Two weeks ago I found myself in a sea of job and career seekers looking to be hired for one of no more than about 150 positions in areas of administrative support and IT related jobs featured by local universities in Washington DC. I would estimate that at least 2,500+ persons attended this Job Fair!

I happened to ask a couple of young men very much unprepared for this occasion “are you looking for a job or a career?”

I noticed within seconds a blank stark-like response enveloped on their faces as if I had said something wrong.

To my amazement they both replied,” I really don’t have a response for you.” My conversation led to sharing with them the definition for each word.

It really makes a difference about what you are seeking when attending a Job Fair. These companies and institutions are going out of their way to seek potential employees. Keep in mind that they are bringing the jobs to you!

Career (as defined in Wikipedia) is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person’s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)”. It is usually considered to pertain to remunerative work (and sometimes also formal education).
The etymology of the term comes from the Latin word carrera, which means race (as in “rat race”.

A Job (as defined in Wikipedia) is a regular activity performed in exchange for payment. A person usually begins a job by becoming an employee, volunteering, or starting a business. The duration of a job may range from an hour (in the case of odd jobs) to a lifetime (in the case of some judges). If a person is trained for a certain type of job, they may have a profession. The series of jobs a person holds in their life is their career.

It doesn’t matter how much time and money you invest in your résumé because if you have not defined for you what you’re attempting to carry out then you’re not going to be one of those successful candidates attending.

Quite frankly, I want you to get hired and to get noticed at you’re your next Job Fair visit.

Let me suggest a few tips for being competitive and successful in your approach to getting hired:

* Research job and career trends

* How does your skill set(s) match with the job posted

* Think long-term

* Re-educate an update your training for that specific posting if necessary

* Ask the employer about other job possibilities that may be coming up that’s not advertised at this particular Job Fair.

* Are your values congruent with the position you’re seeking?

* Stay positive and don’t ever give up

* Seek advisement from a career coach or counselor

Lastly, make sure you get your questions answered at those Job Fairs and leave on a positive note because now you have learned and you are much closer than you were before today to getting hired!

Curt Canada is Executive, Career, and Leadership Development Coach at FindingYourZenith in Washington DC. He holds a MSW in Social Work from the University of Iowa MAT in Teacher Education from the American University. Mr. Canada is a member of International Coach Federation and Christian Coaches Network.

We all know that there are gazillions of friends, strangers, and neighbors that for some known and unknown reasons are simply out of work. Many of them are diligently reworking their cover letters and resumes as we speak. To no avail most of the resumes will simply not make it past the proverbial wastebasket or trash file on some HR person’s data base.

Alarming I must say especially after a conversation I had with my friend (who’s one of the top persons in her profession) who had sent in her résumé to this company on the yes, fourth day. That’s already history if you ask me. Nevertheless, she managed to do some homework or networking which is paramount in being successful at finding your next job. They say that job hunting is a job in and of itself.

Anyway, she managed to find someone she knew within the firm to (it is a who you know world and don’t forget it) get  her mentioned in a conversation with the person that was in charge of hiring this particular candidate. Fortunately, he wrote a stellar letter of recommendation for her which got her in the door “so to speak”.

Well, put it this way, HR had already cutoff accepting resumes at the 50th person. I was told by my friend that even though they have narrowed the process for interviewing potential clients, they would pull her résumé and save it for other positions.

Let me tell you that you can send all the resumes and cover letters and re-write them until the cows come home, this will not get you a job. Do you hear me loud and clear!

Consider these action steps to increase your chances of getting in the door because you are not the only one with  an exceptional employment history, looks, and intelligence!

1 Google and use Linkedin and yes Facebook your butt off
find out something about this company and the person that’s directly associated with this particular job offer

2 Get your résumé and cover letter out there on the first day! Within the first hour!

3 Make sure it arrives at the destination

4 Six degrees of separation Who knows who that knows who etc. Focus on getting your résumé on that person’s desk!

5 Stay away from the Secretary or the Administrative Assistant…they have already been
informed to block such calls and inquiries

6 I am going to stop here because it is time I let you know that you ‘re up against resumes on top of resumes and persons with great track records… you must shine and stand out …be assertive and aggressive however don’t forget to be emotionally intelligent

7 So you didn’t get that job…don’t stop now.

8 Send a thank you note to this person via a message box at Facebook or on Linkedin. Stay away from the employer’s letter opener or virtual assistant

9 Take a deep breath in and out in and out …stop before you pass out and forget all these action steps that I think may help you land your next job!

10 Begin with step 1-9 all over again…believe in yourself…you will be successful.

* You might ask why I left out networking which I would list as the most important action step you can take. Well , This is exactly what I was referring to as a part of Action Step No.1  Find those persons that are directly associated with the place or department you’re seeking to get in the door.  You must never stop networking whether you’re seeking employment or if you’re presently gainfully employed!

I’m sure there are a thousand tips for finding your next job(career) and I may have left an important action step or tip from this article. Let me know your thoughts in my comments section. It’s competitive and you must find your uniqueness! Perhaps an investment in a career coach is your next step!

Curt Canada is an Executive, Career,and Leadership Development Coach at FindingYourZenith in Washingon DC.

How much is conflict costing your organization, department, team, relationship, and family? What happens when conflict isn’t resolved?

Unresolved conflict in the workplace results in….Loss in sleep, absenteeism, loss of productivity, strained relationships, stress and frustration and anxiety, sick leave, and sometimes workplace violence.

Like taxes, conflict in the workplace is inevitable. This isn’t all bad. Handled well, conflict can strengthen communication, spark new ideas and generate new levels of performance. Handled poorly, however, workplace conflict can damage important relationships and drag down productivity. In fact, many agree that the ability to manage conflicts can make or break a career. Take this Self-Quiz to discover how well you handle conflict in the workplace.

 True or False

1. If the conflict is escalating, I offer to set the subject aside and address it later, possibly in a separate meeting.

2. Defining the problem—and making sure that everyone agrees on this definition—sets me well on the way to solving the problem.

 3. I avoid attacking or criticizing, and I control my language. It doesn’t help any situation to be offensive or raise people’s defenses.

 4. Because good decisions are sometimes reached when everyone gives a little, I keep myself flexible and open to compromise.

 5. I do all I can to NOT get defensive. I listen to what others have to say and honestly evaluate whether their opinions might be valid.

 6. In any conflict, I keep my focus on a positive, solution-based outcome in which all can win.

 7. Even if it feels uncomfortable, I look the other person in the eye, showing respect for that person and for myself.

 8. I try to listen to and understand the feelings and needs beneath the spoken statements of others.

 9. My attention and activities are focused on what I can influence and control, and how I can make a difference.

 10. I explore with myself how my actions might have contributed to the conflict situation.

 11. Taking a bigger view is often all it takes to resolve for myself the smaller problems and irritations.

 12. I recognize that not everyone will live up to my expectations all the time.

 13. Maintaining a sense of humor is an important “tool” in my conflict toolbox.

 14. I work to establish ground rules for how to resolve the conflict.

 15. In conflicts, I take the time to deal with people face-to-face rather than by email. 

 16. I challenge myself and others to be creative about the possibilities for conflict resolution available to us.

 17. I try to deal with regularly occurring conflicts and those that negatively impact my productivity before they escalate to a bigger conflict.

 If you answered true to fewer than 10 questions, you might benefit from learning new communications skills. Please don’t hesitate if you would like to work together to develop these.

Remember, when confronting office conflicts, it’s best to keep the focus on work-related issues, not personality. Doing so can help you keep a cool head—and your career on track. 

 Email me at curtcanada@verizon.net  What’s your story?… Let’s find your Strengths…..Conflict doesn’t have be negative and painful….Take the TKI Conflict Assessment  and a 45 Minute Coaching Feedback session.

 Curt Canada is an Executive, Career, and Leadership Development Coach at FindingYourZenith in Washington DC.    Visit our website at  www.curtcanada.com

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

 Although you have recently been let go from a long rewarding career, how do you now put your best feet forward in beginning a new work/life chapter? It is not necessary to stick throughout your life to the same profession. There can be instances when you will think that you need to change your career to broaden your horizon be flexible, look out for opportunity, even change leading to new work. I urge you to update your resumé yearly even if you’re employed. You have to constantly be broadening your horizons no matter what the landscape, economic barriers, and vistas up ahead.

Job searchers use many tools to succeed in their job search. Gathering information, networking with potential employers and delivering resumes are possible goals. Individuals just beginning the job search will spend more time gathering information and fact-finding. Job searchers further along in the process may have targeted resumes ready to give to specific companies. Take time out to list all those persons that are a part of your present network.. Follow-up with the persons you know first before moving on to establishing new networking goals.

Suggested Tools

 –goal setting      establishing long and short-term goals…exact timetable…recognizing immediate opportunities…..when goal has been realized and accomplished…when to move on…keep moving forward…you will get there!

 –gathering information    how you match up with the job requirements, culture, and environment vs. your identified personality

 –making contacts     contacting others are essential….importance of establishing and setting up networks…..take a deep breath…you will not get it done in one day…can be somewhat overwhelming

decisionmaking……Can I do this? Have I done this before? What new training and knowledge will I need? …potential strengths…..attractive occupations for my Personality Type     …….discover MBTI…..Myers Briggs or a DISC assessment…great addition to your toolbox

      Where I am presently?     ……………… Where do I want to be?

Curt Canada holds a Masters in Social Work from The University of Iowa, a Masters in Teacher Education from  The American University,and Life Coach Training from The Institute for Life Coach Training.  Curt provides Executive, Career, and Leadership Coaching  in Washington DC . He is a Professional Coach with ASAE and The Leadership Center(non-profit professional membership association). Visit www.curtcanada.com for more information.