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.

I had initially planned to write about  my recent accomplishments with a landscaping project in our backyard  however I ran across an article featured in the AFRO newspaper  that caught my attention. I couldn’t help but bring attention to the June Labor statistic regarding African Americans who not surprisingly  lead this month’s unemployment  picture.

Alan King, Staff Writer for the AFRO   mentions in his article ” African Americans lead in unemployment-June Labor Stats Show Little Change In Unemployment.” The overall unemployment statistical picture showed the number of unemployed persons in the U.S. at 14 .7 million. ” African Americans led the list at 14.7 per cent, Hispanics followed at 12.2 and Caucasians at 8.7.  Believe me, statistics and scarcity has away of  bringing you to your knees.

They say you have to tread lightly when reading and deciphering statistics because they can paint a skewed picture. However, the present economic photograph has many  flaws. America in all its grandeur and color is faced with dramatic present and future uncertainty.  I am proud to shed light upon a culture and economic class (African Americans) who leads the number of workers unemployed here in the U.S.   African Americans have wavered the storm in past histories and will do so again. However, they like all other Americans will have to implement ways in which to improvise.  Quite frankly, creating a niche for yourself has much to do about your longevity in the economic marketplace whether it’s getting a new job or starting your own business enterprise.

Just recently, I experienced firsthand how difficult it was to get a job. I applied for numerous jobs in which I know I was over qualified and jobs with less pay. I received  pleasant, polite, and politically correct responses “stating how rigorous it was to find the most qualified applicant.”.  I failed to take a look at all the different reasons why I wasn’t hired. I think you do have to consider the overall unemployment picture while building on your personal and professional skill set! 

 So, let us  all consider  how we will make the necessary changes to stay afloat. What belt tightening will you have to implement. Consider tackling two birds with one stone i.e. finding gardening space to grow your own vegetable garden giving back to the environment while improving your overall physical health.  As African American, I can give testimony to  the synergistic energy behind storytelling which I have recently found beneficial.   I must share with you that initially my objective were to bring attention to  the misery and uncertainty in the African American community whom have been affected by job loss and unemployment way before the recession of 2007.

Unemployment is debilitating , individually painful, and  has a way of tearing down  all families and communities both locally and globally. It’s  a natural component of the U.S. economic system and will never completely go away.  Do not for a moment conjure in your mind that I’m downing America . Our country (America) continues to possess abundancy,  human potential , and opportunities unlike many of our global partners.  Now’s the time to secure more knowledge, seek your passion, and set realistic goals !

I hope this article  will personally help each of us to take action reflecting on our strengths and innate gifts as we meet the growing ecomomic uncertainty facing our nation.lulu project 028

Curt Canada MSW provides Professional Coaching and Career Advisement at Finding Your Zenith in Washington DC.    

      Visit me!  www.findingyourzenith.com