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Thursday, August 21, 2014

From the New York Times: Seeking New Start, Finding Steep Cost

Workforce Investment Act Leaves Many Jobless and in Debt

(Editor's Note) Millions of Americans have trained for new careers through the $3.1 billion Workforce Investment Act, but many have not found the promised new career and are instead faced with thousands of dollars of debt. 

"When the financial crisis crippled the construction industry seven years ago, Joe DeGrella’s contracting company failed, leaving him looking for what he hoped would be the last job he would ever need.

"He took each step in line with the advice of the federal government: He met with an unemployment counselor who provided him with a list of job titles the Labor Department determined to be in high demand, he picked from among colleges that offered government-certified job-training courses, and he received a federal retraining grant..."

"I've worked my whole life," said DeGrella, who had hoped for a new start as a cardiology technician, but has yet to find a job in the field. "I'm just angry that I was trying to improve myself and my situation, and end up $20,000 in debt."

CLICK HERE to read the entire New York Times Article. 

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Unemployed Blacklisting: 4 Ways to Overcome Long-term Unemployment on Your Resume

How to get a job
when you don't already
have a job? ...

4 "known-to-work" ideas

By Lawrence M. Light,

The trend, for some time now, has been for employers (and recruiters) to want to go after those who already have a job before they'll consider hiring them for a new job.

The New York Times, in a recent article entitled "When Being Jobless is a Barrier to Finding a Job" formally identifies this practice and suggests that New York City may adopt a law to allow such applicants to sue the employers in question (eighteen other states seem to be close to adopting similar laws).

BUT, and a big BUT, we all know that it's hard to prove that such a practice exists and, if it surfaces, it would be a long battle for an individual worker to successfully pursue it.

From an employer's point of view, by the way, this thinking is completely justified. Their belief is that people who are employed are among the best candidates because, unlike those who have been unemployed for some time, they aren't dispirited ... are using their skills successfully ... aren't "rusty" ... and don't have outdated skills. So it follows that, given the terrible competition out there, when a job listing gets hundreds of responses, an employer can be as picky and choosy as he or she likes.

So ... what can you, as an individual, do about it, especially if you're one of those people who haven't been able to find, or get, a job for some time now?

This is the question I've been asked by clients regularly. It's not an easy question to answer, and it's not always easy to do what I'm suggesting. But I honestly believe, if you'll follow these suggestions through with me, you'll begin to understand what you, as someone who really wants to get back to work, can do when presenting yourself to a recruiter and/or a potential employer.

To prepare yourself, you have to be brutally frank with yourself, not always an easy thing to do. If you were an Olympics contender, a runner, but you hadn't run a race in a year, you know you'd have to work extra hard to get back in shape. Think of yourself in such a race, up against the best of the rest, and begin doing the following to make certain you're the one who will pull out ahead of the pack.

#1 SHOW NO GAPS ON YOUR RESUME. Many of my clients build "consulting" engagements around their skills. Do bookkeeping for a local business. Program for your local church. Teach a Sunday school class. Work at a friends' business. Take a part-time job and show achievements in it. Fill that time up seamlessly. One woman I worked with was an excellent highly paid sales person who took a year off to teach Pilates. She was afraid of the "gap". What she finally realized was there was no gap in what she's done because the Pilates gig meant she had to keep her clients satisfied, selling them regularly on coming to class and working out, and it was even more demanding than her prior sales position. So, because she "got" it, there was no gap, not in her mind. (She also networked very well -- more on that.) She got the job and was back earning the top dollar income she had before she left.

#2 NETWORK. Network, network, network! Learn how to do it. As my friend, an astute coach himself, says, "If you have a job opening, and you know about somebody out there who's a friend who can fill it, you'd be stupid not to call them (even if they're out of work)." Networking is one of the most valuable habits you can develop. The woman mentioned above also networked right back into the job, even though she'd been "off" for a year; the best employer in her field knew of her reputation and their employees still knew her because she had maintained contact with them. But, please, learn how to network correctly so you don't "burn" up your network.

#3 MAKE SURE YOUR SKILLS ARE ALL UP-TO-DATE. There's nothing so pathetic as a person who isn't up to date on the skills his or her profession demands. If it's computer skills, take a night course. If it has to do with being up to date on what's happening in your industry, networking can serve as a learning tool, believe it or not. Practice without pay, maybe by temping at a local merchant or "interning" at a non-profit. Nothing spells "being too old" as not being current. And show these current skills in your resume.

#3 FIND OUT WHAT'S SPECIAL ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN OFFER AN EMPLOYER. This can take some digging. I usually work with clients on this when writing or re-writing their resume. Every person has a special talent but are often much too close to it to recognize it or to verbalize it in their resume. Once you understand this, and can show it to the world, you can stand out in a crowd of applicants. NOTE: ... Whether or not you've been unemployed for sometime! It's important, mind you, not to let the length of your unemployment drag you down mentally (exactly as the Olympic runner can't let his/her morale slacken in training or the actual race.)

#4 FIND OUT WHAT 'PROBLEM" THE EMPLOYER HAS AND HOW YOU CAN HELP HIM/HER SOLVE IT. If you can learn how to "read" and deconstruct a job description, and you have networked enough to have inside knowledge of what's really happening in your field, you can often smoke out the real reason a given job has been posted for the public. By understanding this, you can present yourself (through your resume and cover letter and during an interview) as someone who can solve that problem. I'll never forget the HR group that hired someone I worked with; they did so strictly because he had experience dealing with unions (which they were deathly afraid of) and strikes (which he had settled); please note that he had taken ten -- yes, ten -- years off to run an antiques business before returning to HR!

We'd love to hear about your experiences, pro and con, in connection with this very unsettling subject. Please let us know in the space below. And, if you want more information about any of the subjects implied here, from "Powerhouse" Resumes, to Cover Letters, to Interviewing, to Networking you can Learn More Here or Buy Larry's Workshop Instantly Here.

49 Benefits To Hiring An Older Skilled Worker: Download Now.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Weird Job Wednesday -I just can't BEAR it!

Did you ever want to be a veterinarian or a surgeon? 

Do you want to be that special person that brings "life" back to torn and damaged stuffed animals?

 YOU CAN! You can become a TEDDY BEAR REPAIR TECHNICIAN... and YES, there are jobs available.   

Build-A-Bear Workshop, a $395M company employs technicians just to fix damaged bears, and they say that the most frequent trauma suffered is from dog attacks. We found some hospitals devoted to Bears online and  - Teddy Bear Hospital of Pittsburgh, but if you learn this skill, you could consider freelancing.

If you prefer to nurse injured human dolls perhaps American Girl Hospital is the career ever little girl dreams of. For more WEIRD JOBS visit us at Pinterest-WeirdJobWednesday


10 Ways To Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out. Back To The Future.

    Hundreds of resumes are flooding into many hiring and HR managers. So how do you get someones attention? Does your cover letter "kill" or get thrown in the "b" pile? Many of your comments indicate that some of you think that using a cover letter is a relic of the past. While others have discovered that a well crafted cover letter actually differentiated them from the herd of followers. To the none believers you can just keep filing out those online applications and HOPE for a response. But for those who are proactive and innovative a cover letter can lead to new opportunities. If you already found the perfect job you probably would not be reading this. So maybe its time to take a leap of faith "back to the future" with a well crafted cover letter.(Editor's Note)

Your cover letter is the first impression that you give employers. Sometimes without a GOOD cover letter, your resume does not get the attention it deserves. Let's face it; resumes get skipped over all the time. That's why you have to come up with a strategy on how to sell yourself to this potential employer. Set yourself apart by telling the employer how you will help them achieve their goals and what they reap if they hire you. If a cover letter does not attract the reader's attention in the first paragraph then your chances of being called for an interview are drastically reduced. An employer may have a hundred or more resumes to look through and he or she is probably limited in time to make their selection. Here are a few tips that can help you towards a high quality cover letter.(Click on link  to "Read the Full Article")

Tip #1:

If you are going to mail  your cover letter then use high-quality white paper; it's thicker than typewriter or printer paper. Avoid elaborate or colored stationery. Print a clean final copy to send, not a photocopy. Make sure there are no smudges or grease marks on the paper. Keep your extra copies in a large envelope or manila folder. Comments: 
42 and Looking said...

FYI to those who think mailing isn't worth it: I just mailed 217 covers/resumes to recruiting offices in the Midwest. I've received more calls, e-mails and one on one service in the last 10 days than I did in the whole first 5 months of my search. Think about don't just drop into the electronic void, they have to contact you and request the electronic copy. Have to say mailing worked great for me.

Tip #2:

Keep your cover letter(create one here) brief and to the point. Your letter should not go over one page. Use short paragraphs and bullet points whenever possible. Avoid excessive words when fewer words will get your point across equally. Construct your cover letter to have the same format style as your resume.

Tip #3:

Highlight a most recent accomplishment or credential that you are proud of. This gives employers a hint of what you are capable of doing. Impress the employer with your skills and qualifications.

Click here to read part 2 of this article

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