Education Career Services

March 30, 2010

Green Challenge and Opportunity

Victoria Andrew presents…

The global challenge to focus on sustaining our environment is transforming our white and blue collars into green!  Multitudinous companies and entrepreneurs are pursuing strategies to capitalize on the New Energy Economy.  Simultaneously, many industrial and corporate employees are migrating to green professions by mastering training programs on how to produce alternative power, accelerate energy efficiency, and renovate buildings with sustainable energy systems.  Professionals are primarily attracted to green development to satisfy the demand for implementing environmentally conscious design, policy, and technology.

Some careers obviously fall into the green-collar category, such as the hundreds of jobs available for the Spanish wind company, Gamesa, in Fairless Hills, PA.  If you engineer wind turbines or solar panels, your job is clearly green.  Yet, some propose that the work of decarbonizing America’s economy will also galvanize millions of new jobs.  In the next 20 years, an estimated 75% of buildings in the U.S. will either be brand new or substantially rehabilitated according to green standards.

Green IT is also taking root, whether you’re looking at specific methodologies from power management to virtualization, or taking a top-level look at corporate-sustainability goals.  The Worldwide Green IT Report unveils how far corporations had come in greening their data centers.  The overall results unveiled a consistent agenda for most firms to integrate green IT as a cost-savings tool.  In the past, green IT was merely a wish-list item, yet now it’s essential for the majority of the major corporations surveyed internationally.  Especially in Silicon Valley, job opportunities are being backed by millions of dollars into the renewable energy industry.

According to a CareerBuilder.com hiring trend survey, thirteen percent of employers said they plan to add green jobs in the new year, compared to merely one in ten from 2009.  The survey also disclosed the following top 10 environmentally-friendly jobs for the green economy, with salary information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

1)       Hydrologist: Median annual income $51,080.

2)       Environmental Engineer: Median annual income $50,000.

3)       Conservation Biologist: Median annual income $52,480.

4)       Toxicologist: Median annual income $79,500.

5)       Environmental Attorney: Median annual income for attorneys specializing in construction, real estate, and land use is $70,000.

6)       Landscape Architect: Median annual income $53,120.

7)       Corporate Waste Compliance Coordinator: Median annual income $39,000.

8)       Pollution Control Engineer: Median annual income $66,000.

9)       Urban and Regional Planner: Median annual income $45,250.

10)    Environmental Chemist: Median annual income $51, 080.

So, how do you find the quintessential green job for you? Consider the following possibilities for hunting down a green-collar career:

1)       Idealist.org : Idealist is an interactive site provides a diverse job listing in the green sector, green career fair notification occurring throughout the U.S., and even an on-line career center for those new to the industry.

2)       GreenJobSearch.org: This comprehensive listing of jobs is searchable by keywords, state, and major cities.  It also offers helpful tips for job seekers.

3)       EnvironmentalCareer.com: You can take advantage of their advanced search engine, view all jobs, create an account, and post your resume on this site driven by visionary determination to ensure a green future.

4)       JobsforChange.org: This progressive site provides a keyword search and category listing that tends more towards green/white collar jobs, as opposed to green/blue collar careers.  An excellent advice section discusses everything from interviewing to job-hunting resources.

5)       GreenCollarBlog.org: You will find an extensive listing of green job boards with separate sections for jobs inLEEDs construction (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), solar, clean energy, wind power, etc.

Riding the new wave of green collar jobs is the ideal career path for 2010, especially if you wish to capitalize on the New Energy Economy, or synergize your socially progressive ideologies with an environmental mission.  Now is the time to take advantage of the huge demand for executives, project managers, engineers, educators, scientists, and individuals of multitudinous industries to penetrate the green world.  Both economic security and social change await your future if you decide to “go green” once and for all.

Thank you Victoria for sharing such valuable information.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International, www.careersi.com
Education Career Services, www.educationcs.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
Creator, The Huffman Report, www.westorlandonews.com

March 26, 2010

Rejection is not a four-letter word

Rejection is a part of character building…okay, how many times have those words reached your ears and eyes?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received letters of rejection.  Years ago I almost succumbed to a sense of defeat by agreeing with the latency of the words.  But that was long ago and in many ways, so very far away.

Today I own a career management company where writing and editing is part of my daily life…oh what joy!  Additionally, many of my textbooks and support collateral is used in colleges and universities across the United States.  Along the way from way back then to now, a few lessons forged destiny and are now shared with you in hopes of bright skies.

  • Learn from rejection without becoming emotionally smothered by it.  This leads me to a time while at graduate school.  Professor Trigg led the most challenging composition class ever imaginable.  At the beginning of each semester approximately 20 students began her class.  At the conclusion of the semester, at most five were standing.  Her classes were filled with tension, stress, rewrites, poor grades, and all-nighters.  For those remaining to stand, the reward received was beyond anything that could be encountered from the typical or complacent professor.  So difficult and challenging the experience, I signed up for her classes three times (received an A each time).  How does this relate to rejection?  Progression comes with challenge; embrace the opportunity to grow.
  • Persistence is paramount.  For those with the passion to write, never stop submitting.
  • Honesty and freedom make for a great story.  While teaching at a local college, I insisted my students allow their voice (and the true voice of their characters) a room of their own (thank you Virginia).  

The above bullets reflect just a few of the lessons experienced over the years.  No doubt everyone has been through the same forest as I, but it’s nice to know you are not alone.  With this blog and opportunity, we have an area to share words, experiences, and stories.

I encourage all readers to take part and share their personal stories of challenge and, yes, even rejection, as well as the reward.  One ring stands true: together there is strength.  If there is anyway I can assist you, let me know.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International, www.careersi.com
Education Career Services, www.educationcs.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
Creator, The Huffman Report, www.westorlandonews.com

March 24, 2010

A resume dilemma… one page or two?

If I asked a hundred recruiters, hiring managers, or people walking at a mall, they would all have slightly (some radically) different responses to the question: How many pages should a resume be?  To help un-muddy the waters, let me give you my take…

True enough, some questions do not have a clear-cut answer… this happens to be an example.  Being in the career management industry for decades and being a certified resume writer, a certified career coach, and a certified interview professional, there may be nothing more confusing than page length.  Way too many things to consider which would disallow a blanket answer.

Regarding length, things to consider include social and economic conditions, industry expectations, and position being sought as well as experience level / background / accomplishments and your goals.  All of these elements should be considered and a proper strategy based upon those elements is paramount to a successful campaign.

Times, technology, and attention levels have changed and so have the medium of information exchange.  As such, I disagree with traditional strategies proclaiming that a one-page resume is a mistake or that it automatically puts the candidate in a diminished capacity.  Heck, 8 years ago, the traditional long-winded approach was accepted… but not anymore.  Today, hiring managers are time-crunched and want to know YOUR value immediately… much like a 30-second commercial.

The foundation of my dissent comes from the top three career management associations in the country.  To summarize, The Career Management Alliance, The Professional Resume Writers Association, and The National Resume Writers Association advocate a single page resume over multiple pages.  I summarized a few of the reasons for your quick review:

     1) There is a 12-15 second reader attention (you have only seconds to attract the reader and define value immediately—not 2 or 3 pages down the road as the reader will never get past the first page).
     2) Resumes, under current standards, should not describe an employment history beyond 10 years (15 years is appropriate IF there is a direct correlation and benefit).
     3) Our sensate culture expects instant proof in the top third of the page. The remainder of the resume will confirm the top third; this is best represented with a single page document.
     4) Though not directly asked, the associations recommend the chronological resume format NOT to be used… I state this as many multiple page resumes use a chronological format (would just hate to see you fall into that trap).
     5) The top three associations recommend an assertive semi-functional format (leading into the single-page format). This strategy is finding a great deal of success for executives, students, and entry-level candidates.

The reasons above are not all-inclusive or exhaustive. But remember, there are no clear-cut ways as much depends upon external forces and changing expectations.  For example, if an industry, position, or client is best served with a two-page resume, go that route; if you are unsure about what is best for your situation, make a comment here or contact me directly. I will be glad to throw in my two cents.

A final word of warning (not to confuse you more than I all ready have): there is no one right way but there are many wrong ways.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

March 23, 2010

The Power of Non-Profit Achievements

You’re a full-time student with little time for even part-time employment…how do you start building your résumé to get a solid launch upon graduation?  Non-Profit Organizations may be your answer.

Achievements with a non-profit group are very compelling on a cover letter and résumé.  It stands out, it says something about who you are, and it will likely prompt an interview.  

Like any other position (be it an intern, extern, or part-time opportunity), make sure you build achievements and not just “experience.”  In other words, this is a perfect time to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities, all of which are the foundation of a long and successful career.  If you’re interested in business management, get involved with the administrative side of the organization: planning, fund raising, strategizing…quantifiable contributions that can be documented.

No doubt about it, DOCUMENT your Performance, Action, and Result (PAR) as employers want to see YOUR contributions and immediate impact.  For instance, if you built a spreadsheet while working as an intern or at an non-profit organization which streamlined procedures, document what you did and, when applicable, the results… such as how many labor hours were decreased due to your spreadsheet.

Things to consider when you are choosing a non-profit group, make sure the group:

a) resonates with you, and
b) resonates with future employers.

The Society to Promote Body-Piercings simply won’t do, but PAWS, MADD, homeless shelters, food banks… causes that benefit society not just special interest groups add bling too your résumé.  But be careful: Non-profit groups need volunteers and will let you work whatever hours you can; keep control of your schedule and prioritize your studies with volunteering or you may find your time monopolized.

The added benefit of networking is also at play here.  When you meet fellow professionals, get their contact information and keep in touch… you never know who the person volunteering next to you may be or will soon be.

Submission by Rob Swanson, certified professional writer at Career Services International / Education Career Services

March 19, 2010

Work is NOT the place to conduct a job search

Today is dedicated to a fairly common question I hear from individuals who possess a job yet are also looking elsewhere.  No doubt we’ve all experienced a sense of being uncomfortable on this issue so how about a few minutes to get my take…

Does your boss know you are back in the job market?  There’s a gray area here but overall, it may be in your best interest if your boss is left in the dark… it can mean the difference between wanting to get a new job and having to get one.  

In the employer’s right shoe: if one of your employees (who you count on to get the job done) is actively seeking employment elsewhere, what would you do?

Most corporations avoid keeping employees who don’t want to be there. They certainly won’t tolerate employees who are not being productive in their current position while surfing Monster.com. With an ironic twist, you may end up being eaten by that monster (i.e. your boss).

I typically suggest to my clients (and now to you) to keep your job hunting to yourself. Even though statistics show that 25% of employees perform their job searches while at work, don’t do it. Never sit at your desk and search job sites or scan the local newspaper’s want ads while on your lunch break with coworkers. This is like having a neon sign above your head that reads, “Job seeker here.”

If you must make search-related phone calls during work hours, use your cell phone where no one can hear you. Look for some isolated area, like a sound-proof room once used for interrogation of disloyal employees. Do not use the phone at your desk or workstation. Many employers do not approve of their staff using equipment for personal reasons. They might also monitor employee phone calls. This is not the way you want them to discover you’re hoping to find a better position.

If you have an interview with another company, it is acceptable to ask the interviewer not to contact your current employer. Most hiring professionals understand the necessity of discretion and will avoid any undo disclosure.

Your employment search is nobody’s business but your own. Keep it private or prepare to be unemployed until you find your next job.

In the employer’s left shoe: It is not uncommon for employers to monitor the sites you surf or print out the phone numbers made from your extension.  If you owned a company and noticed an employee completing an application, how would you react? 

Much like Dorothy and her journey, there’s no place like home (to surf and apply for jobs)… think about it.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC, author, educator, and co-owner of Career Services International/Education Career Services.

March 17, 2010

Did I REALLY Post That?

No doubt we’ve heard it over and over again… social media/networking is overtaking the world and just about every aspect of life, including job searching and career management.  So, with this common truth, what’s the latest?

According to an AIRS Sourcing Report dated February 2010, you may be amazed at the prevalence permeating (I have never used those two words together in my life so if it makes no sense, get over it) the social media network.  For example:

2010 Social Media Stats Review:

* Facebook has been in business 6 years (last month), and now has 400,000,000 members
* 50% of Facebook users log on daily (are you one of them—hmm, if 50% log on daily, that means 200,000,000 users log on daily—this is for the match challenged out there)
* 65 million Facebook users access the site with mobile devices (still a respectful number by any stretch)
* LinkedIn has 11 million users across Europe
* India is the fastest growing country using LinkedIn, with more than 3 million users
* LinkedIn is offered in 4 different languages, while Facebook is offered in 70 languages
*
Twitter now has 75 million profiles
* In December 2009, 17% of Twitter users tweeted, equating to roughly 10 to15 million users joining the conversation

Enough of the numbers and what does it mean to you? First of all, for those not venturing into the social media world, you are at a disadvantage as professional exposure can be an added value when searching for a job.  Unfortunately, there may be price to pay if you are tangled into the electronic social network.  For example, once an entry is written and published or an image is posted, there is no turning back. For those hitting Spring Break hard and fast, beware your behavior may be recorded for the world to see… and as the trend continues, the world WILL see. 

While on an off-beat strum, if you’re looking for a site to show off your creative side, one of my former college students developed “A Community for All Artists” and is located at http://artists-square.com.  I encourage you to check it out.  Okay, getting back on track…

. and bringing me to another point, employers ARE searching potential candidates on the Internet.  I’ll go ahead and make my position clear: error in the way of conservative caution and DO NOT post, publish, or take pictures your parents (or potential employer) would not be proud of.  Just think about Phelps and the stir he created due to posted pictures. 

With millions searching, seizing, and spying, be careful,

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman

March 15, 2010

Prepare for Success

Getting ready to graduate, thinking about transitioning into a new career, or simply searching for a job due to circumstances beyond your control?  No matter the cause, during a career search, it’s critical to maintain a positive mental attitude.  During a recession and high unemployment, keeping the right mind-set is not an easy task. 

As a certified career coach, I ask my client to remain confident, optimistic, and possess the attitude that no matte what, you can and WILL overcome obstacles.  Again, not an easy task but much depends upon the foundation… in other words, preparation.

Robert Ringer, author of the best selling novel Winning Through Intimidation, states a positive mental attitude is developed “by being good at what you do, by being prepared, by understanding the realities of what it takes to succeed, and by having self-discipline to base your action on those realties.”  Therefore, a positive mental attitude achieved through preparation will yield confidence which will increase success.

Reality: The purpose of a career search is to receive offers for employment, which directly correlates on how you perform during interviews (okay, the resume and cover letter must first get the call for an interview).  With this in mind, confidence comes from being well prepared.  Even if you do not get the position, the optimistic foundation that comes from preparation helps you learn from mistakes in a positive way when preparing for the next interview. 

Begging the question: How does one prepare?  Follow the following…

            1. Take the time necessary to conduct in-depth research about the company, position, and your interviewer.
            2. Know about industry trends and how you can capitalize on them (and how your knowledge, skills, abilities, and education will add value to industry trends)
            3. Anticipate what the company wants to know about you.  Obviously they want you to elaborate on your experience, but don’t just tell them, actually show them how you can repeat that success for them.  Investigate what they might need and determine, prior to the interview, how you can fulfill those needs.
            4. Consider using a third party (no, not the animal house kind of party) such as a career services department professional or a Certified Professional Career Coach to help identify your weaknesses, develop your strengths, and guide you along the path to success.

Ultimately, the first step to securing success comes from YOUR attitude.  In this effort, you must maintain a positive mental attitude throughout your career search by being prepared!

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman

March 11, 2010

The Catch 22 of “Over Qualified”

Between graduating students and retiring-executives-who-aren’t-retiring, not to mention other professionals suddenly finding themselves looking for work, experienced candidates are hearing that dreaded word a lot these days: “over-qualified.”

From an employer’s perspective, seasoned professionals might not be challenged by the open position and therefore leave as soon as they are able.  In some cases, the hiring manager may fear for their own job if they hire a team member who can do their job as well as they can… or even better.

If you hear that concern during the interview, it’s tempting to lay it on the table, “right now I need to pay the bills so I’ll consider any job at the moment!”  That declaration doesn’t allay their fears, however, and may make them worse (you just confirmed you’re looking for something better).

Once again, the answer is to identify their concerns and offer a solution.  “Due to the present economy, companies are getting a lot for their investment; you’re in a position to acquire talent at a great price.  I accept that and intend to provide greater value than a less qualified employee.”

Also make it clear during the interview that you know the key to success is “making my manager great.”  If the hiring manager knows 1) you’re on his or her side, and 2) by bringing you in to the company, he or she will be recognized as bringing in a winner, you effectively negate that concern.

Should the specter of “over qualification” still hovers over the interview, confront the issue, “It seems my qualifications concern you; what do you perceive as the problem?”  Then help them find the solution.  Would signing a year-long commitment help land the job?  Show your value by help them over that hurdle.

In anticipation of that concern, now is actually a good time to transition to a new industry.  “I understand you’re trepidation of hiring someone accustomed to making more money, but in this role I’m looking for more than just a paycheck.  Not only could I be an asset to your company, I’ll receive an education as valuable to me as money.”

Another strategy to dealing with this is to request an interview early in the interview schedule.  Relating your value and bringing up deeper aspects than a less experienced candidate could, you’ll raise interviewer expectations for following candidates.

Like with any objection, you need to find the logic behind the fear to overcome it.  Let’s face it, if you really are over-qualified, you have the experience to conquer the hiring manager’s concerns.  In fact, you may come to welcome that issue once you’re prepared for it.  If you had a choice between a sports car and a bicycle, which would you choose?

Thank you Robert for the great article.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

March 8, 2010

Résumés of a Different Stripe

Professional documents are not a one-size fit all proposition.  Depending on the goal, distribution strategy, and intended reader, you will require different résumés.  Let’s look at three:

Broadcast Résumé
If your strategy is to tap into the unadvertised job market (getting to a hiring manager before they post a position), you need a streamlined, value-centric résumé promoting yourself as the solution to a problem.  The goal is to get an interview or a call that can be transformed into an interview.  Very effective as a strategy, you aren’t competing with thousands of applicants, BUT it is a numbers game and you’ll need to broadcast mail hundreds, if not thousands, of résumés to get a good response.  Requires a financial investment of stamps, paper, envelopes, and probably professional writing, but ultimately, this is the most cost effective option.

Recruiter Résumé
Because the recruiter is putting your résumé in the hands of the employer, the goal is different.  While the above Broadcast Résumé leans heavily on the “Wow” factor, the recruiter résumé is heavy in detail.  The hiring manager is a captive audience with some degree of confidence that the recruiter isn’t wasting his time.  The Broadcast Résumé gets 12 seconds or so to make an impression; here, the recruiter is making that first impression.  Recruiter Résumés can be two or three pages long with no concerns about masking obstacles like age.  This option is VERY EXPENSIVE.  The recruiter may tell you “the hiring company pays my fee,” but the company is taking the 20% fee out of YOUR salary (up to $20,000!).  You keep paying for years because your raises will be based off the impacted salary, not what they would have paid you.  The recruiter’s goal is to make a fee, not find you a job; to do so they’ll place their easiest-fit client, not necessarily their best: “Hmmm, seems a bit old,” “You’re right, let me show you this other candidate.”

Job Posting Response Résumé
Applying for jobs online requires a customized résumé heavy on specific key words.  Key words are important to all résumés but here they have to be cherry picked from the posting and liberally used in the résumé.  Your résumé’s first goal is to make it through the screening software.  From there, a person will read yours and the thousand other applicant’s résumés, so it needs to be specific but unique.  Delivering value with tight content is as important here as in the Marketing Résumé.  And like the Broadcast Résumé, this is a numbers game; few applicants seem to know this, though, thinking applying to specific jobs is effective.  Instead, it takes many time-consuming tries (you should be customizing the résumé each time) and results in massive lost-wages.

Each of these résumés should be written professionally and we’re not advocating dismissing any of these strategies.  Being in the career management business for many years, if you would like to discuss strategies, please give us a shout.

Until then, never stop…

The above post was submitted by Robert Swanson, certified writer and manager at Education Career Services.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

March 4, 2010

Social Media Overrunning YOUR World?

Yesterday I spoke to a Data Storage Sales Executive seeking transition from Environmental Services back to Open Storage Sales. One of the questions during our conversation regarded the prevalence and rapid growth of the Social Media stage.  Given my knack to know more and deliver the goods to an eager (and hungry) following, I did my own diligence on the matter. The statistics may surprise you.

Needless to say, if you thought social/media networking made an impact over the past few years, hold on while I recap the deal from the Career Management Alliance (specifically from AIRS Sourcing Report, February 2010).  On this note…

* Facebook has been in business six years in February, and has 400,000,000 members (if the zeros got in the way, the number is 400 million—wonder how long it will be until the number of people in Facebook is a greater percentage than the worlds population)
* 50% of Facebook users log on daily
* 65 million Facebook users access the site with mobile devices (I am still trying to figure out how to take a picture on my phone much less text…)
* LinkedIn has 11 million users across Europe
* India is the fastest growing country using LinkedIn, with more than 3 million users
* LinkedIn is offered in 4 different languages, while Facebook is offered in 70 languages
* Twitter has 75 million profiles
* In December 2009, 17% of Twitter users tweeted,

The next time you think about career networking, think about the power of the social/media world.  Then again, one thing I want to make clear, do NOT rely solely on this medium for career support.  As I closed out the conversation this morning, I made it clear an objective approach to material development and an assertive approach to spreading the word of value should be considered. 

In the submissions to come, we will continue reviewing multiple avenues guiding YOUR career success.  In the interim, let me know of any challenges you would like examined.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

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