Education Career Services

April 16, 2010

Career Global: Educational Support Required

Is the United States prepared to go career-global? Are our colleges and universities training student’s international perspectives? What about cultural sensitivities and cultural semantics? Is the United States taking a “don’t ask don’t tell” approach when it comes to leading beyond borders? Being a former instructor and dean at a small college, I refuse to answer the above questions as many will not like the answer (especially any politicians scanning this post).

Promises aside, government and the year-old administration must accept and resolve 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, economic and intellectual.  The world is global and the manner in which we guide leaders of tomorrow must support that philosophy… unless we, as a people and country, accept second-nature status.

Are you ready to be a second-place loser?

Will our government, specifically going out to the big man in Washington, address the issues of career management on a grand scale or will educational budget freezes ruin progressive thinking?  If the past year is the trend of the future, first place may not be an option.

Political accountability can not be placed on hold any longer. On a side note, can you pass the tea?

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. Now is the time to invest in education and career management! Bailing super-sized and corrupt corporations sends a message… and not a very nice one. Students and the working class of America require faith regained.  

Educational and Career management policy and implementation are long-lasting solutions where benefits are built upon a foundation of progression, not complacency. Strapping students and those wishing to promote themselves is not an option we can afford.

The talk, rhetoric, and promises may have been fine for yesterday and throughout last year, but not today. Time for talk, rhetoric, and promises is over, Career global and educational support must be on the forefront of government investment.

Promises built the last presidential campaign; now it is time for delivery.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC, author, educator, and co-owner of Career Services International and Education Career Services, www.educationcs.com.  He may be reached directly at dhuffman@careersi.com.

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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

February 27, 2010

Handicap Disclosure, Should I or Shouldn’t I?

As a career coach, I am often asked if disabilities should be announced before the initial interview, during the initial interview, or after the initial interview.  Though there are no steadfast rules of etiquette in this capacity, if you possess a medical disability or chronic illness you have more decisions to make during an interview.  

If you were an employer, would you value the information up front?  Then again, we are tight-roping a little thing called illegal questions and issues.  If you were the employer and information was not disclosed, would you feel as if you were being played upon?  For the person being interviewed, the question “should you disclose such information” is a tricky and uncomfortable one.  If so, how can you do this without taking the focus off of your qualifications?

Generally speaking, if the disability is obvious, don’t feel compelled to discuss it during the interview.  The person(s) interviewing you have already seen it.  Bottom line is: if it won’t interfere with your ability to do the job, it shouldn’t matter to the employer.

However, if your illness is not obvious, approach the first interview as a time to assess the company and interviewer’s attitude.  A great deal about company culture, tolerance, and acceptance can be found with just a few questions and by looking around.  In this capacity, take a moment to look at employee desks and photos (as you walk by—don’t stop and stare). See if there are any current employees with disabilities as well. A great deal can be learned by examining what is not under the roof.

Your safety and health (physical, mental, and psychological) are paramount in any job or undertaking.  Think about it, if you are you a diabetic requiring a snack regularly, will you need to keep food at your desk? If so, you may be better off mentioning this during the interview process, although you might wait until you are actually negotiating for the position.

What if you have a heart condition and are applying for a stressful position? In this situation, go with your gut. I would suggest that you wait until the final interview and job offer to disclose this information.

Like all job hunters, be prepared for rejection and don’t’ blame rejections on your disability.  I know it’s easy to do so, but maybe you were not the right person. I hear the rumble as some (okay, many) companies still discriminate, regardless of the rules regarding such behavior.

One more point: don’t ever think your disability is a handicap. Think positively and keep searching for the right company that fits your needs.

In conclusion, no matter the situation, evaluate the company you may be working for and make sure you feel comfortable with the attitude, philosophy, and culture. After all, if you go into a situation (or position) with an uneasy gut feeling, chances are you will not be happy.

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

February 26, 2009

Career Trends

Several times each year, career survey results are reported.  With current unemployment rates and uncertainty looming in the air, securing a stable job must coincide with current trends.  Around this time, many feel a need to share survey results with their own twist.   As a blogger, I do the same but try to keep it as objective as possible (throwing in a pinch of personality now and then).  As a blogger dedicated to career management, certain survey results tickle my interest more than others.

 

When the Career Management Alliance posted the ten best and ten worst jobs (data collected from career.cast.com), I felt committed to share the news. 

 

To the hungry and ready to graduate student to the seasoned professional, knowing what’s available is a large chunk of the equation.  So, tell me if you agree with the list, by the way, this list was compiled and ranked based upon Stress, Work Environment, Physical Demands, Income, and Outlook.  The total number of different positions considered was 200.

 top-ten-jobs1

Ten Best Jobs:

1.      Mathematician

2.      Actuary

3.      Statistician

4.      Biologist

5.      Software Engineer

6.      Computer Systems Analyst

7.      Historian

8.      Sociologist

9.      Industrial Designer

10.  Accountant

 

Ten Worst Jobs:

1.      Lumberjack

2.      Diary Farmer

3.      Taxi Driver

4.      Seaman

5.      Emergency Medical Technician

6.      Roofer

7.      Garbage Collector

8.      Welder

9.      Roustabout

10.  Ironworker

 

Take a minute and reflect at the two lists, do you see any common thread binding best versus worst together?  I am a bit surprised how mathematics and mathematic related jobs rule.

 

Then again, your career choice must be based upon YOUR desires, wants, and needs.  Under no situation should you discount the importance of any position or believe one position is inherently more beneficial; taking a gestalt approach, the whole is much greater than the sum of any part.

 

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

dhuffman@careersi.com

Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com

Career Services International: http://www.careersi.com

February 4, 2009

American Idol and Career Management

Okay, I’ll admit it, I watched American Idol last night (along with 28 million other viewers).

 

Being a career management professional, I began paralleling the show with current career management techniques.  Oddly enough, similar philosophical and practical approaches surfaced in a matter of seconds.  Before you begin shaking your head in disbelief, give me a moment to explain.

 american-idol-jusges

Breaking it down, American Idol and Career Management carry the following characteristics:

 

  1. Candidates are asked a few introductory questions and then (within seconds) are required to “show” what they have to offer
  2. A panel of judges decide instantly to sever their relationship or allow a second interview/audition
  3. External and non-relative variables are introduced in the mix and used to support decisions (yes, even in “objective” interviews, this happens)
  4. Additional filtering rounds become increasingly difficult
  5. Candidates often leave the process not knowing exactly what the judges (or company) is looking for
  6. The arena is extremely emotional and often those not going to the next round tear or lash out
  7. There is a stereotypical good guy/bad guy setting (need I detail where Simon and Paula fit in this category, I’m not so sure about the other guy and the new girl)
  8. Candidates are judged not only on their skill, but on their added value, ie marketability
  9. While there is an appearance the judges (or interviewers) appear to be concerned about the individual, truth be known, it’s all about the bottom-line
  10. And finally, there is only one winner; one candidate will be offered the position or one person will be the next Clay or Kelly

As for me, tonight I will be watching round two.  Not so much for the singing, but perhaps Simon will accidently offer insightful interview and networking tips.

 

For those looking for career transitions or for students looking to gain access to the employment market, get your pen and paper out and prepare yourself for career management 101 by way of Fox and American Idol. 

 

Let me know what you find out,

 

Danny Huffman

http://www.educationcs.com

February 3, 2009

Buddy, Can You Pay the Fare?

The following was submitted by Robert Swanson and I felt everyone could benefit from his story and wisdom.  For those working with students, this is definately a keeper:bus-no-background1

This is not the way to win friends, so be warned…  A man I know was complaining that he’d been with Disney World for 9 years and still only made $13 an hour.  I asked him what he did there.  “I’m a bus driver.  I ferry people from one park to the other.”

 

I told him, “You should thank them for paying you that much.”  My buddy was stunned.

 

“But… I’ve been there for 9 years!”

 

As an employer I hear that amazingly often.  This is pretty strong, but my friend should be ashamed of himself.  Longevity is no reason for reward, especially with a company that provides free classes to improve or develop new skills.

 

Surrounded by opportunity, he did nothing but his duty.  Sure, he provided an important service and treated his passengers with respect.  He knew the park and routes; he had a chauffer’s license (provided by Disney).  In short, he did nothing that any employee couldn’t do after two weeks on the job – and at $9 an hour.  My friend is completely dispensable.

 

Reward comes with achievement not duty.  It comes from impacting the bottom line either through improving processes, developing new revenue streams, increasing sales… in short, either saving the company money or making the company money. 

 

If you consistently improve the business, you’re entitled to a share in the profits through either a raise or a bonus.  If you just fulfill your responsibilities, all you deserve is a cost-of-living adjustment.  Your business philosophy must be to make yourself indispensable to the company by making it more profitable.  Otherwise you’re just taking up space that someone else could fill who does embody that philosophy.  Make it in your employer’s best interest to keep you around.  Make them profitable and they’ll make you profitable.

 

 

Robert’s right, especially in such lean times.  I definitely encourage submissions from fellow professionals.  Together we can make a difference,

 

Danny Huffman

http://www.educationcs.com

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.

 42-17392513

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

http://www.educationcs.com

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?

invisibility-face 

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

http://www.educationcs.com

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.

fbi1

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 fbijobs.gov.

 

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

 

Danny Huffman

 

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