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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Job Search Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

  • 07 Oct 2015 2:15 PM | Marie Zimenoff (Administrator)

    By Lisa Raufman

    Colleagues have asked me for some creative ways to find jobs, internships, or people who would have the power to hire. I like to think of new and different ways to do this and here are a few suggestions:

    According to a Fortune 500 HR expert on To find jobs at a business of your choice, one method is to go to the company website or twitter handle and see what jobs are being posted by the company. Additionally, you can enter an occupation, location or combination of the two, plus .JOBS, to find opportunities directly from your browser. Examples include:,, or,, or

    A few other websites that include job/internship information that you would ordinarily miss: Here, you can find people to follow on Twitter by category, find people who are influencers in your local community, and find Human Resources contacts for companies. They will announce their openings before others get the information on job boards. Or follow companies on Facebook and "like" them. When you write a cover letter for a job opening let them know that you have been following them on Twitter and Facebook. They will consider you to be more creative and interested compared to other applicants.

  • 08 Nov 2013 8:08 PM | Anonymous

    By Karen Reiff

    Hurray! You have a PhD. Maybe it's in chemistry, maybe it's in psychology. You've been searching and searching, but can't find a job in academia. You have SO much to offer, yet no one seems to be interested in you. How frustrating….! No wonder I've had several jobless clients with PhDs recently: it seems PhDs have been all over the news.

    Jobs in academia for PhDs, particularly in the humanities, are few and far between – there are lots more folks with advanced degrees than the labor market can absorb, with the exception, perhaps for those PhDs in the STEM disciplines. Thanks to my great friend (and PhD, Dean, and well connected university mentor), I understand the wealth of opportunities in the private sector for PhDs who possess the requisite combination of skill sets these corporations need, if only clients would "think out of the box.”

    While pursuing a PhD, many students assume their future is with a university – teaching or doing research. Many fear if they stray away from academia, they'll never be able to come back. Not true. Career counselors can help clients with PhDs understand how their pursuits can be valuable to the private sector, and lucrative financially. The secret is to analyze each skill set, determine how they connect, where a company could benefit from his/her skills, and coach them to market themselves in new ways. This was particularly successful to a recent client who parlayed his psychology/math background into a 6-figure salary at a cutting edge Fortune 5 company. For additional perspective about this, read this informative article: “The Re-Purposed PhD" -

  • 27 Sep 2013 12:54 PM | Anonymous
    By Debra Ann Matthews

    Take this quick survey to determine if you really need to breathe deeply about your job search strategy.

    Answer yes or no to the following questions:

    1. Have you sent resumes to over 47 job leads and have not received one response at all?

    2. Are you applying for any job with the hopes that you will take anything that you can get?

    3. Do you have skills and talents but are afraid to use them because someone that you trust said to you to "Get a Real Job"?

    4. Did you recently graduate or retire from the military and you don't know what you are doing, only that you need a job?

    5. Did you just recently leave a great job due to a company layoff and you are not sure where to go to find a compelling job offer where your talents, skills and experiences will be appreciated and valued?

    If you answered yes to more of these questions than no, you are a worthy candidate to "breathe deeply," as these are the early warning signs that you have a poor job search strategy. Let's start now: Breathe in and count 1,2,3,4,5 and release slowly and count 1,2,3,4,5. While breathing in, first and foremost, you must understand the needs that your skills sets are meeting for a particular sector of the workforce. While exhaling, spend a day learning about the needs of the major companies in your community.

    Check for companies that have headquarters in your area. Check for those companies' competitors. Also check for newly opened businesses in your community via the Chamber of Commerce. Read online business news journals and note the "People in Business Section."

    You may find information about mergers, acquisitions and new economic developments in your area. Other good ways to find company information are via organizations that work with the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), via the Department of Labor, Offices of Apprenticeships, Regional or local one-stop centers (see and military and family support centers.

    These are among the greatest ways to start to give credence to your job search.

    • Focus your poor job search into a strategic job search strategy plan that will give you results. Target 10 major companies who seek professionals with your skills. As you breathe in your second deep breath, breathe out with the resolve to highlight one to three career areas that you feel strongly will help solve problems that your targeted companies need to have solved. You may be interested, for example, in working in finance and accounting, as a financial analyst or a financial controller. All three areas are relevant and can be combined to form a targeted job search for one industry and three related job categories. Now focus your time in explaining 5 stories where you have successfully maneuvered in these areas.

    • Focus your poor job search into a strategic job search strategy plan where you are adding your success stories on LinkedIn, in your cover letters and most certainly on your resumes. Add a bonus presentation video and make a visually appealing portfolio that highlights your abilities to solve problems that your targeted companies will have and that you will be able to assist them to solve. Companies are looking for professionals who can assist with meeting goals, offer relevant troubleshooting, bring creativity to the workforce and help the company to succeed. Demonstrate that you have done these things and you are sure to receive invitations to discuss your success rates.

      As you take another deep breath, breathe out and connect with your professional network and share your talents on committees, in conferences and in online discussions where professionals are talking about trends and relevant issues important in your profession. Help an entry-level professional or aspiring college graduate. Volunteer to speak at business fraternities on campus and share your knowledge. These experiences will allow you to build your network and will help you to pick up testimonies about your expertise and knowledge.

    • Focus your poor job search into a strategic job search plan by adding a professional affiliation. This is the number one way to connect with industry professionals and potential recruiters via social media, conferences and local monthly business events. Finally, as you take your last deep breath, plan to focus your energies on your professional communications (resume, cover letter, online video resume, career blog). Of course, as you release your final breath, focus your energies on the relevance of your messages sent to potential hiring officials. Does your resume speak to your problems solved, actions taken and results given to meet weekly, monthly and quarterly goals? If not, go back and re-vamp. Have you strategically included keywords from your profession in your career correspondence? If you are having trouble with this, hire a professional or attend resume workshops that will help you to share your successes in a meaningful manner.

    • Focus your poor job search into a strategic job search strategy plan by knowing the best ways to attract your targeted companies in your targeted career field areas. Please let me know what you begin to feel, perceive and see as you take deep breaths and begin a strategic job search plan. Let Me Write It for You is available to offer resume distribution services, career coaching and job search strategy sessions. Debra Ann can be found on FB @ or on linkedin@
  • 27 Sep 2013 12:47 PM | Anonymous
    By Debra Ann Matthews

    Whether you are a college student seeking your first part-time job or a high school graduate who feels that you are ready to enter the workforce head-on by landing your first full-time job, here are a few tips to help you as you maneuver through the process. First of all, know that it may take a long time to obtain a job. And even after landing your first job, you may only work part-time.

    Companies stagger their total labor hours based on busy times, high revenue hours, and budget. The key to this job is to get hired, prove that you can work well with others and also serve the needs of the company. And these company goals are one reason why it takes a long time to find a job. It is expensive for a company to hire an entry-level worker and offer training.

    If you are ready for the challenge, here are four top things young job seekers can do to get their first job:

    1. First, list all of your events, activities and service projects on a free generic application. Complete the application as thoroughly as possible. List volunteer jobs and service projects that you may have been a part of with your youth group, 4H club, band, cheerleader squad, etc. Did you baby sit or mow your neighbors’ yard for pay? Complete every section, placing the letters N/A in blanks that do not apply. Keep in mind that employers are looking for ways to that your past involvements helped you to learn teamwork indicating to them that you will be a value for their company.

    2. Go to your local one-stop center and register for jobs. If you are under 18, ask one of your parents to assist you with registering at your local one stop center. You will need a copy of your driver’s license and social security card. Every state in the United States of America hosts a job portal to help connect companies with motivated job seekers. Here are a few leads for links to a sample of southern states: Tennessee: | Florida: | South Carolina: | North Carolina:

    3. Practice basic interview questions. Keep in mind that a potential employer's job is to figure out if you are a fit for their company. They are asking themselves, “Can you follow directions, work well under pressure, listen, implement instructions without being micromanaged, take initiative and work with diverse cultures”? Practice basic interview questions that provide answers that reflect your past experiences in school, in the community and in groups that you have been a part of where you did these things.

    4. Provide 3 to 4 references with 4 to 5 good examples of employability skills that you possess and ask them to serve as a business or professional reference for you. Discuss some of the experiences that you have had in the follow areas: workplace relationships and ethics, communications, personal growth and development, interpersonal skills, information management, multicultural awareness, career and personal planning and independent living. As a young adult getting started in the workplace, please be encouraged that the workforce wants you and really value your creativity, energy and quick wit. However, you must communicate verbally your ability to help the bottom line and fit in.

    Your quest for technology, information sharing, community service and family in addition to your high school extra-curricular activities are all areas that can be listed on your resume and applications as you seek out your first part-time or full-time job. Keep in mind that you will have to apply to 30 to 40 job leads weekly to get a small percentage of hiring officials to look your way. Once you practice verbalizing your skills in a 30 second elevator speech, you will be surprise how receptive managers and hiring officials will be once they realize that you are prepared, understand how to help them to meet their goals and that you have a great attitude. Let me write it for you job-winning resumes and career services is available to help young job seekers understand the values needed to garner part-time and full-time position for entry level positions.

    To contact our organization, connect with us at or on FB @

  • 21 Aug 2013 1:15 PM | Anonymous
    By Karen Reiff

    Everyone needs tips for finding employment.  Follow these simple rules and you’ll be ahead of the competition.

    1. Learn Career Management Behaviors. You’re trainable, and career management is not like learning chemistry. It’s an active, daily practice of polishing, recording, promoting your talents, and proactively looking forward. Seek out something new daily. If you’re green, you’re growing, if you’re ripe, you’re rotting. Don’t be rotting – keep learning.

    2. Know Thyself. You’d better understand how your personality, work values, interests and motivated skills work together to help you understand yourself, what jobs might be a great fit, and why employers would walk on water to hire you. Nothing less will do. After all, if you don’t know yourself, how am I going to get to know you? Oh, and another thing: EQ (Emotional Intelligence) often trumps IQ.

    3. Anything is Better than Nothing. If you’re not working, any job is better than no job. That includes the fast-food place down the street, a temporary job, or an internship. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    4. Find 3-5 SACs (Significantly Active Connections) STAT! Everyone has at least one significantly active connection, right? That SAC probably knows at least one other SAC. Even if you don’t know anyone you’d consider a SAC, think about your neighbors, dentists, teachers, relatives-they all know at least somebody. Tap into these connections; the success rate for people finding jobs through their SACs is about 80%. Significant.

    5. Duh, It’s a Digital World. My clients who tell me they hate voice mail, email, Microsoft Office (“I only have Works at my house”) and social media will NOT – I repeat NOT find meaningful employment. No skills? Take a class, or, better yet, teach yourself. Embrace technology, especially social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.) because it’s another way to present yourself, so that employers can find you.

    6. You Live in An Extroverted Universe. Lots of folks are introverts, and yet they function very well in an extroverted world. If you feel shy, come across with zero energy, or just downright hate working with people, well, you’ve got a problem. “Play acting” enthusiasm and energy is required here, especially in interviews.

    7. What Do You Know About Us? If you can’t tell me what you know about my company beyond what I sell, produce or market, you haven’t done your homework. Try and do your research. I'm waiting for at least one provocative question.

    8. I Can Make You Look Great, But You Have to Own It. Your resume or your interview outfit look fabulous, but do you believe in yourself? Practicing why you’re a good “catch” and faking it ‘til you make it can lead to success. You are the CEO of YourBrand, Inc., so you’d better start believing it. Talk it, chalk it, walk it.

    9.  If it’s Not Working, Stop Doing It! I know lots of people who sit at the computer all day applying for jobs on job boards (Indeed, CareerBuilder, etc.) who never get a “bite.” Guess why? The success rate for using the Internet to look for job postings is less than 10%. However, see #5, and get on LinkedIn – developing your complete profile is critical to be seen - anything less, and you’re going to be passed over.

    10.  Yes, You Really Do Need to Follow-Up. Please end your interview by, among other things, asking when a decision will be made. Please follow-up after the interview with a thank you message. Please contact them if you haven’t heard from them after their stated decision date.  Most applicants don’t; therefore, it will work in your favor.

    11.  There are Always Jobs Out There. Conservatively, there are about 1.25 million monthly job vacancies. This includes job growth and replacement. Do not – I repeat – do not buy into the media who laments that there are just no jobs!

    12.  Yes, Virginia, Happenstance Really Does Exist. Unexpected events take place throughout our lives. You can create and benefit from them. Adopt an open-mind; try something, even if you don’t know the outcome; make mistakes; actively try to create your own “luck” – even if you go for the job, then learn the skills.

  • 17 Jul 2013 2:29 PM | Anonymous

    By Donitta Booth

    The quick answer – No!  I can hear your objections already.  Let me explain. 

    First of all, the definition of discrimination (that dirty word) according to is “an act or instance of discriminating.” Don’t you just love when they use the root word to define the word? 

    If I knew what discriminating was, I wouldn’t need to look up discrimination!  However, the definition continues “…or of making a distinction.” 

    I decided to go on to define distinction (I’m glad I did, it clarified the definition for me).  Distinction (again, according to is “the recognizing or noticing of differences.” Any time we choose one thing over another – deeming it to be better than the other – we are discriminating.  If I think one outfit looks better than another, I am discriminating. 

    If I choose to eat at McDonalds because I like it better than Burger King, I am discriminating. 

    So, how is it illegal? Here’s where we start to learn about something called “protected classes.” It is only illegal to discriminate against a “protected class.” 

    For this, I went to Wikipedia. “In United States anti-discrimination law, a protected class is a characteristic of a person which cannot be targeted for discrimination. 

    The following are considered ‘Protected Classes.’ Race, Color, Religion, National Origin, Age (40 and over, so it’s NOT illegal to discriminate against you young folks!), Sex, Familial Status (this is regarding housing; it’s illegal to discriminate for having children), Disability Status, Veteran Status, Genetic Information. 

    What’s important to know, in regards to job search, is that the hiring process itself is a form of discrimination. Legal discrimination! 

    Choosing one applicant over another because they have more skills, better experience, or would fit in at the office better; all of these are forms of discrimination. 

    However, as long as none of the “protected class” information is used in the decision, it’s not illegal.  This is why most upfront, law-abiding employers don’t even want to know that information. 

    If it doesn’t affect your ability to do the job, they don’t need to know. 

    And that’s a whole ‘nother’ blog post!

  • 22 Jun 2013 2:37 PM | Anonymous

    By Debra Ann Matthews

    If I may be so bold as to offer advice to any person who has a felony or a criminal record and is seeking job opportunities, let me first say this to you: You are a citizen of these United States and as such, you have the rights and privileges that we all do and that is to strive towards the pursuit of happiness in America. As you chase after your next job, may I encourage you to do the following:

    1.  Kill these: • the pity story • the "no one will hire me" story • the here is my sad, bad, feel sorry me situation story • and lastly, the "I won't work for minimal wage" story

    2. Understand this: Any business, company or hiring official may be willing to give you an opportunity to interview with their company, if they, understand the value that you can bring to helping them meet their company's daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals. Those goals involve: #1-solving a problem for customers successfully; #2-meeting goals; #3-strategic thinking to maintain safety on the job at all times; #4-increasing profits; #5-maintaining and increasing customer base; and #6- getting the job done while getting along with others on the job.

    3. Convince your next employer that you are able to help them meet their goals as you identify your skills and overall value on a resume and / or job application. Having said that, here are 2 ways to get started and demonstrating your value to your future employer: • Visit your local one stop career center or Goodwill Career Solutions Center and pick up a generic application. Fill it out and ask the staff to make 25 copies for you to pass out as you begin to network. Use your completed generic application to fill out online jobs and paper application. • Attend the resume writing seminar, usually offered free of charge at career centers, urban leagues, community centers, shelters or area churches. Be sure to highlight your customer skills, previous work experiences and other employability skills that you possess using action words like achieved, attained, kept abreast of, committed to, and operated within...

    4. Keep in mind this newsflash: It actually takes every job seeker time to find a job. It may take 6 weeks or 6 months or longer to obtain a job. Let me recommend that you apply to 100 jobs a week. Keep in mind that hiring officials have many job selecting responsibilities including recruiting, completing paperwork, checking references, interviewing and running background checks. Once again, in order for hiring officials to select ideal job candidates, the process takes time.

    5. Develop a 30 second introduction that incorporates your skills and abilities to get the job done. For instance, practice saying such a spiel as this: "Hello, may I speak with the manager on duty. My name is ___. How are you today? I am a customer service specialist who has over 3 years' experience working with a team of 12 loading and unloading a 60 ton semi-truck. I would like to apply for a position with your company, if I may."

    6. Proceed with vigor, enthusiasm and determination to make application to as many jobs as you can every single day until you start to receive interviews. Be sure to write down the interviewers name or ask for a business card and follow up each interview of companies that really interest you with a thank you letter reiterating your skills and enthusiasm to work with the company.

    Debra Ann Matthews and the staff of Let Me Write It For You offers clients assistance in identifying the best ways to highlight their skills and proven attributes to capture the attention of hiring officials in their ideal jobs with targeted resumes, LinkedIn profiles and career coaching.

  • 05 Jun 2013 4:05 PM | Anonymous

    By Kathleen Sullivan

    Successful job seekers understand and apply marketing techniques for their job search.  Although you may not see yourself as a product that can be sold at a competitive price in the marketplace, this is how a potential employer views you.  In a job search, the product is YOU and you are responsible for ensuring that your product is well defined, priced appropriately, targets the right customers, and uses the best promotional methods to reach your market. Job seekers who understand that the job search is a marketing process are more focused and effective.  To plan and manage your job search using marketing techniques, start by answering these four marketing questions:

    Who are your potential customers?  How will you market yourself to your customers? Clearly define yourself as a product: What are you selling? If you are not clear about who you are as a product, the employer will never understand what value you offer and how you can benefit his company.  Be specific about what you know and can do and use this information to develop your value proposition. What industries have you worked in and how is that industry experience relevant? What products and services do you have expertise in? What management, client, or project experience do you have and what results have you achieved? What technical skills do you offer? What education or specialized training do you bring to the position?

    Set a competitive price:  How much do you cost? Prices for goods and services fluctuate based on the market.  There is a market price for your knowledge and skills, and you need to set your price competitively.  Recruiters and hiring managers will know if you are pricing yourself too high or too low, both of which will impact their hiring decision.  To set your price at a fair market value, begin by conducting research: Review annual industry or trade salary surveys  Check out web sites with salary information. Speak with recruiters or executive search firms in your industry and field. Network with colleagues.

    Target your market:  Who are your potential customers? You have a specific product with a price point to sell.  Not everyone is a potential customer.  You need to hone in on a target market of the industries, companies, and positions that can best utilize your experience at the price you have established.  Start by identifying and building a list of at least 25 companies that are a good match for your background and qualifications.  This list will evolve over time as you vet potential companies and positions: Research companies in your industries and field and identify those that can use your knowledge and skills. Focus on companies that are growing or changing where your expertise and accomplishments will benefit them and meet their business needs. Expand your research by networking via contacts, referrals, business or professional associations, alumni services, or social media to get more detailed information about these companies and their current needs. Build a target list to begin promoting yourself.

    Promote your product: How will you market yourself to your customers? You want to reach your target list of potential customers and sell yourself using multiple channels. First, develop your marketing materials:  your 90 introduction, resume or bio, cover letters, business cards, and portfolio, all of which highlight the value you offer.  Then, launch your promotional materials into the market place via business or networking meetings, alumni groups, recruiters and search firms, social media, jobs boards, and direct mail.  Leverage the channels that are the most effective. Develop targeted marketing materials with your value proposition. Use multiple channels to promote yourself. 

    Using proven marketing techniques for your job search provides a framework for your job search.  It helps you position and promote yourself in an employer’s terms.  It may also help you land a job faster.

  • 12 Apr 2013 4:50 PM | Anonymous

    By Mark Bartz

    I just finished a book, Bait & Switch, by Barbara Ehrenreich. It’s a good book from the standpoint of what not to do in today’s job search. In short, she goes undercover to discover what it’s like to be a white collar professional in today’s job search. This is a “How to do everything wrong in job searching” book. This gal had a miserable experience trying to find a new job. Instead of telling you what she did – which obviously didn’t work, I’ll list what works today; bear in mind my job is getting people into medical sales roles. There is an old saying that if you want to know how to bat .300 in the major leagues you should speak with someone who is batting .300 in the major leagues – not someone who is batting .240.  Yet the only people Barbara was talking to were those batting .240 – she never spoke to the winners. On that note, here are five key steps that work that she didn’t employ:

    1. She never leveraged her relationships – talk to the winners and you’ll find 100% of them had “inside contacts” at the employers where they landed jobs. She admits in the book she “couldn’t” because she was undercover – well, now you have 2 strikes on you . . .hard to hit .300 with 2 strikes always on you.

    2. Learn how to network effectively – master the use of LinkedIn – get a mentor to train you. There is a lot to successfully using LinkedIn and there is a learning curve here.

    3. Never submit a resume as is for a job – always customize the resume for the job posting.

    4. Most jobs are found in the unadvertised job market – she NEVER aimed for that market – and never asked the winners how they successfully navigated within that market.

    5. It doesn’t sound like she used specialists for coaching or her resume or LinkedIn profile. Specialists know the “devils in the details” key elements generalists simply do not know – they offer a major competitive advantage.

  • 05 Mar 2013 5:28 PM | Anonymous

    By Lisa Raufman

    I mentioned in my last blog that I would share a website with videos that would be especially useful for teenagers and parents. This website is a comprehensive secondary school based resource created by the California State Department of Education (therefore, there may be references to California resources but anyone may use these resources):  - really interesting are the videos and challenges sections. The first video link is called “Jobs Made Real” for teens by teens. The Challenges section includes a large number of websites for issues related to Disabilities, Foster kids, Homelessness, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), Migrant, Military Dependents, Pregnant teens, Probation, Special Education and undocumented.

    USEFUL SITES FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS  All career counselors must be able to help people get experience, sometimes “entrepreneurship” is the only way to get experience on the way to becoming something else; sometimes entrepreneurship becomes the career! For those who are resistant to the idea of entrepreneurship, there are other ways to get experience. The Kauffman Foundation is an excellent resource about entrepreneur trends;

    How different social media is good for attracting business to a website:

    Get a free listing on Google Plus Local: Sign up for Google Plus’ Business Pages; It’s free and easy to use, and puts you on the map. You can supplement your listing with locally targeted ads:

    I look forward to hearing about “interesting” and useful website related to college and entrepreneurship from my readers. In my next blog I will highlight some interesting websites related to getting experience (otherwise known as volunteering and service learning.)

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