Education Career Services

April 26, 2010

Job Fair Opportunities, NEVER miss out!

With the unemployment rate as it is, NOW is NOT the time to sit back and wait. As a matter of fact, NOW has never been a better time to become active in your own career success. With this in mind, I encourage all students (and alumni as well as seasoned professionals) to explore the many benefits of a job fair.

For those currently employed, job fairs offer insight as to the latest employment trends and marketing techniques while opening a slew of networking contacts. Think about it, where else do hundreds of individuals and company representatives gather under one roof? This is an optimal medium on multiple career fronts… don’t miss out on these types of opportunities simply because you are employed.

For students, alumni, or any individual seeking employment or career transition, job fairs are an ideal event for career shopping. Unfortunately the probability of actually landing a job offer during a job fair is minimal, offers do happen. More often than not, the information you present during the job fair will be relayed back to company headquarters where it will be reviewed. Oftentimes the representative from the job fair will be included in the review, thus the importance of following proper business etiquette is essential (as well as the bullets below).

At its core, job fairs are a perfect place to practice and sharpen your career management skills. For example, if you lack a solid introduction (15-30 second) statement (elevator or brand as many circles label), now is the time get it right. If you have shy tendencies or simply don’t know answers to basic interview questions (“why should I hire you” and/or “tell me about yourself”), no better time than NOW to get it right. To help you along the way, here is…

Info you need to know:

* Bring plenty resumes and cover letters (make sure your resume and cover letter highlights the value and contributions you WILL bring to a company).
Dress appropriately; no jeans, no baseball caps, no tennis shoes (yes, even shoes are important) and, for the guys, wear a tie with your slacks/long sleeve shirt; for a ladies, professional attire ONLY.
* Look the part; first impressions weigh heavily. If all else fails and you are unsure what is right or wrong, be conservative, if you have facial rings, take them off for this go around and if you are tacked out, try to cover the ink up. I know you’re thinking this is who you are and if the company doesn’t want you the way you are, too bad. News flash, this event is NOT about you… it’s about what you can do for the company and if you fit THEIR image… leading us to the next bullet.
* Brand yourself the right way; this not only means how you look but what you say. Speak in a confident manner, NEVER talk badly about a past employer, and prepare a nice 15 second (give or take a few seconds) introductory statement (aka an elevator speech).
* Introduce yourself with a firm handshake (please no clammy or overtaking—nothing like giving someone the creeps from the get-go) and retain eye to eye contact without getting into a contest (no staring, another creepy potential creepy moment).
Bring yourself; do NOT bring children, parents, or friends.
* Professional courtesy goes a long way… being impatient, interrupting, or plain old rude gets you nowhere quick.

Following basic guidelines when putting yourself “out there” gives you the upper hand. Enough reading for now, you have a job fair to prepare for!

Wishing you nothing but success,

dhuffman, certified resume writer, certified career coach, certified interview professional, and owner of Career Services International, Education Career Services as well as author of over 12 career management publications. Contact him at with have any career questions or issues.


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
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

February 22, 2010

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Digital Networking & Search Engines

The following was submitted by one of our very own professionally certified writers, Sigmarie Soto:

Just as you take advantage of Internet resources to research companies and find job opportunities, potential employers use them to get more background information on candidates.  With tools, such as LinkedIn and maybe even Facebook, you have the opportunity to showcase your professional side.  What happened the last time you “Googled” your name?  Hopefully, public links to embarrassing pictures of you on MySpace or Facebook weren’t first to come up. 

Believe it or not, potential employers will look for these types of links to get an idea of the type of person, socially, they are considering hiring.  What’s important is to keep it professional. 

So, is the use of photos on LinkedIn professional or not?  Although LinkedIn is a large and global professional networking site, it didn’t allow users to post photos until 2007 in an effort to separate themselves from other sites.  Based on popular demand, they allow users to post one small photo.  In the professional world, it is not advisable to include your picture on a résumé.  However, your online profile is a different story because it is your virtual identity and connection to a vast amount of contacts that aren’t necessarily available face-to-face. 

Chances are that if a potential employer picks up your résumé and is interested in what they read, they won’t automatically be worried about what you look like.  If they happen to do a search on your name, they are looking for things that are connected to you.  It is not to say that hiring decision-makers should decide whether a candidate is “qualified” based on their looks, but simply sometimes putting a face to the name can help prior to an interview.  This is true, also, for instances when you go to job fairs or professional networking events.  Ultimately, sometimes people can remember a face more than they can remember a name.

Time for a cliché—a picture is worth a thousand words.

If you are inclined to use pictures, be careful what types of pictures they are.  Pictures, as a first impression or refresher, can ultimately play against you if showing too much age or not enough age.  I’m not talking glamour shots, but a plain, professional solo face shot would suffice.  Show some personality, but not in an overwhelming way.  Avoid posting pictures of you and one or more people, and avoid using pictures that are small, especially on LinkedIn. 

Public profiles can also prove detrimental if the information you share is unprofessional or vulgar.  Keep your social networking profiles private and be careful who is in your network.  Just as you probably wouldn’t want Auntie Aida to see certain aspects of your social life, the same should hold true for potential employers.  Potential employers aside, current employers and even customers can gain access to this information and these images. 

Just because you are in the door, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t upkeep and improve your professional image and profile.

Thank you Ziggy for discussing such an important (and often neglected) career management issue.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

February 3, 2010

Career Management: A back and forth dialogue

Over the past few weeks I began a new career management series entitled the “Huffman Report” and is presented through West Orlando News.  The site receives over 1 million visits a month, allowing us (and you) valuable insight from across the globe.  If you have a chance, check out the section at  The following sprung from viewer questions and comments from that site.

Career management is not only about telling your own story; it’s about listening to others, their struggles, and their issues.  For a few minutes, lets get into our grab bag of comments which came in over the past few days, perhaps gain a bit of insight as we go…

From James: Interesting story (OOOPS…) as something close to that happened to me while I was interviewing a few years back. What is this site going to be concentrating on? I am interested in looking for another position but not sure what steps to take. Will your report go into depth? If I ask for specific topics, will you be able to respond and, if so, when?

We will be concentrating on the full career management life cycle.  In other words, we are going to be taking all old-time rock and roll records off the shelves.  There will be times we delve deeply and carry a mini-series single-topic approach while other times we’ll concentrate on local events or national trends.  Since you asked, if you request specific topics, I anticipate a turnaround time to be within the week.

Regarding your interest in looking for another position and what steps to take, that’s a large can to fill.  When I coach clients, I recommend starting with a true self analysis, determining what type of career/industry would make you happy (naturally consider the economic impact as well). Secondly review the knowledge, skills, and abilities you offer a potential employer. Honesty is the best policy here; if you are an entry-level candidate, don’t pursue a position asking for a senior executive. When it comes to finding possible job leads, know the advertised market carries only a small percentage of openings. 

Throughout the tenure of this site, we will expand on ways to reach the unadvertised market as well getting into interview strategies. I encourage you to actively participate in this site and continue soaking up the information as the days pass by.  On this account, I am hopeful we’ll be introducing a team of extremely qualified members of “Team Career” who will be adding valuable insight from across the US.

From Jason: I started to read the article because of wanting to know if blockbuster was finally going out of business – but then got interested in your advise.  My company informed us recently that they will be closing their doors in the next couple of months.  Your article gave me a boost.

Sometimes a little bit of encouragement goes a long way.  Unfortunately “right-sizing” is hitting too many people too many times.  President Obama is dragging his feet and our local politicians don’t appear to have a resolution except to increase the tolls.  I suggest you go to work each day with a positive attitude, a solid work ethic, and a personal conviction to succeed.  While this is keeping your mind at a calm state (hopefully), begin reviewing what you want to do.  Refer to the advice given to James as well. If your supervisors would like me to come in and assist a group of employees as they prepare for the upcoming transition, I’d be glad to help.  Keep me abreast as to your status and specific questions; this site is dedicated for this exact situation… guiding everyone in their career management struggles.

Gotta get out of the office for now but will fight the good fight first thing tomorrow.  Let me know what topics you are most interested in and throw a spicy question in now and then. 

Until then, remain groovy.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

January 11, 2010

“Bio” is Short for “Biography” So Keep It Short!

Robert Swanson,
author, editor, Career Services International and Education Career Services

You’ve been tasked to write a bio for inclusion on a company website.  Don’t panic!  Writing your bio, like any web copy, is all about writing and cutting, and cutting some more.

People don’t read bios.  They start to read and then realize they really don’t care.  With that in mind, brevity is mandatory.  You’re tempted to start with where you were born.  Deny that temptation.  A bio is not about you, it’s about what you offer the reader.

Writing in third person, start with your name (that’s a no-brainer, right? You’d be amazed how many bios omit that vital information).  Establish value and scope right up front.  Use active verbs and include an image for the reader to hang onto.  Mine includes the line “…stitched together by the golden thread of writing…” and I also mention the Space Needle even though I worked there 25 years ago (they don’t need to know that).  For most readers, the Seattle landmark springs to mind.

You’re building a case of value, so consider what’s important to the reader. Finally, wrap it up with a short sentence summarizing what you offer.  The nice thing about bios is if you shift it to first person, it becomes your spoken elevator speech.  My bio is below; how much do you read?

Rob Swanson unites a cross-functional career spanning multiple industries stitched together by the golden thread of writing.  Whether an industrial engineer with Boeing Airplane Company, a retail manager at Seattle’s Space Needle, or an officer with SunTrust Banks, technical writing, instructional design, or copy writing has been integral to each position. 

Following success in these ventures, Rob turned to freelance writing, ghostwriting several books, serving as a marketing consultant, training-video author and director, and lead cover writer for a glossy city magazine.  Holding complimentary certifications in Resume Writing and Adult Learning Methodologies, Rob now leads a talented writing team producing executive portfolios that are highly competitive in today’s market. Gearing content to the needs of hiring managers cross-matched to how adults read, he gives clients a distinct advantage.

No matter your documentary needs, Rob is your go-to writer.

Thank you Robert!  Oddly enough, last week I was commissioned to write four bio’s… perfect timing.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

November 17, 2009

Mirror’s Reflection (part II)

Submitted by Victoria Andrew (continued from yesterday’s submission)

4. Be a dynamic duo. Even if you are in different industries, consider the fact that job fairs and networking events are much less anxiety-provoking and more enjoyable with a friend.  Gallivant to events with the agenda of keeping an eye out for your buddy’s interests as well as your own.  If the opportunity arises, agree to introduce each other and/or even speak on one another’s behalf to diversify your options and accelerate your chances.

5. Support each other’s greatest challenges.  One of the most empowering aspects of the buddy system for your job quest, is that you would have a trusted confidante to speak honestly and openly to about the euphoric highs and sometimes devastating lows of the job search.  You can volley ideas over salary negotiation tactics and portfolio samples.  You can not only prepare for interviews with mock scenarios, but also process and debrief one another on all you learned from the experience.

6. Celebrate your mutual accomplishments and cheer each other on as you cross the finish line.  There’s not a better feeling than having your own cheerleader after a race. You can party with glee over each other’s achievements, and also offer a helping hand when you fall short of your goals.  You remind each other it’s not always the outcome, but the journey that is the most worthwhile.

As in most challenging situations in our lives, the synergy of two minds is always better than striving to accomplish things alone. Capitalizing on your path to a new career by mirroring a friend and supporting him or her in the process will undoubtedly catapult you to a higher playing field.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

November 16, 2009

Mirror’s Reflection

Submitted by Victoria Andrew
November 17
In adventurous activities, having a buddy system tends to garner more auspicious results.  For example, the quest of losing weight generally becomes much more exciting and inspiring when one has a friend offering words of encouragement.

In more enterprising pursuits of daredevils, the main benefit of the buddy system is enhanced security.  One may be able to rescue the other in a crisis.  In scuba diving, it is essential to have a dive partner to assess your equipment’s safety.  In the U.S. Air Force, “wingmen” protect one another in battle.

In the mining industry, a “butty partner,” is one you work with“butt to butt” in order to maximize productivity.  Firefighters will only enter a burning building adhering to the “two in, two out” principle.  Similarly, in order to better withstand the arduous odyssey of your career search, it is advised that you find yourself a “helping hand” who is your trusted ally along the way.

Here are a few suggestions to optimize the buddy system for a job search:

1. Choose carefully. In our difficult economy, you may have a plethora of friends in a situation such as your own, desiring a more prosperous and promising position.  It would most likely be more harmonious if you chose someone who is not in your same exact field, so as not to spark fireworks of competition for the same position.  However, do chose someone who whom you share a mutual passion for landing a new career.

2. Sign up for the marathon together.  When running partners prepare for a race together, they find it beneficial to develop a mutual training plan. They decide on the specific dates and times they will run together, and hold one another accountable.  You and your job search companion could conjure such a game plan, complete with specific times you shall convene to discuss your goals, target markets, networking, and interviews scheduled.

3. Cultivate a strategy of attack.  Together, bounce ideas off of each other as to how you will both engage in your job searches.  Consider reading out loud together the Personal Career Marketing Manual by Danny Huffman, published by Education Career Services.  Share and critique each other’s resumes. Write branding statements for one another.  Rehearse diverse interview scenarios together.  Go shopping for powerhouse interview suits.  Brainstorm contacts in each other’s individual networks, in case you might offer each another a fresh approach.

Due to the length of this blog, let’s take a quick breather until tomorrow as we conclude the topic with the final three suggestions,

Thank you Victoria for this submission. 

If you have any comments, submit and don’t be surprised to hear back from Danny,

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

October 22, 2009

Nonverbal communications – escape the pitfalls

October 22 2009It begins even before you say your first word in an interview. When the interviewer greets you, an opinion is already being formed. There you sit, waiting to spew out your answers to questions you have prepared for while you are already being judged by your appearance, posture, smile, or nervous look.

A study done at UCLA revealed that the impact of a performance was based on 7%of the words used, 38% on voice quality and 55% on nonverbal communication.

Look back at speakers or teachers you’ve heard lecture. Which ones stand out as memorable? Is it the ones who were more animated and entertaining, or the narrator who just gave out information? This is not to say you have to entertain the interviewer (no jokes, please), but it does mean the conversation should be more interactive. If you say you are excited about the prospect of working for this company but don’t show any enthusiasm, your message will probably fall flat. So smile, gesture once in a while, show some energy and make the experience more pleasurable for both sides.

Beware of these common pitfalls:

The handshake: Your handshake should be firm, not bone-crushing, and your hand should be dry and warm. Try running cold water on your hands when you first arrive at the interview site. Run warm water if your hands tend to be cold. The insides of your wrists are especially sensitive to temperature control.

Your posture: Stand and sit erect. We’re not talking ramrod posture, but show some energy and enthusiasm. A slouching posture looks tired and uncaring. Check yourself out in a mirror or on videotape.

Eye contact: Look the interviewer in the eye. You don’t want to stare, as this shows aggression. Occasionally, and nonchalantly, glance at the interviewer’s hand as he is speaking. By constantly looking around the room while you are talking, you convey a lack of confidence or discomfort with what is being discussed.

Your hands: Gesturing or talking with your hands is very natural. Getting carried away with hand gestures can be distracting. Also, avoid touching your mouth while talking. Watch yourself in a mirror while talking on the phone. Chances are you are probably using some of the same gestures in an interview.

Fidgeting: There is nothing worse than someone playing with his or her hair, clicking a pen top, tapping a foot, or unconsciously touching parts of their body.

Preparing what you have to say is important, but practicing how you will say it is imperative. Sometimes nonverbal messages speak louder than verbal messages.

If you need further help or would like my guidance in any other capacity, do not hesitate to ask.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

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