Monthly Archives: August 2011

Find a Job by Sharpening Your Soft Skills

Many qualified workers find themselves competing for a small number of jobs as the economy continues its slow recovery. In the wake of the recession, how will you stand out amongst the crowd of people applying for your job of choice?

Demonstrating your soft skills – your positive attitude, flexibility and ability to interact with other people – can help give you an edge when looking for a job. Potential employers want to see that you not only have the skills and knowledge to perform the technical requirements of the position, but also that you will be an energetic and motivated team player.

Soft Skills that Lead to Job Success

Ready to give yourself an edge in the employment hunt? Employers are looking for individuals who can demonstrate the following skills:

    • Teamwork and collaboration skills: While your job is unique to you, don’t forget that you’re also part of a larger team. Close relationships with coworkers can improve productivity and morale. Make sure that the workload is being shared and avoid unnecessary conflict whenever possible.


    • Enthusiasm: Showing excitement about your job shouldn’t end once you’ve aced the interviewed and landed the position. Demonstrate initiative and show your passion for your job by pursuing new and challenging work. Perform tasks before being asked and volunteer to take on additional responsibilities when possible.


    • Oral and written communication skills: Ideal employees know how and when to share their ideas and concerns with their supervisor. Instead of complaining about a stressful situation, explain what is happening and offer suggestions on how you could do your job more efficiently. And don’t forget to listen – employers report entry-level candidates often struggle with listening carefully. Ask questions and take notes to ensure you understand what is being said.


  • Professionalism: When you went on your interview, you made sure that you dressed to impress and were on your best behavior. Carry that attitude into your work life by wearing the appropriate attire for your work setting, arriving on time, turning off your cell phone and speaking in a respectful manner with everyone with whom you interact.

Learn more about improving your soft skills by checking out AOL’s “Top 10 Soft Skills for Job Seekers” and the DOL’s report, “Soft Skills: The Competitive Edge.”


By Jenni Baker
GII Sr. Communications Specialist

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Filed under Fashion, Grooming, Skill, Tool Box

Why is recruiting so hard if 9% of the workforce is unemployed?

We are in the most unique labor market I have ever seen. While there is clearly an abundance of people on the market either unemployed or under-employed, jobs are taking longer to fill and hiring managers are frustrated they can’t find the “right person.” Investment dollars are scarce so these employers are holding out for the candidate who is a safe bet to make an immediate impact.

The issue is rooted deeply in the changing patterns of how work gets done globally. Skills and specific experiences have the upper hand. Work in the US has undergone a steady shift over the last 20 years. Work requiring sweat but little experience has, for the most part, shifted to other parts of the globe or been replaced with technology.

The new environment requires new (and old) approaches to recruiting and finding jobs. It is all about matching the skills to the job. My view is that employers are not focused enough on attracting and retaining these hard to find skills. There is a perception, I believe, that talent is abundant and therefore the candidate should be grateful that I called. The truth is far from it.

If you look at unemployment rates by education (which I am using as a proxy for skills) you will see my point. The unemployment rate for unskilled, relatively untrained or uneducated workers is well over 15% while the rate for degreed (skilled) professionals is an un-recession like 5%.

So what do you do?

If you are looking for a job…Get training, leverage the skills you have or go back to school to pursue skills you are interested in. This issue isn’t going anywhere, in fact it’s will become more acute.

If you are looking for skilled talent, you must start thinking of the skilled worker as scarce not abundant. You need to pay more, make sure the environment is right and show them both a career path and learning opportunities. Remember, skills rule the day.

Tom Bodeep

Senior Vice President, Company-Owned Operations

TRC Staffing Services


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Filed under Initiative, Self-Improvement, Skill

Why Stress Yourself?

There are so many circumstances that individuals are faced with on a consistent daily basis that may cause stress.  Some of these stress factors, whether internal or external are challenges, difficulties and sometimes just unexpected situations that are due to our environment, jobs, relationships and our families.  Often, we may feel the pressures of these factors bombard us all at one time causing stress, anxiety and depression.  Stress is a known “silent killer.”  Stress has been a proven cause of heart attacks, aneurisms, ulcers and even fatalities.

In today’s economy individuals are stressing over unemployment as well as working jobs that require the labor of two people.  Being employed or unemployed can create a stressful environment, but we have to choose how to handle situations.  We, solely allow ourselves to become stressed.  I believe our attitude and how we respond to situations dictates the amount of stress we place upon ourselves.  So always try to keep a positive attitude about your situation or circumstance.  Don’t compound the problem with worry cause it only leads to stress and other illnesses. Remember, Nothing stays the same!

Bryant King

Career Connections Specialist

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Filed under Attitude, Health, Hope, Self-Improvement

There’s Sales in Everything

For several years prior to becoming employed in Work Force Development, I worked in sales. I hated it. However, I learned one great lesson during that time. Sales is in everything. Especially the job search process. Whether you are networking your heart out or in the actual interview, your productivity will be directly related to how well you sell yourself. The definition of a sale is the transfer of enthusiasm. When interviewing for a job, it’s your responsibility to display the enthusiasm you have towards the job and transfer that enthusiasm to the hiring manager. One of the best ways to do this comes from a type of sales known as “Needs Based Selling.” The companies you apply to have needs that must be met. You have skills and talents that meet these needs. However, unless you know how to sell your skills and talents the company will never know. Here are a couple of tips on how to do this…


  1. Make a cheat sheet about your skills and talents. Write on a post it note at least two examples of your strongest assets that you want to make sure they know about you and stick it to the inside of your portfolio. Often times we find ourselves leaving an interview thinking “man I wanted to tell them about the time I…” Having a cheat sheet will help.
  2. Study the job description thoroughly. Prior to the interview you want to make sure you know as much as possible about the job so you can match your skills with the ones they need.
  3. Make sure you ask questions. The more you find out about the position, the more you can line up your experience with their needs. Here’s a good question to ask…“What would you consider to be the biggest challenges facing this position in the next year?”

John Westbrook

Youth Development Specialist

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Filed under Interview, Self-Improvement, Tool Box

True or false: 80% of openings are never advertised

How many corporations and government institutions do you know of that do not post their jobs publicly?

Consider any organization with more than 300 workers. Go to the website of a Fortune 500 company and find the  job listings section. You will likely see pages and pages of job vacancies.

For most organizations, there is no reason to hide the job openings that they have available. It will only benefit them to let the world know that they are seeking candidates. A notable exception includes executive level positions that are of a sensitive nature and the company will use a headhunter instead of advertising a job. Additionally, organizations with smaller budgets cannot pay for advertising at all, but this is only a handful of employers.

So can it be true, as is often said, that 80% of jobs are never advertised and they remain hidden?

Where that number really comes from

The 80% number may come from a business interpretation of the word “advertise”.

When one advertises their services, they are paying for them. There are many ways to publicly announce a job without taking out a paid announcement on a job board or providing a listing in the classifieds. Possibilities to share your job opening without paying for it would include listings on Yahoo/Google/LinkedIn groups, job boards that do not require a fee, industry blogs, bulletin boards, social media as well as the official company website.

The 80% figure has taken on a life of its own as a fact for years and years. I have certainly heard it many times from job seekers in my eight years as a Career Coach in New York.  We hear it repeated so many times that it is often difficult to dispute.

The truth is that most jobs are advertised, but it is hard to stand out above the crowd in order to get consideration for the job.

According to a report conducted by Jobs2Web in 2010, the chances that you will be the one to get the job that you apply for on a major job board are less than half a percent!

Although the chance for finding success seems daunting, a job does not need to be ‘hidden’ in order for you to find positive results. Take a more dynamic path than everyone else in order to increase your success rate.

Some of those techniques would include:

tailoring your resume/cover letter to the needs of the employer for every job
finding job listings off of the major job boards (on company websites, LinkedIn, community message boards, etc.), and…
finding an advocate within the company to submit your resume.
Be dynamic, don’t believe everything you hear and stay determined in order to find the next great opportunity.

About the Author
Lavie Margolin is a Career Coach and the author of “Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers”. Lavie has presented at community events, workshops and conferences and has been quoted on job search related topics in media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, and CBS MarketWatch. With readers in over 100 countries, his website has been named a Top 50 career coaching resource.

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Filed under Network, Tool Box, Unexpected

Don’t Do It

Remember that the whole point of a resume is to get an interview.  Some people treat resumes as Curriculum Vitae, listing every job, duty and accomplishment since they entered the workforce.  You want a resume to impress employers and show them you are capable of performing the job duties.  With that said, remember NOT to include the following:

1.     Your birthdate, year of high school graduation or any other indicator of age.  The person reviewing the resume may think, “This person is too young to do this job”, or “This person is too old to do this job”.
2.    Inappropriate email addresses.  We have warned you of this before! Remember, the more boring, the better.
3.    Personal information which may contain or suggest discriminatory information such as sexual preference or religion.  All information in a resume needs to be professional (unless it directly pertains to the open position), so don’t include hobbies, either.
4.    References.  Giving out personal information such as addresses and cell phone numbers to every prospective employer may indicate a lack of respect.  Type a separate page in the same font as your resume and give out only when requested.
5.    Irrelevant job experience.  If you have performed duties in the food service industry and in construction, have two separate resumes.  Use the header Relevant Work Experience and include jobs that show you have the experience.
6.    Social Security Number-the basis for identity theft.  This should be guarded information.
7.    Salary history or requests.  Again, employers may make assumptions based on your previous rate of pay.  If the position you have applied for pays much more than you have made in the past, the company may assume you will work for less.  After all, you have in the past.  If the position pays less, they may not offer the job in fear that you won’t accept or will be expecting a raise soon.
8.    Grammatical errors or typos.  This is your first impression.  If you don’t take the time to proofread and produce quality results, what does that say about your job performance? Will this person take the time at work to make sure that quality is priority?
9.    Bashing of previous employers.  Any negative comments will be a direct reflection on the type of person you are, not the previous employer.  This is the quickest way to NOT get a job.

Carrie Cole

Career Connections Manager

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Filed under Interview, Resume