April 2021 YouTube Video Roundup

It’s been a rainy April, but as they say, those showers bring May flowers. Hopefully, your search for a new career will start to bloom this spring, too! Of course, we here at the Career Center are ready to serve as a little job-search fertilizer too. Here’s the videos we’ve made this month to help you out.

Common Job Application Tutorials

How to apply for a job at Taco Bell

In this video, Richard Wright walks you through the process of applying to the fast-food giant, Taco Bell.

Career Success

Google Career Certificates

If you’re interested in getting valuable IT training which is quick and cheap, you’ll want to check out this video by Richard Wright. Google Career Certificates provide low-cost training in high-demand technical skills which can qualify you for entry-level jobs in information technology.

Announcing the IBM/BRCC SkillsBuild Initiative

IBM and Baton Rouge Community College have teamed up to offer a series of online courses and trainings, for free, to Baton Rouge residents. In this video, Anne Nowak shows you how to sign up for SkillsBuild and some of the resources it offers.

Seven deadly sins of the job search

Part IV: Social Media

Social media is more than just a way to stay connected – it is a crucial part of the job search. Clever jobseekers can use social media to open doors find job openings. But if left unchecked, your social media image could harm your chances. In this video, Anne Nowak discuss the best ways to manage and leverage your social media accounts while job searching.

Written by Case Duckworth

Email and Telephone Etiquette for Jobseekers

Ahh, technology. It can make communication so much faster, easier, and more convenient. But if used improperly, it can also give the wrong impression. It’s important for all professionals, especially those currently on the job hunt, to make sure they’re using technology to present a positive image of themselves. Recently, we posted an article about Social Media Etiquette for Jobseekers. Today, we follow that up with the dos and don’ts of email and telephone etiquette.

be easy to get in touch with

If you make it too difficult for hiring managers to get ahold of you, they’re going to move to the next name on their list. Follow these tips:

  • Ensure that your email and voicemail are both in working order, and that your mailboxes are not full. You would hate for a hiring manager’s message to bounce back and be unable to reach you.
  • Make sure that your name is featured in both your email address and your voicemail message. That way, the hiring manager will be assured that they’re reached the right person.
  • Check your email and voicemails at least 3 times a week while you’re job hunting. Respond to messages promptly. Otherwise, you may miss opportunities for interviews.

Choose your email address carefully

Your email address is one of the first pieces of information a hiring manager will see about you. Make sure it gives a good first impression. If your email address does not meet the qualifications below, you can create a new email account which you use only for job searching.

  • The best email addresses for the job search are simple – they include your name and not much else. Examples: ahamilton14@gmail.com; elisabeth.schuyler@outlook.com; aaronb48@yahoo.com.
  • Do not use an email address that could be seen as suggestive or offensive, such as hotmama@gmail.com or thuglife420@yahoo.com.
  • Avoid using an email address that highlights your personal interests, unless those interests are relevant to the job. For example, ilovecats@outlook.com might work if applying to a cat shelter, but not really for anything else.
  • Make things easy on the hiring manager – avoid email addresses that are difficult to type (such as i7c4a9r5u2s3@live.com).
  • Don’t confuse the hiring manager by giving an email address with someone else’s name on it.
  • Beware of age discrimination: it can be dangerous to use the year of your birth in your email address (such as johnqpublic1970@cox.net). Also, be aware that certain older email domains, including aol.com, hotmail.com, and bellsouth.net, are seen as old-fashioned by some hiring managers.

write like a professional

  • Treat every email you send to a hiring manager as if it’s being graded by your strictest English teacher. Use perfect spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar. If this is not your strength, you may want to get someone to proofread your message before you send it.
  • Use language which is more formal than casual. Steer clear of abbreviations such as “u r” for “you are.” Do not use slang, emojis, multiple exclamation points, etc.
  • Start with a formal greeting – such as “Dear Mr. Jefferson” – and end with a closing and signature – for example, “Thank you for your time, James Madison”.
  • The first email you send to a hiring manager counts as your cover letter. It needs to include all the information a cover letter normally contains, such as what job you’re applying for, details of why you’d be a great fit for the job and why you’re excited about it, and where you are in the application process.
  • Double-check before you hit “send” – did you remember to attach your resume?

sound like a professional

  • Make sure your outgoing voicemail message is appropriate. If your message is more funny than serious – or if you have an impersonal, machine-generated message – change it.
  • Tone of voice is crucial when you’re having a phone conversation with a hiring manager. Smile and sound enthusiastic. Also, they won’t hire you if they can’t understand you, so make sure that you speak slowly and clearly.
  • Be careful to use proper grammar, avoiding slang or casual expressions.
  • If they call at a bad time – when you’re someplace noisy or distracting – let it go to voicemail and call them back later.
  • If you have a phone interview scheduled, set aside a quiet place with good reception. (You can call 225-231-3733 to book our conference room for a phone interview.) Have your resume and notes in front of you – a phone interview is like an open-book test.

If you have any more questions about email or telephone etiquette for jobseekers, don’t hesitate to call us at 225-231-3733.

Written by Lynnette Lee

YouTube Video Roundup: March, 2021

Spring has sprung, and so have some more videos from your local library’s Career
Center. Some highlights for March include a Spanish version of our popular
Walmart application video, a how-to for your first resumé, and how to get
organized with Google Sheets. Take a look at our YouTube channel and see all of
our videos, available ad-free.

Job Search Basics

Telephone etiquette for the job search

Your telephone skills could give a hiring manager a good impression – or a bad
one – before you even have a chance to meet in person. In this video, Certified Resumé Writer Lynnette Lee discusses the do’s and don’t’s of professional communication through voicemails, telephone calls, and phone interviews.

Organizing your job search with Google Sheets

The job search process requires keeping track of lots of information, including
usernames, passwords, websites, dates applied, application status, and
more. Thankfully, there are tools that can help. In this video, Career
Specialist Richard Wright demonstrates how you can use Google Sheets to keep
your job search information organized.

Resumés and Cover Letters

My First Resumé

Students and new graduates may find it challenging to create a resumé,
especially if they don’t have much work experience. In this video, Lynnette Lee
takes you step-by-step through the process of creating your first resumé.

Common Job Application Tutorials

How to apply for a job at Waffle House

If you like slinging hash, frying eggs, or pouring coffee, this is the video for
you. Career Specialist Cynthia Payton shows the step-by-step process of
applying to work for Waffle House.

How to apply for a job at Family Dollar

In this video, Richard Wright demonstrates the online application process for
retail chain Family Dollar, where you can begin a career in the booming retail

Job Interview Questions

How to Answer: “How would you deal with an impossible deadline?”

Employers ask hypothetical questions to see how you cope with work challenges.
In the Job Interview Questions playlist, we look at different questions and show
you the good – and bad! – ways to answer them. In this video, Anne Nowak and
Lynnette Lee demonstrate how to answer “How would you deal with an impossible
deadline?” in a way that showcases your problem-solving, critical thinking, and
crisis management skills.

Videos en español

Cómo solicitar un trabajo con Walmart

En este video, el especialista en carreras André de la Fuente lo guía a través
de una solicitud de empleo para el gigante minorista Walmart.

Written by Case Duckworth

How to Research a Potential Employer for Cultural Fit

It’s a common, and very frustrating, situation. You scored the new job, it fits your skills and experience perfectly, and you are excited to start. But then, after a few weeks or months, total frustration. What happened? You and your new company have no cultural fit.

Let’s look into the concept of company culture, what it is, why it is important, and how you can research it before you start a new job.

What is Company culture?

Company culture is made up of the values, norms, beliefs, habits, language, and underlying assumptions of an organization. Every organization has a company culture. Sometimes it is carefully crafted and curated, and sometimes it developed more organically. These building blocks have immediate influence on atmosphere and work environment and on work practices. Work practices include:

  • Hierarchy
  • Dress code
  • Decision making style
  • Performance management and promotions
  • Compensation
  • Flexible hours/home office
  • Time off for community service or company-sponsored volunteering

why does it matter so much?

Now it is easily apparent why it is so important that there is a good cultural fit between the employee and their organization. If you like flat hierarchies but your company operates with a top down approach, you will not be productive. If you believe in pay for performance but you work for an employer that gives the same percentage raise to everybody regardless of performance, you will be frustrated. If you hate suit-and-tie but have to wear it every day, you will not feel at ease. The good news is, it is absolutely possible to research some of these determinants of company culture before you accept a new job.

Start with yourself

Before you start researching companies you are interested in, take a step back and start with yourself. In order to assess fit, you first need to be aware of your own priorities. You need to figure out which of the components of company culture listed above are most important to you. Is pay for performance more important than flexible hours or home office? Do dress code and community service trump pay and job content? These values will change over time and depend on the stage of life you are in. But you have to be aware of what is most important or non-negotiable for you.

Researching company culture

Now that you know what is important to you, you can start your research.

  1. Start with the company website. Check out the “our team” or “who we are” sections. Take a look at how the team is presented. Just picture and title? Or picture, title and some more background information? How are people dressed? Does the site only feature matter-of-fact content? Or do you see pictures from company parties or company volunteer days? What kind of information is displayed on the recruiting site?
  2. Check and follow the organization’s social media feeds.
  3. Check the LinkedIn profiles of people who work at your desired organization.
  4. Search online reviews, for example on www.glassdoor.com.
  5. Look for articles in professional, business, and industry publications.
  6. Listen to business podcasts where company leaders and/or founders are interviewed.
  7. Finally, talk to people who work at your desired employer and ask them about company culture.

All, or even just some, of the steps above will give you some insight into the company culture of a potential employer. And if you previously established your own list of priorities, you will be able to easily compare and contrast to see if an organization might be a fit.

We wish you much success in your job search! If you’d like any help with your job search or career development, the Career Center is here to help. Contact us at 225-231-3733 or at www.careercenterbr.com or check out our YouTube channel at careercenterbr.com/youtube.

Written by Anne Nowak

Monday Motivation

Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.

Golda Meir

Social Media Etiquette for Job-Seekers

Most of us regularly use social media of some sort, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or LinkedIn. We use these platforms to maintain our connections with friends, keep up with news and local events, and express our ideas and emotions. Yet there’s a hidden danger for jobseekers – your social media image could be making you look unprofessional and sabotaging your employment chances.

employers check social media. . .

Employers want to get as much information as possible before hiring someone, so that they can feel confident they’re making the right choice. Thus, many employers make it a practice to look up candidates online. If they don’t like what they see, they may reject the candidate.

. . .so you should too.

Google yourself, and look yourself up on every social media platform that you use. Use a computer that is not logged into your profile (such as a computer at the library), so that you see what an outsider will see when they look you up online. Make note of what is visible, in terms of your accounts, photos, posts, and comments. Approach it as if you were reading about a stranger – what kind of image do you project? Do you seem like a good potential employee (hard-working, reliable, caring, etc.)? Or do you seem unprofessional, bitter, or high-maintenance?

avoid these common mistakes:

  • Inappropriate or risqué pictures, such as images that include alcohol, drugs, people under the influence, scantily-clad people, or high-risk behavior. Anything that makes you look like the life of the party is probably a bad idea – hiring managers don’t want to hire the life of the party; they want to hire responsible professionals.
  • Unprofessional or negative posts. Social media is so public that it’s not a safe place to vent about your struggles. For examples, see these real tweets that have cost people job opportunities: “I hate my boss. Take this job and shove it.” “Unemployment isn’t so bad. It will be hard going back to work.” “Sexual harassment rules are so dumb.” “Oh please, everybody lies on their resume.”
  • Controversial topics, such as politics or religion, can be risky. Keep in mind, hiring managers may have different beliefs from you. If that’s true – and you’re very vocal online about your beliefs – the hiring manager may decide they don’t want to work with someone they won’t get along with. We are not saying you CAN’T express your beliefs – if it’s very important to you, you may decide that it’s worth the risk. But be aware that your self-expression may be negatively impacting your job search.

how do i fix my online image?

  • Un-tag yourself from unflattering photos.
  • Delete irresponsible tweets/posts.
  • Tighten your privacy settings so that strangers cannot see most of your information.
  • Some people even use a false name for personal accounts, so that no one except their contacts can see any of their information.
  • Caveat: Even with those precautions, be careful what you post. If someone takes a screenshot of something you post, that can be public and permanent.

what if i have no social media presence at all?

You may decide that the best way to keep a clean image is to avoid the temptation of social media entirely. That may or may not be a good idea, depending on your situation.

  • For a job in which you will never need to know how to use social media (such as nurse, truck driver, or prep cook), it’s probably fine to have no online presence.
  • For a job that requires you to be tech-savvy (such as IT professional, graphic designer, or librarian), it will look weird to employers if you don’t seem to have any knowledge of or experience with social media technology.
  • For a job that involves sales, promotion, or community outreach (such as marketing specialist or fundraising director), you need to showcase your comfort with using social media to reach people.
  • If you’re in the corporate world, you need to have a LinkedIn account, or you will not be taken seriously. Your LinkedIn account should focus entirely on your professional life, not your personal life.
  • When used correctly, social media can help your job search. Both LinkedIn and Facebook have job search functions built in. Additionally, all social media platforms can be used for networking, which can lead you to job openings you’d never know about otherwise. Also, social media can be a great place to build your personal brand and make yourself look attractive to employers.

If you have further questions about this topic, or if you’d like our help improving your social media image, give us a call at 225-231-3733.

Written by Lynnette Lee

February 2021 Youtube Video Roundup

Another month, another crop of videos to help you in your job search! As always, you can visit our website, give us a call at (225) 231-3733, or email us if you have more specific questions.

Small Business Services

If you’re interested in starting your own business and working for yourself, check out this new series we’ve started, in partnership with EBRPL’s Small Business Services office. Case Duckworth will walk you through the free services available to patrons there.

Introduction to Small Business Services at EBRPL

Are you an entrepreneur, or do you want to start your own business? East Baton Rouge Parish Library has a ton of resources for you! This video, narrated by Small Business Services member Case Duckworth, gives an overview of all the resources we have to offer. This video walks through the resources provided in this Info Guide.

How to use the Gale Business Plan Builder

Creating a business plan is an important first step in becoming a successful entrepreneur. In this video, Case Duckworth demonstrates how to create a business plan using the Gale Business Plan Builder, available for free to East Baton Rouge Parish Library cardholders.

Common Job Application Tutorials

How to Apply for a Job at Amazon

Amazon is one of the most profitable companies in the world, and they’ve recently moved their fulfillment center in Baton Rouge, as they gear up to open new facilities in Cortana Mall and Port Allen. In this video, Cynthia Payton shows the process for applying for a job with Amazon warehouse facilities.

Job Search Basics

Using Google for the Job Search

In this video, Richard Wright discuss how to use Google’s new Jobs feature to find, save, and apply for local job openings.

Career Success

How to Succeed in a New Job

Landing a job is not the end of your career journey – just the beginning of the next stage. In this video, Anne Nowak discusses how to start a new job on the right foot, to ensure that you succeed in your new environment.

Seven Deadly Sins of the Job Search

Part 3: Resumé Mistakes

The resumé is a crucial step in your application process – when done well, it opens the door for interviews. When done poorly, however, it is a Deadly Sin of Job Searching. In this video, Anne Nowak discusses the most common resumé mistakes and how to avoid them.

Job Interview Questions

How to Answer, “Tell me about your greatest mistake at work.”

This question can feel like a trap, because it seems to focus on failures and weaknesses. However, as Anne Nowak and Lynnette Lee demonstrate in this video, you can use this question to focus on the skills and wisdom you’ve learned through your experiences.

Written by Case Duckworth