Education Career Services

January 30, 2009

The NBA: it’s more than a game…it’s a networking bonanza!

Last night I took my annual trip to watch the Orlando Magic outmuscle Cleveland; but this blog is not about the game and the excitement surrounding the arena.  Today’s entrée is about halftime…no not about the great flippers putting on a show; it’s about discovering the perfect networking opportunity.  Hmmm, how many thought I was going that route?


Halftime came and the atmosphere was filled with smiles and energetic non-tangibles.  Knowing most were in a good mood, I decided to walk around and begin speaking to people open to conversation.  Come to think of it, there was a common bond uniting everyone at the arena—could there be a better time to meet and greet?  The fact I knew little about the game itself didn’t seem to matter.


Walking through the arena, I stepped up to several people, began talking about Dwight Howard and Lebron James and the gates of conversation broke without abandon.  “Really great players and what a contest,” I began.  Faces lit immediately as those in front were looking for an outlet to express their passion for the game.  Without pause, I met two executives, one regional sales manager, and a slew of mid-level managers working throughout various industries (all in about 12 minute’s time!). 


Wow, I could hardly believe how a common setting, an energetic atmosphere, and a load of people could create such opportunity.  Of the people I spoke to, five shared their business cards – I handed out over 15 cards myself….leading to the title of the entry, the NBA: it’s more than a game; it’s a networking bonanza!


No matter your career level, take advantage of your environment.  One thing I found out this evening was people WANT to talk to you.  With the Super Bowl in a few days, all you have to do is mention how them Dallas Cowboys are gonna rock the world (oh no, can you tell I don’t know much about football either?).


Hey, gotta go. My phone is ringing off the wall!  Don’t recognize the number—bet it’s a fellow NBA fan from last night.


Danny Huffman


Invisibility: Layoff vs. Payoff

So, what’s going on besides too many job eliminations?  A few days ago I read that the United States as a whole lost 450,000 jobs in one 24-hour period.  Needless to say, this is not a great sign for the month of February.  What does this mean for the normal “barely paying the bills” kind of household and what can one do to stay in demand?


Combining external reading with my experience as a professional career writer and coach, several threads are stitching the daily job fabric …self awareness and transference of the contributions one offers to a current or potential employer.  In other words, if you are not adding to the bottom line AND letting your supervisors know your value, you may be out of a job soon—even if you are the best under the roof! 


Where does job security begin?  Like any good story, the beginning begins with self discovery and other-awareness.


During the past three or so years, the way employers looked at employees have changed.  No longer are the days of invisibility (yet still getting the job done) good enough to make it to retirement.  In today’s market, you must make yourself known to the world.  No doubt your peers (and you) can do the job—but doing is not enough in such tight times.  You are now required to do much more and more often than not, receive much less (relatively speaking).  Oh, for the hard-headed, there is no escape from this reality so get over yourself.


Added value defines layoff versus payoff; which side do you belong?  In effect, to remain afloat, we must become super-hero resourceful in what and how we do a job, welcome adaptability (stop the whining), and learn more about who that person seen in the mirror is all about.  These new mindsets are only a beginning; but know this: each person is defined not by what we see in the glass reflection; each person is defined by what the other person sees (and hears, heck, throw in all the senses).


Layoff vs. Payoff:  Bring more to the table than is required and don’t be afraid or timid to let others know your value.  By assessing yourself and developing overall skills, the quality and variety of options grow.  Our current career market is becoming thinner each day and the time to be seen has never been more important.  Again, I ask, which side do you belong?


Start being visible now by developing a plan of growth.  If you need help in this, all you have to do is ask.


Remember, if things don’t change, they will remain the same…is that where you need (or want) to be? I thought you’d say that.



Danny Huffman

January 28, 2009

The Federal Government is Hiring

One of the best kept secrets in the hiring arena is our Federal Government.  If you tried applying for a Federal post years ago, you are in for a surprise.


The application process has become easier by leaps and bounds, so check out the possibilities and be surprised at the process.  If you need specific details, I publish material on the Federal Application as well as techniques on KSA development and would be glad to share any information requested.


In a recent announcement, the FBI detailed its resolve to hire close to 3,000 new employees.  Included in the postings are 850 special agents and 2,100 professional positions, such as accounting and human resources.  With a large percentage of employees at the cusp of retiring, now may be the best time to apply.


Another positive, the Federal Government is all over the world—you are not limited to one geographic location! 


I recently gave a presentation about the Federal Job Application (specifically KSA Maximization) at Yale University and found a great deal of people (not just students) apprehensive about working for the government.  One thing I definitely insist upon when delivering guidance:


·        Read the application carefully

·        Do not skip through the application process

·        Answer all questions

·        Be patient (it may take up to a year before you hear anything)

·        Be persistent (keep applying)

·        Be realistic in the qualifications and your experience


One more thing, for more information check out usajobs and/or


Good luck and let me know how I can help in this endeavor.


Danny Huffman


January 27, 2009

Pre-Interview Employer Tactics Revealed

Occupying a hiring position for many years, I relied on nonconventional ways to filter through candidates quickly.  Think about time constraints for a while.  There I was, a Vice President of Operations with a sudden burden to interview and hire quality employees.  This is a time consuming job in itself—unfortunately, I had to perform my regular ten hour responsibilities; shortcuts are not only common, they are demanded.


For this segment, we will go over the “pre-interview” impression and rapid filtering system known as the “receptionist respect” (Okay, so I just came up with that term).  In other words, even before you meet me, you meet me through the eyes and ears of my receptionist.  Here’s how it works:


Receptionists are informed to provide feedback to specific preset questions only she (or he) knows.  These questions will be used to assist in the decision making process even before the candidate and hiring executive shake hands.  Let’s take a sample peek at a specific or few as these are the questions YOU are being graded upon BEFORE the interview begins.  Receptionists often respond to the following (this is not an all-inclusive list):


·        Was the candidate respectful to you?  This includes a proper greeting and smile

·        Did the candidate arrive at the proper time and appear prepared

·        Did the candidate possess a positive attitude

·        Is the candidate dressed appropriately

·        On a scale of 1-10, what is your overall impression


The above are simply a few items used by many hiring executives to get a “first” impression—and this is even before the official first impression.


So, what do you do?  The easiest and most effective way to form a pre-first impression is to be respectful to everyone you encounter—remember the elevator scene a few segments back—keep a solid attitude and display professional courtesy.  You may be surprised at how influential those you meet in typical settings are in the hiring process.



January 23, 2009

Free Career Development Advice

Filed under: Career Development,Uncategorized — EducationCS @ 11:31 pm

Today’s threatened economy is creating a genuine sense of crisis for the US labor force. We receive hundreds of calls and e-mails with a resounding theme of ‘help!’

Compelled to offer additional free content to individuals seeking career development advice, we’ve launched an effort to transfer our proprietary knowledgebase and considerable expertise to an online database free to anyone with Internet access. We’re not asking for names or phone numbers; this isn’t a marketing promotion, it’s our effort to help Americans back on their feet.

The growing database is for everyone from students to executives, covering topics such as interview techniques, resume and cover letter tips, insider information, and advice on keeping a job as well as finding and thriving in a new job.

They are intentionally short covering a single point and focusing on ‘why’ as much as ‘how.’ We show you ways to change your attitude and how best to present your value. The list of articles will continue to grow as we harvest our knowledgebase.

Point your browser to and partake!


January 22, 2009

Prologue to an Interview: Represent 24/7

mirror-reflection-in-sphereBeing an owner of a career management company catering to retail, corporate (specializing in RIF), and academic institutions, I’ve seen and heard just about everything revolving around interviewing…leading me to this particular segment of our blog.


I used the term “Represent 24/7” in the title because it is a concept many do not seem to understand.  Heck, perhaps we simply have never been told…after today, ignorance can never be your excuse.


We are not just who we are behind closed interview doors.  Quite the contrary, from the moment we walk outside (or get on the phone) perceptions and judgments are being made, even without our knowledge.  One of the strangest interview incidents happened to me and a candidate late last year.  Let me explain:


I had a job opening for an experienced technical writer and invited several candidates to come in for a formal chat.  All were equally qualified so much depended upon character and them intangibles such as ability to work in a group setting and get along with others.  The day for interviewing appeared and “David” was scheduled to come in at 2:00 pm on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon.  My day was running a tad late and I was unable to run out for a timely lunch so I called and placed an order for pick up. So far, so easy.


I got to the restaurant at 1:25 pm and saw a line of 3 patrons.  As a separate cashier was waiting for me in the pick up area (no line of patrons), I went directly to purchase. About this time a gentleman (nicely attired) made several comments about my rudeness and how I should have waited in line like everyone else.  I simply ignored the situation but not until I got a good look at the person verbalizing what he felt was unfair. 


After lunch, I waited patiently for my next interview, he appeared on time and on paper was a strong candidate.  I walked to greet my candidate and was surprised to see it was the very person who made disparaging remarks to me moments before while I paid for lunch.  David was quite embarrassed but did not make mention to the incident—he was hoping I did not notice or my age would cause sudden and selective amnesia…it did not.


Did David come back for another interview? Was he hired? Or did his initial interview become his last interview?  What do you think?


One never knows who’s in line, in the elevator, in the parking garage, or driving down the street.  Think before making a scene and the consequences and potential players involved before diminishing what may happen.


“Represent 24/7” and know who you are is determined by those viewing your behavior, active as well as passive. 

January 20, 2009

Political Promises and Career Management: Can We?

Of all days within my recent memory, today is more than a day of inauguration; today is the first day of a promised economic Spring where fields of flowers will cover the landscape far and near. No doubt the world will be watching as our president-elect becomes sworn in…a glorious day indeed. Not to be caught up in the hyperbole of the moment, what does all this mean for the career-minded professional trying to get and remain ahead? We’ve heard the speeches and the promises; they sound, well, promising but how did we get into this mess anyway and will an economic stimulus package get us out of this funk today, tomorrow, or next decade?


I’ll leave the economic jargon, claims of greed, and wide mood swings for the final round and will concentrate on what I’ve come to hear in the past few months. My neighbors are excited; both are retired and feel confident they will be able to rebound from personal loses encountered from the stock market. Heck, they also carry the notion benefits will increase, mortgage payment will decrease, their undereducated and unemployed son will find a high-paying job by the end of February, and their daughter will once again be able to go to college (with the government paying most the way). I’m not sure how this is going to happen but I’ve listened to the rhetoric and witnessed the parades celebrating our sudden (okay, by tomorrow afternoon) economic turnaround.


In my opinion, economic relief without career guidance on a global scale leads to chaos.  I don’t have an issue with chaos theory (I am an avid supporter) but throwing money into a system ill-prepared to handle employment issues is not a feasible remedy. Is the United States prepared to go career-global? Are our colleges and universities training student’s international perspectives? Cultural sensitivities? Cultural semantics? Being an instructor and a dean at a small college, I refuse to answer the above questions as many will not like the answer.


Political promises aside, government and the new administration must accept and resolve our educational complacency by supporting institutions of higher learning. Only an aggressive approach and infusion of capital will create a long-term resolution to our recession, both economic and intellectual.


Will our new government address the issues of career management on a grand scale or will educational budget freezes ruin progressive thinking? With so much money being thrown in all directions without accountability, I wish I could be more optimistic.


President Obama, give our children and young adults the opportunity to better themselves and, in return, improve the United States standing in the world. Now is the time to invest in our future, not by supporting greedy corporate leaders, but by supporting academic institutions and the working class of America. Will supporting these causes be an overnight solution? Of course not.  Career management policy and implementation is a long-lasting solution where benefits are built upon a solid foundation.  America is put together upon intellectual freedom—strapping students and those wishing to promote themselves is not an option we can afford.


The talk, rhetoric, and promises are fine for yesterday and today.  In a time where optimism is required, the marketing strategies from President Obama’s campaign was not only perfect, it was our light in a storm.  But time for talk and promises are over and career management must be on the forefront of government investment.


Can we? Depends….



January 19, 2009

Graduating Students Beware: The Least Effective Ways to Find a Job (Part II)

Submitted by Steve Klubock


To counter our last segment, Steve offers recommendations for students and professionals by examining the comprehensive, 360-degree approach to find a better position faster.


1. Networking for Job Leads from Family, Friends, Community Members, and Alumni

This method is 2.5-8 times more effective than job seekers’ best odds when using the first four most ineffective ways of finding a new position. With a soaring 33% success rate in comparison, it proves that proactive methods work!


2. Knocking on Doors of Employers of Interest

Whether they have a known vacancy or not; we should encourage our candidates to pound the pavement. “Old school”, traditional methods work, but most don’t use this approach because they don’t have the gusto to get themselves out there. Yet this technique scores a 47% success rate.


3. Conducting a Career Search in the Un-Advertised Market

Individuals who research companies using commercial research databases, read business newspapers looking for opportunities, and attend networking events are making these resources work for them! And, they’re having a lot of success doing it — 69% of seekers are finding positions by putting in the time to search for the opportunities as well as reading interview strategy and résumé writing books to prepare for professional meetings.  They have the right idea, but it will take them quite a bit of time to execute the process. Learning the in’s and out’s of the market and finding the companies and contacts with whom to network all on their own can turn into a lengthy trial and error process (without professional assistance) but they are definitely on the right track.


4. Consulting with a Team of Career Experts

Working with a team of certified career coaches and certified résumé writers to help professionals establish a career plan and ensure their competitiveness on paper, clients achieve an 84% success rate.


Graduating students must become aware of the inherent obstacles upon entering or promoting within the job market. By understanding what is most (and lest) effective, your time can be channeled more effectively.  This in no exact science, but there are keys to succeed. 

January 16, 2009

Graduating Students Beware: The Least Effective Ways to Find a Job (Part 1)

Submitted by Steve Klubock, Career Management Specialist for over 20 years:


“You need to know where you are going, but what’s more important is knowing how you are going to get there. Then you can be sure to arrive.” This was probably the greatest piece of advice I heard from my father. Many job seekers embark on their search with nothing more than a hastily prepared résumé and some job board addresses. Do they have a career plan? Are they competitive on paper? In order for clients to get where they want to go, we need them to understand the in-effectiveness of their job-searching strategies and teach them to utilize a comprehensive, 360-degree approach.


Let’s address the five least effective ways to find a job.


1. Job Boards – “Click and Wait” Searching

In the mid-90’s, massive job boards launched, providing a link between job seekers and employers, and luring a considerable amount of professionals. Job boards are a very passive way to search for a new career because job seekers have little control over who contacts them.


The success rate of finding a job through the Internet is 4%.According to Forrester Research, 4 out of every 100 professionals who use the Internet as their only search method for finding a new position will get a job. (This means that the other 96 job seekers are unsuccessful).


2. E-mail Blasts

Sending out tens, hundreds, or thousands of resumes via email to employers at random increases the success rate of finding a job through the Internet from 4% to 7%. I found one study that figured 1 job offer resulted for every 1,700 resumes submitted. Interestingly, this same study indicated that there were reportedly a minimum of 40,000,000 resumes floating out in cyberspace at any time.


3. Answering Ads in Professional Trade Journals or Industry-Specific Websites

This search method, like blasting, has just a 7% success rate. Why is that? Well, there are nowhere near enough positions posted to match the number of job seekers attempting this method. It’s a big variation of supply versus the demand.


4. Answering Local Newspaper Ads

Although their success rate increases with this approach to 7%-12%, the fluctuation between 7%-12% is attributed to desired salary, and success increases with lower income brackets. The probability of their chance to find a position by answering local newspaper ads is higher than using an online search because fewer professionals approach this method- and so, there’s less competition.


5. Using Employment Agencies or Search Firms

The final most ineffective way of finding a job is through employment agencies and search firms. This method has a 5%-28% success rate, trending upward for those professionals with low salary demands and specialized skills- meaning recruitability.


Part 2 (Monday, January 19) examines the comprehensive, 360-degree approach in detail and offers hints which will help any job seeker find a better position faster…

January 15, 2009

Students Prepare! Potential Employers Don’t Always Play Nice

Filed under: Career Cafe — EducationCS @ 7:54 pm
Tags: ,

Searching for a job is one of the most stressful events all have the pleasure in experiencing.  If only there was a way to make the memory even more traumatic—oh wait, there is…


In a time of extreme career competition, it has become obvious employers don’t always play nice.  As a matter of fact, according to “WEDDLE’s” Research (scheduled to be presented this month), many are downright rude.


In summary, the result of the survey question “What is the single worst thing that has happened to you in a job search?” is as follows:


·        45% – they submitted a resume and heard nothing back from the employerAntique telephone

·        24% – they received no information or feedback from the employer once they entered its recruiting process

·        19% – they had no serious negative experiences

·        07% – the hiring manager or recruiter who interviewed them was poorly prepared

·        05% – the hiring manager, recruiter, or an employee was rude or hostile to them during the process


While teaching college students, I held active (and oftentimes overly vocal) discussions regarding what to expect and what not to expect preceding and following résumé submissions.  Most students had no idea of proper protocol on the potential employer’s side.  The most common expectation from students was “I submit my résumé and will get a call within a few days to let me know I am scheduled for an interview or not scheduled for an interview.”  Was it my role to let the class know most employers don’t bother letting the candidate know they don’t match what they are looking for at this time?  


Is “push them out of the academic nest and let them fly on their own” the rule of the day?  If this is the modern approach, am I not as guilty in lowering the rudeness bar?  


What messages are employers sending students by saying nothing at all?  Is it professionally acceptable to ignore potential candidates in the hopes they simply will go away?  As a certified career coach, I receive complaints from both sides of the equation and now long to find answers.  Look at the percentages again, to me the most concerning figure is the 19% (those who had no serious negative experience).  Am I to believe four out of five DO engage in a serious negative experience?  If so, has it always been this way?


Now it’s time to ask ourselves, are students prepared to react professionally to the bad behavior they are about to encounter face to face?  In the tone of this article, I would love to hear your approach and a story or two directly related to potential employers and the encounter experienced.  Or, throw in a comment; remember saying nothing at all is considered rude in some circles.



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