Tag Archives: Career Connections

Career Connections Presents – Volunteering: A Doorway to Employment

if you’re looking for a job, you may think your time would be better spent on job-search activities than volunteering.  However, there are several benefits to volunteering.  Come join us as we delve into how volunteering can have a positive impact on not only your job search, but also developing and enhancing import skills and talents sought after by employers.

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development has developed a career navigation framework consisting of expert insights and actionable guidance, which follows 3 steps: Plan, Prepare, and Succeed. Volunteering: A Doorway to Employment falls under the ”Prepare” step of this model.

 

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Career Connections Presents – Master the Art of Networking

A critical component of anyone’s career goals and advancement is networking.  Finding the right job or career can be all about WHO you know rather than WHAT you know.  Join us as we highlight why networking is so important in today’s job environment while addressing the following topics:

  • Identifing, building, and expanding your network
  • Network planning
  • Using social media

 

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Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 2 Program Recap

Thank you to all of the participants who joined us for Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 2.  Your resume is your opportunity to make a statement and lasting impression on the person or committee hiring for a specific position.  Here are some tips to help ensure your resume highlights your qualifications and skills:

  1.  While a chronological resume is the most widely recognized format since it emphasizes work history, a functional resume is great for recent graduates or career changes since it focuses on your skills and overall achievements rather than work history.
  2. Read through the job description and take note of all of the keywords.  Include as many of these keywords in your resume to show that meet or exceed the requirements of the job.  Also, many job applications are online and therefore first screened by a computer; including keywords from the job description will help ensure that computer does not dismiss your application.
  3. Make sure that a majority of our skills, relevant work experience, and keywords are within the first three-quarters of the first page of your resume.  You want to grab the attention of the person reading the resume right away since hiring managers tend to spend very little scanning each resume at the beginning of the process.

Top Notch Resumes 2 also touched on cover letters and references, which can be equally as important as your resume.  Follow this tips to maximize your impact on the person reading your credentials:

  1. Make sure your heading on all of your application materials is consistent.  If you papers get lost or mixed with others’ applications, it will be easily identifiable.  Also, this demonstrates your attention to detail and that you are organized.
  2. Your cover letter should not be a copy of your resume.  Refer to the job title in your cover letter and express interest in the position.  Demonstrate your ability to do the job in a few sentences, focusing on achievements and skills while also including those keywords from the job description.
  3. A cover letter should never be more than 1 page.
  4. Always provide professional references when asked, unless specifically instructed to provide personal references.

For more information on resume building as well as interview skills, finding the right career, and more, visit New Jersey Career Connections powered by the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 2

Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 1: The Basics focused on the 2 main types of resumes and what should be included on them.  In Top Notch Resumes 2, we delve deeper into maximizing our resumes and other supplemental material that accompany them.  Topics covered will include:

  • Mining job postings/descriptions for important details
  • Tailoring resumes to specific jobs
  • Converting resumes from Chronological to Functional
  • Cover letters

 

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Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 1 Program Recap

Resumes and cover letters serve as your introduction to and first impression on potential employers.  As a result, it is critical that your resume and cover letter are polished and effectively communicate your strengths, skills, and accomplishments.  Your resume is essentially Your Brand and represents everything that you are.  Therefore, it is important to make sure your resume, and by extension your cover letter, are tailored specifically to the job you are applying for and complement each other with being exact duplicates of each other.  Here are some important tips to remember when drafting and submitting your resume:

  • A functional resume, while less common, focuses more on your skills, proficiency, and objectives rather than your work history.  This can be a great way to structure your resume if you are changing careers, unemployed or in a single job for a long time, or fresh out of school.
  • A chronological resume is the most common type of resumes and focuses more on your work history to show an upward or lateral progression in a certain career or profession as well as highlight continuous employment.  Always list your current or most recent job first and then work backwards in time.  Listing the last 10 years of employment is generally sufficient if you have held multiple jobs; if you are looking to advance in a particular field or career, it is worthwhile to list more than the last 10 years as long as those jobs relate to the skills or profession you are in.
  • Use bullet-points to list your skills, job duties, and responsibilities rather than paragraphs.  This will make it easier for employers to find the skills they are looking for and it will make your resume easier to read.  In the same vein, when using bullet-points, also list the most important or impactful skills and job duties first, especially those that are related to the job for which you are applying.
  • Be Consistent!  Whether it is punctuating at the end of your bullet-points or choosing the tense of the verbs in your description, always be consistent in both your resume and cover letter.
  • Use ACTION VERBS when describing your skills and job duties and try to link your duties, responsibilities, and accomplishment to certain goals or results, whether they can be measured or not.

For much more information on resumes, please visit the Prepare tab on the Career Connections website available at www.careerconnections.nj.gov.   For more information on careers and occupations, including summaries and required/desired skills, visit CareerOneStop at www.CareerOneStop.org.

Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 1: The Basics

Resumes are a critical part of getting a job.  Oftentimes, resumes, coupled with cover letters, are your introduction to a potential employer.  Resumes should communicate your skills, talents, abilities, and accomplishments while also making a strong and lasting impression on those reading your resume.  Please join us as we go over tips and tricks to strengthen your resume.

 

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Career Connections Presents – Path to Employment Program Recap

Finding a job after years of unemployment or trying to change careers can be a daunting task  Oftentimes, looking for a job can be a full-time job in itself and it may take some time to see the fruits of your hard work.  However, all the effort will be worth it and there are many tools available to help you in your job search.

First and foremost, having a positive outlook and attitude can go a long way, especially in terms of having the motivation to do the hard work looking and applying for jobs.  If you are having trouble keeping a positive frame of mind, try one or more of the following:

  • Practice positive self talk
  • Exercise regularly to form a sense of accomplishment
  • Read motivational books
  • Join a club or group, such as a volunteer organization

At the outset of your job hunt, it can be very beneficial to figure out your career goals.  Having a clear vision of where you want to be in 1, 5, or 10 years can be effective as you determine what you want to do and the jobs that can get you there.  When setting your career goals, consider the following:

  • Write it down – once you write it on paper, it becomes concert and brings your goals closer to reality
  • Be specific – you won’t accomplish your goals if they are vague or unclear
  • Be realistic – understanding your own skills as well as the labor market will help you set goals that are achievable
  • Collaborate – surround yourself with others than can provide critical feedback and positive support
  • Focus – you must make your goals a high priority to succeed; people often fail to achieve their goals because of a lack of drive and commitment

Searching for a job can be very tedious, but luckily, there are many ways you can find jobs.  Online job boards and postings on company websites are the most common ways to find a job, but do not forget about job fairs and networking.  Many times its who you know, not what you know.

It may also be beneficial to create a job-search plan.  Create a calendar for each week, dedicating time to searching, applying, volunteering, and taking care of yourself.  By organizing your activities, it provides a visual roadmap of your work and also holds you accountable for your own success.  In addition to a plan, keep a log of all the jobs you applied for and are interested in.  Be sure to identify the job title, date of application, any contact information, and the result.  You may be surprised to see patterns in the types of jobs you are getting interviews for.

Lastly, there are many online resources to help you along the way.  New Jersey Career Connections, created by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, has tools and resources for all aspects of your career, from identify your strengths, to writing powerful resumes, to honing your interview skills, to advancing your current career.  At the personal level, there are 23 Jersey Job Club locations across the state that provide you hands on experience writing resumes, practicing your interview skills, and networking.

Career Connections Presents – Path to Employment

Are you struggling to find employment or tired of your current job?  Please join us for Career Connections Presents: Path to Employment to learn about the best practices for finding a job as well as some powerful resources from the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce.  Topics we will cover include:

  • Creating a job search plan
  • Job searching
  • Career Connections
  • Jersey Job Club

 

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Career Connections Presents – The Right Career for You Program Recap

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Career Connections Presents – The Right Career for You.  Determining the best job or career for you can be overwhelming, but there are 4 important things to focus on to help you narrow your search and select a career that best fits you and the current job market.

First, your personality type is important for understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are, which occupation matches your personality type, and understanding how you relate to others.

Second, what your work interests are can be a good indicator of what types of careers you will thrive in.  Online tools can help you create an interest profile and match you to jobs and careers that best match what your work interests are, including NJCAN and MyNextMove.

Third, being able to identify you skills and abilities, both hard (technical and job sepcific) and soft (more abstract and universal across many careers), will help you narrow down you career profile to maximize your effectiveness within a given work environment.

Lastly, and perhaps the most overlooked factor in determining the right career for you, is the status of the job market.  There are certain jobs that will always be in demand (retail sales, food service, nurses) that increases your chances of getting a job whereas other jobs are no longer in demand (postal worker, teacher) which means that it will be very difficult to get a job and may not be worth the time and money to get the necessary educational or technical credentials.

For more information on labor market resources, visit CareerOneStop or NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  For more information on choosing the right career as well as a host of other job related information, from resumes, to interviews, to networking, visit Career Connections.

Career Connections Presents – Mock Interviews

mock interview image

One of the best ways to develop your interview and communication skills is to practice, whether it be in a formal setting, with friends, or by yourself in the bathroom mirror.  Mock interviews provide you with a chance to rehearse you answers while also identifying areas for improvement based on feedback from someone active in the workforce.  The New Jersey State Library will be hosting a limited number of Mock Interview sessions.  Each session will be 30 minutes and you will be interviewed by a library staff member.  All participants will receive a list of the most common interview questions that are used across a variety of careers and professions.  There will be 4 sessions per each 30 minute Block, as listed below:

Block 1:   12:00 pm – 12:30 pm (2 spots available)
Block 2:   12:30 pm – 1:00 pm (1 spot available)

If you are interested in registering, please contact Andrew Dauphinee at adauphinee@njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 155 with your preferred times.

PLEASE NOTE: There are only 4 spots available for each Block.  Please do not register unless you are able to attend.  

Career Connections Presents – Acing the Job Interview 2 Program Recap

Thank you to those that joined us for Career Connections Presents – Acing the Job Interview 2.  This program is an expansion on Acing the Job Interview 1 and focused on common interview questions, methods for answering different types of questions, and important things to remember.  Topics covered include:

  • The S.H.A.R.P. Method – designed to help you respond to a general question, such as “Tell me about yourself”
    • Specific – make sure you have something specific that you want to communicate, such as previous work experience or skills that apply to the job
    • Honest – Always be honest in your stories and avoid canned responses from the Internet
    • Articulate – Make sure to speak clearly and stay focused on the Specific message you are trying to convey
    • Relevant – Make sure the content of your response relates directly to the question, the job, or the skills the job entails
    • Positive – Make sure your answer highlights the positive points and avoid talking negatively about past employers
  • The S.O.A.R. Method – designed to help you respond to questions related to how you would handle/handled specific work situations
    • Situation – Clearly define/describe the situation related to the question and identify what you want the interviewer to take away from this example up front
    • Obstacles – Be sure to describe that problem or obstacle you were faced with, but avoid singling out or denigrating past co-workers or employers
    • Action – Describe the action or actions you took, highlighting any skills that were required to execute the action or planning for the action
    • Results – Make sure that the result/results are positive and reflect positively on not only yourself, but your team/employer/clients; be sure to highlight how the results reinforce the takeaways you mentioned in the beginning of your answer
  • Some of the most common interview questions include:
    • Tell me about yourself – be sure to stick to professional rather than personal information
    • Why should I/we hire you – This question sounds like your are asked to defend yourself, but it is a perfect time for your to highlight what you bring to the table and how you can positively impact the employer
    • What is your greatest strength – This is designed for you to think critically about yourself so make sure you you discuss how your strength will positively impact your performance
    • What is your greatest weakness – Again, this is designed for you to think critically about yourself so make sure you address how you have tried to better your weakness, such as through professional development or taking risks that put you in an uncomfortable position
    • Describe a difficult situation and how you handled it – There will always be some form of this question so remember to use the S.O.A.R. method and have a couple examples ready that may fit the different ways this question is asked
    • Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years – This question is designed to assess how you plan on growing yourself so you can keep it general and focused on your career/profession rather than within that employer
  • Tips to remember:
    • Always keep the focus of the conversation on the job and your professional life
    • It is illegal to ask, and you do not have to answer, questions such as “Are you married,” “Do you have any children,” “What religion are you”
    • Remember to research the employer so you are able to identify projects, opportunities, or values that relate to your experiences or skills, which can be a great way to show interest in the job and how you will benefit the employer

For more information on how to prepare for a job interview, please visit the Career Connections website at https://careerconnections.nj.gov/careerconnections/prepare/interview/interviewing_skills_index.shtml.  For more information on popular interview questions and how to answer them, visit https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-answer-the-31-most-common-interview-questions.