Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Phone Interviews, Unemployment Rate Explained, And The "New" Retirement Plan

Hopefully everyone in the Northwest is keeping cool today with near record temperatures this week. With the way things have gone this year, it would be nice to have a "heat wave" of employment so to speak. Well when opportunities come about you need to capitalize on them. Today, recruiters and hiring managers are using phone interviews as a first round of screening for potential hires. No longer it seems that you can just cruise your way through the phone interview and go straight to the actual face to face interview. So, this article from Spherion Career Blog gives some great tips on how to prepare for the interview. Here are the five tips that they recommend:

1. Conduct the phone interview in a location that is quiet with no distractions.
2. Make sure you schedule the interview when you have time to think about your answers and are not rushing.
3. Treat the phone interview as the first round instead of a preliminary necessity.
4. If it helps, dress for the phone interview. Maybe not in a suit, but make sure you have showered and dressed if you are at home.
5. Prepare by practicing your interview answers, and use all of the interviewing skills you would if this was a face to face meeting.

With all these news reports about the unemployment rate being at a certain percentage, we often wonder how they come up with the numbers that they do. Well here is a post from the Wiser Worker Blog that breaks down the unemployment rate. It does not represent the amount of United States citizens who are not working. Instead, it represents the amount of people actively seeking employment who cannot find it.

With people having to work longer than they anticipated in life, retirement just is not an option. Working has become the new "retirement" plan for a lot of people. Everyone has seemed to take a hit in this economy, and their nest eggs are not stretching as far as they had planned. Well to help those in need you can always look to Wiser Worker.com or Employment Guide.com. We even have a job fair coming up next month for those still looking for work.

So Portland, what are your phone interviewing tips? Also, what is your retirement plan and do you see yourself working much longer than you anticipated? Please leave your comments below.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Portland Employment Guide July 27th - August 2nd

Click on the image below to view a copy of this week's edition of The Employment Guide in Portland.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Odds And Ends

Here are some links I thought everyone might be interested in locally:

I also came across some article that do not have local ties that I thought were interesting:

So Portland, what website do you check out that I need to follow? Feel free to add to my list of websites or leave any comments in the section below.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Portland Employment Guide July 20th - July 26th

Click on the image below to view a copy of this week's edition of The Employment Guide in Portland.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Can Bad Grades Hold You Back From Finding A Decent Job?

With my last two blog entries (here and here)I was taking a look at the struggles of teens finding work this summer. Every summer, college students and high school graduates look for work, but what if your grades aren't up to par? Well the same question was asked on Spherion Blog. Here is what one of the readers asked:

Q: Dear Seymour, My grades aren't great. Does this mean I will have a harder time finding a job?

Here is what Seymour had to say:

Good grades are always a plus on your record. They can earn you recognition and often can open doors. However, good grades aren't important to everyone. To some, grades are an arbitrary measurement system that can depend on what classes you took, the difference between individual teachers, or other factors that don't necessarily reflect on a student's intelligence or abilities. Less-than-perfect grades are not a barrier to finding your dream job. There are still great ways for you to market yourself to a potential employer:

Don't make grades the most prominent part of your resume. When you create your resume, you don't necessarily have to list a GPA. As long as you have a degree or course credit (in other words, as long as you passed something), that is enough to list. Most employers look at your broad education and any experience that relates to the job you are applying for, not your GPA.

Focus on your passions. Put time and thought into what you want to do. Why are you applying for certain positions over others? If you are passionate about a job when another candidate with perfect grades is tepid about it, then you will stand out. Most employers are looking for people who are diligent, honest, work hard, and are happy about coming to work. If you care about what you want to do and are serious about it, that will shine through in an interview and set you apart.

Don't bring up bad grades unless you are asked -- if you are, have a good answer. Never highlight less than stellar qualities in an application process. Unless you are specifically asked about your grades, don't bring it up. If you are asked directly, don't lie. Be honest, but be prepared with a brief explanation about your grades. Do not make excuses. Some good answers could include, "I wasn't focused for the first two years of school," or "I had some temporary personal circumstances," or "I wasn't passionate about what I was studying, but I am very passionate about my current career path." Keep it brief and move on.

Have some other activities to boost your credentials. Find activities that complement your chosen career. Join clubs, trade associations, professional associations, or volunteer organizations that coincide with your field. Using your free time to devote yourself to these things will draw more attention to your motivation and take away from your report card.

These are great tips on how to make you stand out a little more when you thought your grades might hold you back from getting a job.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Portland Employment Guide July 13th - July 19th

Click on the image below to view a copy of this week's edition of The Employment Guide in Portland.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Work-Related Stress Tips And More On Teen Jobs

Like a lot of us, it is really hard to go back to work after the 4th of July holiday. We had lots of fun eating, drinking, and popping fire works this past weekend. So it makes it that much harder to go back to work after all that stress relief. So when you are having a hard time getting back into the swing of things at work, here are some tips from Spherion Blog to remember.

Take time off - Getting away from the office and having a little "me time" is the best way to beat the stress blues. Some workers are concerned about taking time off during a tough economy, but taking a day or two for a long weekend may help relieve stress.

Make lists and check them twice - Keeping organized and staying on top of your tasks can help keep stress at bay. Feeling organized can help compartmentalize your responsibilities, relieving anxiety about what's on your plate at work.

Confide in someone - "Venting" frustrations can be a great stress reliever. Most people do not want to be seen as a complainer, but confiding in a close friend or relative can unburden your mental state of mind and is healthier than keeping it to yourself.

Decompress or indulge a hobby - All employees could use a little down time. When times are tough and stress becomes overwhelming, remember to take time to unwind. Work in the garden, read a book, meditate or just take a hot soak in the bath to help you decompress from a hard day at the office.

As you recall from last week's post, teens are having a hard time finding work this summer. Here is another article just to prove that Oregon is one of the toughest places for kids to find work. With the recession most businesses are just not hiring and any open positions seem to go to out of work adults.

So Portland, what tips do you have in relieving work related stress? And for those that can not find summer work, please let us know about your situation. Please leave all comment in the section below.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Portland Employment Guide July 6th - July 12th

Click on the image below to view a copy of this week's edition of The Employment Guide in Portland.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Small Businesses Are Holding Steady In Portland, Where's My Summer Job?, And Job Fair Tips

Like many of us already know the economy is still bad and things have not improved, despite reports that things are turning around. Despite the fact that Portland's jobless jump outpaces the nation, and those in power may not have done all they can to create jobs. Portland can still hang its hat on small businesses. As layoffs mount, more and more people are starting their own business. Last month alone, Portland issued 579 new business licneses which is triple the number from a year ago and they have have issued nearly 7,000 in last 12 months. It all really picked up last September as the recession was just starting to take a hold of the economy. Oregon traditionally relies on small business for job creation than most other states. Companies with 500 employees or less provide 57.2% of all private sector jobs in Oregon compared to the nation average of 50.2%. Some other really good news about small business owners is that Jeff Merkley introduced new legislation to boost tax deductions to $10,000 for those who spend under $60,000 for start up. Currently there is a $5,000 tax deduction for those who spend under $50,000.

With it finally being summer up here in the Northwest, the kids are out of school looking for jobs and there doesn't seem to be many. High schoolers across the area have reported that it has been harder to get a job this year than most years. The teenage unemployment rate in 2008 was estimated at around 17%, but this year they are predicting that it will be up around 22-23%. With the saturated job-seeker market, companies are being really picky with sorting through resumes. This can be a good thing for those hiring though because they can sit back and evaluate all the resumes and applications to select candidates that meet their criteria.

Here is a great article from the San Francisco Chronicle that features some good job fair tips and a quote from our very own Christina Moneypenny. Christina has some excellent advice, "When you submit stuff online, that is great, but it is just a document. When you go to a job fair you get to bring the whole package. The recruiters are there and they will know within in 30 seconds whether or not you are the right person for the job."

So Portland, what is your take on small businesses? And is this something that will bring us out of the recession? Also what are your feelings on the shrinking job market for teens? Please leave your comments in the section below.