Archive for July 2010

Connie’s Corner – “I want to be noticed!”

July 30, 2010

Tip for the day: A résumé without an objective is like a book without a title.

Dear Connie: I have been job searching for a while, but I have had very few interviews.  I want my résumé to grab the attention of the recruiters so I have been thinking about ways to do that.  I thought it might be a good idea to put my resume on some fun paper (like hot pink!) and draw some pictures in the margins.  What do you think?

Dear Pink Lady: Have you ever heard the phrase “less is more?”  This is a good rule of thumb to use when creating a résumé. You do want your résumé to get noticed, but you want it to be noticed for the right reasons. Recruiters will notice a hot pink résumé with flowers in the margin, but most recruiters do not want to interview the person who sent it.  Most recruiters will consider this type of résumé to be unprofessional.

It would appear that your résumé needs to be fired.  The job of the résumé is to get you an interview. You need to find out why your résumé is not working. Evaluate your résumé to see if the skills and qualifications listed are truly a match for the jobs for which you are applying.  Evaluate the format of your résumé to see if you are using the best type of résumé for your skill set and work history. Have someone proofread your résumé to ensure that there are no grammatical or spelling errors. Also make sure you are highlighting your strengths.

The best way to attract attention from a recruiter is to have a résumé that is clear and concise and that shows them on paper why you are the best person for the job. Recruiters often receive a large volume of résumés so they do not have the time to review in depth each one.  Design your résumé so that your strengths and qualifications jump off the page when someone is viewing it.  This will do far more to attract attention than anything else.

For additional help, you can visit the Career Center and attend the “Helpful Hints for Résumé Writing” workshop.  Have others read your resume and tell you what the resume says to them about your qualifications.  A NCAC coach can critique your resume and give you feedback on ways to improve your chances of getting an interview as a result of having an outstanding resume.

Getting noticed is your goal but you want to be noticed for all of the right reasons.

Connie Humphreys is the Career Development Manager with Nashville Career Advancement Center serving Davidson County.  E-mail your question ccc@NCACWorkforce.org

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7 Jobs to Skip College For – PayScale.com – Yahoo! Hot Jobs

July 28, 2010

By Susan Johnston

Ask most high school guidance counselors, and they’ll tell you a college degree is your key to a well-paying job. But that’s not always the case. While lawyers, doctors, and many other professionals still require degrees, Al Lee, director of quantitative analysis at Payscale.com, helped us pinpoint several jobs that don’t.

But before you ditch your plans to attend a four-year college, note that these jobs do require specialized knowledge, obtained through either a vocational training program or an on-the-job education. (And many people in these occupations do have college degrees, so one certainly can’t hurt.)

“There’s no high-paying job that doesn’t require a high-level skill,” says Lee. “You can learn it on the job, but you’re going to have to learn it.” With the rising cost of college tuition, pursuing one of these career paths may make sense.

1. Freelance Photographer: $47,800 median salary
Lee says that non-degree jobs tend to fall into one of two categories: technical or entrepreneurial. Being a freelance photographer requires a high degree of business savvy in addition to photography skills. Depending on the type of work you do, you might take product shots, family portraits, corporate head shots, wedding pictures, or other images, and then touch up the pictures digitally and send them to clients for review.

2. Private Detective or Investigator: $50,600 median salary
This is another career that requires a lot of personal initiative. Private detectives or investigators might testify at hearings, analyze data, search databases, or question suspects. Knowledge of psychology and the law, critical-thinking skills, and the ability to listen and read body language are also useful.

3. Elevator Mechanic: $61,500 median salary
“When [elevators] break, people are miserable,” Lee points out. He adds that the job often requires travel and working at odd hours (for instance, so you can fix an elevator before an office building opens)–which may pay more. Successful elevator mechanics generally have a knack for understanding complex mechanical systems, assembling and disassembling elevator parts, and following safety standards.

4. Nuclear Power Reactor Operator: $79,100 median salary
Since nuclear power reactor operators work with highly sensitive equipment, they need an understanding of physics and engineering, as well as active learning and troubleshooting skills. The higher pay correlates to the highly specialized skill set required.

5. Personal Trainer: $37,500 median salary
Knowledge of nutrition, anatomy, and first aid are helpful, so many personal trainers have a college degree or specialized certification. Since an independent personal trainer’s income is tied to the number of clients he or she trains, time-management skills, physical stamina, and customer service skills are assets in this field.

6. Director of Security: $62,400 median salary
Someone might start out as assistant to the director of security and work their way up. Tasks might include analyzing security data, investigating security breaches, and supervising others. Lee says jobs like this are “not a bad track for someone who is more physical or manual, where it’s about on-the-job training and less about formal programs.”

7. Air Traffic Controller: $60,200
Although the job doesn’t require a college degree, the FAA screens prospective air traffic controllers with a pre-employment test and other requirements, so it’s a competitive field. The job might entail monitoring aircraft, issuing take-off and landing instructions, and directing ground traffic.

Boston-based freelance writer Susan Johnston has covered career and business topics for The Boston Globe, Hispanic Executive Quarterly, WomenEntrepreneur.com, and other publications.

Source: Salary data provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Salaries listed are median annual salaries for workers with five to eight years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions, or profit sharing.

5 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job – Investopedia.com – Yahoo! Hot Jobs

July 27, 2010

By Erin Joyce

With the employment rate still at 9.5 percent in the United States, you may find yourself in the position of applying, interviewing, and still remaining jobless. You may have thought it was a sure thing; you may have left the office laughing and joking with the interviewer. So why was someone else hired and you weren’t? These five reasons may shed some light on the situation.

1. You’re overqualified
It’s not just a cliche–you really can be overqualified for a position. It’s especially true in a tight economy. A candidate that is more qualified would require a higher salary and benefits package for a competitive offer and for long-term retention. If someone else interviewed who fit the qualifications but didn’t overly exceed them, it might be in the company’s best interest to hire him and save the cash.

2. You don’t know the right people
You may be great on paper, and you may interview really well–but if another candidate is the employer’s tennis instructor’s daughter, you might be out of luck. This isn’t a reason you can’t really avoid. Your best bet is to make sure you follow up with a genuinely appreciative phone call or note. Leaving a positive impression will keep you in that employer’s mind if other opportunities arise.

3. You hit it off, just not professionally
Having a good rapport with your interviewer is great–however, if you bonded over your love of tequila shooters, you may have made a friend and not an employer. In a less extreme example, you may be very easy to interview but still not right for the position. While being friendly and personable are two very important traits, they won’t guarantee you the job.

4. You came with conditions
You may be a good fit for the job, but if you come with strings attached, you may not get hired. If you can’t see yourself sticking to the position long-term, or if prior commitments mean you’ll have to work odd hours, it could take you out of the running. If possible, come in condition-free or at least willing to compromise. However, if you have a restriction that is non-negotiable, it’s only fair to both of you to bring it up in the interview–there’s no sense in wasting time if the situation won’t work out.

5. An unpredictable reason
Often, the reason is one you may never know. You may get an unrelated job simply for having a shared interest with the interviewer, or perhaps because you have a skill the employer hopes to learn from you. It may be as simple as two or more candidates being equally qualified, and you lost the coin toss.

It may also be a simple reason like an off-the-cuff comment you probably shouldn’t have made, or a more blatant reason like answering your cell phone during an interview (never a good move, no matter how friendly you are with the interviewer!). Be honest with yourself about the interview process–if you can think of a slip up, learn from your mistake and keep it in mind for your next interview.

The bottom line
Whatever the reason, do your best to learn from it and apply it to your next interview. Don’t be afraid to politely follow up and inquire about why you weren’t right for the position–just make sure you don’t come off as sulking. Be professional, and thank them for helping you to understand what you did wrong, or where you can improve. After all, if you made it to the interview stage once, you’re likely to do it again.

Tennesseans say economy, jobs are state’s top problem – The Tennessean

July 27, 2010

Public spending is secondary concern
By Nate Rau – The Tennessean – July 26, 2010

Election 2010

Jobs and the economy proved to be the most important issue facing Tennessee today, with state spending ranking a distant second, according to a new poll by The Tennessean and other media outlets in the state.

According to the poll of 625 registered Tennessee voters, 54 percent of those surveyed said their top issue was the economy and jobs. Government spending came in second, with 22 percent naming it the most important issue facing the state today.

As the economy sank and unemployment rose the past two years, job applications have been streaming into Hendersonville-based Stokes Production Services Inc., according to company co-owner Kim Stokes, a respondent to the poll.

The video production company puts more than 150 freelancers to work every year, but Stokes said there hasn’t been enough work for the increasing number of applicants.

Unemployment in Tennessee stood at 10.1 percent through June, down from 10.9 percent a year ago at this time, according to the state Department of Labor.

“I have freelancers calling me constantly because they don’t have anything going on,” Stokes said. “Everywhere I look, people don’t have work — people like some of my friends who are older and have been let go. They’ve never been without work before in their lives.”

Stokes is one of a majority of Tennesseans who found the economy to be the issue of most concern facing the state.

Like Stokes, Lisa Chism is a Middle Tennessee small-business owner. Chism and her husband own Tradewind Industries, which manufactures acrylic bathtubs. Earlier this year, Chism said her company was forced to lay off workers because of the downturn.

Chism chose government spending as her top issue because she hasn’t seen the state and federal governments take cost-cutting measures as small business owners have done.

“There are a lot of things that I know the government can cut back on,” said Chism, who was among the 17 percent of voters still undecided on whom to support for governor heading into the Aug. 5 primary election. “Every household in Tennessee has had to make cutbacks, but I’m not seeing it in our state or federal government.”

Thompson’s Station resident Hillard Carr also selected the economy and job creation as his most important issue. Carr, a retired junior college instructor from Virginia, said he had never taken a heavy interest in politics before this year.

“Like a lot of people, I’ve really gotten concerned since President Obama was elected and the Democrats have taken control,” Carr said. “They’re doing a lot of things that I just totally oppose and have believed my whole life.”

Issue could sway vote

“It’s pocketbook issues on people’s minds,” said Brad Coker, managing director for Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

With the economy on her mind, Stokes said she was leaning toward supporting Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, because of his experience at the helm of Pilot Travel Centers.

“He has created jobs, obviously,” Stokes said. “He grew a large company, so he knows how to do that.”

Health care came in a distant third, with 8 percent of the voters saying it was their top issue. Immigration was next, with 6 percent, followed by education, which was selected by 5 percent of likely voters.

“I just think (immigration) needs to be addressed, and I think Tennessee is going to need to address it just like Arizona did with its new anti-illegal-immigration law,” said Wayne Dixon, a 62-year-old retired deputy with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.

Other voters found some measure of aggravation with the immigration debate.

Republican U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, a gubernatorial hopeful, campaigned for votes on a recent Saturday morning at the busy Franklin Farmers Market, and Margaret Wilburn had a question for him: Why are the candidates for governor talking so much about immigration in their television ads?

As a small-business owner, she said the issue she’s focused on in the governor’s race is the down economy and jobs.

“It’s the economic situation — how is that going to be addressed? I’m trying to sell a business, and I can’t. The tough part is finding the financing for a prospective buyer.”

The Aug. 5 primary features three contenders for the Republican nomination in Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Wamp. Jackson beer distributor Mike McWherter is the only name on the ballot in the Democratic primary. According to the poll, Haslam is leading the GOP primary field, with 36 percent.

Davidson County unemployment rate slightly up in June to 9.1 percent – The Tennessean

July 26, 2010

By Bonna Johnson – The Tennessean – July 22, 2010

The unemployment rate in Davidson County ticked up to 9.1 percent in June from 8.9 percent in May, according to unemployment data released today by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The rate in the 13-county Nashville Metro area was 9 percent with 29,630 people classified as unemployed, also up from 8.9 percent in May. The state rate was 10.1 percent, a small drop from May’s 10.4 percent.

The unemployment rate decreased in 17 counties, increased in 72 counties and stayed the same in six counties, labor officials said.

Lincoln County had the lowest rate at 6.8 percent, followed by Williamson County’s 7.5 percent rate.

Scott County continues to struggle with widespread unemployment with 20.9 percent unemployment, despite a $2 million boost from federal stimulus funds this year to help put 150 residents back to work. Marshall County had the next highest rate at 16.7 percent.

Knox County is faring best among the state’s four major metropolitan areas with a rate of 7.8 percent, up slightly from 7.7 percent in May. Shelby County had the highest rate among the four urban areas at 10.6 percent.

Tennesseans will have to wait 2 weeks for restored jobless benefits | tennessean.com | The Tennessean

July 26, 2010

Tennesseans will have to wait 2 weeks for restored jobless benefits | tennessean.com | The Tennessean.

“Life needs a little variety and so does the workplace.”

July 23, 2010

Tip for the day: Variety is the spice of life.

Dear Connie: I will soon need to hire a new person to join our team.  Everyone on my team gets along and works the same way.  Do you have any suggestions as to the type of candidate I should be looking to hire?

Dear One of a Kind: Go for some variety.  As you are interviewing, seek out someone who is not a mirror image of yourself or your team members.

Successful leaders know that you need people who possess different skills and different personalities in order to build a strong team.  We usually are drawn to people who act and think just like we do because we are the most comfortable with people like ourselves.  But another person with a similar personality may not be the best choice when building a team.

Think about the last large function you attended.  Who did you spend the most time with?  Was it someone who talked like you, moved at your rate of speed, and shared your ideas?  We know what to expect from people who are similar to ourselves and this creates an automatic comfort level.

So, why would I suggest you try to find someone who is not like you to hire?  If all of the ice cream in the world was vanilla there would be so many pleasures missed.  We all know chocolate, strawberry, and ripple are varieties that add to our ice cream choices.  By adding someone who works and thinks differently than your team members, you will be adding flavor to your team.  This will provide new ideas and new ways to expand your projects.  Some of these ideas the team will want to adopt and some they will not; but the expansion of ideas will make your team even stronger than it is now.

People have different work styles.  Some people want to jump right into a project while others want all of the facts to study before beginning a project.  Some people look at a situation and automatically lay out the project step-by-step, whiles others see the end product.

One of the smartest leaders that I have observed surrounded himself with people who had different skills and talents than himself.  By doing so, he collectively had an enormous knowledge and experience base which took the organization he was leading much farther than he could have moved the company forward by himself.

So, hire someone different from yourself and all of the team will win.

Connie Humphreys is the Career Development Manager with Nashville Career Advancement Center serving Davidson County.  E-mail your question ccc@NCACWorkforce.org