I know. It’s confusing. You go to your local workforce center and you look around. What do you see? First of all, you see an intimidating building filled with stressed government workers running about, frustrated job searchers staring at computer screens, and a whole list of events for you to choose from. Well never fear! I’m going to give you the skinny on how to navigate your workforce experience with a minimum amount of fuss.
Know What You’re Looking For. The first thing that is going to help you starts before you even leave the house! Know why you’re going there. Are you coming just to look for jobs that are being offered in the area? Are you trying to start a completely new career? Maybe you’re receiving services there? By knowing your reasons for being at the building, the staff will know how to help you. Did you get a letter to come in? Bring it with you! Knowing what you want makes it ten times easier to get what you need. Know your purpose for attending the center!
Be Prepared. You may need scratch sheets of paper. You may need to make copies. You never know what you’re going to find or find out while you’re there. You might hear about a job possibility from someone at the center. You may get referred to a job by someone on staff. Either way, having a writing tablet or pad to to write down needed information is invaluable. Come dressed as you would for an interview! Not only does this save gas, it makes you prepared to do spot interviews. You don’t have to run back to the house to get ready. This can earn you points or advantages because you come to the workforce center prepared to meet an employer!
Get a Map and a Schedule of Events. Most centers have a map or event calendar that they are only too happy to give you. It will help you find the departments you need and know when they are having job fairs or other events you might find interesting. If you read on the schedule that they are having a seminar on developing your own business and you know it’s in Room 318 at 10:00am, then, you are that much more prepared to get what you need from your trip there. Get that map or schedule and start circling what you want to attend!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask. If you have questions about anything, then, don’t be afraid to ask someone. The staff is only too happy to help you get to where you need to go. Maybe you asked a recruiting department member about benefits you are receiving? They may not be able to answer your question, but they should be able to direct you to the appropriate person to get your answer. Do you want to know if there is anything going on in the building? Making friends with the receptionist is not the worst idea you could have! They are usually veritable fonts of knowledge that could get you that next job! Be nice to the receptionist!
Take Advantage. Workforce centers have tons of trainings, seminars and workshops that you can attend throughout the year. Maybe there’s a course on Leadership. Do you need to update your resume? Maybe you just want a little help with interviewing? These classes not only deliver an inexpensive (read free) resource on upping your skills set, but they can also allow you to meet new people that may be in the field you’re seeking. Which brings us to…
Networking. Doesn’t everyone love networking? Well, you never know who you will meet on any given day. That goes doubly true for places such as your local workforce center. That man with the toupee could be an employer that just popped in to use the computer. The young woman beside you could have a cousin who is the CEO of a company that interests you. By going to your workforce center, it allows you to mingle with a lot of different types of people from all walks of life who could have valuable information that could have you gainfully employed in no time! Start networking!
Be Polite. There’s an old saying that says, “You can catch more flies with sugar then you can with vinegar.” Well, it’s true. In a workforce environment, there are a lot of emotions. Some people are frightened or stressful about how they are going to feed their families. They don’t know how to use the system, someone has asked them the same question 800 times, or someone could just be having a bad day. If there was ever a time to kill someone with kindness, now would be the time! By staying polite, you not only get more things handled quicker, but most people would be grateful for a moment of peace that you are providing. If they feel that you are harassing them, most people will shut down. Your mission, and you do want to accept it, is to get what you need with a smile and skip out the door with everything you came to get, and being polite is your golden ticket to the working person’s paradise!
Workforce centers don’t need to be scary. They are built to help you find work or change your career and your life. They are there to serve you and by utilizing these steps, you can get the most out of your workforce center experience! See you at the Workforce Center! △
In a world of work deadlines, interviews and parking lots, it’s easy to get sucked into your thoughts. “I have to pick up the kids”, “I have to get these reports that are due in Mr. Smith’s office”, or “I have a late meeting to get to attend” are all things that fill our heads at any given time. With all of this going on, it’s easy to forget that danger lurks. There are people out there counting on the fact that you are too busy and too distracted handling other business to know what’s going on around you. Now, that is not to say that you should be paranoid, because it’s not like there is an evil clown waiting on you in the copy room. But we do want to give you some things to keep in mind while you’re going about your work day!
- Pay Attention. It cannot be stressed enough that prevention is worth 20 pounds of cure! If you’re in an unfamiliar setting, take the time to look around and see where everything is located. Is the area well kept? Are there a lot of dark spaces or large objects? Is there a fire exit plan? Taking the time to peruse your area allows you to identify trouble spots or places that you could run to if you needed to get away in a hurry. Forcing yourself to be aware will not only keep you safe, it’ll make you more efficient. After all, who doesn’t need to know where the break room is?
- No Lollygagging. So you take the trouble to rush through your work day to start your 3- day weekend. You hurdle over small children to get to the elevator. Those two old ladies you pushed over on your way down the stairs are now glaring up at you from the third step where you left them. You go through all of this trouble just to sit in your car and check out your phone. Checking your email, applying makeup, checking items off your PDA are all things that take your attention off your surroundings and leave you vulnerable to attacks. Three out of every ten carjackings happen while the driver in question is sitting in their car distracted. Just be aware!
- Check Your Car. Sometimes in our haste to get to and from various places, we don’t use the safest methods of getting there. Before you even get into your car, look into the back seat, around, and under your car. Have things been moved around? Was the neatly folded blanket you left in the car on the seat now suddenly spread out over the back? Is there a suspicious shadow near the front of the car? Is there a suspicious van parked on the passenger side of your vehicle? These are all red alerts that something about the situation is off. If it’s late, do you have Security walk you to your vehicle? Never feel that you are bothering someone by asking them to walk you to your car. Think about how they would feel if you didn’t ask for help and something happened to you. Be accepting of help!
- Be Careful Who You Talk To. It’s okay to say hello to people and smile. No one is asking you not to be friendly. But if you are in an unfamiliar place or if your work place is located in an area that has had some trouble, then, stopping to give the little overall-clad street urchin $5 because he lost his dog can be a recipe for problems. You could get mugged. Does everyone have to know that every Thursday you are at Pattie’s Nail Heaven getting a manicure done at 3:00 o’clock? You and your new nails could be snatched up. Is someone asking you, “What time is it?” If you are confident that the person asking is genuine, then, there is no harm in helping, but if you have to go into your purse or pocket to dig for your phone, then just say no. It’s a distraction you might not walk away from unscathed. Just be careful!
- Little Things Count. When you walk out of your building, are your keys in your hand ready to go? The time it took to have your keys out saves you time in getting into your car and going home. Does your phone or key ring have a flashlight on it in case you drop them in the dark? Did you let security know you were leaving the building? Security can only work with the information that they have. How will they know to look for you if they didn’t know you were even in the building, let alone gone? These are things that could save your life or keep you from getting hurt. Another tip about keys in your hand is that before you walk out of the building, place your keys in your hand with a key sticking up out of your closed fist (between your fingers). In other words, create a weapon to use in case someone tries to attack you. Go for the eyes if you can!
- Take a Basic Self-Defense Course. Basic self-defense is just that. It’s designed so that you can get away and get help, emphasis on you getting away! It’s not for you to pretend you’re Bruce Lee and Judo chop every random mugger that happens by as if you’re Austin Powers. By taking a defense course, it will make you aware that you are not helpless if a situation arises. They will tell you what’s safe for you to legally carry. They explain ways of getting out of an attacker’s grip to get somewhere to call the police. They take you through steps to keep from panicking. Remember the best defense is a good offense. By going through the steps, it puts it in your muscle memory and your body will take over in a crisis helping to get you out of a bad situation, again emphasis on getting you out of a situation and calling for the police.
Remember the best thing that you can do is to get away. If you have to choose between fight and flight, chose flight. Don’t forget to scream or shout for help. The more attention you draw to an issue, the faster it will be resolved.
Once again, no one should be afraid of getting out there and meeting people or going to work. But with just a little awareness, you can keep yourself safe, and keep your family from being hurt if something happens. Criminals are not going to take on someone they feel will be a problem. If you don’t make yourself a mark you are less likely to become one! And if you don’t make it easy for a criminal by being compliant and doing everything they ask, they won’t take the time to carry out their dirty deeds. Beware! △
Most people look for a job because of financial responsibility. Money is needed to pay the rent, buy groceries, and pay the bills. This is true in everyone’s life, but where does it say that you have to work just to earn money. You should enjoy what you do in your job. You should do what you do best. That is why you make a plan on how to look for employment.
The planning stages of looking for employment can be cumbersome, but they can also be challenging. Put your best foot forward and let’s start this journey with some of the most important things you need to do to create a better life for you and your family.
First of all, know that you are capable of anything! Get it straight in your mind and your body will follow. Your body will react to whatever is in your mind. Fill your mind with thoughts that are positive, confident, fulfilling and absolutely winning. The mind can do some pretty miraculous things. It can take you to new heights that you may not have thought possible. Believe in yourself and others will do the same.
The task of finding, getting, and keeping a job does not have to puzzle you anymore. The task is to take the mystery out of looking for and finding a job that will keep you in happy employment. Let’s start with talking about you! In order to find that perfect job, you need to be aware of what it is that is going to make you happy. Sometimes, it’ s just a location or a title or even a certain boss or company. What is it that you want to do? What is it that you do best? These are questions you must ask yourself prior to finding that job. In getting a job that makes you happy, you will find a job worth keeping.
When a group of people was asked why, in their opinion, they had lived such long lives the response was not, “I didn’t smoke” or “I didn’t drink.” Instead, they agreed that they had been happy in their employment. They were doing what they liked to do. The real key to finding, getting and keeping a good job is to find the job that is most suited to your skills, abilities and personality. Find the things that you do best and turn your job search in that direction. Make a list of everything you like to do and a list of what you need to make to fulfill your financial obligations. These two lists are going to be your guides to helping you plan your strategies.
Don’t give up if you don’t find what you are looking for right away. Be prepared to give yourself a little time. Be prepared to stair-step your way to that ideal job. Know that you have the stamina to keep going and keep looking and keep asking. This is the time to turn to everyone you know and ask them if they know of any employment that is suited for you.
As most people start their job search, they feel that they are at the mercy of the employer doing the interviewing. The real fact of the matter is that you are interviewing them at the same time that they are interviewing you. You are choosing the job, the job is not choosing you!
With that in mind, let’s talk next month about what you are bringing to the job search. △