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CareerSource • May 19, 2009

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May 19, 2009 • CareerSource

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CareerSource • May 19, 2009

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EMPLOYMENT

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May 19, 2009 • CareerSource

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Issue #214

Table of

EMPLOYMENT

On The Cover:

Unitek College (see ads on pgs. 4 & 11)

FEATURE CareerSmart Become Three Times More Likely to Get Hired........... 6

EDITORIALS Job-Search Refresher 6 Tips to Help Secure Your Next Job........................... 8 References and Recommendation Letters................. 12 Publishers Don Ditlevsen • Gregg Kirksey Graphic Design/Production Itay Kapitulnik Contributing WriterS Arthur I. Frank, Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Maureen Crawford Hentz Circulation Circulation Management, Inc. • S.F. Bay Distributers Publishers Flag Distributing • Newspaper Taxi Editorial & Advertising Office 5610 Scotts Valley Dr. Ste. 516, Scotts Valley, CA 95066 Tel: 831-430-0839 • Fax: 831-430-0698 Pick Up CareerSource for Free at: Book Stores • Shopping Centers • Job Fairs Post Offices • Libraries • Career Centers and many more! Over 1,500 pick up locations in the Bay Area CareerSource copyright 2009. CareerSource Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States. CareerSource is published once a month and distributed free. All manuscripts submitted at owners risk; all become property of the publisher. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission from the publisher is prohibited. To receive a 1 year subscription send a check for $20 with your name and address to: CareerSource Magazine, 5610 Scotts Valley Dr. Ste 516, Scotts Valley, CA 95066, Attn: Subscriptions. This publication does not knowingly accept deceptive or misleading advertising. Any job offer requiring an investment should be thoroughly investigated.

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EMPLOYMENT CAREERSMART

Become Three Times More Likely to By Arthur I. Frank Research done by the executive search industry has shown that the first person interviewed gets the job only 17.6 percent of the time. But the last person interviewed is hired almost 56 percent of the time, or more than three times more frequently.

Get Hired

The reason: As in most human endeavors, people are wary of accepting the first choice offered. Therefore, do what you can to position yourself among the last candidates interviewed, and definitely not among the first. Other reasons include corporate inertia. It’s often customary to move at a glacial pace. The sense of urgency may not exist at the beginning of a search. Wait 10 days to two weeks before responding to a helpwanted appeal. (Aged ads are excellent for this purpose). If you have a good relationship with your executive recruiter, ask him or her to wait it out and not propose you too early. And if the interviewer asks you when you can set up an appointment, push the day back as far as possible. Other studies have shown that Monday is the worst day of the week to be interviewed for a job. The worst time for an interview is late afternoon. Let’s examine this guideline one step further. Research indicates that almost two-thirds of the time the best qualified candidates don’t get the offer, and the person chosen often meets fewer than 50 percent of the job qualifications. How can this be? The reason is because job offers are given most frequently to those candidates who, regardless of formal qualifications promote themselves best, intimidate least and listen the most. Strong listening skills allow the candidate to determine or uncover just what the interviewer is looking for. This approach provides a perfect way to maximize your opportunity to sell what your prospective employer is buying. When you have this vital piece of intelligence, you have everything you need to make a masterful presentation. A by-product of this is likeability. After qualifications, the most important reason an employer will advance your candidacy is because he or she likes you. And the easiest way to get other people to like you at the start of your relationship is to listen to them attentively. Proceed from there to develop a mental database consisting of past situational anecdotes describing how you achieved success in similar situations. Use the CAB formula to respond to certain questions especially tough ones. Describe the Challenge confronting you, the Action you took and the Benefit gained. Arthur I. Frank, MBA, of Palm Harbor, FL, operates Resumes “R” Us and specializes in resume and cover letter writing, personal job-search coaching, salary negotiation training, and interview training.

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CAREER TRAINING

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CareerSource • May 19, 2009

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EDITORIAL

Job-Search Refresher:

6 Tips to Help Secure Your Next Job By Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. It seems like just about every time you turn around, some blog, newspaper, radio station, or television show is offering job-seekers “insider” tips for finding a job. But job-hunting is simply not that complicated. In fact, you should be able to easily obtain at least one job offer simply by following the six job-hunting tips in this article. No secrets or insider information -- just straightforward expert advice designed to help you find new employment and land your next job. 1. It’s all about your network. Whether you feel you have an extremely small network or are blessed with a large and connected network, the way to your next job is through the people you know. The vast majority of jobs are filled through referrals -- through people recommending someone they know for a position. The vast majority of jobs are not found through responding to job listings or posting your resume on job boards, but through networking. So, the first step when you are looking for a new job is to tell everyone in your network about the job you are seeking. Even when not job-hunting, your goal should be to stay in touch with your network while also expanding it by joining professional and community organizations.

see in the third tip, you can also build and maintain relationships with people online. 2. Knowledge is power, thus researching prospective employers is essential. Make no mistake; the jobseekers with the best success in job-hunting are those who have thoroughly researched prospective employers -- both from a standpoint of whether the organization’s mission, focus, and culture are a fit, as well as understanding the company -- its strengths and weaknesses, key needs, and competitive information. Job-seekers can use research throughout the jobsearch, from an initial search for developing a list of prospective employers to target, to uncovering people in those companies to network with, to succeeding in the job interview. The job-seeker who can persuasively respond to the why do you want to work here and what do you know about our company questions and who can propose solutions to an underlying problem, demonstrate strategies for increasing revenues, or present ideas for saving the company money is the one who will get the job offer. 3. Use the Web to build your reputation and your network. There’s no question that the Internet has to play a key role in your next job-search, but perhaps not the way you thought. The Web’s power in assisting your successful job-search is not through your spending countless hours on Monster or other unfocused job boards, but through you using the Web to build your reputation and expand your network. All professionals should have a LinkedIn membership, which allows you to develop a page that can function as your online resume and recommendation page, while also providing you with the venue for finding and networking with others in your field (or from your previous jobs and educational institutions). You might also stay active in a social networking site, such as Facebook, but keep your profile clean.

Another great tool for expanding your network -- especially for new college grads and graduate students -- is targeting key professionals within your career field and requesting informational interviews. Networking is best when done in person, but as you’ll 8

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The best strategy for those with even just a bit of Web savvy is to buy your name (or some variation of it) as a domain name and develop a small Website that showcases your talents, skills, education, and accomplishments. You could publish anything from your resume to a full online portfolio of your work. WWW.CAREERSOURCEMAGAZINE.COM


4. Customize cover letters and resumes to each opportunity. In applying for a position with an organization, submit a customized resume and cover letter that each are tailored to the specific job requirements, utilizing the same keywords the employer uses to describe the opening. Even better, use some of the same words to describe yourself as the employer uses to describe the organization. If you’ve never written a resume -- or haven’t in a long time -- read up on the current trends and styles for developing your resume, while remembering that your resume is a marketing document designed to help you get that job interview. My partner, Katharine Hansen, suggests there are only two real unbreakable rules of resumes: do not lie and have no typos or misspellings. 5. Prepare thoroughly for job interviews. Determine the type of interview and interview questions, develop thorough responses to the questions, and run through a few practice interviews. The best way to uncover the type of interview(s) to expect is simply to ask your contact at the organization. Then find sample interview questions and compose short, but focused responses that include an element of storytelling to help you remember (but not memorize) the responses. Finally, practice interviews give you a chance to receive critical feedback on your performance and make adjustments before the actual interview. Remember that everything counts in the interview -from the impressions you make with the receptionist and support staff to your nonverbal behaviors during WWW.CAREERSOURCEMAGAZINE.COM

the interview to the depth and quality of your interview questions responses. 6. Stay proactive and follow up all job leads and after every interview. If any of these tips has the potential to be an insider secret, perhaps its following up, since so few job-seekers seem to understand the concept. The idea behind follow-up is keeping your name in front of the hiring manager -- by ensuring she has all the information about you she needs, composing thankyou letters to each person who interviews you, and updating the hiring manager with any new information about your qualifications for the position. In terms of thank-you notes, the best method is sending an email thank-you shortly after your interviews, followed by a more traditional thank-you (typed or hand-written) sent by postal mail. Final Thoughts Finding a good job with an employer that’s a good match for you usually takes a lot of time and effort on your part. If you take job-hunting as seriously as you take your job or schooling -- putting in the long hours of research and dedication -- the efforts should result in multiple job leads and at least one new job offer. Using the tips in this article should lay the foundation Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. CareerSource • May 19, 2009

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CAREER TRAINING

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May 19, 2009 • CareerSource

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CAREER TRAINING

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CareerSource • May 19, 2009

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EDITORIAL How to Obtain and Use

References and Recommendation Letters

By Maureen Crawford Hentz As a job-seeker, one of your most important assets is your stock of professional references. Both letters and phone recommendations can elevate a good candidate to a top choice and drop a good candidate down to the no-longer-considered pile. It’s important that you manage your recommendations carefully to leverage them in the best possible way.

Job References: The most important thing is to ask people who have good things to say about you to be your references. This advice seems to be obvious, yet I can’t count the number of times that I have checked references and gotten mixed reviews. When you ask for references, I recommend doing so via an indirect method, such as email. Indirect approaches allow a recommender to decline much more easily than a direct approach. Again, you want a good reference, so if you are not sure if you will get one, give the recommender an out by phrasing your inquiry this way: “Bridget, I plan to begin a quiet job search in the next two weeks. Do you feel you know me well enough to provide a reference about my leadership/basketball/conflict management/accounting skills?” If the recommender declines, don’t be angry -- be thankful. Unless the reference is glowing, you don’t want it -- even a lukewarm or I-don’t-really-know-her-very-well reference can be damaging. Collect letters of recommendation from colleagues and supervisors at every position. Today’s job searches go quickly, and a fast search timeline may make it difficult to secure letters of recommendation. Avoid this scenario by asking for letters of recommendation for your “file.” About two weeks before you leave a position, but after you have given your notice, ask for a letter that you can keep on file for any future job searches, grant applications, or fellowships. If you are consistent, you will have a number of recommendations ready to go at any time they are needed. Don’t just ask supervisors for recommendations, however, think of colleagues you’ve worked well with, and if possible, try to get a letter from someone who has worked for you. It’s OK to be directive with your referees (nicely of course). Assign each a role: “Amy, I’d like your reference to focus on my leadership skills;” “Cathy, please focus your discussion on how well I work in teams;” “Mrs. Sizemore, can you emphasize my ability to work on short deadlines?” In this way, your recommendations can be tailored not only toward the type of work you did with the referee, but the skills that stood out the most. Keep in touch with your references. As you progress in your job search, keep your references up to date. It is always helpful for them to have a copy of the job description and the company. Make them aware that they may be called and give a timeframe for the contact. You may also want to give your reference some direction at this time. For example: “During the interview, the director of HR, Ms. Grutman, kept asking me questions about my ability to prioritize tasks. I get the feeling this skill is a big deal for them. When you talk to her, can you work that in?”

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As important as keeping your references up to date during the search is thanking them afterwards. Regardless of the outcome of the search, let your references know what happens, and be sure to extend your thanks for their efforts, particularly if they had to produce a letter quickly for you. Tips for Obtaining Stellar Recommendation Letters Always give your reference-writer plenty of time. Nothing is worse than a rushed letter. Make sure that asking someone to write you a letter or recommendation and giving them the materials to do so are separate processes. If you aren’t sure you can withstand rejection, send an email to you a potential reference. A good way to request a reference -- even from an old employer or professor is: “Dear Professor Crawford, I was a student in your Feminist Legal Theory class in 2001 at Pace University School of Law. You may remember that I wrote my final paper on Harriet Beecher Stowe. I am currently applying to be a clerk for the Supreme Court, and am wondering if you would feel comfortable writing a reference for me?” If the person says yes, then send the forms to him/her. As difficult as it may be to hear, you want to give someone the opportunity to say no to serving as a reference for you. A lukewarm letter is a bad reflection on you for a number of reasons -- the most important of which is: “Didn’t she know anyone who could write her a better letter? Is this her best reference?” Always provide your reference a copy of the position description (for a job) or the program description (for graduate school) and a current copy of your resume. No one can know everything about you, and it’s very helpful to have the entire picture. Ask your reference to address specific skills and competencies in his/her letter. Dividing responsibilities in references is a very smart strategy. One reference can address not only your great personality, but also your event-planning skills. Another can address your super personality but highlight your counseling and disciplining skills. Always, always, always thank your reference-writer. The writer took time to compose a letter for you - you should at the very least return the favor. Similarly, keep your reference writer in the loop -- did you get the job? Get into the program? When you do, write another thank-you note. Maureen Crawford Hentz is the director of career services at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston. An independent career and HR consultant she has been working with career-seekers for 10 years. She has a master’s degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University. A popular conference lecturer, she specializes in large and small specially designed workshops for professional organizations, students and environmental groups. Her most popular career workshops address topics including: Non-Verbal Techniques To Use During an Interview; Powerful Resumes; and Interviewing Etiquette You’ve Never Even Thought About. She has a particular interest in job-searching techniques for differently-abled candidates, new grads, and career changers. WWW.CAREERSOURCEMAGAZINE.COM


CAREER TRAINING

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CAREER TRAINING

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CAREER TRAINING

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CAREER TRAINING

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CAREER TRAINING

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CAREER TRAINING

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CareerSource Magazine Issue 214