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Jul 29

Answer This Job Interview Question: What About that Employment Gap?

Posted in Job Search Info at 11:21 am

By: Martin Yate

Most interviews start with a walk through your resume, this gets you used to talking, and the interviewer a chance to create a mental picture of your career history. If you abbreviate employment dates, it is quite acceptable to list annual dates rather than month and year, be sure to do so consistently.

When references get checked, the factors most frequently verified are dates of employment, starting and leaving salary, and educational attainment. Untruths in any of these areas are grounds for dismissal with cause, and that can dog your footsteps into the future.

Questions about employment continuity often come early in an interview to help the interviewer understand the chronology of your work history. You must be ready to walk through your resume without hesitation. This, “walk through the resume” exercise is usually a preamble to a more in-depth examination of your skills.
However, once in a while you run into an incompetent interviewer and, having whizzed through the resume, you discover to your horror that the interview is over before it really began, and you have had no opportunity to sell your skills.

Consequently, you want to make at least one comment about your experience and what you learned from each job that applies to this job. Addressing experience that applies to this new job, rather than just reciting what you did, is preferable because relevant experience from past jobs is an indicator of how you will perform in this one.

When You Are Asked About Reasons for Leaving

Your walk through the resume should give you the opportunity to cite relevant experience, and you’ll almost always be asked when you started and why you left.

Rehearse your answers for leaving every job. Your rule of thumb is: keep your answers short and sweet, and then shut up. The following LAMPS acronym identifies acceptable reasons for leaving a company:

L – Location: The commute was unreasonably long.

A – Advancement: You weren’t able to grow professionally in that position, either because there were others ahead of you or there was no opportunity for growth.

M – Money: You were underpaid for your skills and contribution.

P – Pride or prestige: You wanted to be with a better company.

S – Security: The Company was not stable.

For example:
“My last company was a family-owned affair. I had gone as far as I was able to go. It just seemed time for me to join a more prestigious company and accept greater challenges.”

Under no circumstances should you badmouth a manager — even if she was a direct descendant of Attila the Hun. Doing so will only raise a red flag in the interviewer’s mind: “Will he be complaining about me like this in a few months?”

This is a “checkbox” question: The interviewer wants to ask the question, check the box, and move on. Talking too much does nothing more than arouse suspicion that you are hiding something. You get into trouble with too much information.

Any answer longer than two sentences is too long. Remember to use a phrase from the LAMPS acronym above. Keep your answer short and simple, and don’t go into long explanations. If the interviewer wants more, she will ask.

When Asked About Employment Gaps

When asked about employment dates, don’t make any attempt to hide the gaps. Everyone has to deal with employment gaps so don’t get overly worked up about it, and don’t talk for too long in your answer — it is seen as “protesting too much,” and a signifier of hiding something.
You should have an acceptable reason for leaving every job you have held.

If you have been caught in mergers and layoffs, simply explain that. A gap of a few months is nothing to worry about. You explain the gap as time spent getting your resume and job hunt up to speed, painting the house and taking an unscheduled, but welcome sabbatical after X years on the job (smile).
With gaps approaching a year and longer, it is important that you were doing something, whether it was temp work, volunteer work, or occasional consulting gigs, along with time spent on your job hunt.

A response that I have heard work is one that any person who has suffered a layoff can relate to:
“I’ve never been without a job that long before. I had no idea it would be this long, It took me months to realize just how much everything to do with job hunting has changed and then another x months to educate myself and get up to speed. That kick-started my job search, and here I am, proof positive of my determination and persistence.”

Always finish your answer with a question that moves the interview back to the needs of the job, and your capabilities to contribute.
________________________________________
About the author…
Successful careers don’t happen by accident. Professional resume writing expert Martin Yate CPC is a New York Times best-seller and the author of 15 Knock Em Dead career management books. As Dun & Bradstreet says, “He’s about the best in the business.” Join Martin on Google+.

Feb 25

2015 SPRING LAKESHORE COMMUNITY JOB FAIR

Posted in LTC Job Fair at 8:31 am

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8TH – 10am – 2pm
Lakeshore Technical College
1290 North Avenue
Cleveland, WI – L177 Centennial Hall
Come prepared to network with Manitowoc and Sheboygan County Employers!
*Bring your resume
*Potential on-site interviews with employers
*Dress professional
*Put your BEST foot forward
Details and list of the employers being represented online at:

    http://gotoltc.edu/jobfair

Nov 07

Work Certified – A National Work Readiness Program

Posted in Employability Skills at 8:45 am

What is Work Certified?
This is a program that teaches basic business ethics, interpersonal skills, and workplace behavior.

Why do I need this?
If you are new to the workplace, having trouble finding a job or keeping a job, this is your chance to learn the skills that employers are seeking. You’ll interview better, get offers faster, and keep that job longer.

Who can Participate?
You can if…
-You can make a commitment to 3 weeks of training
-Have a High School Diploma or GED, HSED
-Read at an 8th grade level
-Have Math skills at the 8th grade level

Call 920.208.5817 today for more information and to hold your “spot” in the next class!

Jun 23

Just Laid Off – Are You Ready???

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:36 am

Just Laid Off – Are You Ready???

You just got laid off from your job (Ouch!), and getting ready to begin a new job search. Are you ready? What should you do first, and what tools will you need?

Most people jump in, sending out resumes or contacting people unprepared. Usually they are ineffective, and sometime set themselves up to do real damage. Get yourself organized and make a plan before you begin and your efforts will be much more fruitful.

Here are 13 tools and tips to consider if you’re just starting out, or already well into your process. You’ll need each of these:

Calendar – You’ll obviously need to keep track of scheduled interviews and meetings. But just as important, you need to schedule your time each day and each week to make phone calls, to do company research, to tweak your resume for each job, to re-connect with people you spoke to days or weeks ago. Without actively blocking off specific times to do the things that aren’t ‘mandatory’, very little of those activities get done. Use Outlook, or some other electronic calendar, or use a desk calendar, or ‘Franklin’ type planner.
Task Lists – In addition to your calendar, be sure to keep a great task list going to make sure to remind yourself of all the things you need to get to. Thank you notes; create list of people to call; follow-up call with ‘John Smith at ABC Co’; etc. It’s important to keep your running list of things to do, or they won’t get done! Outlook has an excellent Tasks function, or you may have another, or a legal pad can be just as functional, but if you’re not writing it down, things WILL get forgotten.
Accomplishments List – Just as important as keeping track of what you need to do, is keeping track of what you’ve done! Maintaining a positive attitude while job hunting can be tough. It’s easy to get to the end of a day or a week and be discouraged that you still don’t have a new job. It’s also easy to forget what you’ve done, and feel as if you’ve hardly done anything at all. If, however, you can look at your “Accomplishments” list and see that you did have 20 conversations with new contacts this week, and had 3 informational interviews, and found 15 possible new leads, and discovered 12 new companies to pursue… you can feel satisfied that you’re doing the things necessary and it just becomes a matter of time until the offer happens.
Your ‘Treasure Chest’ – It’s critical to take the time to think of and write down EVERYONE you know! Capture Most people never realize how many people they know until they actually think it through and write them all down. Most of us have far more potentially helpful contacts than we realize. Imagine something like the diagram at the right to ‘map out’ all your contacts. The blue boxes can be memory joggers like ‘All the people at my previous job’; ‘Softball team’; ‘Friends at church’; ‘Professional Associations’; ‘Service acquaintances’ (barber, accountant, hair stylist, etc); ‘Health Club acquaintances’; and so on. Then fill in all the names you can think of. Don’t exclude ANYONE (I know someone who got their job lead from an 85 year old grandmother at church), you never know where your best leads will come from! In order to network effectively, you have to have a comprehensive list of people to contact to start with. Your objective with each one of those contacts is not just “do you know of a job”, but “who else do you know that would be worthwhile for me to talk to?” and “If you were in my situation, who would you contact?”
Tracking Tools – Eight weeks into your job search, someone you meet says “Hey, you ought to talk to Bob Johnson, he’s in your field, and he’s probably one of the best networked guys I know!” Outstanding! Those are the people you want to talk to! You get his number you call him up, give him a 30 second initial introduction and ask if he can meet with you over a cup of coffee. He replies, “Umm, you must not remember, but we spoke a month ago already.” DOH!!! After having talked to dozens of people in the last couple of months, you just plain forgot you had already connected with him. A follow up call may have been very appropriate, but not treating it like an initial introduction. If you don’t have some mechanism to keep track of who you’ve talked to, when, and something about the conversation, this scenario is bound to happen. You must have some way of keeping track of your conversations, where you’ve sent your resume, what follow up calls you’ve made, what recruiters you’re working with, etc. There are some excellent online tools available to do this, like JibberJobber. Regardless of what you use, online, a spreadsheet or paper, make sure you have a system that works for you.
Your Resume – Many people simply take the resume they used the last time they looked for a job and add additional information for their most recent position. Regardless of how good your last resume was, I guarantee it’s not the best for you now. You’ve since gained more experience, new accomplishments, and maybe different objectives. Furthermore, the market may look at resumes differently in your field now than it did last time. Create a ‘new and improved’ resume now. It needs to have relevant accomplishments, skills, and keywords. Furthermore, create multiple versions for different situations you may pursue, and each one needs to be tweaked for EVERY position you apply to so that it’s most effective for that particular role. Take the time to get it right, also keeping in mind that your resume is a constant work in progress. There is never a “final” version.
LinkedIn – Is your LinkedIn profile up to snuff? LinkedIn is probably THE most powerful tool online to find contacts and to be found. In order for anyone to find you though, your profile need to have all the appropriate keywords that they are likely to use to find someone like you. Once they find you, they need to be impressed enough to actually want to contact you. Does your profile have a professional picture? Is there an effective summary that makes it clear what you do and what sets you apart? Is your contact information accessible for anyone to be able to reach you easily? Is your profile compelling?
Study up! – Most people are not professional job seekers! There are skills, and strategies, and techniques that can help you tremendously if you know what they are. This site, and a multitude of others offer great tips and information. There are excellent books as well (check some of my favorites from Amazon in the right margin). Some of my favorite career sites are listed here also.
Gather Your Resources – Find out what resources are available to you. Check your area for job networking groups, many churches offer excellent opportunities. Explore your state job service offerings, many states have excellent materials, resources, free seminars, and exclusive job listings. Find others that are also looking for jobs and create your own accountability group. Get together once a week to report what each of you has accomplished in your search the previous week and bring leads for each other (it’s important to set ground rules in advance that no one can complain, everyone should leave meetings encouraged, not discouraged). Seek out relevant professional associations or trade associations where you might be able to find leads and ideas.
Business Cards – You meet someone, talk to them about your job search, and five minutes after you leave they realize they may have a lead for you. How will they reach you? Have business cards printed with your contact information and a short description. Make sure you give one to EVERYONE you meet.
Your ‘Elevator Speech’ – When you meet someone new, and you only have a short time with them, how do you tell them what you do and what you’re looking for in a way they understand and is compelling. Are you prepared? Are you practiced? You must have it… read “What The Heck Is An Elevator Speech?” for more help.
Phone – Most people never think about their phone. They put the number on their resume, and hand it out on their cards, and never think about what happens when someone actually calls. Do you have a house full of children that answer the phone with “Who’s this?!?” Or who may answer the phone well, but don’t give you the message, or erase it from the answering machine? Is your answering machine outgoing message one you’d be proud of with a potential employer? If you give your cell phone number, do you answer it while you’re in line at the grocery store? Be sure you’re prepared for THE call, and maybe get another phone line if necessary.
Scripts – When you call networking contacts, or a job lead… do you know exactly what you’re going to say? Or do you ‘wing it’. Professional sales people use scripts! Even great experienced salespeople. Job hunting is SALES. If you write out scripts, practice them, and use them in your phone calls, for your meetings, and for your interview questions, you will be FAR better and more effective than talking off the top of your head. Take the time to think through, write, and practice scripts. The payoff will be enormous!
There are other things that can help you be better prepared as well. However, if you consider these before firing off scores of resumes, your job search will be MUCH more effective!
(article compliments of:)
http://www.thewisejobsearch.com/

Dec 02

4 Tips To Keep Your Holiday Job Search Moving

Posted in Job Search Info at 1:15 pm

4 Tips To Keep Your Holiday Job Search Moving

It’s easy to get sidetracked from your job search during the holidays, but this is one of the biggest mistakes a job seeker can make. If you lose momentum now, it’s going to be tough to get it back at the beginning of next year. You should make every effort to keep up your regular pace and end the year strong.

Tips For Your Holiday Job Search

Here are four tips for keeping your holiday job search moving:

1. Keep A Schedule

One of the best ways to stay on track is to keep a schedule. Book appointments with yourself each day of the week and spend dedicated time doing online searches, reaching out to leads, making follow-up calls, etc.

2. Network

The holiday season also presents some unique job searching opportunities that may not be available the rest of the year. Some businesses slow down their hiring processes near the end of the year, but this is a great time to participate in networking events and holiday parties.

Although there might not be an opening for you right now, networking events and holiday parties provide great opportunities for increasing the number of people you know. Events held in December often draw larger crowds than normal because people have a less significant workload and are feeling festive.

If you work these events appropriately, you may find that some of these new connections will be happy to assist you by forwarding your resume to other people they know or keeping an eye out for openings that might be a good fit for your skills.

Many professional association holiday parties are free and open to the public, so you can save precious dollars by hobnobbing with the movers and shakers of your industry. Do some searches in early December and start booking your calendar for the remainder of the year.

3. Volunteer

There are also a ton of community service opportunities around the holidays.Many charitable organizations draw volunteers from all walks of life and various career fields. If you want to give back to your community in this way, make an effort to get to know your fellow volunteers. This is just one way to expand your network and help out your neighbors.

4. Keep Going

It’s OK to take a holiday break for a few days, but don’t lose sight of your job search goal of finding new employment. What better way to celebrate the new year than with a new job?

by Careerealism November 29th, 2013

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL THE STAFF AT THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY JOB CENTER!

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