Friday, September 30, 2011

Identifying your Skills

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
What is a Skill?
A skill is something you can do well right now. An employer hires you because of your skills. These skills tell the employer if you have the necessary background and experiences to do a good job. Everyone has skills. What are yours?

Knowing your job skills allows you to plan a more effective job search. You will have greater success by picking job openings that match what you have done before and what you already know how to do. If there are not a lot of jobs using your skills, you might want to consider retraining. Try to match what the employer is looking for with the skills you have learned from other jobs. By thinking about your skills in advance, you may choose jobs better suited to you, be more confident in interviews, write better résumés, and find a job that is more satisfying. Be sure to ask about training opportunities on our website and at your local career center. You can also explore community services and the local technical school for training.

Knowing Your Skills Three Types of SkillsResearch says that the most common interviewing mistake is not being able to talk about job skills. Why? Probably because the job seeker does not take the time to think about all the things he/she does every day in the workplace. When you know how to do something, you do it automatically. Try to remember any training you had to learn your last job. During this time you were learning job skills. Don't be shy. It is not bragging to talk about what you can do when it is the truth.

Three Types of Skills
To complete a task, there may be many steps that require various skills. These skills can come from life, work, or education. A good way to organize skills is to divide them into three basic types: job-related skills, transferable skills, and self-management skills.

Job-related skills are abilities that you learn in a particular job or type of job. These relate to four different areas: data, people, things, and ideas.
  • Data relates to numbers of any kind (percentages, frequency, and money), research, codes, or surveys.
  • People include what kind of people you work with (coworkers, customers, vendors, etc.) and what you do with, for, or to each of them.
  • Things refer to tools, machines, or pieces of equipment you know how to use.
  • Ideas are suggestions you came up with to make the job easier, more efficient, or more profitable.
Transferable skills can be used in a variety of jobs. They are skills you can transfer from one job or career to another without much training. In an interview you may be asked to describe a time when you used a certain skill. Some examples of transferable skills are:
  • write clearly
  • file records
  • listen
  • handle money
  • organize tasks
  • gather information
  • train
  • teach others
Self-Management skills tell the employer if you would fit in with the personality of the company, the management, and the coworkers. You may be asked when you have used one of these skills, so be sure to pick those you have used. Some examples of self-management skills are:
  • honesty
  • adaptable
  • enthusiasm
  • creative
  • responsible
  • energetic
  • dependable
  • sincere
  • dedicated
  • conscientious
List Your Skills and Give Examples
Make a list of your skills in each category, then select the top three from each group.

Next, think of specific examples showing how you used that skill on the job. Use the five steps below to write a strong example of your skill.
  • Identify and name a skill.
  • Give an example of where and how you used this skill.
  • Describe the example by answering “who, what, when, why, and how”questions.
  • Strengthen the example with numbers, dollars, savings, or profits.
  • Give the results, or how the employer would benefit from your actions.
Practice presenting each example as if you are speaking to an employer. That's how you sell your skills. The ability to identify, explain, and prove your skills can make the difference between getting the job or not getting it. To be successful, you must be able to talk about yourself and your skills.
What Skills do Employers Want?According to a recent survey, employers consider these 10 skills and qualities very important in the workforce:
  • communication skills
  • computer skills
  • customer care skills
  • team-working, flexibility
  • practical and technical skills
  • motivation
  • quality control
  • learning skills
  • problem-solving skills
Professionally written resumes now available through dreamfedjob.com.  For inquiries email us at  resumes@dreamfedjob.com

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finding Work Abroad - Part I

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
Before you dive into the process of looking for work abroad, ask yourself what you want to gain from your experience. Are you looking for:
  • A fun time exploring a new country and culture?
  • A life-changing experience?
  • A full-time service opportunity in a developing country?
  • An opportunity to improve your language skills?
  • A way to make some cash to fund some travel?
  • An experience that will provide some preparation for an international career?
If your main goals are to improve your language skills and have a good time, maybe working at that Left Bank restaurant would serve you better than an internship working with Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Paris.
On the other hand, if your goal is to begin an international career, perhaps the State Department internship is better suited to your interests. Many Americans start their international careers with a job or internship at an international organization in the U.S.
If you are hoping to save money for study or travel abroad, you may be better off finding paid work in this country, and then traveling later. Contrary to the myths about making lots of money working abroad, most short-term jobs in foreign countries will allow you to cover your living expenses and not much more.
Consider all your options. For example, paid work in developing countries is rare, but "volunteering" with a service agency could provide you with your housing and your food, and perhaps a small stipend to cover your living expenses.
Careers abroad - It is important to understand that, without first establishing a career in the U.S, it is extremely difficult to land a career position abroad. In the next several blogs I will offer a brief discussion of the various paths to professional, career-oriented jobs abroad.
Timing - the widest range of options is available to you while you are a student or soon after you graduate. Many programs are designed specifically for undergraduate and graduate students and for recent graduates.

A FEW ORGANIZING PRINCIPLES

  • Keep a notebook, preferably a three-ring binder, in which you can place website printouts, photocopies of book pages, and your own notes. Why keep a notebook? Your international job search is likely to involve a lot of research and many different possibilities. Without a notebook (or an organized filing system), you'll end up with piles of pages floating around everywhere.
  • Ask for help. Books and the Internet offer great resources, but there will be plenty of times when you need advice and details, or you'll just want to bounce some ideas off somebody. Speak with representatives of any organization with which you are considering participation. Ask trusted friends and family for encouragement.
  • Don't rely solely on the Internet for information. There are some great resources online, but there are also plenty of books that offer much more detail and depth than you'll find anywhere on the Web.
VISAS AND WORK PERMITS
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of finding work abroad is arranging for a work permit visa. While short-term tourists often do not need a visa, and a student visa is obtained relatively easily, work permit visas are issued only to employers who have offered you a job. And in order to offer you a job, an employer must prove to the appropriate government agency that they have made a concerted effort to find someone within their country who can perform the job.

This is an expensive process for the employer, so most will not offer a job to a foreigner who does not already hold a work permit visa. And the penalties for hiring someone without a work permit can be severe. Though Americans do sometimes work "under the table" in foreign countries, I cannot recommend this option, as the penalties can be severe, including serious fines and even expulsion from the country.

Student work exchange programs offer the one of the few legal ways around this obstacle. These types of programs are discussed in the sections on teaching English abroad and short-term work abroad.

Dreamfedjob is a blog that highlights the newfangled ways we are custom-blending careers in the private and civil service, and shares tips for doing it better. Professionally written resumes now available through dreamfedjob.com.  For inquiries email us at  resumes@dreamfedjob.com

Who are Employers Looking for?

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
Employers are people, too, and their jobs often depend on who they hire. Since profit is the bottom line for business, employers must ask themselves, "Can this job applicant make or save money for my company?" The decision to hire one person instead of another often hinges on the answer.

To convince an employer that hiring you is a wise investment, you must meet his/her expectations. While you may not be sure of the specific expectations of an employer, it's not difficult to conclude that, in general, most employers are looking for the same basic characteristics.

For instance, imagine that you are about to hire an assistant, someone to help you look for a job. Consider that this employee will:
  • be with you eight hours a day
  • represent you to potential employers
  • be paid from your future earnings
What kinds of information/impressions will you be looking for during the interview that will help you choose among several applicants? Write down the characteristics you consider important to your hiring decision.
Now choose the three you consider crucial to your final decision.

Compare your hiring criteria to that most frequently cited by employers when asked, "During an interview, what characteristics influence your final decision?"

1. APPEARANCE - Does his/her appearance convey pride in himself/herself and his/her ability to do the job?
  • Dress - Is his/her attire at least one step above what one would wear on the job?
  • Grooming & Hygiene - Does he/she project a clean, neat image from head to toe?
  • Manner - Is his/her behavior/attitude polite, friendly, confident?
  • Paperwork - Is his/her application and/or résumé neat and complete?
2. DEPENDABILITY - Can he/she be counted on to do the job?
  • Attendance - Will he/she be at work regularly?
  • Punctuality - Will he/she report to work on time and return from lunch and breaks on time? Will he/she complete duties timely?
  • Reliability - Will he/she accept responsibility, follow rules, and learn as much as possible about the job?
3. SKILLS - Does he/she possess the skills or the potential abilities to learn and perform the job? Is he/she willing to learn new skills? Does he/she have experience or related experience?

Are your expectations very different? Although priorities may differ, all employers want basically the same thing..a dependable, neat person who possesses the skills to make or save money for their business. Successful job hunters know that the title, responsibility and years of experience on their last job means less to new employers than their proven ability to "do the job."

Professionally written resumes now available through dreamfedjob.com.  For inquiries email us at  resumes@dreamfedjob.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dress for Success

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
Did you know that over 90% of the decisions on who to bring back for a second interview are made during the first two minutes after meeting you? This is why how you look is very important. There is never a second chance to make a good first impression. If you go to an interview dressed properly, you will have a sense of confidence and others will relate positively to your self-assurance.

A major part of a hiring decision is based on these nonverbal elements in an interview: handshake, eye contact, body language, posture, listening skills, clothing, grooming and accessories. People make assumptions about your ability and potential based on appearance during a first meeting. You can create an optimistic mood if you are dressed appropriately.

First Impressions
Before you get a job, your goal is to impress employers enough so they will want to hire you. It's probably one of the most frequently used phrases in job hunting, but it still is true: “Dress for Success.” When you are job hunting, you want to positively impact everyone you meet. It is very difficult to overcome a poor first impression.

Remember: You are selling yourself to a potential employer who does not know you. The first thing the employer sees when greeting you is your attire so make every effort to have the proper dress for the type of job you are seeking. This is an investment in your job future. Will dressing properly guarantee you get the job? Of course not, but it will give you a positive advantage over other applicants.

Clothing
There are various standards of dress that work for different kinds of jobs. Dressing conservatively is always the safest route. Try to do a little investigating to learn what to wear to the interview so you will look as though you “fit in” with the company.

Learn what to wear by:Calling the human resource office where you are interviewing and asking
  • Visiting the company's office to get an application or a brochure to see what employees are wearing
  • Watching people arriving and leaving work
It is a good idea to match your interview outfit to the position. If you are applying for a job working on a warehouse floor, you will look out of place wearing a formal suit. Jeans and a tee-shirt would not be best when interviewing for a sales position. A basic rule is to dress one step above what you would wear on the job.

Always select and try on your interview clothing before the day of the interview to be sure everything fits and that it presents the image you want. Business clothes do not have to be expensive. Look for sales and shop at discount stores if you want something new for your interview.

Grooming and AccessorizingHair -- Clean, trimmed, and neatly combed or arranged
  • Facial Hair (men) -- Freshly shaved; mustache or beard neatly trimmed
  • Fingernails -- Neat, clean and trimmed; if polished, only one color
  • Breath -- Avoid foods that may leave breath odor
  • Teeth -- Brushed and fresh breath
  • Body -- Freshly bathed/showered; use deodorant
  • Make-up (women) -- Use sparingly and be natural looking
  • Perfunes/Colognes -- Use sparingly or not at all
Visible tattoos should be covered. Remove facial and body piercings other than single ear jewelry for women. Accessories (necklaces, earrings and bracelets) should be small. Wear only one ring per hand. Less is more. Keep your look simple and successful.

Styles and Trends
“Business casual” is a phrase used by many businesses today. Business casual does not mean casual or sloppy. It does not mean that you can dress any way you want. It does not mean jeans and a tee-shirt. You are still expected to look professional. Should you wear business casual clothing to an interview? You might ask the human resource manager or your interviewer what attire is expected at the interview – professional or business casual. When in doubt, play it safe: wear your conservative suit.

What Should I Wear Today?
Once you get the job, it is still important to dress properly. For the first few days you might dress similarly to how you dressed for your interview. Once you have been working several weeks, you will be able to see what everyone else is wearing. Ask if your employer has a dress code. Some codes are written, but others are “just understood.” If you are hoping for a promotion or more responsibilities, dress a bit better than your current level. For example, if your coworkers wear business casual with polo shirts but the people one level above you wear business casual and dress shirts, wear dress shirts. Always dress for the job that you want, not for the job that you have. The goal is to use clothes as a tool for getting, keeping and advancing in your job.

Professionally written resumes now available through dreamfedjob.com.  For inquiries email us at  resumes@dreamfedjob.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why Some People Remain Unemployed

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
Ask anyone who has recently lost a job if he/she plans to remain unemployed for a long time and most will answer, "OF COURSE NOT!" Ask if he/she is seriously looking for another job and most will answer, "CERTAINLY!"

Many job hunters find themselves unable to reconnect quickly. They are qualified and jobs are available. What's the problem?

Those less than apparent reasons that hinder reemployment have little to do with either the job hunter's skills or the labor market. Most are a result of the job hunter's behaviors.

Consider: At least 40% turn off prospective employers by presenting themselves poorly in appearance and manners.

  • Approximately 42% are qualified but have difficulty tapping the "hidden job market." This is formally known as Frictional Unemployment.
  • More than 80% cannot identify or describe their skills and abilities.
  • Approximately 85% of the long term unemployed do not spend enough time looking for a job. In fact, the majority devote fewer than five hours a week to the job search.
  • Approximately 90% cannot answer difficult questions during interviews.
We all know that very few people deliberately sabotage their own efforts. Avoiding job search pitfalls is often a simple matter of recognizing them.

Now that you know the problems of those who remain unemployed, make sure you don't fall victim to the same mistakes. You must...
  • present yourself professionally and positively
  • learn new methods for tapping the "Hidden Job Market"
  • learn to describe your skills and abilities
  • approach your job search as if it were a full-time job
  • learn to anticipate difficult questions and have your responses prepared
Professionally written resumes now available through dreamfedjob.com.  For inquiries email us at  resumes@dreamfedjob.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

When Looking for a Job, It is All About the Attitude...

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
Anyone who has faced unemployment can become anxious and uncertain about the future. Maintaining a positive attitude, enthusiasm, determination, and self confidence will combine to help make good things happen to you. All these qualities produce a positive attitude that expects positive results.

Define Yourself with Confidence
Thoughts are powerful. Don’t underestimate the power of your thoughts and attitudes. What you believe is what you achieve in your life. Your attitude determines the quality of your life. Did you know that you can choose your attitude? In order to bring positive changes and improvements into your life, use a positive attitude throughout the day. Think “I can,” “I am able,” and “I will succeed.”

Thoughts + Feelings = Reactions
Effective positive thinking requires you to focus on positive thoughts, positive emotions, and positive actions. Your thoughts determine your behavior or emotional reaction to change, whether positive or negative. It is important to take responsibility for how you process thoughts. This positive attitude will supply strength and control during times of change. Life is not about what happens to you, it’s about how you respond.
Your attitude, whether positive or negative, also affects the job search process. Many employers say attitude is more important than experience or education. They often use attitudes as a tiebreaker between equally qualified candidates. What can positive attitudes do for job search?

Positive Attitude
  • You are more employable.
  • You are a positive role model.
  • Your self-esteem increases.
  • You gain energy to pursue goals.
  • You have a better lifestyle.
Imagine the Possibilities
  • Find employment that fits your skills.
  • Return to school to learn new skills.
  • Start your own business.
  • Take time to reevaluate your goals.
  • Meet new people/learn new things.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Attitudes are like magnets. Negative attitudes attract negative results and positive attitudes attract positive results. Spending time with positive people who encourage you and help you to develop job leads will help you feel good about yourself and to maintain a positive attitude.
Building Positive Attitudes: The Four Day Plan

Day 1: Fill your mind with positive thoughts.
Instead of living life on auto-pilot, letting all kinds of thoughts come in to your mind, only think positive
thoughts. Do this throughout the day. Read inspirational books, listen to uplifting music, or call an upbeat person. Avoid negative thinkers and complainers.
Day 2: Affirm yourself.
To build a positive attitude, remind yourself of past successes. Congratulate yourself on the good you have done and will do. Think positive statements.
Refuse to let any self-doubt enter your mind. Just tell yourself over and over, “I have the skills and I am competent.”
Day 3: Think only good thoughts about other people.
Don’t allow any bad thoughts about other people to enter your mind. Look for something you like in everyone you talk to or meet.
Day 4: Speak only positive words.
To build and maintain a positive attitude, think and speak positively about everything: your job search, your health, and your future. Replace negative thoughts with positive messages. Change “I’ll never find a job” to “I’m going to get a great job soon.”
Four Ways to Create an Unbeatable Positive Attitude
 
Stay calm – Remaining calm will allow your mind to work and it will also reinforce your own positive attitude. It is a way of reminding yourself that you can handle the situation.
 
Refuse to blame yourself or others for your problems – Blaming doesn’t make anything better. All it’s going to do is keep you stuck in a rut or make you angry.

Focus on the positive – Focusing on the positive gives you the power and confidence to view every situation with the idea that you will be successful.

Refuse to use a loser’s language – Use positive self-talk. All of us talk to ourselves throughout the day. When you realize you are talking negatively, stop immediately. Then replace negative messages with words that are positive and encouraging.
 
Use Your Positive Attitude in Your Job Search
Most people are willing to help if you let them know what kind of job you want, but it is your responsibility to get out and let them know you are job hunting. Networking is the word used to describe this activity. Networking may be new to you, but it is just talking to others to see how they can help you with your job search. Many Department of Labor Career Centers, churches, and civic organizations have job clubs that offer helpful hints, job leads, and encouragement during your job search.
Looking for a job can be a challenge. It takes time, effort, and energy to discover what job opportunities are available to you. Equipping yourself with a positive attitude and surrounding yourself with positive people will make this process easier. Try these suggestions for yourself and see what a difference a positive attitude makes in every area of your life.
 
Helpful Websites
www.successconsciousness.com/index_000009.htm

Professionally written resumes now available through dreamfedjob.com.  For inquiries email us at  resumes@dreamfedjob.com

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Your Age is an Asset

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
For many, retirement age is not necessarily the end of working. It may be a career and lifestyle change, where the retiree has multiple options such as continuing to work (though perhaps at a different pace), returning to school for additional training or education, changing careers, starting a business, becoming more involved in volunteer work, or simply enjoying leisure and travel possibilities.

How many boomers will keep working past traditional retirement age? Estimates range anywhere from half to the vast majority with many boomers saying they plan to work because that's what they want to do. And because many experts are predicting a talent shortage once these boomers retire, there will certainly be a demand for experienced workers.

10 Positive Characteristics of Workers Over 50
Below are ten reasons why hiring older workers can help maintain a reliable, dedicated workforce and provide a significant cost savings for both the short and long term:
  • Dedicated workers produce a high quality of work, which can result in a significant savings in cost.
  • "Punctual" often describes older workers who are likely to arrive on time and be ready to work.
  • Detail-oriented, focused and attentive workers add an intangible value that rubs off on all employees and can save a business thousands of dollars.
  • Good listeners make great employees because they're easier to train; older employees listen carefully because they want to avoid mistakes.
  • Organizational skills found in older workers mean they are less likely to be a part of this startling statistic: More than a million work hours are lost
  • each year due to workplace disorganization.
  • Efficiency and the confidence to share their recommendations and ideas make older workers ideal employees.
  • Maturity comes from years of life and work experience creating workers who get less "rattled" when problems occur. Setting an example for other employees is an intangible value many business owners appreciate.
  • Communication skills like knowing when and how to communicate generally grow through years of experience.
  • Reduced labor costs can be a huge benefit when hiring older workers because many have insurance plans from previous employers and other sources of income.

Looking for a Job
If you're over 40 and unemployed, don't despair. Try these suggestions:
  • Keep your skills current. Computer skills are especially important.
  • If you've been downsized, look for new work as soon as you can. The longer you're out of work, the harder it will be to get into a new position.
  • Seek out companies that want older workers.
  • Networking is especially important for older workers because jobs at the senior levels are the least likely to be advertised.
  • Consider flexible options that may be advantageous to both you and the employer, such as a compressed work week, flextime, job reassignment, job redesign, part-time work, job sharing, phased retirement, or telecommuting.
  • Consider offering to work during odd hours that younger workers with family obligations might not be able to work.
How to Find Employers
Whenever you search for employers, follow these tips:
  • Ask everyone you know or run into for ideas of employers to investigate. If this doesn't come naturally for you, set a goal to ask a certain number of people each week. Try for at least five per week. Just ask. Then reward yourself.
  • Focus, focus, focus on finding and learning about employers.
  • Set a goal for each search session. This can be quick and informal. Just grab scratch paper. At the top, write something like, "Find 10 employers within 25 miles. Get names of someone to call. Use one or two sources only." Another goal may sound more like, "Find five pieces of information that I could use in my interview to show that I understand how the company works and what I could contribute."
  • Divide your search into manageable chunks. For example, after finding 10 employers, you could spend another session to "Figure out which of the 10 I'd most want to work for." You could list three positive things and one caution to explore further about each employer.
  • Time yourself. Jot down something like, "45 minutes." Use a timer. Search time goes faster than we realize while we're browsing through books or Web pages. Limiting your time also helps focus the mind.
  • Look at employers' own websites to search for job openings. Businesses often post and update openings on their own sites more than they do on big job boards.
Job Networking Websites
http://www.employmentspot.com/

UPCOMING CAREER EVENTS
9/28/2011


Federal Employment Process: Find and Apply
9:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Participants will learn:
  • How to maximize their job search on USAJOBS 
  • Where to find information on FedsHireVets
  • Understand the anatomy of the Job Opportunity Announcement
12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Participants will learn:
  • Tips to market themselves
  • Understand what information to include on resume
  • Understand best practices
  • Learn how to communicate veteran specific information
  • Target Audience: Active Duty and Retired Wounded Warriors and their Families
For information on how to register contact Shelley Anderson at (719) 524-7311
Target Audience: All
Location: Ft. Carson, CO. Soldier Family and Assistance Center, 1481 Titus Blvd, Bldg 7492


Professionally written resumes now available through dreamfedjob.com.  For inquiries email us at  resumes@dreamfedjob.com

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Looking for a Job? Be Positive

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
Unemployment often means more than losing your job. You may experience emotional and financial stress as a result of it. Worse, unemployment may influence relationships with family and friends. The longer unemployment lasts, the greater the stress may become.

TO REDUCE ANXIETY AND STRESS...

DON'T BLAME YOURSELF.
Losing a job is like any other loss. You may feel responsible even though the closing, layoff, or separation was not your fault.

ADJUST YOUR LIFE STYLE.
You may have to live on a reduced income for a while. Decide, with your family, what adjustments need to be made.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY.
Regular sleep, meals and exercise are very important.

COMMUNICATE.
Discuss the situation. You don't have to carry the burden alone. Your family and friends are your support system.

CREATE A SCHEDULE.
Organize your day around the work of finding a job, but set limits. Evenings and weekends should be for relaxation and recreation.

START YOUR NEW JOB.
Looking for a job is a full-time job and the most important thing you can do right now. You are most attractive to other employers when you are first laid off.

THE MOST POSITIVE, SUCCESSFUL JOB HUNTER...
  • assumes that no one else can find a job for him because no one else can know exactly what he needs, wants, or likes. No one else knows exactly what he can do.
  • realizes that outcome depends on input and is willing to conduct a full-time (35 hours a week) job search to produce job opportunities quickly.
  • understands that to sell himself, he must know his product and convince others of his value. He knows what he can do, where he is needed, and exactly what he wants.
  • knows that there are many routes to the same destination and develops a personal road map. He is prepared for detours...and shortcuts.
  • exercises good judgement in every job hunting situation. He believes any time, whether perceived as good or bad, is an opportunity on which to capitalize.
  • avoids paralyzing "what ifs." He keeps his eye on his goals and sees setbacks as temporary. Most important, he keeps moving forward.
  • believes in himself and doesn't see employment turndowns as personal rejections.
  • deals with reality. His choices and expectations reflect the economic conditions and job market in which he operates.
  • involves his family and friends. He allows others to help him/her by considering job leads and accepting encouragement from others.
  • maintains a good sense of humor.
It's important to begin your job search on the right note...by developing A POSITIVE ATTITUDE!
Helpful Hints Take time -- PREPARE
  • Give time  -- EVERYDAY
  • Show Initiative --  VISIT EMPLOYERS
  • Persevere --  CALL THEM BACK
  • Network  -- REACH EVERYONE
  • Look good  -- YOU'LL FEEL BETTER
  • Say "Thanks"  -- WRITTEN AND VERBALLY
  • Convince  -- YOURSELF AND EMPLOYERS
Professionally written resumes now available through dreamfedjob.com.  For inquiries email us at  resumes@dreamfedjob.com

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rapid Response Services For Laid Off Workers

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
Being laid off from your job is one of the most traumatic events you can experience in life. However, you do not need to go through this transition alone. Working with your employer, there are services and resources that can be brought to you, on site at your company prior to your layoff date. These services and resources are part of a program called Rapid Response, which will customize services and resources to your needs and the needs of your company, with a goal of getting you back to work as soon as possible and minimize the disruptions on your life that a layoff will cause.

The Rapid Response team will provide you the means to maintain an income (unemployment insurance), information on health insurance options, access to skills upgrading and training resources, and much more. This service is extremely valuable: the earlier services are begun, the better. Services and resources vary, so be sure to attend Rapid Response sessions when they are offered so that you are aware of the full array of benefits for which you may be eligible.

Notice of Layoffs
Rapid Response is initiated when the state Dislocated Worker Unit or Rapid Response team learns of impending layoffs. Many companies will contact the Rapid Response team to notify them of a layoff and invite them to come on site to help the workers who will be laid off. In some cases, employers are required to provide 60 days notice before a layoff. Certain mass layoffs and plant closings will meet the criteria of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) Act; the criteria are complex, but some basic levels are layoffs of 50 or more workers at a single site, where 50 is at least one-third of the total full-time workforce at that site, or any layoffs of 500 or more workers at a single site. Other times employers may publicly announce layoffs through the media. If you know your company is planning layoffs and have not been told that Rapid Response services will be available to you, or your company laid you off without notice, please contact your state's Rapid Response team.

Rapid Response Services to Laid-Off Workers
During Rapid Response, specialists trained to help you cope with job change will gather information about your needs and begin to organize the services necessary to help you return to work. At employee orientation meetings, you will be informed about services and benefits designed to help you get back on your feet, including:

  • Career counseling and job search assistance
  • Resume preparation and interviewing skills workshops
  • Local labor market facts and figures
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Education and training opportunities
  • Health benefits and pensions
Local services that may be available to you include use of computers, telephones, and fax machines for your job search; financial planning and stress management workshops; financial support for training; income support if your job was lost due to foreign trade; and special services for veterans and adults with disabilities.
Once again, services, resources and benefits vary from state to state; attending any Rapid Response events will provide you with the information you need in your particular case.

Connections to Other Re-Employment Services
In addition to many direct services, Rapid Response on-site meetings will introduce you to many other program partners and their representatives, who often have access to further resources.

Perhaps the most important of these Rapid Response partners is the One-Stop Career Center. The One-Stop system was designed to bring together many separate partners to seamlessly provide an array of services, from resume preparation to job search to placement to supportive services, for anyone who wishes to have access to them. Every state has a One-Stop network that is open to all residents, including those who have been laid off or expect to be laid off from their jobs.

Benefits of Rapid Response to Workers
When your company allows Rapid Response activities to take place on the company site and on company time, you will be able to begin services, including training, before you lose your job. The sooner this process starts, the more quickly the stress of a traumatic event such as a layoff can be managed, through access to important information and services that will enhance re-employment opportunities. Be sure to take advantage of whatever services are provided during the Rapid Response process, while you are still employed or while unemployment insurance benefits, severance payments or other financial resources are still available to you.

Trade-Related Layoffs and Plant Closings
With many American jobs being lost due to foreign trade and the phenomenon commonly known as "offshoring," the federal government provides additional services to workers whose jobs are lost due to foreign trade or shifts in production out of the United States. While not all job loss due to foreign competition meets the requirements of the Trade Act, the Rapid Response team will work with your company to provide information on Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and the benefits you can receive if your company is certified as trade-affected. Your company, the Rapid Response team, or the workers themselves can file a trade petition with the United States Department of Labor. For more information on the Trade Act Program and its benefits, contact your state's Dislocated Worker Unit.

Rapid Response Contact Information
Contact your state's Dislocated Worker/Rapid Response Team for information or to let them know of an impending layoff.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Wounded Warriors Think Tank Assists Veterans Pursuing Education and Careers

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
In the military, soldiers gain vast experience using sophisticated and cutting-edge technological innovations that require skills in the science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) fields.

However, the transition to post-military education and employment presents challenges. And when a veteran, a Wounded Warrior, has a disability related to military experiences, the challenges are even greater.

In order to develop solutions, the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored "Transition STEM: A Wounded Warriors Think Tank," in Kansas City, Mo., July 27-28. The Alliance for New Careers in STEM (KC-BANCS) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Institute for Human Development and School of Computing and Engineering hosted the event.

This event was the first of its kind to bring together national leaders to work with higher education and industry professionals to assist Wounded Warriors interested in pursuing education and careers in STEM fields.

"The goal of Transition STEM was to produce a collective response to transition issues facing Wounded Warriors and identify recommendations for improved supports, policy and funding," said Ronda Jenson, the Director of Research at the UMKC Institute for Human Development.

"Increasing degree attainment and increasing the STEM workforce are both important national priorities," said Alexis Petri, the KC-BANCS project director. "Veterans provide a natural opportunity for both."
The outcome of the think tank is a list of recommendations and insights designed to assist the successful transition of Wounded Warriors through STEM education to STEM careers.

"STEM business and industry representatives noted that the workforce sees veterans as an asset because of their leadership training and technical experience," said Petri. "Employers value their applied skills and knowledge, decision-making ability and leadership skills. The challenge is to help veterans translate their military experience into terms that resonate with employers."

Transition STEM participants included Wounded Warriors and veterans, private sector STEM industry representatives, higher education leaders who recruit and support Wounded Warriors in their STEM degrees, veteran program services leaders, disability experts, researchers of effective support for Wounded Warriors, policy leaders who determine transition protocol for higher education and representatives from NSF.

"The participants appreciated the opportunity to take part in a first-of-its kind think tank event that explored the very natural match between Wounded Warriors and broadening participation in STEM careers," said Jenson.

The think tank focused on topics such as: transition from military to civilian life; "transition success stories" or Wounded Warriors' perspectives on transitioning into STEM post-secondary education and careers; what leaders in higher education need to know about Wounded Warriors who are pursuing degrees and careers in STEM fields and how to support them; STEM-related business and industry perspectives on recruiting and hiring Wounded Warriors; as well as an in-depth presentation about post-traumatic stress disorder and what it's like having it as a college student.

"It is not that STEM jobs are provided for Wounded Warriors separate from the general jobs available," said Jenson. "It is more of a realization that STEM jobs are brain powered and that an important part of broadening participation in STEM includes the brain power of individuals with disabilities, especially Wounded Warriors."

Some of the recommendations for higher education that were developed through the think tank include the following:
  • Establish a campus-wide office for veterans with a team of experts drawing from military and academic cultures.
  • Initiate a process to review and accept documented military training that corresponds to academic courses.
  • Create a one or two-credit course on academic success for Wounded Warriors in STEM fields.
  • Develop veteran-to-veteran programs, such as peer mentoring.
  • Bridge programs that ease the transition from military to college, building collegiality.
  • Develop training that helps faculty, staff and administration understand the types of support that are available to veterans, and awareness of veterans' needs.
  • Present STEM fields to Wounded Warriors as having direct potential for career opportunities.
  • Use military experiences to build on STEM study.
"The next steps are to develop a comprehensive report for NSF and audience-specific materials to promote recognition of the issues and challenges and inspire direct action," said Jenson.

KC-BANCS is funded by the NSF Research in Disabilities Education program with the goal of increasing the number of students and veterans with disabilities who enter post-secondary STEM academic programs, complete two-and-four-year degrees in STEM fields and attain STEM careers. It is a program that is part of the UMKC Institute for Human Development and School of Computing and Engineering in partnership with a STEM Alliance of educators, veterans and industry professionals.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Negotiating a Salary Package

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
Why are there so many consultants making a living by advising clients on how to negotiate a salary package? The answer is simple; the process is complicated and most job seekers need further coaching when it comes to closing the deal. Instead of saying "OK" to an offer, it may be beneficial to pause and say "HMMM."

According to Jack Chapman, the well-known career consultant, telecoach, and author of Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute, this single technique enables more people to negotiate a better salary than any other. In other words, don't jump at the first offer. This single technique along with the following information will assist you in obtaining the most favorable compensation package.

Salary negotiation techniques can be divided into several categories:
Techniques to use when the employer first broaches the subject of salary
Your first response should be to repeat the amount of the offer and then remain silent as if you are thinking about it. This lets the employer know you heard the offered amount and you are considering how to respond. Mr. Chapman calls this hesitation the "flinch." Once you are ready to begin discussion, talk about your past experiences and have ready a list of what you have to offer. Be sure to address any doubt that may have been raised about your suitability for the position by maximizing your skills, abilities and experiences.

Be prepared and informed
This includes knowing just how badly the employer needs to fill the position for which you are being considered. This information lets you know how hard you can press for a better salary offer. Most importantly though, you must have conducted comparative salary research. At the end of this article you will find a list of excellent resources where salary research can be obtained. This information will allow you to determine your market value in the profession and geographic area in which you are applying. Armed with this information, along with your own salary history, you can determine at what salary level the market values your experience.

Behaviors
There are several behaviors that you should demonstrate when meeting with a perspective employer. These include a demonstration of excitement for the job - show your enthusiasm! The employer needs to know you are serious about joining the organization. Be careful to not bring personal needs to the discussion; make it a discussion of why the employer needs you. Make it a friendly experience because if you decide to accept the offer, this individual will very likely be your new boss. Therefore, during the salary negotiation, demonstrate through your words and actions that you already consider yourself a part of the team. Remain calm and poised but be creative, flexible and, most importantly, professional.

Discussing the salary offer

Finally, there are several things to consider when discussing the salary offer. First, you should be prepared with options. Most employers are willing to negotiate, but they need to know you are also willing. Be sure to have established your absolute bottom acceptable figure and be prepared to walk away if necessary. You may have to explain your salary history or use it to justify the desired salary. Be prepared with facts and figures. Anticipate any objections the employer might be able to raise and be prepared to justify your cost effectiveness. Negotiating a salary package reconfirms to the employer that the decision to hire you over other applicants was the right choice. Make intelligent, well-informed salary statements and be sure your requested salary range is within the market value for your profession in the geographic area.

  • Present a salary range that demonstrates your knowledge of the local market value.
  • When requesting a salary range be sure to include a record of your contributions that defend the amount of compensation you are requesting.
  • In salary negotiations demonstrate the benefit to the organization in paying you more.
  • Be realistic in the amount requested.
  • Be sure to include other types of compensation that would be valuable.
  • Address the interests of the boss, therefore, know the interests of the boss.
  • Proposal should be grounded on objective criteria.

Salary negotiation is an integral part of a successful job search. By applying the techniques and behaviors described here, you too, can negotiate a more attractive job offer.

Resources for Comparative Salary Studies

Books
  • Chapman, Jack, (2001) Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute, Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.
  • Krannich, R. (1990) Salary Success: Know What You're Worth and Get It!, Woodbridge, VA: Impact Books.
  • Medly, H.A. (1984) Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of being Interviewed, Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.
  • Studner, P. (1990) Super JOB Search, Los Angeles, CA: Jamenair Ltd.
  • Yate, M. (1990) Knock 'Em Dead With Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions, Holbrook, MA: Bob Adams, Inc
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Making Smart Financial Choices after a Job Loss

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
You may not be able to control if or when your company closes a plant or lays off workers—but you can take steps to manage the financial impact of those events. This blog contains tips on how to:
keep your finances on the right track in the event of unemployment; and protect yourself when getting financial advice during a period of job dislocation.


Whatever the reason for your job dislocation, you now face a period when handling your finances correctly will be critical to you and your family. These tips can help you take charge of your financial situation:
Act Quickly to Reduce Spending: With less money coming in, you should take immediate action to reduce spending wherever possible.

Resist the temptation to buy on credit.

Assess Your Short-Term Situation: Figure out how much cash you have readily available or can get on short notice, how much you owe—mortgage, rent, credit cards, car loans—and the monthly payments associated with those and other debts. Establish how long you can make ends meet on the financial resources that you already have in hand.

Ask About Dislocated Worker Services: Your employer may work with state and local officials to provide services such as job placement, retraining or resume writing. Maximize your opportunity to get a new position as quickly as possible by taking advantage of these services—make finding a new job your full-time job. If you belong to a labor union, also ask your union what it can do to assist you.

Inquire About Unemployment Insurance: A representative of the state’s unemployment insurance office will likely be at your workplace to offer guidance and assistance in filling out the necessary applications. Ask the representative if you qualify and find out how the insurance may be affected if you get other payments from the company. Knowing how much you can claim and how long you can expect to receive unemployment benefits will help you handle your finances.

Remember that when you file for unemployment insurance, state regulations generally require that you also register with the state’s employment service so you can start searching for a job immediately. Check with your state to see whether any exceptions apply.

Avoid Taking Out Loans Against Your 401(k): Loans put a drag on your retirement savings by reducing the amounts invested on your behalf. In the event of a layoff, 401(k) rules generally require that employees pay back loans within 90 days of leaving or face both income taxes and a hefty 10 percent penalty tax on the withdrawal.

Beware of Investments that Promise Too Much:  The announcement of your plant’s closing or mass layoff may have received national or local press coverage. If all of a sudden you find that you are receiving unsolicited offers for the investment of a lifetime, beware. If it sounds too good to be true, you know it probably is.

Always Do a Background Check Before Hiring an Investment Professional: Smart Thinking. The right investment professional can work with you to make good choices during periods of job dislocation. Legitimate investment professionals must be properly licensed. You can check the credentials of any person offering you investment opportunities.

This is how you check to protect yourself:
 
  • For an investment adviser, use the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure Web site at http://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/ or call toll-free (800) SEC-0330.
  • For an insurance agent, check with your state insurance department. You will find contact information through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) at http://www.naic.org/ or call toll-free (866) 470-NAIC.
  • For all brokers and advisers, be sure to call your state securities regulator. Contact the North American Securities Administrators Association at http://www.nasaa.org/ or call (202) 737-0900 for the state’s number.

Beware of Job Search Ads that Promise Too Much: Resist the temptation to rely on job search ads or services that promise easy results. You should not have to pay to get a job, disclose personal or financial information in a job application, or use electronic money transfers via your bank or credit card accounts to do your job. These are all red flags that the job may involve illegal activity or someone may be trying to steal your identity.

Long-Term Job Dislocation— Smart Choices in Difficult Times

The prospect of an extended period of unemployment will require some difficult decisions that could affect your long-term financial health. Managing severance pay, choosing the form of payment from benefit plans, and preserving your retirement funds if you are still years away from retirement age are high in that list. Keep in mind the following tips when deciding what to do:

Get Financial Advice: Your company or union may offer guidance regarding the financial decisions you face. Your state or local employment agencies may also provide information. Ask questions as early as possible to help determine what is right for you. Consider working with a credit counselor or investment professional. They can help you develop a plan to see you through your unemployment period and beyond.

This is What You Do to Protect Yourself From Job Search Scams:

Conserve Funds Meant for Your Retirement if You Can: Tap into your retirement funds to make ends meet only as a last resort. If you have a choice, choose to keep those funds invested and working for you until you actually retire.
Understand the Tax Bite: Income taxes apply when you tap into retirement funds prior to age 59½. The plan administrator is required to withhold 20 percent of the amount you cash out to ensure that you will pay the taxes that apply. An additional 10 percent penalty tax may apply if you are under 59½ years of age. To avoid income tax and a tax penalty, you must roll over your funds to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other qualified retirement plan within 60 days of receiving the retirement funds.
 
Use Direct Rollovers to Avoid Potential Taxes: If you elect to roll over retirement funds, you may avoid tax complications and the risk that you will not complete a rollover within the required 60 days of receiving those funds. Choose a direct rollover by having the plan administrator transfer the rollover amount directly to an IRA or other qualified retirement plan.
 
Spend and Invest Lump Sums Wisely: Receiving a lump sum may tempt you to spend it on that one thing you have been wanting all your life. Do yourself a favor and wait. If you face a long unemployment period, these may be the only funds you will have to make ends meet. Even if that is not the case, give yourself time. Consider short- and long-term needs before you decide what to do. If you decide to invest the lump sum, take your time to consider what you are going to invest in, when you are going to make the investment and how much of the lump sum you want to invest in different types of investments such as stocks, bonds, or non-financial assets.
 
You become ineligible to receive unemployment benefits as of the date you return to work or start a new job, not on the date you receive the first paycheck for that job. State unemployment insurance (UI) agencies regularly match claimants receiving UI payments against wage records and the National Directory of New Hire data to determine if an individual was working and collecting benefits for the same week(s). The US Department of Labor estimates that over $6.4 billion in benefit overpayments were made in 2009 because claimants waited to get that first check before reporting that they had returned to work or started a new job.
Remember: Report to your state unemployment office the date when you begin to work, either full time or part time. Do not wait to get your first paycheck to notify the state.

Collecting Unemployment Benefits While Working is Illegal! Report the Date When You Start to Work.  Good luck!

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Getting a Sales Job

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
In this economy, some of you reading this post may be considering a sales job for the first time in your careers. If that is the case, read on and learn the new trade!

Think of your sales-job search as a sales campaign, with the companies who will pay for your services as potential buyers. Your best chances for success will require you to test your sales skills: Research opportunities, network, and sell your services as a future sales worker.

Research. Many sales jobs, especially in business-to-business sales, are with companies that most people don’t think about or encounter on a regular basis. You can learn about some of these lesser known companies by looking through industry or business-to-business directories, available in many public libraries. Local yellow pages can also help you identify companies that might need sales representatives. And rankings, such as the best companies to sell for, work for, or launch a career with, might give you additional ideas for leads.

Check out company websites, help-wanted advertisements, and online job boards to learn about specific openings. Some sites specialize in sales careers or in a particular industry sector. But often, the most successful approach to getting a job is to tap a network of personal contacts.

Network. As a future sales worker, you could have a distinct advantage in the job hunt: Networking, a skill you will use in your job, is also essential for landing a position.

Networking happens in many ways, whether through in-person contact, social media, professional associations, or other means. Talk to people you know who already work in sales and ask them for advice on starting a sales career. Set up informational interviews with people who work in an occupation or industry that interests you to ask them about the work, job requirements, and other aspects of a sales career.
Online discussion boards also offer a chance to interact with sales professionals and others interested in the field. And job or career fairs are a good place to connect with prospective employers.

Sell. Every time you communicate with someone in the business world, you have an opportunity to showcase the communication skills that will help make you a good sales worker. Use your resume, cover letter, interview, and thank-you letter to show prospective employers that you can sell a product or service—which, in this case, is you.

Study sales techniques and common interview questions for sales jobs. For example, some employers might assess your sales ability by saying during the interview, “Sell me this pen.” Go into an interview prepared with extensive information about the company, its products and services, the names of key decision makers, and recent industry trends. Hone your presentation skills and prove your sales acumen to future employers, and you might buy into a rewarding career.

Good luck!

Professionally written resumes now available through dreamfedjob.com.  For inquiries email us at  resumes@dreamfedjob.com

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Be Careful: Sales Job Scams

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
When you’re looking for a sales job, beware of scams: jobs that promise to help you get rich quick. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Most sales workers put in considerable time and effort, gaining years of experience before they reach a high-level income.

Before applying for a sweet-sounding position, check out the legitimacy of the company offering the job. If you have concerns, contact or visit the websites of your local Better Business Bureau, consumer protection agency, and state attorney general’s office to see if complaints have been made against the company.

And be cautious about paying someone for a job or for information about a job.Legitimate employment agencies may charge for placement services, but some scammers charge fees to place jobseekers with a company in which no job exists. Others sell information about jobs that is available elsewhere for free.

Some sales-related job scams require you to pay a fee and then recruit others to pay similar fees (pyramid schemes); others dupe jobseekers into working for free or for very little money (cattle-call scams or some commission-only jobs).

Always verify that a company is legitimate before revealing personal information, such as your Social Security number.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security is Hiring Border Patrol Agents

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
If you're interested, the department is currently looking for candidates interested in preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States; detecting and preventing the smuggling and unlawful entry of undocumented aliens into the United States; and apprehending those people found to be in violation of the immigration laws.

The Border Patrol and Its Mission
The United States Border Patrol is the mobile, uniformed law enforcement arm of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It was officially established on May 28, 1924 by an act of Congress passed in response to increasing illegal immigration. As mandated by this Act, the small border guard in what was then the Bureau of Immigration was reorganized into the Border Patrol. The initial force of 450 officers was given the responsibility of combating illegal entries and the growing business of alien smuggling.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the focus of the Border Patrol has changed to detection, apprehension and/or deterrence of terrorists and terrorist weapons. Although the Border Patrol has changed dramatically since its inception over 75 years ago, its overall mission remains unchanged: to detect and prevent the illegal entry of aliens into the United States. Together with other law enforcement officers, the Border Patrol helps maintain borders that work - facilitating the flow of legal immigration and goods while preventing the illegal trafficking of people and contraband.

The Border Patrol is specifically responsible for patrolling the 6,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian international land borders and 2,000 miles of coastal waters surrounding the Florida Peninsula and the island of Puerto Rico. Agents work around the clock on assignments, in all types of terrain and weather conditions. Agents also work in many isolated communities throughout the United States.

Duties of a Border Patrol Agent
One of the most important activities of a Border Patrol Agent is line watch. This involves the detection, prevention and apprehension of terrorists, undocumented aliens and smugglers of aliens at or near the land border by maintaining surveillance from a covert position, following up leads, responding to electronic sensor television systems, aircraft sightings, and interpreting and following tracks, marks and other physical evidence. Some of the major activities are farm and ranch check, traffic check, traffic observation, city patrol, transportation check, administrative, intelligence, and anti-smuggling activities.

Applying to be a Border Patrol Agent it’s very easy. When the CBP Border Patrol is actively recruiting for agents, information will be posted on the CBP.gov website or on the USAJobs website. ( USAJobs ) ) If you are ready to complete the Online Registration please fill out the Border Patrol Agent Online Application to apply for a position as a Border Patrol Agent. ( Border Patrol Agent Online Application )  You must learn Spanish while at the Border Patrol Academy and you must pass a series of Spanish tests after entering on duty in order to continue in the Border Patrol.

There is also an entrance exam.  The U.S. Border Patrol entrance examination is a three part test which covers logical reasoning, Spanish language (or, if you don’t speak Spanish, an Artificial Language that predicts your ability to learn Spanish), and an assessment of your past experience. If you are fluent in  Spanish, you may wish to take the Spanish Test. If you speak “Spanglish” or “Tex-Mex” you should be aware that standard grammar and vocabulary are emphasized. You also have the option to take the Artificial Language Test (ALT). The ALT is a test that helps us predict your ability to learn Spanish. The test may, at first glance, seem intimidating. It is, in fact, based on the grammar and syntax of neo-Latin languages such as Spanish and French. A good grasp of common structures (how the various parts of speech fit together) combined with a thorough reading of the ALT study guide that you receive when you apply will prepare you for this test.

Statistically speaking, it takes an average of six to nine months to get through the  application/hiring process. Some of the things that can increase the amount of time it takes are: health issues, complications in your background investigation, or a lack of sufficient or requested information. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection recommends that you fill out all materials completely and return them to them promptly, read the application carefully and comply with all the requests of the CBP Minneapolis Hiring Center as quickly as possible to make your application and eventual hiring quick and efficient.


If you are selected, you will go before and Oral Board, which is nothing more than a job interview. Don't get scared!!  The Oral Board is a structured interview given by three Border Patrol Agents. The interview consists of situational questions that do not require technical knowledge. The structured interview assesses a candidate’s judgment/decision making, emotional maturity, interpersonal skills, and cooperativeness and sensitivity to the needs of others. These qualities are the key to successful performance as a Border Patrol Agent. The oral board is a pass/fail interview. Candidates must receive a "pass" in all areas in order to continue in the hiring process. The Oral Board Interview usually takes place within six weeks after you receive a tentative selection letter.

Just like with any other government job, you will also be required to pass a urinalysis drug test in order to be hired. This is a drug test designated position and incumbents are subject to random testing.

If You're Not in Shape... Get in Shape!
All candidates must be physically able to perform all of the strenuous duties required of a Border Patrol Agent. The duties of this position involve physical exertion under rigorous environmental conditions; irregular hours of work; patrol duties on foot, motor vehicle and aircraft; and participation in physical training.

Physical training includes firearms training; employing arrest techniques, defensive tactics and weapons techniques; physical conditioning (for example, running, weight training, swimming, sprinting, etc.); completion of a confidence course including practice sessions and a final timed proficiency course (for example, wall climbing, rope and ladder climbing, crawling through a simulated culvert, ditch jumping); and operating a motor vehicle including simulating emergency responses. All candidates are required to complete a comprehensive pre-employment medical examination to determine your physical ability to effectively perform the strenuous duties of this position without being a hazard to yourself or others.

Just like in the NFL when player have to pass a physical before they can practice with the team, trainees are required to pass a pre-employment fitness test. The Administration of the test ensures that all new Border Patrol Agents are able to meet the physical demands of both training and day to day operations. You will be doing push-ups, sit-ups, and an endurance step tests.
For additional information see: http://www.dreamfedjob.com/careers/1896_Border_Patrol_Enforcement.html

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Friday, September 16, 2011

How to Write a Great Cover Letter

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by Amin Huffington
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.
You will have many different forms of correspondence with employers throughout your job search—informational interview letters, cover letters, thank you notes, acceptance offers, and decline letters. These forms of communication are a crucial part of your resume “marketing” package. They communicate a great deal about your skills, abilities, and personality. Make sure you are as careful with these letters as you are with your resume.

Adhering to the universal format, style, and etiquette of standard business writing eliminates the risk of alienating potential employers. Employers also appreciate the ability to communicate professionally.

Before you sit down to write your cover letter, take a closer look at the employer and try to determine his/her requirements and needs. Next, plan your letter by placing the most important items first, supported by facts and examples. It is crucial to write a letter that demonstrates how your background, education, work experiences, and abilities can meet the needs of the employer. This approach will help you persuade the reader that you are a good match for the position and that they should interview you.

Remember, your goal is to show your value to the employer. Keep the following key points in mind when writing each letter:

Show your interest. Whenever possible, research each employer’s organization and then personalize the letter. When you indicate that you know something about the organization, it shows that you are seriously interested in the employer. This approach is much more effective than sending out hundreds of identical form letters.

Highlight one or two of your most significant accomplishments or abilities. This draws immediate attention to your most impressive skills. It also demonstrates that you are an above average candidate, which increases your chances of being remembered.

Be brief. This shows you understand the value of the reader’s time.

Be persuasive. Don’t just describe your background—your resume takes care of that. Be clear about your objectives and make the employer want to take a closer look at your resume.

Use a positive tone. The letter should be written in a very clear and positive manner. Do not add details about yourself, your past experiences, or your education that may call attention to your weaknesses or raise questions about your confidence or ability to do the job.

Use powerful action verbs. By using the active voice, you will grab the reader’s interest and convey a sense of energy.

Organize your information for the reader. Group similar items together in paragraphs and then organize the paragraphs so they relate to each other logically. Avoid writing that lumps together unrelated information without a strong topic sentence.

Avoid jargon and cliches. It is tempting to use ready made phrases such as “self-starter,” “proven leadership skills,” “excellent interpersonal skills,” but using today’s buzzwords can suggest parroted formulas rather than original thought.

September Career Events for Veterans

Hiring Heroes Career Fair
9/20/2011
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Description:
Come talk to Federal employeers about employment opportunities and career fields
Target Audience: Wounded Warriors, transitioning service members, veterans, military spouses and primary caregivers

For additional information contact: Ty Redmon at (703) 696-6243
Target Audience: Veterans
Location: Fort Sam Houston TX, The Sam Houston Club, FSH, TX


General Services Administration
9/20/2011
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Description:
In case you missed last week, Mr. Ed Escarne, Veteran Employment Program Manager for GSA will be at the Office of Personnel Management again. Mr. Escarne will discuss opportunities within GSA, its mission and how you can become a member of their team.

If you are intertested in a career with the GSA and live in the area, give them a visit.
For information on how to register send an email to vet_employment@opm.gov or call (202) 606-7305
Target audience: Veterans, transitioning service members and eligible family members.
Location: U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 1900 E Street NW, Washington DC 20415