blog, or if you’re already on LinkedIn join the ProNet Central Florida Group.

Larry French is a novelist, speaker, editorial writer, and content provider of Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Mathematics curriculum. He is now seeking a publisher for his first novel, Time Will Tell, The Awakening which blends his love of history and science and is set during the American Civil War.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Don’t Gamble With the State

Posted by: Darlene Duncan CWDP, JSS, CCC, JCTC, JCDC
Training Coordinator

Are you about to go back to work? Do you know when to notify the state unemployment office of your return to work?

Click here to read an article with information about when and what you have to report to the state unemployment office.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blending work and life

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

Center for Business Excellence

Keeping everything going is a difficult task these days. I’m one of those people who love work – it’s always been part of my identity and not just a paycheck. However, I also love my home life.

So, when my husband and I recently moved into a “fixer-upper,” it made balancing energy quite challenging. It bugs me to no end living in chaos in terms of a neat and orderly office or home. I see walls that scream, “Paint me!,” and wish I could wave a wand and they would look instantly awesome.

Anyway, I am trying really hard to chill out and take it one step at a time. The majority of my energy and concern really needs to be on some big projects at work right now. So, I did some searching and found tips on how to deal with balancing out. Check out this link:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How Can You Use LinkedIn Contacts for Job Networking?
By Larry French

The effectiveness of LinkedIn is its usefulness in helping you network electronically. LinkedIn can be a great tool in your job search strategy for making contacts with potential employers. This can be achieved by enlisting the aid of people you know as you continue to build your Profile.

Use Your Contacts
Image provided by LI
Go to the Contacts tab of your Profile and begin to build your network. Again, you may find going to the LinkedIn Learning Center helpful. In the Resources section under User Guides you’ll find the New User Starter Guide. This function of the Learning Center can walk you through the process of starting your LinkedIn networking Contacts. Follow the linked prompts to go to pages where you have the options of downloading existing databases of contacts you already have in your other social media. Using the New User Starter Guide you can import webmail contacts and establish a base for your LinkedIn networking.

Image provided by LI
As with many of the LinkedIn tools, if you don’t wish to import your webmail or other social media contact lists you can simply start setting up Contacts manually. Using the field at the top of your tool bar, use the scroll down to select ‘People’ and then type in the names of anyone you’d like to see is already in LinkedIn from your existing network of contacts. If you come up with someone who is already in LinkedIn you’ll be able to use various associations you have with that person or their email address to initiate an Invite to Connect.

Expand Your Network
You can also use the Contacts tab of your tool bar to Add Contacts, look for Colleagues, and People You May Know on LinkedIn. These features will allow you to pull up various windows that offer possible contacts you can choose to pursue. Using the Contact function of your LinkedIn Profile, you can begin to seek out not only people you know but specific individuals who may be associated with a particular employer you are seeking employment with. LinkedIn adds this electronic aspect to your job search strategy.

Image provided from Larry’s LinkedIn Profile
Similar to the networking you do personally; LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to reach out to people. Using the Search features in parts of the tool bar you can begin to seek people whom you can form associations with and work toward your ultimate goal. You want to build as wide a network of contacts as you can. For example, you can see by my own Network Statistics that I’ve gained a substantial amount of reach across the www through my contacts. Keep in mind this took me about a year to accomplish but you can do the same.

Hopefully, what you learn about using LinkedIn will help you make that bridge from online applications and make personal contact. It’s been helping me and that’s what this series is all about--sharing what I’ve learned so you can do it too. If you find this series helpful engage in discussion at the CBE Blog, or if you’re already on LinkedIn join the ProNet Central Florida Group.

Larry French is a novelist, speaker, editorial writer, and content provider of Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Mathematics curriculum. He is now seeking a publisher for his first novel, Time Will Tell, The Awakening which blends his love of history and science and is set during the American Civil War.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Nine Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview

Posted by: Darlene Duncan CWDP, JSS, CCC, JCTC, JCDC
Training Coordinator

Make your interview a bull’s eye by staying on target.

Interviews are hard to come by in today’s world, so when you get one you don’t want to mess it up by saying the wrong thing.

Click here to read an article about nine things you should never say in a job interview.