San Francisco East Bay Job Support Organizations – SING – 2nd in a series

February 23, 2010

This is the second in an occasional series on San Francisco East Bay job support resources. The last article was on Experience Unlimited

In 2001, Danville’s St. Isidore School principal Kathy Gannon-Briggs noticed the increase in fathers who were dropping their kids off and picking them up after school. “Why weren’t they at work?” she wondered.

As Tom Loarie, one of the present team leaders for the St. Isidore Networking Group (SING), tells the story, she quickly figured out that these fathers had been victims of the dot.com crash, were out of work, and needed help.

Founded in 2001, SING, which is open to all faith traditions , met weekly at Kathy’s home to provide support for those in, or thinking about job transition. The group helped over 250 executives, managers, and professionals between its inception and 2005 when it went into cyber-mode. With the 2008 economic meltdown and strong demand, SING renewed its weekly meetings in January 2009 and is again providing hope and inspiration mixed with resume-writing, interviewing, and networking skills to a much larger group which now meets at St. Isidore Catholic Church.

Each week usually has a guest speaker with transition related talks. One of the recent speakers was John Younger, Founder and CEO of Accolo, a recruitment outsourcing firm, whose message was that today’s job search is like the old wild west: there are no longer any rules. He also stressed the importance of using every social network available to “know” your target company and hiring manager and find creative ways to reach out to them.

SING provides support on networking, identifying and ranking your next company, different types of resumes and cover letters (and how to write one that is top-notch), different types of interviews and interviewing techniques, the use of search firms and job boards, and position negotiation techniques.

SING’s membership in their Google Group is now over 300 members, who receive a daily email with jobs, tips, relevant articles and bits of motivation and inspiration. “This ministry had been extremely rewarding to all involved. I have been fascinated with the bonds participants have developed with one another and know that all are developing friendships which will last well beyond the current crisis.” echoes Loarie.

If you go:

What: St. Isidore Networking Group (SING)

Where: 440 La Gonda, Danville, CA 94526

When: Monday Evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 PM

Contact: Tom Loarie – (925) 525-0272

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1

Advertisements

Weekly Top 3 Job Search Tips

February 21, 2010

This week has brought more positive economic news and the good news is that activity for job seekers is picking up: more job postings, more interviews, and a few offers. Not on the scale that will be significantly reducing the unemployment rate, but at least these past few weeks are positive signs.

Here are 3 of my favorite postings this week. Feel free to comment and offer your own tips here. First up is Matt Durfee’s 5 Resume Tips in Less then 5 minutes from an Expert. Here’s an excerpt:

Despite the claims and critiques of what seems to be an endless supply of so-called resume-writing experts, there simply is no universal “right way” to write a resume. Unsurprisingly, it is not uncommon to get confused given the contradictory advice you can expect from multiple sources. So while I have some very clear thoughts on how to write an effective and professional resume, ultimately you will need to decide what works for you, your situation and, ultimately, your comfort level. Even then, expect to continuously modify, update and edit your resume as you incorporate new or different styles, content and concepts. With that in mind, I’m offering the following suggestions I highly recommend for anyone writing and distributing a resume.

Professional Objective & Profile: One of the things I always want to see in a resume is the Professional Objective & Profile section just below the name and contact information. I call this the “billboard within the billboard” as it summarizes key information about the applicant in the already abbreviated format of the resume itself. Read here for the full post.

Next up is a post from Thom Singer’s great blog Some Assembly Required titled Getting Noticed.

You will probably recognize a theme here after you read this – giving back. Here’s an excerpt: There have been a lot of articles lately about how to get noticed by influencers, how to raise your value to those in your business community, and how to stand out from the crowd. Times have been tough and competition fierce, and people are looking for any edge to help them achieve more.

This is an important topic, and many mistakenly think the answer involves special skills, mysterious business plans, and a lot of luck.

The truth is, it is easy. Simple. I mean so simple it is nutty.

Help other people.

There, I said it. Help other people. But the key is you help them without expecting them to ever repay the favor. Just find out what is important in their life and be a resource that assists them in achieving their goals.

Think of your own life. If you are successful you probably have people who want to get on your calendar to “pick your brain”. Too many such calls and you feel you have no brain left. Thus you hide from all the calls from friends of friends who seek your counsel. But what about the person who refers you a new client? Will you meet with them? I bet you will. Read here for the rest.

Last but not least is Meg Giuseppi’s 5 Tactics to Land a Green Industry Executive Job from her Executive Career Brand blog.
This topic is very hot right now for those looking to change careers and looking for one with a strong future. Here’s an excerpt:

These days, the green industry is a tantalizing carrot dangling in front of people who are stagnating in jobs in anemic industries or finding diminishing opportunities while actively job-hunting within their niche.

Over this decade green jobs will open wide, as companies, organizations and all of us as individuals scramble to “go green”.
1. Identify need and opportunities.
Google relevant keywords to find resources, read relevant blogs, articles and white papers, and set up Google Alerts for relevant keywords. See my Brand-yourself.com post, Use Google Alerts to Amplify Your Executive Brand Visibility and Job Search.

2. Research companies to target and compile a list of 20-30 to work on penetrating.

Your research helps you with market intelligence and due diligence, and prepares you to intelligently communicate with decision makers at each company. See Job-Hunt’s list of 50+ Green Industry Employers.

* Go to each company’s website to find a wealth of information, such as Boards of Directors, C-suite company leadership, and news and press releases. These resources will arm you with market intelligence, help with due diligence, and position you as a well-informed candidate in interviews.
* Research and make a list of key decision makers at your companies of interest. You’ll then work on positioning yourself in front of them.
For more on this excellent job tip read here.

Which is your favorite tip?

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1


Good news for workers over 50: Demographics are in your favor

February 18, 2010

Despite the fact that the unemployment/underemployment rate is approaching 1 in 5 people, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2008- 2018 has some good news for the mature worker: demographics.

As reported in a previous article on Why older workers will get hired: 5 tips, there will be many more jobs for those over 55 who wish to continue working. Despite the softer reasons why older workers are an excellent resource (strong work ethic, experienced problem solvers, understand customers, etc.) there is another reason for optimism: the number of workers entering the work force during the period will be significantly less.

This is due to declining birth rates coupled with an increasing demand for workers, primarily information workers. 24% of the workforce by 2018 will be over 55, as compared to 18% in 2008
Here are some of the details from the report:

Total employment is projected to increase by 15.3 million, or 10.1 percent, during the 2008-18 period, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The projections show an aging and more racially and ethnically diverse labor force, and employment growth in service-providing industries. More than half of the new jobs will be in professional and related occupations and service occupations.

In addition, occupations where a post-secondary degree or award is usually required are expected to account for one-third of total job openings during the projection period. Job openings from replacement needs–those which occur when workers who retire or otherwise leave their occupations need to be replaced–are projected to be more than double the number of openings due to economic growth.

The projected growth for the 2008-18 period is larger than the increase of 10.4 million over the 1998-2008 period, or 7.4 percent. The relatively slow growth rate for the earlier 10-year period was affected by the recession which began in December 2007, and the projected growth rate is higher than would otherwise
be expected because the 2008 starting point is a recession year.

In addition to this, there are positive indicators that overall hiring is beginning to pick up, starting with factory jobs, as reported in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. There are anecdotal signs that small business is beginning to hire as well.

Even though it may not appear that the jobs are available for older workers, be patient – the jobs are on their way.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1


Job Seekers – How Much Time Do You Spend Each Day on Your Search?

February 15, 2010

There is not a lot of scientific evidence regarding the amount of time job seekers spend looking for a job each day, but you can probably guess that the amount is small. Here’s a recent poll, started January 14, 2010, from job search consultant Jacob Share with some surprising results:

More than 4 hours/day: 26%

2 – 4 hours/day: 22%

1 – 2 hours/day: 16%

30 – 60 minutes/day: 13%

0 – 30 minutes/day: 23%

This last entry is shocking – nearly one in four of the respondents spend less than 30 minutes a day looking for their next job. Previous studies aren’t much better – the average time spent on a search from a 2008 survey in the United States was 40 minutes/day.

That’s less time than the average American spends watching TV (4.7 hours) or even getting showered and dressed (57 minutes.)

Either these people just aren’t that serious about their search or they have given up looking. The better news from this latest survey is that nearly half are serious and spending at least 2 hours per day looking and 26% are spending more than 4 hours per day.

What is not clear is how much of that time – if any – is spent actually talking to people live (yes, networking) or reaching out via social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) In this economy, the people finding their jobs are working harder than ever to land them.

One thing is certain: spending less than 30 minutes per day on your job search will pretty much guarantee a very long unemployment period.

How much time are you spending on your search?

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1


Laid Off – The End or the Beginning?

February 8, 2010

If you saw the movie “Up in the Air” with George Clooney, there is a scene where actual non-actors describe what it was like being fired or laid off. I was very moved by the pain and sense of loss they experienced and it brought back very painful memories for me.

So now I spend a lot of time helping others in this situation, and I see many who are in the same position as those in the movie. There is another scene in the movie where he talks about the people who changed the world who were sitting in their seat just like them at some previous time (I’m not describing this very well if you didn’t see the movie, but stay with me.)

The point is that many of us get complacent in our jobs and stop trying to be the best we can and – well, it takes getting laid off or fired to take action and follow our dreams. Not everyone can find the courage to do that – especially when your income has just been cut off.
But for those who dare, the rewards can be unimaginable. Even if you fail – and you probably will – you’ll learn from it, get up and try again. Sooner or later you’ll succeed and wonder why you didn’t do this 20 years ago.

So here’s a very inspirational trailer I found on Seth Godin’s blog. It’s to an upcoming movie called Lemonade.

If you want some motivational incentive, just watch the trailer and then comment back to me.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1


East Bay Job Support Organizations – first in a series

February 5, 2010

The East Bay is blessed with several existing job networking support organizations committed to helping people find their next jobs. They serve people who have been frequent victims of layoffs over the years to the person who has been with their company for 25 years and now finds they have just been cast adrift and don’t know where to turn.

The first in this series about the various organizations highlights Walnut Creek’s Experience Unlimited, Experience Unlimited (EU) is a no-fee career resource center and job search networking group for business and technical professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. EU is sponsored by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and supported by EU volunteers.

It’s a well established group and expertly run by President Glen Zamanian with occasional help from past President Tony Friday. There is a representative from EDD to answer any questions from the members about current benefits, policies and changes with Unemployment insurance. Mainly, this Contra Costa Chapter is run completely by very helpful and knowledgeable volunteers.

Each week a speaker is featured to talk on various topics regarding being in transition. A recent topic was on financial survival tactics while in transition.

An interesting difference from some of the other groups is that membership in EU requires a minimum of 16 hours per month of attending meetings, joining committees, and volunteering, or giving back. There is a “give-to-get” focus, common in many of the other groups.

People who attend often find the experience very motivating and uplifting, especially when people tell of their success in landing a job and how they went about it. The exchange of ideas and strategies to find and get a resume in front of the hiring managers are creative and, even after an interview the position is not offered to them, their confidence level is much higher and willing to keep going and trying new ways to stand out.

The members are very welcoming to new people coming in and the support is unconditional. Long term friendships are often a result of this community of job seekers. Those who haven’t attended may find a new way to land their next job with a strong encouragement and safety net of this terrific organization.

* What: Experience Unlimited
* When: Tuesdays 9:00 – 9:30AM: Informal Networking, 9:30 – 12:00: General Meeting /Orientation & Speaker or Activity
* Where: 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 – Congregation B’nai Shalom
* If You Go: Sign up as a new member so you can be introduced.
Next week: CPC Job Connections in Danville.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1


Know What You Want to Find Your Next Job – Tina Chang Did!

February 1, 2010

With the unemployment and underemployment rate over 17%, competition for the few jobs out there is brutal. But there are success stories. Here’s how Tina Chang landed her position as New Product Program Manager at Cisco.

Tina’s career began right out of college with an Industrial Engineering degree, working for HP as a Process Engineer. After a few years, she had the opportunity to use her degree with a group of other industrial engineers and worked for IBM for 6 years. She went back to HP for a few years working in PC Manufacturing as a Platform Manager.

Tina’s career continued to advance as she joined Quantum as a Production Planning Manager for their disk drives and was there for 8 years. A merger with Maxtor led to a layoff while on assignment overseas in Geneva. Tina had been considering a move into non-profits and the layoff gave her that chance at her church as Director of Family Assimilation.

She loved the work but after a year she realized that she longed for the management structure of a larger company. “I missed the analytical side of business in that role and when they assigned me to manage the budgets, I was thrilled to be using a spreadsheet again,” said Tina.

Here’s where Tina’s tenacity paid off. As the church was downsizing, Tina began telling her friends that not only was she looking for a new job, but what type of job, industry and company. From her actions, a friend emailed an executive at a medical equipment company on her behalf. This executive was also a member of the church and Tina knew his family.

Once the email was sent, Tina knew it was time to act. She contacted the executive, he introduced her to the VP of Manufacturing and she was hired. Tina was there for 5 years as Director, Manufacturing Program Management. In October, the company restructured and Tina was laid off.

After a few weeks of visiting friends and taking some time for herself, Tina got to work on planning her search. She says, “I didn’t even have a PC of my own in the beginning – I borrowed a friend’s and started spending time at the library so I could use their Wifi.”

She started working on her plan: With some help from the outplacement firm the medical equipment company provided, she got her resume set and learned how to best use the internet for her search. She reflected on what she loved doing and the type of company that could match her skills and experience. After going through the Best Companies to Work For lists, she identified her target companies.

“I wanted a large company with some infrastructure, one that was international – I love to travel! – , no start-ups, and a great manager to work for,” she added.

Then she started her spreadsheet. She tracked her target companies, who she knew who worked there, when she contacted them, who she sent resumes & letters to, who she met at Starbuck’s, etc.

“I would tell all my friends what I was looking for! Prayer helped give me the determination to keep going. Someone asked me if I got bored during my time off and I said are you kidding? I’m working 40 hours a week meeting people, spending time having tea and talking to others and following up on referrals from old colleagues and new friends I met.”

She said that LinkedIn was the most helpful website because she could look up all kinds of information once she focused on a company, especially contacts she could meet with to learn more about the opportunities and culture.

During her intense search, a friend from IBM and Quantum sent her job leads. Her friend gave Tina’s resume to the hiring manager just before Christmas. He met with her first, contacted her before the New Year and asked her to come in on the 4th for additional interviews. He made her a verbal offer the next day and she is now working at Cisco.

Total time in her search was a little over 3 months, very good in this market for that type of position.

When asked what single thing most helped her land her job, she said, ” I focused on what I wanted and told everyone I came into contact that. I believe that praying for what I wanted helped make it happen.”

What are you doing in your search to find your job? Please share your success stories here.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1