Unfortunate accident kept me away

Hello Everyone:

I have been gone for some time due to an accident that caused an injury. I am fine but since I

was not able to work full-time at my job and was on workers comp; I had to refrain from

doing my own business so as not to compromise my need for a surgical procedure and some

time for physical therapy and rehabilitation…but I am on the mend and am looking forward to

coming back and giving all of you the most current career information that I can provide.

May your day be blessed.

Coach Loretta

Best Customer Service ~ Outback in Pinole, CA

As a Career Coach/Workshop Facilitator one of the main things that I have taught is how to

give great customer service. It seems to me that customer service is often lacking even

though the customer is putting out good money for services. I don’t usually go out of my 

way to say much about the customer service I receive because most of the time, it simply is

not worth mentioning! However, my husband and I went out to dinner the other night at the

Outback Steakhouse in Pinole, CA and the customer service was off the charts in customer

care and satisfaction. I am not going to go into the details but I am going to say that there

was an aspect of the dinner that was not up to my standards and when I told our server, he

immediately offered to make it right. I accepted his idea for a resolution and within a few

moments, a young man came over and introduced himself as “Ian” and really went out of his

way to find out exactly why I was not happy, and then proceeded to go into the kitchen and

cook my new food himself…to my specifications. He was gracious and customer oriented

and left me wanting to tell as many people as possible that they should go to Outback in

Pinole, CA and enjoy the experience because the customer service is the best! I will say it

one more time…”Ian, you are one of the best customer service representatives that I have

encountered and I have posted it on my facebook page and now my blog and I have told

several people that Outback, Pinole is the place to go!” Thank you for the best dinner out we 

have had in a very long time!

Loretta Perry-Dawson

Interviewing ~ Quick View

A client recently asked me to do a “quick view” of some of my tips on my blog so that her teenagers would read it. Her point was tha for many young people that are used to technology providing information immediately, it might be easier to gain their attention if I gave them the information “now”. So over the next few days I will be providing the “quick tip” verson of interviewing. My friend also stated that she loves reading the long blogs because she wants the in depth information and she asked me not to get rid of it…so I will attempt to do both and work back and forth between the two sytles.

Enjoy…

INTERVIEWING TIPS 1

It is important to be on time for an interview. It is best if you arrive about 15 minutes early. This will give you time to relax and fill out an application, if necessary. Dress appropriately, since the first impression is a lasting one.

Interview Tips:

1. Do some research on the business before the interview. (See “How to Find a Job,” “Research the Employer.”)

2. Practice interviewing.

3. Go alone. Do not take children or friends.

4. Greet the employer with a handshake.

5. Make frequent eye contact.

6. Smile, be polite, and try to relax.

7. Listen carefully to the questions asked. Ask the interviewer to restate a question if you are confused.

8. Answer questions as directly as possible.

9. Be upbeat and make positive statements.

10. If you’ve worked before, talk about what you learned from it.

11. Use examples of how your skills and abilities would fit the job.

Watch for more “quick tips” coming soon…

Communication ~ In General it is a skill to build ~ Listening is a communication skill

I have spent a lot of time working on communication information because so much of what we do when we are job searching is about communication and it is so very important that we put our best foot forward and communicate effectively. I was working with someone recently and I asked him to tell me what communication means and he sat for a minute and then broke it down pretty succinctly in four words, well actually four if you want to be technical because one way to communicate has 2 words, those words are: talking, writing, listening and body language. Those are the primary ways to communicate, of course we have other ways such as sign language, volume, tone, etc…but they fall under the 3 categories because if you use sign language it is words in body language, so to speak. Tone comes under talking and of course writing covers all kinds of communication whether you are providing it or taking it in because you are reading it.

Let’s take a look at the importance of being a good listener. Listening is a skill that can be learned and should be learned because most people don’t listen,  people are often thinking of what they are going to say next and very often this causes them to miss significant points in a conversation. So what does that have to do with job searching? It has lots to do with job searching because if a prospective employer gives instructions or asks a question, you better listen so you can follow the directions or answer the question(s) correctly.

I want you to think back and honestly try to remember a time or times when you missed a point or answered something sort of off topic because you weren’t paying attention. Well, you certainly don’t want that to happen when you are talking with a prospective employer. People speak at about 125-175 words per minute but most people can listen intelligently at about 800 words per minute so it is fairly easy to see why a person’s mind would wander. Also people usually change about 75-80% of what you say into what they want to hear because people are not taught to listen. We hear things all the time, the sound of a train or siren, traffic going by, a dog barking outside, or children playing just out of sight…think about it…we hear things all the time but how often do we stop to really listen to what we hear? Our minds work very quickly and so it can be quite easy to let your mind wander into other things.

Also it is a stressful time when we are in an interview or talking with someone we want to work for and our minds can be running through many ideas, thoughts, fears, or statements we want to make sure we say, thus we might not be paying as close of attention as we should. It is critically important that we listen carefully to everything that an employer wants or says so we are on the same track.

So how do you become an active listener? Repeating back what you hear (or think you hear) is always a great way to make sure that you heard correctly. Asking questions in between a persons statements to you will help you stay focused. Inquiring if you understand them correctly by restating what they have said, in your own words, so they have a chance to let you know if you have gotten off track or if they maybe aren’t explaining things correctly. Of course nodding your head in agreement or using sounds (uh huh, oh, yes, mmmhmm)  or words to convey that you are listening is a good idea too.

We will talk more about listening skills in communication next time…see you then…

Just a note…

When I type the blog…all the lines are even until I post it…then all the lines are crooked!

Communication ~ Resumes

I had a bit of an accident and haven’t been here for a bit, but things are fine and now let’s get to that post about resumes and the importance of categories. It doesn’t really matter what type of resume you are working with at some point in time the information needs to  be broken into categories. Generally the first time an employer looks at your resume he/she is going to give it about an 8 to 10 second glance so it they can’t grab onto something quickly, they could very well lose interest. The unfortunate truth is that employers are looking to screen you OUT so they can concentrate on the best of the best they receive. I know…nobody likes to hear that from me, but it is the truth so I might as well be the one to tell you. Better me than the employer that kicks back your resume…so let’s look at categories and how you make them work for you on your resume.

In the last blog I gave some job titles and then wrote down skills that were used in those job titles…and every job was almost the same all the way down the resume. This time we will work on breaking skills into categories to show that it is possible to NOT have everything sound the same.

This time we will take a resume that has lots of customer service including restaurant and clerical and bring it full circle to make a strong “all around” customer service/clerical/administrative resume

CUSTOMER SERVICE

  • Greeted guests and ensured that they were___________________________________________________
  • Answered customer questions and provided information _______________________________________
  • Resolved customer _____________________________________________________________________
  • Provided superior customer service; strong skills in ____________________________________________
  • Served customers their orders and made sure _________________________________________________
  • Responded quickly to customer ___________________________________________________________
  • Strong belief in ensuring customer _________________________________________________________

ADMINISTRATIVE/CLERICAL

  • Billing, meeting minutes, mail, filing, phones, computers, office machines, errands, and reception
  • Organized registration for ________________________________________________________
  • Coordinated and hosted events; organized ________________, such as a____________________ for participants, facilities, catering, signage, displays, _________________ requirements, printing and event _________________
  • Met with sponsors and organizing committees to plan __________________, to establish a_____________, or to review _______________________________ and event ___________________________________
  • Arranged the availability of __________________________________________________, and other event needs
  • Planned and developed __________________________________________ according to customer requirements
  • Conducted post-event evaluations to determine _______________________________________________

CASHIER

  • Received and disbursed _________________; kept records of _______________________________ transactions
  • Received checks and cash for ____________, verified amounts and examined ________________________
  • Explained, promoted, and sold ____________________________________________________________
  • Strong ability to multi-task in fast-paced environment by ______________________, ______________________, maintaining ____________________________________, and finishing all ______________________________
  • 100% accuracy rate for __________________________________________________________________

Another strategy is to use definite accomplishment statements to grab the attention of the reader…we will delve into that type of resume writing next time…but a quick example might be:

Flexible Leader: Operational turnaround in previous company –

  • Resulting in company’s elevated ___________________________________________________________
  • Successfully slashed over budget cost through _____________________, labor _______________,__ and

productivity ______________________

Communication ~Resumes

I need to go back to resumes because I have recently had quite a few that needed to be fixed and not because the information was bad…but rather that the information was the same…over and over…for every job listed on the chronological resume. Many people like to do a chronological resume because it is easier to list jobs in that order. The other types of resumes are the ‘functional’  also known as a ‘skill-based’ resume, the ‘combination’ which is part functional and part chronological and the ‘recent education’ that utilizes coursework and intern/extern-ships and any transferable skills from previous work that is unrelated to the education that was recently finished.

So let’s talk about that chronological resume and how it can be very repetitive — Let’s say that I was an Administrative Assistant for 3 years at ABC Company, prior to that I was an Administrative Assistant at DEF Company for 5 years, and prior to that I was an Administrative Assistant/Executive Secretary for JKL company for 2 years, and finally when I was starting out I was a Receptionist/Office Clerk at QRS Company for 5 years. I have 2 jobs that are the same in scope, and the secretary job which is very close to the Administrative Assistant, and then an office clerk/reception position which again has much of the same information…if I do a chronological resume it could look like this…(although this is a very watered down/partial version of a resume)

Administrative Assistant ~ ABC Company ~ San Francisco, CA ~ 06/2007-04/2010

  • Prepared invoices, reports, other documents, using word processing________________________
  • Answered phone calls and directed calls to ___________________________
  • Conducted research, compiled data, and prepared papers for ________________________
  • Attend meetings to record minutes
  • Greet visitors and determine ______________________________________________
  • Read and analyzed incoming memos, submissions, and reports to _________________________
  • Perform general office duties, such as ordering supplies, maintaining _________________and performing _______________________________
  • Filed and retrieved ____________________________________
  • Opened, sorted, and distributed ________________________________
  • Make travel arrangements for executives
  • Prepared responses to _____________________________________
  • Prepared agendas and made arrangements, such as __________________________________
  • Provided clerical support to ___________________________________________
  • Supervised and trained _______________________________________________

Administrative Assistant ~ DEF Company ~ Oakland, CA ~ 06/2002-05/2007

  • Prepared invoices, reports, other documents, using word processing________________________
  • Answered phone calls and directed calls to ___________________________
  • Conducted research, compiled data, and prepared papers for ________________________
  • Attend meetings to record minutes
  • Greet visitors and determine ______________________________________________
  • Read and analyzed incoming memos, submissions, and reports to _________________________
  • Perform general office duties, such as ordering supplies, maintaining _________________and performing _______________________________
  • Filed and retrieved ____________________________________
  • Opened, sorted, and distributed ________________________________
  • Make travel arrangements for executives
  • Prepared responses to _____________________________________
  • Prepared agendas and made arrangements, such as __________________________________
  • Provided clerical support to ___________________________________________
  • Supervised and trained _______________________________________________

Administrative Assistant/Executive Secretary ~ JKL Company ~ 05/2000-05-2002

  • Prepared invoices, reports, other documents, using word processing________________________
  • Answered phone calls and directed calls to ___________________________
  • Conducted research, compiled data, and prepared papers for ________________________
  • Attend meetings to record minutes
  • Greet visitors and determine ______________________________________________
  • Read and analyzed incoming memos, submissions, and reports to _________________________
  • Perform general office duties, such as ordering supplies, maintaining _________________and performing _______________________________
  • Filed and retrieved ____________________________________
  • Opened, sorted, and distributed ________________________________
  • Make travel arrangements for executives
  • Prepared responses to _____________________________________
  • Prepared agendas and made arrangements, such as __________________________________
  • Provided clerical support to ___________________________________________
  • Supervised and trained _______________________________________________

Receptionist/Office Clerk ~ QRS Company ~ 04/1995-05/2000

  • Compiled, copied, sorted, and filed _____________________________________
  • Prepared meeting agendas, attended meetings, and ________________________________
  • Communicated with customers, employees, and other individuals to ___________________________________________________
  • Trained other staff members to _________________________________________________
  • Reviewed files, records, and other documents to ______________________________________

If you read each one of those job descriptions you will see they are the same…of course there would be real variations where something would be left out because maybe at one job you didn’t prepare meeting agendas and at another position you didn’t train others…but for the most part the jobs are so similar that it doesn’t grab the attention of the reader…

So how do you capture the attention of the reader? In the next blog post we will talk about breaking this resume into skill sets…

Aloha ~ I have returned from my anniversary trip

Aloha everyone,

I have recently returned from Maui where Doug and I celebrated our one year anniversary. We were married there last year so we went back to celebrate. It was amazing and I am refreshed and gearing up to give you some great info so look for new things over the next few days including an interview with Edward Beanes, Job Development Specialist and Sociologist at Napa Valley College.

See you soon

Aloha

Communication ~ Interviewing ~ What are they looking for? (Part 3)

The question of the day was:

What are they looking for when they ask where you expect to be in 5 years?

They are hoping that you will want to grow with their company because it is very expensive for employers to hire and train new personnel but it is true that not everyone will be staying with the company so really consider what you want to be doing in five years before planning out this answer. Let’s take for example a person that I know that wanted to work in an office while going to college but expected to graduate and move on…and graduated but didn’t move on because she loved the job, people she worked with, and made decent money. The day she interviewed she answered the question honestly but threw in a curve. The answer was something like this…”Well, as you know I am still in school working on a degree in __________ and so when I graduate I think I will pursue my career of __________. I have always enjoyed working in an office doing administrative work and I know that I will give you 100% while I am here. Of course there is always the chance that the opportunities here will be worth my making this my choice for a career home.

Remember, if you are a student and you are taking a transition job and there is no upward path for you it is best to be honest and say that when you graduate you will pursue the career that you have been working toward.

Communication ~ Interviewing ~ What are they looking for??? (Part 2)

As you can see I have taken a break from the non-verbal communication aspect of interviewing because I have had so many questions come up from clients that are asking me “What are they looking for…I don’t know what they are looking for so I don’t know how to answer the questions?”

This is one of the reasons that career coaching is so very important…I can give you general ideas on this blog on how to answer a question or a series of questions but each person is different and each answer must be unique in its own way. Working with you individually I can help you formulate just the right interview answer for you and your situation and not a generic answer that won’t get you noticed or allow you stand out.

There is not one single answer that an employer is looking for but with the right information I can help formulate a great answer that will get their attention.

So what do they want??? They want you to stand out so they can say…”YES, that is the right person for this job!”

They want you to connect the dots for them so they have a clear picture of how you are going to benefit them by explaining how your previous employment will merge with this new position and how you will fit into their organization.

That is what I call it “connecting the dots” so they have a clear picture of where you came from and how that fits into their picture and gives them enough information for them to make an informed decision on hiring you. Now you may be asking about my saying “informed decision” but the fact is that most people don’t know how to give information in an interview…they don’t give information that will get them hired…they give information about what they have done and not what they can do for the new employer. Certainly it is important for you to talk about what you have done and absolutely you are proud of your accomplishments but that doesn’t mean that those things are what this new employer is searching for so that is the part about connecting the dots.

I will be deviating some from the non-verbal communication and I am not completely finished with it yet but when new clients ask new questions or have concerns I like to cover it here also because if one client is asking then there is a good chance that several others have the same question.

If you are reading this blog and you have a question just go to www.careercreate.com and send me a request to post something on your question. It may not be a complete answer because as I said it is nearly impossible to help formulate answers to individual situations without question and answer coaching sessions but I can give you general information that might help you out.

See you next time…

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Non-verbal communication is still communication
You have made it to the interview and now you need to make a great impression. What are your nervous habits? Do you really sit as straight as you think you do? Are you making eye contact? Watching the clock? Read more to ensure you are communicating what you want... Career Blog

Colleague Statement
“Loretta is a highly experienced and productive professional in the field of Workforce Development, Job Readiness, Career Counseling, Workshop Facilitation, and Job Search Preparation. I have worked with her closely for over six years, and she has consistently been a valuable, key resource in the employment community. For three of those years, she was at Napa Valley College as a resource specialist in their career center... 
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