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KRA/San Diego’s Leon Nominated for 2015 Latino Champions Award

Santiago Leon PhotoRecently, Santiago Leon, a KRA Workshop Facilitator, was one of three finalists nominated for the Latino Veteran of the Year Award, in recognition of his dedicated service to the Wounded Warrior Support Network (WWSN).

At the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, more than 200 attendees celebrated the altruistic achievements of San Diego County businesses, individuals, and volunteers that positively impact the Latino community in one of 10 Latino Champions Award categories.

One of San Diego’s leading Latino professionals, Santiago assists Veterans in their military-to-civilian life transition, in addition to serving as an active member of the WWSN Board.  He volunteers Career Guidance and Job-Readiness Training services, and referrals to various Veterans support programs, including KRA’s Metro Region Career Centers/American Job Center of California, which is operated for the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

Santiago commented, “When it comes to what we do for our Veterans, we cannot afford to have a ‘bad day’. We need to be more than individuals who teach others how to find work.  We must be the source that inspires them, helping to generate hope for the future.”

KRA/San Diego Career Agent Designs Plan for Architect

For 15 years, Mike Gilkerson, an accomplished Architect, designed Data Center facilities for Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Paramount, et al.   When the company he worked for closed down, he  moved on to another firm, which unfortunately was financially unstable.  Substantial pay cuts motivated Mike to move on again.

Four years later, due to the recession, he was un-/under-employed for 2 years—before enrolling with the San Diego Metro Region American Job Center,  KRA-operated for the San Diego Workforce Partnership.  Mike found the job-prep workshops enlightening, but, at 63, realized his lack of knowledge and skills with the “new-and-now” design technology was going to impede his success in a highly competitive job market.

With ongoing advice and support from Career Agent Alita Hetland, Mike received a grant to train with the Virtual Design & Construction Institute for certification in Autodesk Revit.  But, even before completing the course, he pursued a job interview, and received an offer for an Architect/Project Manager position!

Recently, Mike reported, “I have been employed for 6 months now, and can honestly say this is the direct result of guidance and training I received from the Job Center and Alita.  I’m very grateful that such centers exist to help one get a second chance in life.”

Source: http://www.kra.com/company-news/krasan-diego-career-agent-designs-plan-for-architect

Democrats urge Pres. Obama to expand job opportunities for ex-cons

Originally posted on Fortune:

A group of 27 Democratic senators joined a growing nationwide movement to “ban the box” on Tuesday, sending a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to take executive action to prohibit federal contractors and federal agencies from asking job candidates about their criminal records on job applications.

The senators said that the move would expand job opportunities for individuals with criminal records and reduce recidivism.

“[W]e ask you to require federal contractors and agencies to refrain from asking job applicants about prior convictions until later in the hiring process. This policy would eliminate unnecessary barriers to employment for all job seekers and would give individuals re-entering the workforce the opportunity to apply for work based on their current merits rather than past wrong-doings,” the letter says. “Employers would retain the ability to inquire about past convictions or conduct background checks regarding a potential employee before making an employment decision.”

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Millennials Now Largest Generation in the U.S. Workforce

Originally posted on TIME:

Millennials have now surpassed Generation X to become the largest generation in the American workforce, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Adults between the ages of 18-34 now make up one in three American workers, Pew reports. They outnumbered working adults in Generation X, who were 18-33 in the year 1998, in early 2015 after overtaking Baby Boomers last year.

The estimated 53.5 million millennials in the work force are only expected to grow as millennials currently enrolled in college graduate and begin working. The generation is also growing thanks to recent immigration, as more than half of new immigrant workers have been millennials.

The millennial generation as a whole, not just those in the labor force, is also expected to surpass the Baby Boom generation as the largest living generation in the U.S.

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Cut Your Job Search Time in Half with this Job Search Plan

Photo Image from: http://timemanagementninja.com/

Cut Your Job Search Time in Half with this Job Search Plan

By Don Goodman

Finding a new job is a lot more difficult in this digital age and the days of just relying on the job boards are over. This comprehensive article will show you what you need to do to slash your job search time by 50% and save you hours of frustration. Working hard is not enough. Working smart makes hard work pay off.

1. BUILD A PROFESSIONAL RÉSUMÉSource: www.experience.com-

Your résumé is the single-most important document in your career and having a competitive advantage over the literally hundreds of other candidates you will be competing with for that one position is a must.

Statistics show that employers spend 6.7 seconds reviewing a résumé and the only part that everyone reads is the opening summary. A well-written résumé will craft your value proposition that distinguishes you from everyone else. Be sure to use keywords, formats, skills and performance metrics for your industry to make sure your résumé stands out.


2. OPTIMIZE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE Source: www.financialsocialmedia.com-

There are now more jobs on LinkedIn than monster.com and all recruiters use it to source talent. If you are like most people, you signed up for LinkedIn years ago and have not paid much attention to it since. Times have changed and +95% of companies will check out your LinkedIn Profile before calling you.

Your LinkedIn Profile has to be optimized for the right keywords, should have a social conversational tone, and should show just enough of your résumé to whet the recruiter’s appetite for more information so they are compelled to contact you.

If you do not know how to do all the above, ask your résumé writer to craft it for you. Fees should be in the range of $100-$250 for this important component of your job search strategy.


Source: www.exclusive-executive-resumes.com-3. DISTRIBUTE YOUR RÉSUMÉ

Now that you are confident that your résumé and LinkedIn Profile distinguish you, it is time to reach out to recruiters and hiring managers.

There are only 4 ways to get your résumé in front of people. These are:

1. Job Boards

2. Recruiters

3. Direct contact through networking

4. Direct contact through direct mail letters (mostly for executives)

Most people spend all their time on job boards which is the most competitive arena and puts you at the mercy of the Applicant Tracking Systems that rank your résumé: Big mistake. In fact Forbes has reported that 75% of qualified candidates are being weeded out because of the Applicant Tracking Systems and you will have more competition here than any other distribution method.

At the other end of the spectrum, networking is the #1 most effective way to get a job so, after learning how to network effectively (it is a lot more than just asking friends to help you get a job), you should spend some time in this category. Here are ways to get the most impact from each of these methods.

4. JOB BOARDSSource: www.truecareerchoice.com-

Monster and CareerBuilder are not the most effective boards to post your résumé as they have less than a 3% effectiveness rate. You would do better to post your résumé on the niche job boards as they are cheaper for employers and specific to your field.

Note that you can post your résumé confidentially so your employer won’t know that you are looking. You can also indicate where geographically you are willing to work. For a great list of vertical and geographical job boards go to the International Association of Employment Web Sites at http://www.employmentwebsites.org/?q=website/tree

If you are surfing job postings, use Indeed.com or SimplyHired.com as these are job board aggregators, meaning they pull jobs from all the other job boards as well as company web sites to give you a single place to find openings. Also look at Craig’s List which is becoming a great place to find local job postings.

Source: www.worklifecareers.com-5. RECRUITERS

Depending on your level of experience, recruiters may be a good way to distribute your résumé.

The first thing that you need to understand is that recruiters are paid by the employer, and their loyalty is to them. It is not true that recruiters find jobs for people – they find people for jobs.

It is crucial that you understand this important part because many people just call recruiters and expect help in their job search. With that in mind, you should determine if recruiters work at your level. Recruiters typically receive 20-30% of the annual compensation for the position which means that for a $50,000 job, a recruiter will get between $10,000 and $15,000 if a company hires the person they present.

Recruiters are usually hired to find people for those “hard-to-fill” positions requiring specific technologies or experience, so they will only put in front of their clients people who are worth those kinds of fees.  They look for the “best-fit” candidates, one who meets most – if not all – of the employer’s requirements.

For you, that means that if you have no experience in the kind of position they are trying to fill, it is unlikely they will consider you. If you are a recent graduate with less than 2 years of experience, it is also unlikely that a company would want to pay those fees for someone who is so easy to find through regular job advertising.

A good way to see if you are the kind of person recruiters want is to look at the ads on Indeed.com for your job title.  See if they are posted by employers or recruiters. Although that is not an acid test, it is certainly a good indicator if you fit in the category of those people a recruiter would seek.

There are some good services that will query an opt-in recruiter database to identify those recruiters who have indicated they would be interested in someone like you, and then do an email campaign to get your information to them. These generally run from $150 to $500 and can be monies well-spent. They will get to hundreds of recruiters in your field versus your ability to get to less than 10.

6. NETWORKINGSource: http://www.good-citizen.org/

Networking is the most effective way to find a job and companies often pay employee referral bonuses if a person who is recommended to them is hired.

Most people think networking is giving your résumé to as many people as you can and asking them to let you know if there is a job opportunity anywhere. THIS IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO as you just lost control over the process and now you just sit, wait and hope that the phone will ring.

Good networking is asking people for advice. People are much more likely to give you advice than help you get a job.

The 3 steps here are:

1. Develop an elevator pitch

2. Create a list of contacts

3. Build a contact plan

Your elevator pitch is the 20 second statement you would make if you were in an elevator with Bill Gates and you wanted to tell him why you are the best person for a job. It quickly states what you bring to the table.

Here’s a sample elevator pitch:

source: http://image.slidesharecdn.com“I have over 10 years of sales experience in the plastic and chemicals field including having served as a Sales Manager with DuPont. Consistently recognized as a Top Performer, I have beaten my sales goals and targets every year, even in the face of a severely declining market. I am particularly good at using my strong technical and operational knowledge to earn a customer’s trust and build loyal relationships. As you probably know, the market is pretty soft now and I am looking at other related industries where my ability to penetrate accounts and get new business would be of value and wanted to get some advice from you.”

Now create a database of contacts. Go through your business cards and list everyone who might know someone who might know someone who can help you find an open position. Use LinkedIn to identify companies and people you want to connect with. In particular, look at the various industry groups.

You cannot have too many names here, just make sure you assign a category to them (i.e. peer, boss, acquaintance, etc.). Remember, these are not necessarily people who can get you a job, but they can lead you to others who can. I know a fellow who found a job by asking his mailman if he knew anyone who worked at Deloitte.

You should also build a list of those companies you wish to target. Decide whether you want to work in a small, medium or large company, in what industry and then do some research to identify candidates. Remember too that everyone targets the Fortune 500 although most jobs are in smaller firms. Targeting companies outside the Fortune 1000 is easier as you will have less competition.

Now build a contact plan with specific and measurable goals. Plan on calling 25 people per week. This is where discipline comes in, but after you have done this a couple of times, it becomes easier. Ask each person who else you should talk to and add them to your database.

Finally, if you are a senior executive, you can consider a direct mail campaign to specific firms. There are specialty firms who can do this for you including identifying the companies and contacts that meet your criteria.

Follow these steps and you will slash your job search time considerably.

The Social Media Job-Hunting Quiz

Think you know how to use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for your job search? AARP test your smarts here !

How are you using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for your job search? Are you even using these as your job search? Why or why not?

In todays’ digital age, it’s important to not only have an online presence but also a representable one at that. Upload a professional photo, clean out any comments or postings that seem unprofessional and use your profiles to network with people in the industry.

Let us know what your results are and what your thoughts about using Social Media as a job-hunting tool.


4 Ways to Pass the 8-Second Résumé Glance

4 Ways to Pass the 8-Second Résumé Glance

Don Goodman, January 27, 2015

Image from: Business Insider

What recruiters look at during the 6-8 seconds they look at your resume

Skimming – that’s what hiring managers are doing when they are going through resumes. There’s no time to read word-for-word when there are hundreds of resumes coming in for that one position, so they skim for key information. In fact, studies show that they spend about eight seconds scanning your resume.

If you want a positive response on your resume in the 8-second resume glance, here’s what you have to do.

1. Make the top-half of your resume count.

The only part of the resume that everyone reads is your opening profile. This is where you need to distinguish yourself from the 300 other people seeking the same opportunity. In short, you summarize your skills and experience and develop your value proposition. In other words, you are stating, “Here’s what I can do for you, here is how I do it, and here is where I have done it before.” A good test to see if your opening profile is any good is to delete those sentences that all candidates can say and leave only those statements that only you could make.

2. Get in the keywords that matter.

In the 8-second glance, the hiring manager is skimming for relevant keywords and phrases that may inform him you have the right type of experience and skills that match the needs of the job. Things like job titles will automatically apply, but review the job posting carefully for additional hints, like specific technical skills and knowledge-sets like “employee development” or “lean Six Sigma,” and other phrases that may be applied to your resume to make it more eye-catching.

3. Lead with the best information.

Your experience should use the Harvard format: roles and responsibilities in paragraphs and bullets for achievements. This allows them to easily see the bulleted accomplishments. Start your bullets with results and put the most impressive ones first. For example, “Reduced budgeting cycle time 35% by introducing new procedures.” Also, remember to stick with action words, not a passive voice like “helped” or “followed.”

4. Don’t make the reader squint.

When the font size is less than 11, it generally becomes harder to read on screen and on paper. Ensuring your resume is legible in the rush of eight seconds is critical. Stick with traditional fonts like Arial, Tahoma, Cambria, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Also use bold typeface for things like your employer and job title to help guide the reader through the different sections of your resume. Add in the proper amount of white space and use bullet points, and your resume becomes easy to digest – not a document that’s suffocating and chaotic with large blocks of text.

If the hiring manager is not finding the right information in the eight seconds it takes to glance through your resume, it’s going to be rejected.

Article taken from: http://www.careerealism.com/resume-glance-pass/

Changes Continents…and Careers!

Jeanette Lowdon had lived and traveled throughout Africa and Europe for 27 years. After her last entrepreneurial venture—a jewelry-design business in Morocco—she returned to the States, where her sales savvy quickly gained her a Sales Agent position with a San Diego garden Nursery.

She was showing up for work every day, but her heart wasn’t in it. Actually, Jeanette had decided on a career change.

“For the past 2 years, I had been a full time student at Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges preparing for Grossmont’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Now, I am on their wait list, but, it is 2 years long. So, the director of the College tole me to find something to do in the medical field while I waited to enter the program.”

Jeanette Lowdon (L) with KRA Career Agent Tina Nichols


Jeanette enrolled with the San Diego Metro Region/American Job Center, KRA-operated for  the San Diego Workforce Partnership, where Career Agent Tina Nichols suggested she volunteer with a medical facility to gain “field” experience.

“I decided to go to the South metro Career Center and investigate what options were available to me. I attended an orientation and started going to the workshops. I immediately connected with the workshop facilitator’s confidence and it gave me hope that I could go through this journey to find a job. I attended more than 9 of Santiago’s, workshops and each time I took away something new that I could apply to my goal.

I signed up for the WIA program and – at the California Medical College. I also signed up to volunteer at the Alvarado Hospital. The volunteers are required to work 4 hours a week but I signed up for 16 hours a week. I wanted to make a motivated impression. Knowing this my boss asked me to be a part of the Statewide Emergency Preparedness day just 2 weeks after I stated volunteering at the hospital. This allowed me to be exposed to all the managers at the hospital as all the departments were involved.”

While Jeanette was  volunteering at Alvarado Hospital, Tina processed the paperwork for her to enroll in a WIA-supported, CMC Insurance and Coding Specialist Program.  Within 2 weeks of matriculation, Alvarado offered Jeannette  a  part-time position in the Telemedicine Department!

“One day my boss asked me to volunteer doing some clerical work for the Telemedicine Department. The manager could see I was very efficient and completely my task quickly. She mentioned that she was looking for a new employer and I said I was looking for a job. I applied on Dec. 10th and during that interviews, they could see that I was attending California Medical College, Grossmont College and volunteering at the hospital. The panel told me they could tell I was motivated to be in the medical field. The tools I was given were starting to pay off. I received a call on Dec 24th from HR offering me the job.

I could have not achieved this goal without the South Metro Career Center. They provided me the tools I needed to succeed an gave me the confidence I needed when I was at my most vulnerable. The bonus of all of this, that what I received was all free and genuinely from the heart. Thank you all for caring about me and my journey.”

Tina concluded, “Jeanette’s doing great!  Attending CMC and working at Alvarado are definitely expanding her industry knowledge—and her resume.  She’s still intent on OTA training, and is ‘delighted” to be well on the path to her career objective.”

6 Tips for Staying Sane During Your Job Search

6 Tips for Staying Sane During Your Job Search

By: Mary Sherwood Sevinsky (Edited by Samuel Garcia)

If you have been unemployed and looking for work for any length of time, the chances are good that you are Frustrated at not having a job by now and tired of hearing the “How’s the job search going?” question from well-intended friends and family.

Need help staying sane during your job search? Follow these tips to keep your sanity and loved ones off your back:

  1. Treat Your Job Search Like a Job:

Set your alarm, get dressed, and go to your “office” every weekday. You don’t need to dress in a suit, but at least brush your teeth and hair and change into clothes you don’t sleep in. Let your immediate family or room-mates know that you are adopting this approach and won’t be available for the most part during these times. No, you won’t be able to run errands, pick up a friend’s dog, run to the grocery store, or babysit (except in a true emergency or pre-scheduled exceptions).

  1. Schedule Your Job Search Tasks:

Nothing will drive you crazy quicker than sitting at home all day, every day submitting online applications!

  • Day One: Review and apply to jobs online and from the paper.
  • Day Two: Make telephone calls to those employers that request a call or to obtain more information.
  • Day Three: Apply in person, return calls of employers who called, attend any meetings/participate in groups.
  • Day Four: Cold call employers and practice interviewing; review other job search or career articles.
  • Day Five: Make follow up calls with any outstanding employers, job service, job search from the prior week.
  • Day Six: Call friends and employers who are hiring. Call and follow up with Staffing agencies you are registered with
  1. Update Friends & Family on Your Progress:

Share some frustration, fine, but you don’t want people to run the other way when you walk in! Think about something positive to share every day, even if it is a brief summary of the latest job search article you read. Don’t get bogged down in details and don’t wait to be asked.

Try something like, “Hey, how are you? I am still looking for an administrative job in Baltimore; if you come across anything, keep me in mind. I have a number of applications out there and I am making job search my full-time job for now.”

  1. Be Open to Help from Others:

People like to feel helpful – it makes them feel good about themselves. If anything, this is probably the reason your friends and family DO ask you how the job search is going. Tell them how they can help. Periodically ask if the company they work with is hiring or if they have heard of any openings.

It is okay to be selective about who you ask for help. Use your best judgment! Ask for feedback on your interview answers, resume, or cover letter. I often ask clients to have colleagues review resumes we are working on for further input.

  1. Put Your Best Foot Forward & Stay Positive:

Like often attracts like. If you are putting on your sad face and moping around complaining about how hard it is to find a job… Well, this might not be working in your favor!

Having a schedule like the one above will help. You can also volunteer with the disadvantaged or disabled, join a group, go to church, subscribe to inspirational quotes online… All of these will help to keep you in a more positive mindset and keep you moving forward in your job search.

  1. Finally: Have a Goal:

Have a job target. Decide on the job title and company type where you would like to work and apply only for jobs for which you are qualified. But even if you are looking for ANY job, don’t allow this to be your career goal. Instead, spend time dreaming and then planning for your long term career goals.

If you don’t have short- and long-term plans, it is difficult to tell if you are on the right path or, even, if you have arrived!

So, then: How is your job search going? Let us know!

Reception celebrates library AJCC accomplishments

Reception celebrates library AJCC accomplishments

February 12, 2015

Community leaders and elected officials gathered on Feb. 11 for a special event celebrating the many accomplishments of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Career Center, located in the heart of downtown at the San Diego Central Library. The Career Center—the newest addition to San Diego County’s network of America’s Job Center of California locations—has had more than 9,000 visits since it opened in late 2013, and more than 900 individuals have attended comprehensive workshops on subjects including regional labor market information, online job search strategies, personal branding and more.

County Supervisors Ron Roberts and Dave Roberts, Councilmembers Myrtle Cole and Scott Sherman and community leaders celebrated the success of the new center and learned more about the services provided for job seekers and employers throughout San Diego County.

Ron Roberts and Myrtle Cole shared their appreciation and optimism for serving more job seekers in the years to come. As the past and incoming Chair, respectively, of SDWP’s Policy Board, Roberts and Cole help to guide decision-making for funding workforce programs throughout our region.

A theme of thanks resonated throughout the entire evening—for the Career Center staff, for government and community support, and especially for Bank of America. Many noted that the Bank of America’s financial contribution, which was the largest the company had made in the region, is what made the center possible.

Rick Bregman, Bank of America San Diego Market President, expressed his appreciation for the broad support of the center. He mentioned how proud Bank of America employees feel to work for a company grounded in a culture of giving to help make communities better. He explained that this cause was important to Bank of America because the company recognizes the foundational role a job plays in family and quality of life.

Maxine Suka, Program Manager for San Diego Metro Career Centers, pointed out that the career center was purposefully designed to serve those drawn to the hub of the city, including the increased number of people with white and blue collar jobs looking to advance their career. She highlighted the center’s open floor plan, computer workstations and extended evening and weekend hours, all of which create a comfortable and effective environment to meet people from all walks of life “where they are” and connect San Diegans to meaningful careers.

SDWP CEO Peter Callstrom elaborated on the uniqueness that makes the Career Center so effective. “This center is one of a kind in many ways,” he says. “It seamlessly integrates with other library services and is easily accessible via the trolley. It is a shining example of a public-private partnership that truly works.”

Mel Katz, past chair of the San Diego Public Library Foundation, credited the Career Center as a cornerstone for getting the many donors who helped to fund the creation of the Central Library, which now welcomes an average of 3,000 people a day. In addition to the career center, the library houses other services, such as the I CAN! Center for people with disabilities as well as the READ Adult Literacy program, which creates a “one-stop shop” for patrons in need of multiple services.

For more information about the AJCC network or to locate a center near you, visit workforce.org/ajcc.


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