September 22, 2008

B4J Tip of the Week

Job fair season is upon us, and it's a great opportunity to network with companies and recruiters. Print off multiple resume copies, have your personal and professional business cards handy, and look your best!

Approach each recruiter at your top companies and introduce yourself. Don't forget to have your handshake ready! Inquire about opportunities at their company or any openings they are aware of. Make sure to get a copy of their business card and follow up with an email or handwritten note.

Recruiters, in general are a very networked bunch. This is a great way to find "unadvertised" openings that so many of the experts talk about while rapidly increasing your networking circle. Focus on building several solid and meaningful relationships with a handful of these recruiters. I recommend you offer to meet for lunch or inquire to set up an informational interview.

You'll be amazed at your success!!

Happy Hunting!


September 20, 2008

September 18, 2008

Recession Proof Jobs & Industries

Take a look at a few industries below that experts believe are recession proof. If you are unemployed because of a business closure or restructure, you might want to consider a new career in one of these 6 different areas.

* Education. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has historically shown teaching to be relatively recession-proof. But demographics are important: High-growth areas like the Sun Belt offer much better prospects than the Rust Belt.

* Energy. "This is a major issue for the global economy, and jobs related to oil and gas, alternative energy and even nuclear are likely to see strong growth," Challenger said.

* Health care. Almost half the 30 fastest growing occupations are concentrated in health services -- including medical assistants, physical therapists, physician assistants, home health aides, and medical records and health information technicians -- according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

* International business. "If you have a strong knowledge of other cultures, and an ability to work in another country, you'll find plenty of opportunities," according to John Challenger. "If you're first generation Chinese, with business skills and Chinese language skills, you're in good shape.

* Environmental sector. There is a huge and growing industry geared to combat global warming. "Not only will professionals with skills in sustainability issues be in demand through the end of the decade, we are likely to shortages of professionals with 'green' skills," said Rona Fried, president of, a networking service for sustainable businesses.

* Security. "Crime doesn't stop during a recession, and police officers, port security specialists and international security experts will continue to be in demand," Challenger emphasized.

--Information & Statistics provided by Yahoo Hot Jobs

B4J Update

Hey all!

I'm in Chicago this week and working on some great posts for you. It appears that the recession and the financial crisis is at the forefront of everyone minds these days and those visiting my site also feel this way. I'll be featuring more posts about your job search in the current economic climate along with some new and exciting tools you can use to get a leg up.

Have a great week and Happy Hunting!

Cheers! Jessica

September 11, 2008

Seeking Interview Feedback

Interview feedback is one of the most important parts of the interview process. If you are interviewing internally for a promotion or position within your current company, receiving interview feedback is relatively easy. Feedback from an external interview is hard to come by especially when managers and companies are frighten by horror stories and threats of lawsuits.

Regardless of where you interview or with whom, I recommend asking for feedback. If interviewing internally, interview feedback is a must. Ask to receive your feedback in writing in the form of an IDP or Individual Development Plan or other document. Even if you don't get offered a position, show them you mean business and have some follow through.

Don't limit your development to company specific activities. If you are in need of leadership or management experience and your company doesn't offer an official program, think outside the box. Join a club or lead a team of volunteers at a local nonprofit. This opportunity does double duty providing you leadership experience also with valuable networking at the same time.

Sign up for mock interviews. Most often when we interview and are under the gun, we tend to ramble and lose focus. I recommend attending a class at your local vo-tech for a nominal fee allowing a professional to give you real life feedback.

Speak publicly every chance you get. When interviewing, it's essential to be able to speak on your feet. Hiring managers love to throw wild interview questions the candidate's way shaking them off balance. Join a public speaking group like toastmasters to give you valuable public speaking experience.

Get a mentor. Find a seasoned professional in your field either at your current company or another and plan to meet with them formally at least quarterly to discuss your professional development. A lunch meeting or quick conference call is a great way to get refreshed, refocused, and back on track.

September 7, 2008

A Little Interview Humor For Thought. . .

Check out the video below. While corny, I have heard each and every one of these answers while conducting an interview.

Latest Trend: Video Interviewing

Think of it as DVR for interviewing. And speaking of my DVR come the new fall television schedule, I can't live without it. Companies are using video interviewing as a way to engage the candidate without all the time and commitment. I will admit I've been in a few interviews where I wish for nothing more than the good ole fast forward button, and as a candidate I'm sure you have as well.

Video interviewing is used to screen candidates more efficiently while saving time and money. Some managers conduct their screening interviews via video. HireVue has video technology that allows hiring managers to screen candidates anywhere across the globe allowing for the consistency of interview questions and the ability to replay, review, or fast forward an interview multiple times and compare notes.

The actual video interviewing process for the most part is no different than a company's current interviewing process. Candidate resumes and applications are screened and those that meet the requirements are invited to participate in the video interview. Normally, a webcam is set up in an office or other location to record your interview. You will be provided a tutorial to explain the video interview process. Like any interview, you will be asked 10-15 questions and will have a certain amount of time to respond to each question.

How does a candidate leverage video interviewing?

  • Engage your audience! Look into the camera. The camera is your audience. Don't stare blankly into space or another corner of the room when answering questions. Make sure to smile and appear calm even if you are not.

  • Practice, Practice, Practice. Video interviewing is no different from a face to face interview. Practice answering common interview questions and role play with a trusted friend. Don't be afraid to tape your interview and look for use of body language or a nervous twitch.

  • Do your research. This blog is a good place to start. Be prepared and understand how companies use video interviewing and what the actual interview will entail. Visit to learn more about the video interview process.

  • Dress the part. Treat a video interview like any other interview. Dress professional, well-groomed, and ready to impress.

Like any type of prescreen interview whether it's face to face, video interviewing, or over the phone, your interview is your one and only chance to make that great impression! Proper prepartion and education will give you a chance to shine!!

Happy Hunting!! Jessica

September 3, 2008

Join Me at the OKC Employer Council Sept. 9th

Please join me at the OKC Employer Council next Tuesday, September 9th! I will be one of the expert panelist discussing the topic LinkedIn or Locked Out: The Dangers & Delights of Social Networking. Thanks for your support!!

Cheers! Jessica
Join the OKC Employer Metro Council for
A Panel Discussion
See Attached Program for Topics and Speakers
“Linked In or Locked Out:
The Dangers and Delights of
Social Networking in the Workplace”
TUESDAY * September 9, 2008
8:30am – 10:00am
Oklahoma History Center
2401 N. Laird Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Any questions or comments may be directed to:
Larry Musslewhite at 405.470.3213 or email:
Rick Bedlion, Chairperson - INTEGRIS Health, Inc. / Steve Puckett, Vice-Chairman - The Oklahoman, The OKC Employer Council is a cooperative educational effort of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission,
Workforce Oklahoma partners and Oklahoma City area human resources professionals.
Guests are welcome and no charge is involved.

Our September 9th meeting will feature a panel discussion regarding:
Linked In or Locked Out: The Dangers and Delights of Social Networking in the Workplace

This program takes a strategic view on the dangers and delights of using social networking sites in the workplace. Both employees and employers stand to gain or lose using social networking sites such as You-Tube, Face Book, LinkedIn, My Space, Second Life, blogger-spheres and more. A panel of leaders in Human Resources, Training and Development and the Law will discuss the possibilities and the nightmares of using social networking sites for recruiting, training, communicating and other business related issues. This panel discussion will share varying viewpoints on the issues and look at not only the possibilities, but the barriers (real and perceived), success stories and flops related to social networks in the workplace.

About the panel:
RICK D. BEDLION, SPHR (Moderator for the session)
Rick leads the Human Resources Consulting and People Development departments for the INTEGRIS Health system. Rick has built a solid background in Organizational Development, Strategic Development, Employee Relations, Performance Consulting and Human Performance Improvement. He is an active
member of the Employer Council, member of SHRM and a member and past president of Central Oklahoma Chapter of ASTD. Among other duties, Rick oversees Leadership programs for INTEGRIS Leadership Institute. Rick taught HR Management classes for OCU, Cameron University and Central Texas College.

Tony Puckett is a labor and employment law attorney with the Oklahoma City law firm of McAfee & Taft. His practice involves counseling and representing employers in all areas of labor and employment law. Puckett is a 1988 graduate of the University of Oklahoma Law School and is admitted to practice before state and federal courts including the U.S. Supreme Court. Tony is a frequent speaker at seminars and institutes on employment law issues and is the author of numerous articles in professional journals. He is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Jessica is the HR Manager for the Office Max Sales Center in Norman and has a passion for recruiting. Jessica’s blog has been named one of the industries leading blogs. Jessica has prior experience as a regional HR Manager for Homeland Stores as well as both Home Depot and Lowe’s. Jessica’s favorite specialty is innovative recruiting and also has strong competencies in union avoidance, affirmative action, and financial management.

As a learning consultant for INTEGRIS Health, Pam Kennedy develops and delivers training throughout the INTEGRIS system. Her duties include training and working with departments to develop state of the art learning processes. She develops e-learning programs and also facilitates a variety of leadership programs for the INTEGRIS Leadership Institute. Pam holds a Master’s degree in Human Relations and a Bachelor’s degree in General Engineering. She is a licensed pilot and a member of SHRM, Employer Council and ASTD.

September 1, 2008

Best & Worst Cities for Job Seeker

Check out another article below from Forbes listing the best and worst cities to be in the job hunt in. For most of us in the OKC Metro, we already know that this market is challenging for businesses and recruiters looking to hire. For the job seeker, living in Milwaukee and OKC, it couldn't be better.

Cities Where Getting a Job is Easier and Harder

By Lauren Sherman of

For many Americans, finding a job is becoming increasingly difficult.

In the past year, unemployment rates have increased in nearly all of the country's 49 largest cities (metros with populations of 1 million and over.) Unemployment rates were higher in June than a year earlier in 332 of 369 metropolitan areas, lower in 27 areas and unchanged in 10 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which Wednesday released non-seasonally-adjusted regional numbers for June.

The overall unemployment rate in the U.S. increased 1% from 4.7% in June 2007 to 5.7% in June 2008.

"The economy stopped creating jobs in September of 2007, and it has been losing jobs since December," says Dean Baker, PhD, an economist and co-director for the Center for Economic and Policy Research based in Washington, D.C. "We need to create 120,000 jobs per month to keep up with the labor market. Instead, we've been losing 60,000 per month."

In the depressed city of Providence, R.I., the number of unemployed workers aged 16 and over jumped from 4.9% in June 2007 to 7.3% in June 2008. That's a 2.4% increase: the largest in the country. The retail industry here has been hit particularly hard. Since 2005, the number of retail jobs in the city has decreased by 5%, says the BLS. And according to a study released in June 2008 by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Joint Center for Housing Research at Harvard University, one in 41 Rhode Island mortgages were in foreclosure at the end of 2007.

Riverside, Calif., didn't fare much better. This Southern Californian city's unemployment rate rose 2.1%--from 5.9% in June 2007--to 8% in June 2008. Along with other large chunks of the state, the area suffered from a loss of jobs in the construction industry. What's more, thousands of undocumented workers were also laid off, but those numbers don't show in the statistics since the jobs were never registered. That means the percentage in Riverside is probably significantly higher than reported.

And in Memphis, Tenn., unemployment rates increased 2%--from 5.3% in June 2007--to 7.3% in June 2008. FedEx--one of the area's largest companies--has suffered from the slowing growth in gross domestic product (which has cut into shipping volumes) and the high price of oil.
However, in some areas, jobs are being added.

Two Midwestern cities--Oklahoma City and Milwaukee--saw unemployment rates inch lower. In the former, rates dropped to 4.2% in June 2008 .4% from 4.6% in June 2007. The latter slipped just .2%, to 5.3% in June 2008 from 5.5% in June 2007. Oklahoma City has benefited from the increase in demand for oil and gas, while Milwaukee has remained well thanks to its health care system, which employs over 140,000 people, according to the BLS.
While these decreases may seem insignificant, it means these cities are inching closer to the natural rate of unemployment of 4%.

Too low of an unemployment rate can result in labor shortages, which is just as bad for an economy as a surplus in labor.