Archive for December 2010

Connie’s Corner – “The “Don’ts” of an Interview”

December 31, 2010

Q:  Dear Connie:  I am worried about going on an interview.  I have practiced answers to difficult questions with my friend and feel confident I can represent myself well in the interview.  Is there anything else I need to do at the interview? 

A:  Dear Ready to Go:  I am glad that you are practicing how to answer questions regarding your skills and abilities for your upcoming interviews.  Here at the Nashville Career Advancement Center, we give our customers a list of questions they may be asked during an interview so they can do the exact preparation work that you have done.

The one thing that is overlooked many times is what should not be done before, during and after an interview.  You will be observed from the time you enter the building until you are offered or denied the position you are applying for with a company.

Two things to avoid before the interview are arriving late and being rude to the receptionist.  If you arrive late, you are really saying, “The possibility of working for your company really isn’t that important to me.”  When you arrive and are rude to the receptionist you are saying, “I am not easy to get along with and you are not important enough for me to try to get along with you.” 

During the interview you want to be original, ask questions, stand out and be professional.  If you answer every question with standard responses you are really saying, “I have nothing original to say about myself.”  If you do not asked questions about the company and the position you are applying for, you are conveying that you are not really interested in the company or the available job.  When asked the standard question “Tell me about yourself,” this is your time to shine and stand out.  Tell the employer what makes you special.  Using inappropriate language during the interview says,” Just imagine how unprofessional I will be as one of your employees.”

Your job is not finished when the interview is over.  If you do not thank the interviewer, you are saying, “I did not really value your time and I have no manners.”  Finish the interview process in style and write a personal Thank You note to every interviewer you met with during the interview process.

Interviewing is a process.  Be prepared for what you should and should not do and you will come out the shining star.

Are you searching for a healthcare career?

December 29, 2010

As the first of its kind, the Healthcare Career Map website will help you in your search for a career in health care in Tennessee. This tool is designed to help you in three easy steps.

First Step: Search for a career that interests you.
Second Step: Find the school program that best fits your needs.
Third Step: Locate and contact health care employers that are hiring your position

Visit the Healthcare Career Map link on our website to get more information about pursuing a career in healthcare. You can also download a complete copy of the Career Mapping handbook here.

Teaching as a Career

December 27, 2010

As Nashville and Middle Tennessee strive to support the teaching profession, it is important to assure that those who may be interested in teaching, as a career, have the information they need to make informed decisions. In this effort, we have compiled a user-friendly resource to help individuals navigate the K-12 teaching field in Middle Tennessee.

The goal of the Teaching as a Career handbook is to oversee the development of a user-friendly booklet that will enable individuals, at various stages of their career pursuit, to have the information they need to make an informed decision about their interest in and pursuit of a career in teaching.

Visit our website for more information and to download the handbook.

Connie’s Corner – “Your ability to adjust to change is a big deal.”

December 24, 2010

Tip for the day:  If you are bored, you should change something in your life.

Q:  Dear Connie:  I have a co-worker who is older than me and she does not seem to be able to adjust to change.  She becomes highly irritated if she is put in a position to have to make any changes.  Is it important to go along with the changes that our supervisor requests?

A:   Dear Must I Change: In today’s workplace, change happens and it happens frequently.  It sounds as though your co-worker has not learned the skill of being flexible and you are wondering should you follow her lead and resist change or learn to be flexible and make changes in the workplace as your supervisor requests of you.

There was a time when you learned a job and the job never changed.  You were successful if you went to work and performed the same task using the same process consistently day after day.  Your co-worker may have started her career during this time.

Now the marketplace demands that you be flexible.  Many companies are looking for employees that can adjust to change. In today’s market, companies are constantly looking for ways to be more productive while decreasing cost.  This means that at times you may feel that you are being asked to make change on a frequent basis.  Companies need people who will go with the flow and not be difficult to work with because they are holding to the “old” way of performing a task. 

Changing from a person who likes things to always be the same to a person who can not only accept change but thrive on it can be quite difficult.  Since you are just starting out your career, you do not have the “old habit” of being inflexible to break.

Here are some suggestions to help you be a person of change:

  • Look first at the reason the change is proposed
  • Identify how the request for change will affect your job
  • Develop a plan listing steps you will need to take to make the change
  • Keep a positive attitude
  • Remember that change affects everyone–not just you
  • Work as a team to accomplish the change

If your co-worker gets upset and takes it out on you when she is requested to change, it is best to just ignore her comments.  Do not let her pull you into her dissatisfaction or she may say you agree with her.  If this approach does not work, discuss this with your supervisor.

I would take my cues regarding how to accept change from your supervisor.  If your supervisor is requesting that your team makes a change that means she is making changes also.  Watch how your supervisor reacts and adapts to change. Try to make the skill of being flexible your own.  Pretty soon you will not feel discomfort when you are asked to make changes in your work.

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information.  E-mail questions for future columns to Connies.Corner@Nashville.gov.

Jobs coming to Chattanooga

December 20, 2010

(AP) CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Amazon.com has finalized its commitment to build new distribution centers that will create up to 1,400 jobs in Chattanooga and neighboring Bradley County. 

A statement Monday from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development said Amazon.com plans to spend a total of up to $139 million building the two facilities. 

The jobs are expected to be created in the next three years and there will be hundreds of peak season positions. 

The new distribution centers are expected to be operating before the 2011 holiday season. 

Amazon.com’s North American Operations vice president Dave Clark said in the statement that the new facilities in Tennessee will allow the Seattle-based online company to “serve customers more quickly and efficiently.” 

Connie’s Corner – “References may seal the deal”

December 20, 2010

 

 Tip for the day:  You can not build a good work reputation in one day so, be consistent.

Q:  Dear Connie:  Do companies really call references?

A:    Yes, companies do really call your references.  Your references can make the difference between being offered a job and no longer being considered for the job.  You want references that are able to give a positive review of your work skills.

One job seeker interviewed with four different people at a prospective company.  As she finished her interview with the Vice President of the company, she was told they would be extending an offer by Friday if all of her references checked out.  Most companies will not hire a person for a position until references have been checked regardless of how many people at the company have successfully interviewed them.  So, you will want to pay close attention to who you list on your reference page.

Here are some tips on how to prepare your references list.

  • Always ask permission to list a person as a reference before adding them to your list
  • List between three to five references
  • References need to be people who can confirm your work
  • The typed reference list should be on a piece of paper separate from your resume
  • List name, title and daytime contact information for each reference
  • Give a copy of your resume to each person you are using as a reference
  • Let your reference know when you secure a position and thank them for their support

You are in complete control regarding who you list as a reference.  Never use a former boss who disliked you as a reference.  Find another person in a management position who will say good things about you.  If you do not have previous bosses who liked your work, start today to develop positive references by becoming a better employee in your current position.

Not all references need to be former bosses.  Think of other people you have worked with that can share how skilled you are in different areas.  Professional organizations provide great opportunities for working on projects with others in your field of work.  One of these acquaintances may be an excellent reference.  If you held an office in an organization, the organization’s president may be another person to consider asking to be a reference.

Do not overlook the importance of choosing good references.  You do not want to lose out on a great position because of a negative reference.  A little extra time spent choosing good references may pay off with the perfect position for you.

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information.  E-mail questions for future columns to ConniesCorner@Nashville.gov .

Cell-phone insurer Asurion adding 500 jobs in Nashville

December 16, 2010

By G. Chambers Williams – The Tennessean

Cell-phone insurer Asurion Corp. said today that it would add 500 employees over the next five years to its present Middle Tennessee workforce of about 2,400.

The move also means the company’s global corporate headquarters will remain in Nashville’s Grassmere Business Park. Its North American headquarters remains in Kansas City, Mo.

There was no announcement of construction of any new facilities, but the company’s co-president, Gerald Risk, said Asurion is still evaluating whether it needs additional space for its Nashville operations.

Risk said Asurian is pleased with Nashville, where it found “a hospitable business community.”

He declined to say how much the company would be investing in the expansion of jobs, but said they range from entry-level customer-service positions to executive and management opportunities. 

The company now has about 100 open positions in the Nashville area, and is accepting applications for those jobs on its website, www.asurion.com, Risk said.

Asurion, which offers protection plans for phone handsets through a variety of mobile carriers worldwide, moved to Nashville from the San Francisco Bay area in 2003.

A year earlier, Asurion had set up a handset repair and distribution center in Smyrna, which continues in operation. The company repairs and replaces mobile phones that customers insure through their carriers, paying monthly premiums of around $7 per handset along with their cell-phone bills.

The company was founded in 1994 as a provider of roadside-assistance services, and later entered the cell-phone insurance business.

It has more than 10,000 employees and 90 million customers worldwide, the company said.

In 2007, Asurion settled a class-action lawsuit representing 10.3 million customers, accusing the company of lack of sufficient disclosure about its handset-replacement policies. Some claimed that they were given cheap replacement phones that were worth less than the deductible they had to pay on their claims.

In the settlement, those who were given the cheap phones were given vouchers for new phones worth $75-$150, and the rest of the class were given $5 phone cards.

There also is a lawsuit still pending on behalf of some employees who claim they are routinely not paid for all of the time they work in the company’s call centers.