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Monday: 8:00am-5:00pm
Tuesday: 8:00am-5:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am-7:00pm
Thursday: 8:00am-5:00pm
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What kind of career are you looking for?

As we wind down the 2014 year, we want to take the time to reflect and think of all the people we have assisted throughout the year: the ups and downs, the struggles and successes, and the tears and smiles.

To continue to best serve you in 2015 we would like to know

What career industries interest you?

This will help us focus on those specific areas of interest and learn detailed information about the field to better inform you of the occupational outcomes, potential growth (or loss), etc. With your feedback and input, we can  identify employers and companies for future career fairs and recruitment. Help us help you create customized services at the Career Center to meet your needs!

Please take a moment to complete the poll below:

(You may choose multiple industries since they may overlap)

Career Clusters contain occupations in the same field of work that require similar skills. Students, parents, and educators can use Career Clusters to help focus education plans towards obtaining the necessary knowledge, competencies, and training for success in a particular career pathway.

Thank you for participating in the poll! We greatly appreciate your input.

TedTalks: Mike Rowe: Learning from dirty jobs

Mike Rowe, the host of “Dirty Jobs,” tells some compelling (and horrifying) real-life job stories. Listen for his insights and observations about the nature of hard work, and how it’s been unjustifiably degraded in society today. .

#JobTipTuesday: Crafting your elevator pitch

elevator pitch

Elevator Pitch: Your Personal Commercial

By Samuel Garcia

The President of the United States steps into your elevator, introduces himself to you, and then says, “Tell me about yourself.” You have, perhaps, 15-45 seconds to make a positive impact. What would you say?

You walk into the reception area of the company to pick up a job application. As the receptionist hands you the form, the hiring manager steps up and asks, “Tell me: Why should we hire you?” What would you say?

The elevator pitch can be a highly-effective communication/marketing tool. In addition to being highly effective, it can, also, be highly versatile.

Communication: A Most Favored Skill

Like it or not, we are judged (and we also judge others) by language skills. Busy people appreciate brief, concise, and effective communication, be it verbal or written. Hiring managers, recruiters and human resources department managers appreciate job candidates that cut to the chase and show how they can bring value, solve problems, or ease the pain of it all through success-directed results via pithy elevator pitches customized just for them.

You Are the Product

Opportunities abound but they can, easily, disappear when we are not prepared to market ourselves effectively. Telemarketers know all about their products and they can quickly show you how your success or happiness depends on what they are selling. They use customized elevator speeches to deliver their message and compel you to buy-in to their products and services. They help you see their value by showing you how the benefits you receive outweigh the cost.

Vendors can become especially attractive when they have a truly unique product you likely cannot find elsewhere. Showing your Unique Selling Proposition, that which sets you apart from your competitors, can make you highly attractive. But you must be able to identify the right customers, in this case the right employers, who will appreciate what it is you have to offer. You must know what they most want and show them how you are uniquely qualified to deliver that to them.

What Employers Want to Know About You

First and foremost, employers want to know that you can do the job. If your résumé and cover letter don’t deliver that message clearly, they are discarded much the same way one may be discarded when a sales pitch goes bad. Your elevator pitch should be a quick and effective way to deliver that message. Employers, generally, try to hire the best qualified. Oftentimes, what they get is not the best qualified but the best communicators. You might say that the best way to get a job is by figuring out what the employer wants best. It stands to reason that you must be the best at communicating that you are the best candidate to deliver what it is they want.

Here’s How

First: Since employers want the best qualified candidates, it makes perfect sense to start your personal commercial with an accomplishment statement that exemplifies what you can do for them with your qualifications:

I have been promoted in every sales position I have held over the past 10 years for increasing the size and sales levels of my customer base which, in turn, has increased the profits of my employers. I can contribute this same success in the sales executive position you have posted on your LinkedIn Website.

The idea is to make your example specifically relevant to the position and to “Wow” their socks off!

Second: State your qualifications by telling them about your education, training, experience, and credentials that specifically qualify you to perform the job. Leave out anything not specifically relevant and necessary or they might label you as unfocussed or as “over-qualified”.

Third: Mention those key skills they most favor and expect whether they are job-specific skills or soft skills. Give a result example to demonstrate what you can do for them with a skill, or combination of skills, you know to by “key” to successful job performance:

As a regional sales manager, I developed 25 new clients within a two-month period and generated new business within 50 targeted regions researched.

At this point, you have grabbed their attention and wowed them with an accomplishment statement. You have mentioned the skills most important to them and have demonstrated that you understand the job. You have provided a results statement that exemplifies your ability to use those skills to deliver that kind of results that will contribute to the success of the company. In effect, you have established that you can perform the job!

Fourth: Employers want individuals that fit the company personally as well as professionally. Tell them about your personal and professional characteristics that substantiate you are a perfect match for the job.

Let’s suppose the employer is seeking someone that can develop effective strategies, can organize others, can work well in a group situation, doesn’t easily give up when faced with difficult challenges, is highly motivated and consistently strives for excellence. Perhaps the following example may convey such attributes:

I am a great strategist, organizer and team player with a can do attitude. I am passionate about my job and consistently work hard toward being the very best at what I do.

By now, you have established that you can do the job and that you are a perfect match for the position and the company.

Finally: Wrap up your pitch with the most appropriate closure for the occasion. If you wish to engage the other person in the conversation, you might say:

Could your company use someone like me on its team?

If they answer to the affirmative, you’re on your way. If they answer negatively, you can follow-up by asking if they know anyone that might be interested in someone with your skills.

If you are at a job interview or are approaching a hiring manager with your pitch, you might simply close your pitch by saying something along the lines of:

Thank you for the opportunity to spend these few moments with you. I am excited about the thought that I might have the opportunity to be part of your team!

Recap of the Formula

There are many formulas for elevator pitches. A web search will yield numerous results. The idea is that if you don’t have one, develop one. If you have one, keep adapting and building on it. An elevator pitch is a key that can take many forms and unlock some interesting doors.

Remember: Your pitch must match the requirements of the job exactly. Here is a summary of how this formula works:

  1. Open with an accomplishment statement that wows
  2. State your qualifications for the position
  3. Mention the key skills you possess and provide a relevant result example
  4. Show them you are a perfect match for the job both personally and professionally
  5. Wrap-Up your pitch with a closure appropriate for the occasion

Just Do It but Do It Well!

An elevator pitch/personal commercial can take many forms. Tailor the length to the occasion. Variables such as duration, content, order of key points being communicated, etc., should be customized to the needs or requirements of the party to whom you are delivering your pitch.

Sometimes we meet influential persons and have no idea they are a VIP. Knowing that in advance can help to plan and tailor a more specifically impressive pitch. Use it at family gatherings, parties, job fairs, job interviews, networking events, and more.

Practice makes perfect! In no time you will develop a versatile repertoire of impressive personal commercials for just about any occasion. In addition to being impressive, you will also be memorable and will set yourself apart from the faceless masses of jobseekers out to compete against you in a tough job market such as the one in which we find ourselves in today.

Ask these 11 questions

By: Dona DeZube

In an article from Monster.com, Stay Interviews, managers can be reluctant to conduct stay interviews, for fear that employees will ask for raises that aren’t in the budget.

Those fears are often unfounded. In truth, stay interviews are your best defense against employee attrition.

To find out what questions to ask in the stay interview, we spoke with Beverly Kaye, author of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go.

She points out that the best stay interview questions help managers individualize their work as leaders and learn more about the people they manage.

To get the most from your organization’s stay interviews, Kaye recommends asking these 11 questions:

  1. What about your job makes you want jump out of bed?
  2.  What about your job makes you want to hit the snooze button?
  3.  What are you passionate about?
  4.   What’s your dream job?
  5.  If you changed your role completely, what would you miss the most?
  6.  If you won the lottery and didn’t have to work, what would you miss?
  7.  What did you love in your last position that you’re not doing now?
  8.  What makes for a great day at work?
  9.  If you had a magic wand, what would be the one thing you would change about your work, your role and your responsibilities?
  10. What do you think about on your way to work?
  11. What’s bothering you most about your job?
source: http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/recruiting-hiring-advice/interviewing-candidates/stay-interview-questions.aspx

Remembering veterans as they transition to workforce

Monday, November 10, 2014

Luis Salvatierra finished a successful career in the Navy as a technician working with explosives. He needed to find civilian employment in San Diego and was interested in the information technology field. Embarking on a new career is challenging, especially in a competitive field like IT and for a veteran. How was he going to succeed?

When our military men and women leave service, we want to believe that their transition into civilian life will be seamless. For too many, however, it is not. The veteran unemployment rate provides a stark reminder that more needs to be done to support veterans in their transition to civilian employment.

The San Diego metro region’s unemployment rate is improving, reaching pre-recession levels. But despite positive labor market trends overall, veterans in our region continue to experience high rates of unemployment. This is especially true for younger “post-9/11” veterans. According to June 2014 data from the U.S. Census Bureau and compiled by the Employment Development Department, veterans between the ages 25 and 34 face a 14.7 percent unemployment rate.

Why is this?

Veterans face many challenges when seeking civilian employment:

  • Many veterans do not start thinking about civilian employment and career planning until after separation.
  • Translating experience in service to the civilian context can be difficult.
  • Navigating the civilian labor market often requires learning job search skills that were not required in service, such as interviewing, networking, résumé writing and completing online applications.
  • Accessing multiple federally funded veteran programs can be complex and overwhelming.
  • Many veterans experience mental or physical disabilities as a result of their time in service, increasing the need for support services that address these challenges and affiliated employment concerns.
  • Many veterans do not receive industry-recognized credentials or certifications for their field experience (e.g., field medic, truck driving, mechanic) throughout service so they enter the competitive civilian market at a disadvantage.

What are we doing to help?

The San Diego Workforce Partnership and our funded partners are addressing these challenges in several ways.

Veterans receive priority of service in the America’s Job Center of California (AJCC) network, where they can access individualized career assessments and local labor market information to identify the most promising career pathways, develop personal employment plans, attend job readiness workshops, access job training scholarships, and be directly connected to employment opportunities.

We work closely with our veterans to find ways to transfer their invaluable leadership experiences to civilian jobs. We also host frequent job fairs and employer panels related to growing industries that need the skills veterans bring to the table.

A monthly Veteran Boot Camp Program is held at the South Metro Career Center on Imperial Avenue, one of 12 AJCCs throughout the county. The program is a series of workshops organized by the Veterans Department of the California Employment Development Department, which helps transitioning veterans prepare themselves for the civilian workforce.

Veterans' Boot Camp Flyer1Limited to 15 participants, each boot camp helps veterans complete challenges that include job search strategies, résumé preparation and interviewing skills. The camps run five days and conclude with an employer panel.

We also have deep partnerships with other veteran-serving organizations and programs in the community that provide a full complement of services whether it be housing, supportive services or work-readiness training.

We are seeing progress in lowering the veteran unemployment rate. Our community is prioritizing the alignment of each individual veteran’s skills and career aspirations with our regional employers’ needs. Veterans are being hired in several of San Diego’s priority sectors, including manufacturing, technology and biotech.

Companies such as Qualcomm are using internal programs to introduce veterans to jobs in technology. Qualcomm’s QCIP-Warriors program partners with local organizations twice a year to recruit veterans for an eight-week integration program, pairing 12 to 16 veterans with veteran mentors and coaches across the company.

Each veteran receives technical skills training and professional development, and participates in employment and hiring workshops. To date, an incredible 85 percent of class graduates have been hired by Qualcomm or other local employers.

What happened to Luis? He visited the South Metro Career Center one month after his separation from the Navy. He worked with a veteran representative and a case agent to explore his options in the IT field.

With their guidance and support, he went through an A+ Security+ Network+ program, and less than a month after completion obtained employment as a Junior IT Specialist for Epsilon Inc.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez recently said, “Veterans have the skills that employers are looking for. They make our nation’s workforce more productive, our companies more profitable and our economy more competitive.”

We can, and must, do more. There are thousands of talented veterans like Luis who are ready to add value to employers in our region right now. This Veterans Day, let’s not only thank our military for their service, let’s ensure their future by securing them a place in our labor force.

Peter Callstrom is president and CEO of San Diego Workforce Partnership. San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts is policy board chair for the San Diego Workforce Partnership.


source: http://www.sddt.com/Commentary/article.cfm?Commentary_ID=340&SourceCode=20141110tza&_t=Remembering+veterans+as+they+transition+to+workforce#Article

Save your job application materials

If a job is worth applying for, it is a good idea to save copies of ALL job application materials, including:

  • Job Application
  • Résumé
  • Cover Letter
  • Salary Expectation or Salary History
  • Personal Commercial Script
  • Company Information
  • Job Posting/Job Description, etc.

Here’s why:

A member of the Center shared he had applied for a job and six months later he received a phone call from the employer to schedule a job interview. He scheduled the job interview but by then, he could not remember what company he applied too and had no information about the job. Not wanting to pass up the job opportunity, he went to the job interview anyway without any knowledge of what he was going into.

He was escorted to the interview room and introduced to the panel. Then came the first question,

“What do you know about our company?”

His heart sank down to his feet realizing any hope of being considered for the job had been dashed.


It is smart to organize all materials relevant to job applications and to save them indefinitely. If you don’t get interviewed or hired the first time around, there may be more other opportunities down the road and that information can be vital to your success.

 Written by Samuel Garcia, KRA Workshop Facilitator


A “Major Minute” thanks to LinkedIn

Rayos, left, at PLNU "Major Minute"

Recently, Maylynne Rayos, Training Account Coordinator, San Diego Metro Region America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC)—operated by KRA Corporation for the San Diego Workforce Partnership—presented at Point Loma Nazarene University’s (PLNU) 2014 session of an annual event, “Major Minute”, which afforded the 50+ students in attendance to consider majors that could lead to exciting career opportunities.

On a panel with other presenters, Maylynne, a NAWDP-Certified Workforce Development Professional, spoke about her education and major, and her career in the Workforce Services industry, including the comprehensive array of workforce development services offered through the AJCC network.

Maylynne, who earned her MA in Education from PLNU, concluded, “I also stressed how this opportunity for me to present demonstrates the power of social media networking and how students can benefit professionally from such sites.”

Jessica Walton, PLNU, had contacted Maylynne via her LinkedIn profile, sharing with her, “We typically only have people who attended undergrad here, but my boss made an exception because she was really impressed with your LinkedIn page. We are looking forward to having you on campus to help undeclared students figure out what they would like to major in.”  And, Marylynne was only too happy to oblige!

source: http://www.kra.com/community-involvement/kras-rayos-presents-at-alma-mater

#JobTipTuesday: Understanding Company Culture

Understanding Company Culture

Understanding Company Culture

By Samuel Garcia

“This above all: To thine own self be true…”

was penned by William Shakespeare ages ago. But how can we be true to ourselves if we do not really know who we are and what we are about? How can we find jobs that match us unless we first, solve this riddle?

Knowing what you really want to do, and where’s the best place to do it, is the critical first step to job search success. Do the industry, the company, and specific job match you? For example, does the job match your interests? Does the company culture support those values most important to you? Is the company a good match for your work style or personality type? Is this a place where you can use your best and favorite skills? Will taking this job advance your financial position and career goals?

If you are not clear on answers to these questions, consider career assessments to help you profile your interests, values, skills and personality type. Assessment results provide job options that could match you best. In addition, research labor market information to identify what your chosen career field is doing and is projected to do in relation to the economy. Once you are clear about these matters, you will have taken the first vital step to job search success.

Researching Companies

Research helps you establish that the company has what you want. However, it is probably much more difficult to establish what the company wants, then developing the best means to effectively communicate that you are the ideal candidate for the position.

Job applicants are not likely to make a good impression and land the job by walking into a job interview oblivious about company culture and job requirements. Trying to “wing it” by engaging the employer in a “hit and miss” process or “playing cat and mouse” with the interview panel does not work. There’s an abundance of resources available to learn about most companies. These include:

  1. Job Postings: Employers usually provide information about the company in job postings. Job ads can serve as a springboard for further research. At the least you get the name of the company and contact information which may include physical address, phone number, email address, and company website. Some employers also provide a company profile, slogan or mission statement.
  2. Internet Search: Search engines, such as Google, can lead to lots of links related to the company name. There are many helpful websites such as www.glassdoor.com, www.yelp.com, www.vault.com, www.yp.com, and many more.
  3. Social Media: Employers advertise products, services and activities on social media platforms such as www.linkedin.com, www.facebook.com, www.twitter.com, and www.youtube.com, to name only a few. Employers often use such platforms to recruit new employees. In fact, many employers no longer advertise: they enlist headhunters/recruiters to go through social media sites (such as LinkedIn), read profiles, and identify who the “movers and shakers” are for recruitment into the company.
  4. Networking: There are estimates that 60%-80% of all job hires are the result of networking which is considered by many experts as the best job search strategy. If there is anyone in your network that knows key players in the company or has any useful information about the company, this can provide great leverage, especially if they introduce or recommend you to the hiring manager.

Find Companies that match YOU, then show them how you match THEM

Knowing what you really want to do and where you want to do it makes it so much easier to answer the question, “Do I really want to work there?” Once you can answer “Yes”, you are still faced with the challenge of showing you are the best candidate for the position.

Estimates indicate there is an average of 100 job applicants for every job opening. Desperate job seekers tend to apply for whatever job they think can immediately put food on the table until something better comes along. Experienced employers can readily identify such applicants because they usually submit “one-size-fits-all” résumés that, usually, do not match job specifications.

On the other hand, what’s worse is that many qualified job seekers have difficulty communicating their fit for the job because they either failed to do their research or, just simply, do not know how to build a targeted résumé or create an impressive cover letter. Because such candidates are not effectively communicating their qualifications and fit for the job, employers may confuse them with unqualified, desperate job seekers. For all intents and purposes, their résumés and cover letters appear practically similar.

Some companies receive so many résumés they cannot possibly process all of them with existing staff resources. Some utilize Applicant Tracking Systems or farm them out to employment service agencies that screen, process and refer the best candidates to the employer.

Tell me about yourself

Employers don’t really want to know about you: They want to know the part of you that makes you the best candidate for the position. They want to know that you are qualified and have the right skills. They want to know you can deliver the results they expect and that you fit the company. But how can jobseekers tell employers what they need to know if they don’t know who they are talking to? That means you must know about the industry, the employer, and the job for which you are applying. Once you know who you are talking to, you are more likely to know what to say and how to say it. Simply connect the dots!

Increasingly, more employers have replaced, what is typically the first job interview question, “Tell me about yourself” with What do you know about our company?” Candidates without company knowledge are, thus, eliminated!

Knowing the Company Culture Helps

Investing time to learn about the company’s operating philosophy, mission statement, values, best practices, etc., provides insight by which you can gain a substantial advantage over the competition. You can leverage that knowledge in your cover letters, résumés and job interviews. Employers recognize your effort as an indication that you are already vested into the company. You are seen as a serious candidate who really wants to be part of the team. By then, you will have established that fact not only with the employer, but also with yourself, that you really do!

#JobTipTuesday: Does your expressions give off the wrong impressions?

body languageBy: Samuel Garcia, Workshop Facilitator

Two important elements at job interviews, as in any interaction with an employer, are information management and image management. Both must present a clear and consistent message: I can do the job. I fit in.

Employers expect clear, targeted information delivered concisely and confidently. A warm pleasant smile, for example, can immediately break the ice and facilitate a positive connection. Posture, eye contact, facial expressions, and hand gestures are just a few of the ways we transmit messages to others about ourselves.

Eye Contact

Most people we meet instinctively try to establish eye contact. However, breaking eye contact too quickly, especially in a job interview situation, could be interpreted as trying to hide something or dishonesty. Holding eye contact too long could be considered rude, aggressive or disrespectful behavior.

There is some correlation between eye contact and intimacy. Generally, the stronger the personal relationship, the longer one can comfortably maintain eye contact. There is no established rule on eye contact except that we must read the other person carefully and respectfully for clues as to how long to hold the eye contact before looking away.

Body Posture

Slouching on a chair will quickly earn disfavor. Leaning back could be interpreted as is tired, lazy or, perhaps, arrogant. Leaning too far forward could be seen as aggressive. It is best to maintain good posture by sitting upright in a neutral position or leaning slightly forward to demonstrate interest and attentiveness.

The Hands

What to do with the hands! Fold them? Place one on top of the other? Hide them under the table? Perhaps resting your hands on the table in a relaxed position may be a good solution. A few slight hand gestures could be effective in emphasizing points of verbal communication. It is, probably, best to avoid fast or exaggerated hand movements such as pointing, or waving with your arms, which could be seen as distracting or aggressive.

Crossing the Arms

People tend to interpret crossed arms as indicating the person is closed or unapproachable, while the arms opened at one’s sides tend to say you are open and approachable. It’s probably best not to cross one’s arms while speaking with an employer or at a job interview.

Head Movements

Looking around the room while someone is talking to you could cause a disconnect or give the impression your are disinterested in what the other person is saying. Excessive nodding can also be distracting. One nod, or perhaps two, showing agreement should be adequate as would also be the case when shaking the head in slight disagreement.

Nervous Fidgeting

Nervous fidgeting can be interpreted in many ways: Unfortunately, none of them very positive. Fidgeting is distracting and makes one appear unprepared or lacking confidence. Don’t fidget! Some folks try to conceal nervous fidgeting by hiding their hands behind their backs. It doesn’t work. Besides, it places ones body in an awkward posture which appears unnatural and less than flattering.

Mismatched Facial Expressions

Slapstick comedy and satire often use mismatched facial expressions and tone of voice/ words for added effect. It doesn’t work at job interviews. Saying you are passionate about something in a dry, monotone voice could send mixed messages, for example.

Mock interviewing is a great way to practice and receive constructive feedback. Do it often, stay sharp and focused and you will be better prepared to ace that job interview.


These are just some of the major non-verbal cues that are widely addressed. What other body language signals did we miss? Do you have any stories about how body language affect your perception of the person?  Tell us in the comments below!

We are pleased to announce the Job Club W.O.R.K. Group

Back by popular demand we are starting up a Job Club W.O.R.K group for all Center Members!

Join us for our first Job Club meeting on Oct 10th 2014 at 8:30am.

Its a great opportunity to network, build up your skills and learn new strategies and techniques to include in your job search.


SMCC Job Club WORK Group 10-03-14 Flyer


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