Find Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

In this age of layoffs and rampant unemployment, one option is to start your own venture.  I believe that everyone has their own talents and skills that can be transferred into services that people want and need.  I think there are people out there who have the creativity and adeptness at making new ideas into reality.  With more people continuing to be unemployed, this is the perfect time for people to leverage their all their skills, talents, creativity and know-how into their own business.  There are plenty of job sites where people can freelance their services.  There are programs out there to get training, some for cheap or free.  There are plenty of teleseminars you can access on the net to learn and get ideas for what other people are doing that one can make their own.  I question why would someone want to remain out of work when you have skills and experiences that could turn into a service or product that people want and need.   I read a story today that referenced a woman in Florida who was an administrative assistant in a past life before she was laid off; she has sent hundreds of resumes with no luck.  I don’t know why she has not looked at becoming a Virtual Assistant and using all her administrative talents to help small business owners – I could use one!

As a career coach, I see the pain that some people are going through – the blockages created in their own mind.  I enjoy helping people to uncover their strengths and see the potentials that await them.  Of course, there are some people who do “better” in an office environment; out economy wouldn’t survive without them.  And then there are people who can’t handle being their own boss.  I don’t think they’re “lost”.  They just need the right tools – opening up their mind to the potentials, banishing the negative thoughts and self-talk,  and having the right resources – to bring services to people who need them and increase our financial economy.  I believe that should be a message given to people.  Organizations would help themselves, as well as those employees that are being laid off, by providing, or encouraging them, the services of a career coach who could help them prevent the discouraging feelings, help them uncover skills and how to leverage them, tap into effective coping skills, and help them navigate their job search.  If anything, we would have emotionally stronger individuals who will come out on the positive side of this downturn.

Making the Most of a Career/Job Fair

Career fairs are a great way to find a job; however, it takes knowledge, preparation and saavy to navigate one successfully.  How do you stand out in a crowd of 2,000 or more and get the attention of a handful of employers?

Here are some tips to help you from preparation through the job fair and after:

Preparing for the Career/Job Fair:

1. Make sure you have an updated resume that highlights your skills and experience and that quantifies your benefits

2. Research companies attending the fair to see which ones you want to target and then learn more about those companies

3. Pull together a professional outfit; also, make sure your hair and nails are clean and styled

4. Get a babysitter for your children – do NOT bring them

5. Prepare a short, 30- or 60-second commercial of how you will introduce yourself and what benefits you offer.  Tie this in with your brand – what are you known for?

Things to Bring to the Career/Job Fair:

  • Copies of your resume (25-50), depending on the size of the even and number of employers you want to see
  • A briefcase or professional-looking notepad or binder
  • A networking card that lists your contact info and your 60-second commercial
  • Your 60-second commercial
  • Information about the companies you are interested in speaking with
  • A list of questions you may want to ask employers
  • Energy – show your excitement

At the Fair:

  • Have a plan or strategy on how you get in front of employers
  • Arrive early to secure a good spot and ensure you will get representatives while they are fresh
  • Once inside, locate where your targeted companies are
  • Make sure you extend you hand for a professional handshake – firm but not too strong or too wimpy
  • Ask your questions and how they relate to your career goal
  • Ask what are the next steps for after

After the Fair:

  • Be sure to send a handwritten note or card to each employer you spoke with to thank them for their time, to reiterate your tag line or benefit to them
  • Express your interest in a meeting or to have further discussion
  • Follow-up on others you may have networked with – you never know who they know!

These are some tips to help you make the most out of a career/job fair and to be effective as a job search strategy.  What other tips have you found that have led you to be successful at a job/career fair you’ve attended?

How do You Find a Job with Limited Skills?

Most career-related articles are directed towards higher level, or white-collar workers.  These are displaced workers who held professional-level jobs and who have the education, skills and experience that will take them forward to employment; it is easier for them to find a job.  But what about those individuals who may have limited skills or lack the education or experience.  What can they do to find a job?

Some of these individuals may only have a high school diploma, or may not have finished high school.  Others may have a language barrier or have never worked.  For these individuals, it will be more difficult to find employment but it is not impossible.

1. Just as those with more education and experience, it starts with knowing exactly what skills and experience you possess.  A job search plan is necessary to focus your efforts so you are not expending time and energy on wasted effort.

2.  Getting job-search help is a necessity, such as through the One Stop Workforce or similar programs.  Look where you might be able to get some training or schooling – there are opportunities through the stimulus program.

3. Attend job fairs or networking events – these are great opportunities to find numerous employers in one location

4. Have a resume that highlights your skills and talents.  Show any volunteering or classes taken.  Highlight outcomes or benefits you possess.

5.  Look the part – make sure you dress appropriatly at all times.  If you are going to an interview, are out networking or applying for jobs, make sure you wear dress pants and shirt.  Look like you are at work; it will help set you apart from the competition and show a potential employer that you are serious about working.

There’s no doubt about it, it’s tough out there.  There are jobs available but with a flooded market of job seekers, it is more difficult to find the ways to stand out.  It’s not impossible but it does take persistance and dilligence.  Find ways for relaxation to relieve stress and seek out supports to help you through.  Above all, never quit.

Political Skills as a Deterrent for Stress

Do you ever wonder why there are some employees or managers who deal with  a high level of daily stress do not burn out? Some researchers have shown that one’s political skills help them deal with stressful situations.  Here are some skills that are most useful:

1. Using practical intelligence as opposed to analytical or creative intelligence

2. Being calculated and shrewd about social connections

3. Inspiring trust and confidence

4. Ability to deal with individuals who have a wide variety of backgrounds, styles, and personalities

To summarize, these skills can be learned but need focus and attention in order to adopt these behaviors.  When you understand that these skills help you not to react to adverse situations in the workplace, you will be less frustrated or stressed and will feel more positive.  This can equate to increased job satisfaction and involvement in your work.  Do you possess these skills? Which do you use?

Fired Over Facebook Picture

I read with interest a recent article from Dear Abby (May 4, 2010).  A man writes that on the first day of his wife’s work, she was called into the human resources director’s office and told she was being “let go” because of her Web site.  The site had photos of her when she worked as a model at a department store. He stated that the pictures were not provacative and that photos of their children were also on the site.  The HR director told the wife that one of the (internal) applicants had seen the site and made a complaint over one image, which led to the wife’s termination.  They consulted an attorney, as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and were told that they lived in an “at will” state, which entitled the employer to fire the employee without fault. 

The response was that if you live in at “at will” state, employers can fire you for any reason, unless there is a written contract, or for illegal reasons, such as age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.  The employer was found not at fault in this situation.  I hope this is a “wake-up call” for all of you who post pictures of yourself drinking or in other compromising situations, as well as the words you post.  Employers are looking at these social networking sites to see the quality of employee; this is their way to ‘weed out’ the numerous applicants they have.   This kind of tactic stinks, frankly, but that is the current state in the world of work.

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