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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

#JobTipTuesday: Rejection from a Job

Didn't get the job, here's how to deal with the rejection

Written by Sam Garcia, KRA Workshop Facilitator

Being rejected after a job interview can hurt your confidence. However, while not pleasant, rejection can be blown out of proportion and viewed as a sign of failure. By thinking objectively, you can use it to build core strengths, address areas requiring improvement and better targeting jobs that are a better match.

A good first step is to write a Thank You letter for their professional courtesy to notify you of their decision even though you were not selected. Thank them for their time and hospitality throughout the process. Let them know that, while disappointed, you appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the company and to meet some of the staff. Tell them you remain interested in for their organization and that you would appreciate them contacting you next time a job opportunity becomes available for which you might qualify.

Stay Positive

Take note of what you learned throughout the company’s hiring process. While not often possible, try to get feedback on how you might improve your candidacy for future jobs with that company or other employers in general.

Be More Selective

The job market is more competitive today than ever. That means that you should be more selective about where you apply, ensuring that you are a good match, and being very specific about the skills and qualifications you bring to the table. Employers want to know your benefits and there is not better way to do that than by providing examples of results and achievements performing the same key skills they value in previous employment situations.

Address the issues

One of the most common reasons for being turned down is a lack of technical knowledge. To improve in this area, you may adapt your answers for technical questions with more precision or pursue further education or training to bolster your qualifications. Whenever possible, get feedback from the company, headhunter or whoever referred you to the job opportunity.

Another common reason for rejection is presenting poorly at the job interview. Make sure your job interview skills are polished and practice out loud with a coach or even a friend before each job interview. Remember: Employers hire people they like because they have demonstrated that they can do the job and that they fit in.

Final Thoughts

It is helpful to write down as many of the job interview question that was asked immediately after the interview while they are still fresh in your mind. Make notes of how you answered each question to help figure out what worked and what didn’t. Record any impressions/messages you received from the interviewer(s) through facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, gestures, etc. If you pay close attention to such signals, you may be able to gain greater knowledge than what they may be willing to provide verbally after the fact.

Platform to Employment helps long-term unemployed

Platform to Employment (P2E) is an innovative, nationally recognized initiative that focuses on the need for long-term unemployed (LTU) individuals to return to work and employers’ need to build a strong workforce. First launched in 2011 by The WorkPlace in Connecticut, the P2E 2013 program in San Diego offered LTU individuals intensive and comprehensive training, and employers the opportunity to evaluate P2E participants as potential employees risk-free.

In 2013, SDWP enrolled 24 participants in its P2E pilot program:

  • 92% successfully completed training
  • 82% were placed in subsidized employment
  • 100% were hired on full-time

AJCC Business Service Representative Patricia Devereaux shared a success story from one P2E participant with whom she worked.

“Madeline, a Platform to Employment program participant, was a discouraged mature worker. Years of a brutal job market and endless job applications had left her frustrated and fearful about the future. We began with changing those attitudes through consistent focus on the possibility of a better future. Once Madeline truly realized and believed that she could succeed, we were able to concentrate on playing to her strengths and applying only to positions that matched her administrative skill set.

“Madeline had wisely kept those skills current during her unemployment by taking several San Diego continuing education courses. A more hopeful attitude and recent P2E job-readiness skills training made Madeline more likely to earn the employment we longed for. She was also excellent at staying in touch and responding to all job leads. I knew we were working well together and on the same page when I sent Madeline a job lead to review and she told me she had already applied for it—an opening as an administrative assistant at The Daily Transcript newspaper.

“Knowing how ‘the personal touch’ can make a difference to employers, prior to Madeline’s interview, I stopped by The Daily Transcript to drop off information about the San Diego Metro Region Career Centers and the P2E Program, especially the employer wage-subsidy opportunity. Guess what? Madeline was hired just a few days after she applied, and given the job permanently before the end of the wage subsidy period! Madeline reports that she is enjoying her work and doing well.”

P2E offers three prongs of service:

  • Coaching and facilitation: Workshops conducted four days a week for five weeks, including work-readiness counseling, skills assessment, interview preparation and self-marketing.
  • Employee assistance services and family support: The opportunity to meet with counselors for financial literacy training and behavioral health services.
  • Subsidized employment opportunities: P2E works closely with participants to match them with employers. P2E enables employers to have a risk-free evaluation of participants during a subsidized work experience.

For more information about the program, read “Long-term unemployed ready to work” from the U-T San Diego.

If you have questions about P2E or are interested in funding P2E, please contact SDWP President & CEO Peter Callstrom at 619-228-2906.

Note: We are not currently recruiting for a new class of P2E participants. Please check back for updates about future classes.


Source: http://workforce.org/news/platform-employment-helps-long-term-unemployed

KRA/San Diego Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary of Career Center Opening

On September 30, 2013, the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) News headlined “Open – Bank of America Merrill Lynch Career Center, reporting, “The new San Diego Central Library…offers free career development services to job seekers…made possible through a $400,000 donation from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.”

On the 5th floor, the CDL (Central Downtown Library) site is managed by KRA Corporation for the SDWP as a satellite of its multi-site San Diego Metro Region Career Centers operation, providing individual and small-group career counseling, job-skills training, and specialized services for Veterans and bilingual customers.  Job-Readiness Workshops (JRW) offer computer orientation, resume development, interview skills, and other classes to prepare jobseekers for the workplace.

San Diego Central Library

Mary Jo Asuncion supervises the CDL site, reporting , “Our Career Agents make finding a job, or transitioning careers, a more successful experience for our jobseekers.  In addition to weekdays, we are open the first Saturday of each month for customers unable to visit us during the week.

We are averaging more than 40 customer-visits a day, so we increased our original JRW schedule from every-other-Friday to every day!  Business, for both our jobseeker- and employer-customers, is booming, and we look forward to another productive year—and beyond!”


Source: http://www.kra.com/company-news/krasan-diego-celebrates-1-year-anniversary-of-career-center-opening


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