Monday, March 24, 2008

Taking Advantage of Your Time During Unemployment

Whether it is an unexpected bombshell or a planned transition period, unemployment can be a tumultuous in a person's life. Dean LaTourette, co-author of "Time Off! The Upside to Downtime," observes, "While it can be a scary time, most people who allow themselves a break find that getting laid off or quitting their job ends up being one of the best career moves they ever made." Katherine Tom, author of "Five Ways to Make Unemployment Work for You," suggests the following activities during an employment break.

1. Get an internship or Volunteer. If making a complete career change, unpaid work may give you the experience in a new field.

2. Go back to school. Training courses or continuing education classes are available year round through a variety of programs.

3. Explore your hobbies. Tom makes this assertion, "At worst, you'll get to enjoy yourself, and at best you may find a way to make money doing what you love."

4. Travel. While working, few receive enough vacation time to enjoy extended periods of travel. Take advantage of your free time during this stage of your life.

To read Katherine Tom's article visit:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Employee Turnover

Employee turnover can be extremely costly for a business. Dr. Rick Johnson in his article, "The Time to Fire is BEFORE You Hire," estimates turnover costs are, "averaging over 1 1/2 times the annual salary of the individual that must be replaced." To calculate your business' turnover rate use these formulas provided by retention specialist Colin Brown.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Homebuyer "101" Workshop

Housing and Credit Counseling presents a workshop for those who dream of owning their first home. Find out what you can afford to buy. Qualified instructors will take you throught the homebuying process, from loan application to closing and everything in between. This FREE workshop will be offered Saturday, March 22, 2008 from 9 am to 1 pm at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library (10th & Washburn).

To register please call 785-234-0217, 800-383-0217 or email

Friday, February 29, 2008

Careers with Growing Salaries

Look at some of the careers identified as having the fastest growing salaries in America:

1. Business Operations Specialists-- Salary growth rate of 7.4% (Average Salary $38,648)

2. Survey Researchers-- Growth 6.5% (Avg. $31,734)

3. Industrial-Organizational Psychologists-- Growth 6.4% (Avg. $106,844)

4. Protective Service Managers-- Growth 6.4% (Avg. $75,848)

5. Agents & Business Managers-- Growth 5.8% (Avg. $113,771)

6. Agricultural Inspectors-- Growth 5.6% (Avg. $37,001)

7. Music Directors & Composers-- Growth 5.6% (Avg. $51,910)

8. Film & Video Editors-- Growth 5.4% (Avg. $62,958)

9. Aircraft Assemblers-- Growth 5.3% (Avg. $49,824)

10. Protective Service Workers-- Growth 5.3% (Avg. $25,727)

Read the entire list of careers and their descriptions at:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Staffing Company Statistics

Check out these statistics from the American Staffing Association:

* 3 million people per day are employed by staffing companies.

* 12 million temporary and contract employees are hired by U.S. staffing firms over the course of a year.

* 79% of staffing employees work full time, virtually the same as the rest of the work force.

* 90% of client businesses say staffing companies give them flexibility to keep fully staffed during busy times.

* 88% of staffing employees say that temporary or contract work made them more employable.

* 77% of staffing employees say it’s a good way to obtain a permanent job.

* 80% of staffing clients say staffing firms offer a good way to find people who can become permanent employees.

For more statistics visit the American Staffing Association website at:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Improve Response to Your Resume

Feel as if your resume is not attracting the attention it should? It is possible that even though you are qualified for the position, something in your resume is keeping you from an interview. Dan Brockman, a professional recruiter, makes these suggestions to improve the responses to your resume:

1. The name of your resume document should be in the form: Last, First. All resumes should be in Microsoft Word format, not PDF or WordPerfect.

2. The cover letter is basically wasted material. This does not mean a cover letter should not be included, but keep it short and to the point. Only basic details should be stated in the cover letter including position you are looking for, salary needs, and possibly willingness to relocate.

3. Your resume should contain many ways that a potential employer can reach you. At the top of the resume should be all pertinent phone numbers—home, cell, work, and alternate. Home email and postal addresses are also essential. Make sure personal email addresses are professional, for instance,

4. Pick a standard typeface. Do not use bullets, arrows, or pointers in your text. Eliminate photos, graphs, or long lists of two or three words on each line. Run the document through a virus checker, spell checker, and grammar checker before sending it.

5. The previous four items are imperative. The following suggestions are icing on the cake.

6. Results are numbers, ratios, percentages, and dollar signs of accomplishments and achievements. Put these numbers first. Companies care what prospective employees have done for others and can do for their business.

7. Your educational accomplishments are essential. Make sure the degree format is exactly what you received. The format should be type of degree, field of degree, year received, final GPA, name of institution, city, and state.

8. Your employer’s names are not enough for readers to understand who you worked for. Add at least one sentence after the name of each employer with a description of the business they are in. You could state the size of the company, number of plants, employee union status, multiple state operations, and world wide customer base.

9. Describe your actual job duties, not a list of duties lifted from your job description.

10. Put a few keywords into your resume. Keywords like HPLC or SHA or MBA or CFA or GIPS will be essential to a counterpart who you want to work for in a new company.

To read Brockman's full article visit:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Researching Prospective Employers

One of the first orders of business to prepare for an interview is to research the company. A candidate’s initial stop may be the company website which can be a great source of company history and product information. Unfortunately, the company website will probably not describe the work environment or publish any unfavorable reports. The following sites can help give candidates a clear picture on prospective employers:

Industry News

Association Sources

Government Reports

Business News

Company Information

National Rankings

Job Opportunities

Premier is a woman-owned search firm specializing in locating, evaluating and acquiring the best talent available for our clients. Premier was established in 1998, and has the reputation of recruiting top talent for companies who refuse to hire mediocre employees. Currently, Premier is recruiting professionals for the following position:


Non-profit fundraising organization. Rewarding work in a professional environment. New and beautiful offices. Excellent benefits package.

* Provide administrative support for Fundraising Executives
* Answer telephone calls, and receive messages
* Typing and data entry, including formatting letters, addressing envelopes and producing travel and expense reports
* Schedule meetings and make travel arrangements for Fundraisers
* Assist other Administrative Assistants with bulk mailings and special projects

* 3+ years Administrative Experience, with experience handling travel arrangements
* Proficient Microsoft Excel, Word and Outlook skills
* Excellent verbal and written communications skills
* Ability to prioritize and multi-task; strong attention to detail
* Professional appearance and demeanor

For more information on this position or other opportunities, contact Premier at 785-273-9944 or visit us online at

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Changing Careers

It is always challenging to start a new career whether you are a homemaker setting back out into the job market or a seasoned vet looking to change fields. Although transitioning to a new profession is no easy feat, with a little ingenuity and preparation this task can be accomplished successfully. U.S. News & World Report recommends the following steps to prepare:

1. Assess your likes and dislikes—Matching a career to your personality and interests will promote job satisfaction.
2. Research—Look for career fields with an opportunity for growth.
3. Network
4. Upgrade your skills and education
5. Evaluate your finances—Are you financially in a position to trade a paycheck for personal satisfaction?

If you have already established a plan for your new career track, it may be time to update your resume accordingly. In the article, “Changing Careers: A Guide to Revamping Your Resume,” provides suggestions for highlighting current skills and assets that will translate to a new profession. These suggestions include:

1. Work with what you already have—Highlight acquired skills and assets that are beneficial in any position.
2. Re-Work your summary
3. Adapt—Tailor your resume to each position/or professional field you are applying.
4. Be functional—Use the resume format that will be most functional for what you are doing.

To read the complete articles:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tell Me About Yourself

As a prospective employee in an interview, most candidates have encountered the dreaded opening question. Tell me about yourself? This may seem like a straightforward question. If a candidate encountered this question in any other environment the answer may involve the number of children at home, educational background, and a list of hobbies. Unfortunately, these types of responses would be inappropriate to a future employer. What response is an interviewer looking for, then, when this question is asked? Jeff Skrentny has created a formula for candidates to market themselves successfully in the Jefferson Recruiters Report article, “Answering the Tell Me About Yourself Question.”

Part One: Create a one-sentence summary of your career history. This single sentence encapsulates the most important aspects of your entire career.

Example: “I am a five-year veteran of LAN/WAN Admin and Systems Engineering with substantial experience using Novell, NT, Cisco, and Lotus Notes/Domino.

Part Two: Capture the potential employer’s attention with a one, maybe two-sentence summary of your single greatest accomplishment.

Example: “Recently, as a long-term contract employee at a local regional bank, I learned they were about to install Lotus Notes/Domino and were planning to use outside consultants for the project. I let them know I had done a similar installation at my last assignment, outlined how we could get the job done with in-house staff, and successfully completed the install for $55-65k less than it would have cost with outside consultants.”

Part Three: Create a one-sentence summary of specifically what you want to do next in your career. This final piece can be changed to be job specific at each interview.

Example: “For the next step in my career, I would like to move away from contract work and find myself as a direct employee of a large firm where I could join a substantial IT team and be involved with a group that focuses on email and network security applications, while having access to the knowledgebase that would come with a large, diverse, IT group.”

Understanding what a prospective employer is looking for when asking, “Tell me about yourself,” and having an answer prepared will show you are a serious candidate. This will give you an advantage over a candidate who answers with personal information instead of marketing themselves professionally. According to Skrentny, “Candidates who take the time to do this, significantly improve their initial verbal impression, get their interview off to a confident and focused beginning, and more often than not get called back for second interviews, or better yet, for offers of employment with employers who are impressed.”

For the complete article by Jeff Skrentny:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Concert at Brown v. Board National Historic Site

Friday, February 8, 2008 at 7:30pm the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site invites the public to celebrate A Tradition of Musical Excellence. Admission is free and open to the public but reservations need to be made by February 7th. The event will feature the Lincoln University Choral Ensemble from Jefferson City, MO under the direction of Michelle Gamblin-Green.

Lincoln University was established at the close of the Civil War by soldiers and officers of the 62nd United States Colored Infantry stationed at Fort McIntosh, TX. The education institution was designed to benefit free African Americans. After the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, Lincoln University opened its doors to all students.

To RSVP or for more information:

Call: (785) 235-3939 or

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Interview Tips

As an executive recruiter, Kim interviews over 250 applicants each year. She gives these interview tips to job candidates:

* Do research on the company
Put in some study time before the interview to see if you would be a good fit with the company. Also, thoroughly review the job description. This will give you an opportunity to think about specific skills and qualifications you have that fit the position. Prepare these points to talk about during the interview.

* Research yourself
Review your personal strengths and weaknesses in previous positions. What is your greatest professional accomplishment? How does it relate to your potential new job? Having these topics ready for conversation will help you seem confident in your own abilities.

* Sell yourself
A job interview is a sales opportunity. Sell yourself over other candidates. Utilize this opportunity to the fullest. Doing research on the company and on yourself gives you an advantage over other candidates to be a better salesperson.

* Don’t talk about money
Approaching the topics of money, benefits, and time off at the initial interview is taboo. This gives potential employers you have the attitude, “What’s in it for me?” At the first interview employers really want to know what you can offer the company as an employee.

* Interviews are conversations
Interviews should be business conversations not interrogations. Prepare a list of questions for the interviewer. Answer questions in complete sentences and feel free to elaborate if necessary.

* Make yourself available
At the end of the interview, let the potential employer know you are available. Do not ask directly, “Am I hired,” but let the interviewer know your interest in the position.

* Thank you letters
Never underestimate the value of a thank you letter. Handwritten letters are virtually obsolete in this age of technology. This personal touch could show employers the attention to detail you will give to the job.

Analyzing Corporate Culture

With the lure of an increased salary, a bigger office, and a more prestigious title it is often difficult to turn down that new job offer. One equally important factor before making a change should be the company’s culture. Company culture is defined by F. John Reh in his article “Company Culture” as “the shared values and practices of the company’s employees.” Seeing yourself fit into that culture will help determine future success with a company.

During an interview take the opportunity to not only ask questions about the potential position, but use your sleuthing skills to scope out the company’s culture. How do others in the office interact with each other? What is the layout of the office space? How does everyone dress? Is the atmosphere stifling and compartmentalized or is it laid-back and creative?

While the pay and title may be tempting, not assessing the company’s culture before accepting a position could be an ill-fated mistake. Monster contributing writer, Michael Neece, describes the pitfalls of this error. “Working at a company with values inconsistent with yours is stressful, unrewarding, even depressing at times. No matter how great the position and salary, if you're working in a caustic, understaffed and unethical culture, you'll feel unfulfilled.”

For more articles about Corporate Culture:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Best Careers of 2008

Trying to pick a career field? Planning on changing careers in the near future? See U.S. News & World Report's "Best Careers of 2008" and which careers have been named "Ahead of the Curve."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kansas Recruits Top Scientists

The University of Kansas and Kansas State University recently recruited Juergen Richt and Blake Peterson, each top scientists in their respected fields. Peterson joins the University of Kansas' pharmacy school from Penn State University. The Kansas City Star states, "The scientist is an innovative researcher with a proven ability to secure millions of dollars in federal grants and a strong interest in entrepreneurship. He also will advance the state's quest for designation as a leading cancer care and research hub."

Richt is a top animal health researcher and joins Kansas State University after holding positions at Iowa State University and in a federal laboratory.

The recruitment of both Richt and Peterson moves Kansas forward towards its goal to become a national leader in research and the bioscience industry. Passing the Kansas Economic Growth Act in 2004, Kansas Legislators showed commitment to this endeavor through a $500 million investment over the next decade.

To read the Kansas City Star article visit:

For more information on the Kansas Economic Growth Act:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Westboro Fine Arts Features Kansas Artists

During the month of January Westboro Fine Arts located at 3125 SW Huntoon in Topeka, KS will be featuring two Kansas artists, Sun Bauer and Patrick Abellon. The gallery is opened at no charge to the public Monday thru Friday 9-5 and Saturday 9-1. Westboro Fine Arts also has pottery, stone-carving and Kansas Landscape photography on display this month.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009

The United States Department of Labor has recently released the 2008-2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook. Nationally recognized as a source of career information, the OOH provides individuals with information on hundreds of careers such as the training and education needed, earnings, expected job prospects, what workers do on the job, and working conditions.

To review different types of jobs in the OOH:

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Shawnee County Sheriff's Community Programs

The Shawnee County Sheriff's office conducts several community programs to teach citizens how to make the community a safer place to live. Citizen's Academy is a 13 week course offered to qualified residents of Shawnee County 18 years and older. The Academy gives participants an inside look at the varoius departments and roles of the sheriff's office. Qualified residents of Shawnee county can also participate in the Crime Prevention Academy. Over a 14 week period deputies will discuss preventative safety measures for home, business, and even ID theft.

To apply for Citizen's Academy or the Crime Prevention Academy visit the Shawnee County Sheriff's website:

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Online Background Check Scams

Pre-employment screening can provide valuable information to employers. To ensure a potential background check service is providing accurate information read the Consumer-Guide.To's review of available services.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Topekans lost a popular public figure last week with the passing of former Mayor, Butch Felker. Felker lost his fight to cancer at the young age of 62. A memorial service will be held Friday, January 11, 2004.

To read about the former mayor:

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Topeka's Improv Comedy

Laughing Matters performs at the Topeka Civic Theatre this weekend. Tickets are only $8 for a night of side-splitting laughter with Topeka's own improvisational comedy company. Shows start at 8pm on January 4th & 5th, 2008.

For more information:

Keeping New Year's Resolutions

Dr. Bernard Davidson recommends following these three steps for keeping New Year's resolutions:

1. Be committed
2. Be prepared for setbacks
3. Track your progress

To read Dr. Davidson's advice visit: