Kenneth L. Johnson, President and Diversity Recruiter at East Coast Executives, invited me to speak with the Urban League of Philadelphia's Connect To Work (CTW) class this week. The class is an intensive six-week program - offered free of charge - to job seekers interested in working in a wide range of customer service positions. CTW offers assistance with the job search process and resume editing, and it has partnerships with many local companies looking to hire qualified candidates. Participants in the program come from diverse backgrounds, and many already have numerous years of customer service experience.
When I met with the current CTW group, I was really excited to see how engaged the students are, and truly impressed by their openness to accepting new strategies to find meaningful employment. Our discussion focused on the interview process - different types of interviews, expectations, tailoring responses to address employer concerns, questions the job seeker should ask of the employer, and salary negotiation.
This was a great group, and CTW is just one of many fantastic resources the Urban League offers. Definitely worth checking out if you are interested in customer service positions and having a hard time getting noticed!
I had a great time delivering a full day of mini-workshops for job seekers at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) annual convention here in Philadelphia this past weekend! I met with lots of very passionate and dedicated language teachers and administrators who were excited to learn some new job search techniques, resume and CV tips, and interview strategies. There's nothing quite like being in a giant building full of people who are enthusiastic about their careers!
With an attendance of about 7,000, and more than 600 educational sessions, the Philadelphia Convention Center was buzzing with activity (plus the streets outside were packed in preparation for the marathon). In the exhibit hall, there were over 250 booths set up by language companies, universities and schools, non-profits, and other organizations there to spread awareness and hand out free pens.
ACTFL brought me on board to host sessions on The Resume and the CV, How to Conduct an Effective and Efficient Job Search, and Interviewing - each workshop wound up standing room only. In between workshops, I met with convention attendees one-on-one and in small groups to discuss their resumes and personal questions. I was really impressed with the diversity of the convention attendees - so many languages, interesting programs and courses people developed, varied educational backgrounds, and ideas. If you were at the convention, drop me a line and let me know how it was for you!
Debra Auerbach included some of my tips in her great article for MSN Careers / CareerBuilder on how to negotiate non-salary benefits. She gives a nice overview of the different steps to make the negotiation process as smooth as possible, and includes a list of some of the benefits candidates can successfully negotiate.
Some of the negotiables mentioned in the article include the job title itself, vacation time, profit sharing, advance degree / training sponsorship, severance / outplacement packages, housing subsidies, wardrobe allowances, child care subsidies, and transportation benefits. Another major area for negotiation can be the work hours / flexibility to work from home.
Tips for negotiating: do your research, know what you want and what you are really willing to take, and plan ahead! You can negotiate to ensure you'll have another opportunity to negotiate again soon - whether that's a 6-month performance review or a guaranteed salary bump/bonus when you meet a certain productivity goal.
I'm really looking forward to this year's American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) convention, which will be held at the Philadelphia Convention Center November 16 - 18. I'll be hosting a full day of mini-workshops and one-on-one Q & A on Saturday, November 17th. We'll talk about resume writing, job searching, interviewing, and more, with a focus on challenges and opportunities unique to teaching languages. It shaping up to be an exciting event! If you're interested in registering or finding out more you can check out the ACTFL website.