Kimberly C. Kisner


Turn Up the Heat on Your Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

Don’t take a vacation from your job search simply because it’s summer. By acting against the myth of a summer slowdown, you can heat up your job search and scorch the competition! You may be surprised to find that there is often less competition because the rest of the pack is acting on the outdated assumption that companies don’t hire in the summer. Follow these tips to put some sizzle in your summer job search.

Don’t Let Vacation Mentality Sabotage Your Search

A job search is daunting and summer is a traditional time for vacations or time away with families. However, if you succumb to temptation and set your job search aside, you will lose valuable momentum and are likely to miss opportunities. Job seekers tend to follow a traditional academic schedule and put their efforts in full force in the fall. Getting a jump on the competition by maintaining a steady effort over the summer puts your name at the top of the list for interviews now.

Don’t Miss Important Calls

With mobile devices, you can still make yourself available even if you do take a few days away from home base. Just remember to be professional when answering your phone and get in the habit of excusing yourself from the fun to take those important calls. You can continue your phone and email follow-ups from the road and get right back into your job search schedule upon your return.

Business as Usual

Recruiters and hiring managers continue to operate on typical business schedules during the summer months. Though scheduling interviews may be more complicated because of staff and search committee vacations, the timing may actually work to your advantage. Hiring decisions may be made more quickly than at other times of the year as staffers scramble to complete deadlines before their summer break. Hiring in the summer often contributes to an efficient business cycle by allowing training time before a busy fall season.

Attend Seasonal Community Activities

Summer is a prime time for festivals, fairs, and other types of community events. Attend as many of these as you can to network and spread the word about your job search. The casual nature of these events often gives you the opportunity to approach important hiring contacts that may be less accessible at other times of the year. Be prepared with a business card in your pocket and your updated resume ready to be sent out. You may even use these casual contacts to build a network of like-minded job seekers for support and sharing information about available job leads.

Update Your Resume and Online Profile

If your job search has slowed, summer is a great time to revamp your resume by removing older entries and adding industry keywords that highlight your strengths and make your resume pop during electronic scanning. Be certain to post the updated version of your resume to websites. If you notice any skill gaps during your resume review, summer is a great time to build skills with a workshop, training, or independent study. Classes and workshops also offer great networking opportunities.

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Interview

Summertime is not an open invitation for flip-flops, khakis, or Bermuda shorts. Regardless of the heat outside, be professional! Don’t blow an interview by being too casual. Pull out your best professional wardrobe for an interview or when dropping off your resume. Make the same choices for professional attire when interviewing via Skype as well.

Stay Current

Maintain subscriptions to online sites to remain abreast of the latest job openings as well as company expansions in your region or industry. Although the competition may seem fierce online, many of those likely candidates may be unable to attend an interview. Your diligent monitoring of varied sites will put you at the top of the interview list because of your qualifications and availability.

Update your resume, expand your network, and maintain your momentum by staying consistent with the job search. Heat up your chances of landing an interview during the final days of summer while the competition takes a vacation!

 

The Best Way to Answer “YES” to “Have You Ever Been Fired?”

For some, the question “Have you ever been fired?” can inspire a pit in the stomach when the answer to that question is “Yes”. You may be among an unfortunate bunch who had a horrific experience at a company (or with a certain coworker or boss), ending in a not so ideal ending. And whether your termination was your fault or not, it can continue to haunt you in your search for future prospects. So what is the best way to field this tough issue?

Be Honest

First things first: don’t lie. It may be tempting to dismiss the topic altogether, hoping that the company you’re interviewing with never finds out – but what happens if they do? If they find out during the interview process, you’re certain not to get the job. And if they find out a few years down the line, no matter how great an employee you are, they may still decide to let you go. A second termination is not what you want on your record, so do yourself a favor and be upfront and honest from the get go. It’s much safer, and you’ll stress about if far less in the long run.

Provide Some Context

Explain the circumstances surrounding the incident. If it was a conflict of interest, let the interviewer know. If it happened 15 years ago, tell them that you now have a lot of distance from the incident and that your stellar work performance since then speaks for itself. If it occurred in the more recent past, explain that you have learned quite a bit from the incident, but don’t spend your time making excuses. Lay down the facts, and focus on what you’ve done since and will do in the future to demonstrate that you are a valuable employee who understands what it takes to be an asset to a company.

Don’t Give Away Too Much

While it’s important to be forthcoming in your response to this question, you also don’t want to spend too much time addressing the matter. Keep the focus of the interview on what makes you the ideal person to hire, and spend as little time as you can conveying what the interviewer needs to know about that particular incident. People who feel the need to defend themselves tend to over-explain, and this can portray lack of confidence and lead you down the wrong road. Certainly stray away from speaking ill of your former boss or company, remaining as objective and succinct as possible.

No one likes getting fired and everyone wants to find a new job. Don’t let one obstacle in your past set the tone for the rest of your career. Concentrate on what you need to do to land your next job and on the reasons you’re a perfect fit for it, and the rest will follow.

Doostang News July 18

Professional Workplace Appearance: It’s a Hairy Situation

Hairstyles can say many things about a person. They signify fashion trends, cultural statements and declarations of individuality. Many hairstylists think of hair as a cultural artifact because it’s concurrently visible to everyone and it’s personal; an intrinsic biological fiber of our anatomy. More and more people are consumed about their hair as employers have become concerned with how their employees wear their hair. To what extent does hair impact “professional” appearance in the workplace?

Some women simply cannot afford to consider hair a trivial issue, especially as it pertains to their employer and employability for the conventional purpose of maintaining a “professional” appearance. Certainly “professional” hair(styles) should be clean, neat and out of the face. Duly noted, within certain career fields, the intentional caught in a windstorm tousled look or vibrantly dyed hair that would give Lady Gaga a run for her money may not be appropriate or considered, “professional”. Conversely, hair texture… yes, hair texture: straight hair, wavy hair, curly hair, kinky hair, coiled and tightly coiled hair textures, should not be subjected to the standard of “professional” appearance(s).

An increasing number of African American women are choosing to forgo “professional” hair management strategies that mimic the Euro-American hair. An influx of women with Afro-Textured hair is making decisions to showcase their hair in its natural state instead of chemically straightening their hair approximately every 4-6 weeks. For them, the decision to jettison the “professional” straight hair look is an extremely important career decision. Moreover, African American women fear that professional success may elude them and therefore sometimes feel societal pressure to maintain their hair in a conventional manner in order to receive more job offers, higher salaries and promotions. No one should be refused the aforementioned career advancement opportunities simply based upon their hair texture. The thought of career stagnancy should not be the forethought when one deliberates on the decision to embrace their natural hair texture, but unfortunately, this is the reality. Knowledge, skills, abilities, experience and education, are a few examples of core competencies that should measure the trajectory of career progression and/or regression, not hair texture.

“Going natural” is an expression in the African American culture relating to the choice to discontinue the painful burning sensation and costly expense of chemical (lye) straightening, also known as relaxing, their hair. Cultural hairstyles such as cornrows (when hair is braided close to the scalp in various patterns), braids, twists (when hair is twisted into coils), and dreadlocks (when hair is rolled and left in its natural state) are styles perceived by some as “unprofessional” in the workplace. However, a steady incline of women of African descent are wearing their crowning glory in afro’s showcasing their beautiful and unique kinky, curly and coily hair without pause. Additionally, many more African American women who are “natural” opt for covering their tresses with wigs during job interviews in fear of being perceived as “different” or not “professionally” appealing.

Employers should not expect African American women to have straight hair(styles) as opposed to their own natural hair(styles). Women who wear their hair straight (naturally or chemically) should not be perceived as more intelligent and or more “professional”.

It is inappropriate for employers to impose restrictions of hair(style) appearances on employees (unless there is a BFOQ). There are benefits to having people who manifest diverse cultures in the workplace. And there is a benefit that can be derived from having employees with diverse appearances up to and including their hair.

Throughout history and even yet today, hair continues to possess powerful symbolic elements of cultural nuances. It’s an object of traditions, cultures and beliefs. Coiffures project images we have of ourselves and it plays an important role in everyday language. To be noticed is rarely the objective. “Professional” appearances in the workplace should have nothing to do with hair(styles) but everything to do with work ethics.

By Stacy Edey, PHR/CLRL
Integrated Professional Services, LLC

About the Author
Stacy Edey possesses 10+ years of Leadership, Professional Writing and Human Resources experience. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management with a concentration in Human Resource Management from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. She later matriculated at Antioch University McGregor in Yellow Springs, Ohio where she received a Master of Arts Degree in Management. Ms. Edey acquired a PHR (Professional in Human Resources) Certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute, a CLRL (Certified Labor Relations Leader) from The Michigan State University and is a professional member of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). To contact Stacey, e-mail her at stacy.edey@iprofessionalservices.com