Getting Civilly Served: Jobs in Your Local Government Offices

I get these questions pretty regularly, like, “How do I ‘get in’ to working for the city – government – my local municipality?”

The short answer: apply to jobs with an amazing cover letter & resume filled with experience relevant to the position, and take civil service exams appropriate to your experience and what you’d like to do. Civil service jobs are generally long term careers that may take weeks to years to obtain – but then they tend to be the kind of jobs you can stay in until you retire.

I’m not saying due to the current financial state of the US government & related jobs are all secure – but no jobs are.

To see exam info check the website of whatever area you want to work in (posted a few months in advance of offering date, be sure you’re free!) or there are some that are walk-in. Usually exams tend to be offered on Saturdays, but you can have it moved with a  letter from a religious leader if needed (I’ve done it a bunch of times). Then they push it off to the Sunday following the exam generally.

For all US: http://www.usajobs.gov

For a pretty large list of local NY State government exams, see: http://www.labor.ny.gov/stats/cslist.shtm

For NYC DCAS Exam info & online application are here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcas/html/employment/civilservice_exams.shtml

Town of Hempstead, Nassau County: http://toh.li/civil-service-commission/examination-announcements

Suffolk County, Long Island: https://apps.suffolkcountyny.gov/civilservice/Efiling/Default.aspx

*Working smarter tip: If you plan to apply to numerous exams for jobs, save your job responsibilities & info to a word or excel doc you can cut & paste from. When you apply to additional exams it does not save your info (yes even though you need to make a login), and it will save you a lot of unnecessary typing.

Each position has minimum requirements that you must meet, some may be physical, experience, education or residency requirements of a certain length when you apply for the position – otherwise you’re out your registration money. They don’t generally refund you if you don’t qualify and will notify you by mail a few weeks later  – or they may just not put you on the list, even if you’ve taken the exam.

Exams vary in cost, but I believe they’re all under $100, which is an incredible investment if you can do well on a timed multiple choice test, since one year after appointment you get “permanency” which is more job security than you’ll get anywhere else. The salaries aren’t the most incredible, but are strong for non-profits, and the benefits & early retirement are great. 55-60ish retirement with a pension? You won’t find that too many other places nowadays.

What if you have disabilities? They offer a lot of accommodations, so don’t be alarmed about the test part, look into if they can accommodate you or if you can get an exemption to get on a list without an exam.

What if you can’t afford the fee? If you qualify for certain government benefits, you may be able to get the fee reduced or waived.

Where do I find New York City jobs listed? Don’t expect to memorize this website:

http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c000402d63e84407a62fa24601c789a0/index.jsp?cf01pg=1&cf01sz=10

What are the next steps?

The lists of people who passed the exam are ranked (first by score, then by last 4 digits of your social security #). Then when there are vacancies agencies will call you when they have an opening for an interview. Expect very short notice, usually a few days in advance. You’ll be asked to bring a lot of ID, degrees, proof of employments potentially etc. I believe this is all part of the interview process. If you can’t get your act together quickly, you’re out the opportunity.

The lists can take years, generally about 2, until they are released & names get called, so this is a plan to get a long term permanent career – not the way to go if you need a job next week/month.

Good luck!

Shortlink directly to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-C

Advertisements

My Resume is a Worthless Piece of e-Paper

I’ll get personal today because a lot of career issues are common. Many people are unemployed, and stuck that way.

I hate my resume. I mean it is pretty, thanks to fabulous layout. I’ve done tons of interesting things. I’m on top of all new technologies, innovations, social media, and business news; and I’ve started two successful consultancies.  But that doesn’t necessarily get a person an interview request when you’re only submitting to the best places to work along with hundreds-thousands of other people.

I’m  always telling everyone – here’s what your resume should say, how it should say it, and what the overall feeling you get from it should be. But when you don’t like your resume?

You can’t always write a career summary that would explain your situation positively or in a way that would put you ahead of the person who majored in the right areas in school or who obtained and advance degree in an area you want to enter, who then went on to have only progressively responsible positions in your field, and has been in it for 10 years – not too many more or less.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do the job better that above said person – but on paper it’s obvious who gets chosen for the interview.  You haven’t managed large budgets? You haven’t managed large teams? Don’t have ‘accomplishments’ to brag about that don’t sound like, well, bragging?

What’s a candidate to do when they want to work at google or apple? Or some other fabulously innovating company that values and develops their talent – when you don’t have it on paper?

Different people handle this situation in different ways – but here are a few I’ve seen:

1. Have a simple resume, get a job in a company at the bottom of the ladder (i.e. unpaid internship, administrative assistant, etc.), and work your way up. This if fine for the young, patient, and ambitious. Especially the males, they statistically do better with this method. Women who attempt this generally stay towards the bottom of the career ladder.

2. Volunteer either in or outside of work for large-scale projects, so you have those accomplishments to put on your resume. This is great if you’re unemployed or don’t have a lot of obligations, as that it’s time consuming – but for someone trying to manage a career, long commutes, and family or other obligations it’s not always practical.

3. Lying. People figure into the recruiters-are-ditzes stereotype and hope their exaggerating what and where they’ve done it won’t be seen through. Ethics aside – people figure ‘everybody’s doing it’, which is unfortunately accurate for a lot of people. Ewwwwwwww.

4. Humor. I’ve seen a woman returning from being a stay at home mom have on her resume, “CEO of Smith Household.” Or, “Executive Director of Childcare.”  You can throw in a few things that might help your personality come across to recruiters. I know that whomever is reading my resume is probably sick of looking at resumes, especially ones that all sound the same – so a little fun with it, tastefully, might help get attention.

Unfortunately, as you can guess, lying generally gets people the furthest into the interview process. Depending on the employer, often the liar may even get the job. Some jobs you only have to ‘talk the talk’, and it doesn’t matter if you ever did or ever will ‘walk the walk’. But for other positions, actual skills and experience are necessary to do a job appropriately. Once you’re figured out you’ll be back on the job hunt again, bringing you back to the beginning of the cycle where said evil people belong.

So what do you do first?

You be patient. You network. You continue to improve your resume. You follow the places you want to work, be on top of their openings that you’re qualified for. You attend events to meet people who work for these companies. If you have time, offer to volunteer or intern for them. You do everything in your power to set yourself apart from the herd appropriately in all of your social media profiles. You follow people and companies on linkedin. You join industry groups on linkedin. You ask others who were in your boat who’ve succeeded how they did it. You You You…it’s all about YOU, and what efforts you are willing to put in.

And then hope that one day it’ll all pay off, as you sit enjoying the view from your corner office of the company of your dreams. Sigh. Dare to dream.

The Paranoid Resumes of Paranoid Candidates

FBI Badge & gun.

Image via Wikipedia

I know I’m always telling people what not to put on their resume. Now I’ll focus on what you do need on your resume not to appear a paranoid candidate – or like you’re more interested in protecting yourself from identity theft than getting a job.

Use your discretion on sites where you upload your resume. Depending on their security, amount of access the public or shady employers have to your info might limit what you want to include.

Thanks CareerBuilder, but when I uploaded my resume I did not want to be recruited for 1) The US Army 2) Shady work from home scams or 3) Commission only entry level sales positions.

  1. Full name. Yes, I’ve seen resumes with just a first name. It’ll make people wonder what else you’re hiding.
  2. Email address – you will appear out of touch with technology if you don’t have one.
  3. Phone number you’re at during normal business hours – cell ideally – some companies still always call candidates first – so if they can’t get in touch with you easily, they’ll find someone they can reach.
  4. Home address is a debatable one. I recommend it especially if your phone area code is not a local one or if you most recent position was out of town/state/country. Otherwise I don’t think it’s necessary. No one is mailing you anything. I personally do not keep my address on my resume, but were I to move to a swanky prestigious building I’d add it then 😉
  5. Sterile information – your job responsibilities should not sound like anyone could have done them anywhere. Unless you worked for the FBI or in a similar level of confidentiality, you can’t be discreet about what you did. If you can’t disclose where you did it, list employer as, “Confidential, USA” or similar. If you legally can’t even mention what you did, you’re probably better off leaving the position off your resume, and for the years employed there, note that it is confidential – don’t try to make it sound like you did ‘important things, somewhere’.  Same goes for university – yes it’s fine to be polite and refer to your attendance at Harvard at social events as , “I went to school in Boston,” so as not to come across as pretentious, but on your resume is not the time to be humble.

Components of a ‘Talent’ Profile

So what does the known ‘Talent’ pool have on their resume that you may not?

Now I know this all must sounds cynical, and you’ll probably roll your eyes at half of these. I’m not saying even one of them is necessary to be a talented worker or leader – these are just some of my observations of what I see most valued in the business world.

Have most of these, and recruiters will be banging down your door begging to make a commission off of you.

  1. Advanced degree(s) from top school(s) with honors or top GPA (btw, rumor has it that Brown & Dartmouth are out of style, albeit ivy)
  2. Political experience of some kind – even internships are valued
  3. Accomplishments galore in monetary terms, with exact impressive figures
  4. Management of huge (million to billion) budgets
  5. Impressive do-gooder credentials from when you did your B.A. or right after (i.e. peace corps, americorps, red cross, teach for America, unicef, UN work, humanitarian aid to 3rd world country, etc.)
  6. Design major programs or initiatives that people have heard of
  7. Consultant experience. Not the kind that was between jobs like, “Principal of Sharon’s Consultancy.” I mean some time at a top consulting firm (Bane, McKinsey, BGC, Parthenon…)
  8. Progressively impressive titles (i.e. analyst, project manager, special asst. to someone in a very high place, deputy director, director, etc.)
  9. Posh extra curricular’s & hobbies – polo, marathon running, ballet, triathalons, international backpacking
  10. Old money neighborhood or trendy address ideal
  11. Awards/fellowships: specific ones in your professional arena, fullbrights, broad scholars, etc.
  12. Study & travel abroad, preferably somewhere prestigious
  13. Professional affiliations – may be required depending on field
  14. Impressive buzz words in proper context, not just in white font for SEO on applicant systems: organizational strategy, dedicated, managed, financial analysis, advisory board, researched, pioneered, chaired (or at least co-chaired), strategic planning,  gates, dell or other large donor procurement, implementation, process improvement design, blah blah blah…
  15. Impressive companies or foundations to have worked for – big names make people happy

What Not to Wear to Work

Bill Gates in business-casual attire.

Via Wikipedia - Gates in (Nerdy) Business Casual

I recently remarked to my husband that I wish I could wear PJ’s to work or something equally as comfortable. He said the only socially acceptable way to do this is if we move to Staten Island or New Jersey. But what about all the other people in the office who are wearing things I wouldn’t paint my house in?

I’m not saying my office per se, but in general lines have blurred when it comes to what’s appropriate to wear to an office. I think the suits-only companies left are few and far between – primarily high-end law & accounting firms. I’m sure there may be others, but generally most offices have taken the ‘business casual’ or plain old ‘causal’ workforce attire.

Casual

Anything goes, and if you wear a suit people will assume you’re going for an interview somewhere else after work – unless the head honcho is in town. That doesn’t even apply if you work for a start-up or trendy DUMBO place – the CEO’s there probably are wearing their hipster faded jeans too.

Business Casual   

The ultimate of gray areas. When people ask me what that means at interviews, I generally say, “No jeans, sweats, sneakers, t-shirts, large logo’s, or workout wear – and anything else goes.” What does it really mean in an office environment? It means 3 people in the same exact position & salary – one will be in a collared shirt, tie and slacks. The next guy will be in flip flops, shorts, and a t-shirt. The third person will be in a head-to-toe ed hardy or similar design/logo-covered sweat suit with expensive sneakers. Depending on where you work is how much will fly causally.

Business Attire

AKA suits. Or at least a shirt and tie with a jacket perpetually on the back of your chair. The ladies get to mix it up with either pencil skirts or pants. It is expected that your clothing is tailored to fit you. You should look and act like a professional.

Dress-down Fridays?

I’ve seen the flip flops with shorts in one department of a company on a Friday, where a different department a supervisor remarked, “I couldn’t help but notice you were wearing jeans on Friday…” When in Rome…even if there is a dress-down policy in some departments, it may not apply to all. Take a hint from what your supervisor wears. Also if you have an important meeting on a Friday, that’s a good reason to dress well anyway.

Dress for the Job You Want, Not the Job You Have

This is old advice that many have lived by, and I’ve seen it work successfully. It may come across as awkward if you have a large divide in what the next level of administration up from you wears, i.e. if you’re level dresses casually as call takers, but the supervisors wear suits, it might seem weird if you walk in suddenly one day and going forward in suits. I suggest taking it up one step, but never over-dress. If the boss doesn’t wear a tie or suit, you shouldn’t either. It doesn’t mean that you have to go casual. Wear sleek, classic styles that would make you stand out from the jeans crowd, but not peg you as someone trying too hard.

Dress = Atmosphere

Business clothing brings with it the ‘business’ atmosphere. You wouldn’t yell out, “Who wants to come for pizza with me for lunch?” in a business environment. But if everyone’s dressed casually, why not? I saw an article featuring a start-up that had clothing for the start-up CEO. Yes, I’m serious. It was basically very overpriced durable hipster suit jackets to be worn with jeans and collared shirts. The craziest part? All the comments left on the article were either commending the company – that it’s so hard to figure out what to wear when you don’t want to overdress – but also don’t want to be the brunt of ‘Zuckerberg’ jokes because he’s still wearing sweats with flip flops a few billion later.

Then women got in on it in the comments section – like how men don’t need $400 suit jackets to wear with jeans – women do! That the men are all wearing collared shirts & jeans – but what do the women wear to look put together but casual, and still get taken seriously?

The women were jealous and were hoping this company would do a women’s line. Wow. All I could think was that uniforms are great. That high-paid executives, even business owners, have trouble presenting themselves with clothing – and wouldn’t it be easier to take out all the guessing?

Even if the uniform is black suit, light colored shirt, at least you won’t have to spend hours guessing what’s appropriate for work that day!

So in conclusion  –  know that whatever you wear will be judged in your place of employment. It may never be expressed to you, but the overall impression your coworkers and superiors have of you will be largely based on your appearance. Yep we’re that superficial, now you know – don’t pretend you don’t.

Wearing beach clothes to work is fine if you’re in a dead-ended job and plan to burn your bridges with them on your way out – but if you even think you might want to use them as a reference for your next ‘real job’ – dress up a bit more.

You have nothing to lose except a little comfort. Go get into your t-shirt as soon as you get home, pop open a cold beer, and return to being the unprofessional sloth you really are deep down inside. At least this way no one at work will ever be on to it, and you’ll have a professional reputation!

Shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-fy

“80% of Jobs Are Not Advertised” – by Lavie Margolin

Lavie Margolin

Today I have a contribution from a guest blogger who also has a successful career coaching blog & book to assist job seekers. His practical advice helps many find great positions – even in this economy. He also happens to have been the inspiration for my blog, so I have to give major props and encourage you to buy his book.

Lavie Margolin is a New York-based Job Search Advisor, Public Speaker and the Author of Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers. To read more of Lavie’s advice, check out his blog at www.lioncubjobsearch.blogspot.com

“80% of jobs are not advertised” is just not true.

It has been said over and over again that 80% of jobs are not advertised. It has been written about so many times that it is taken as fact.

Having the experience of helping professionals in their job search for nearly eight years, I think this 80% number is inflated and false.

How many midsized to large companies do you know of that do not list their jobs publicly? To prove that fact, think of any company with more than 200 employees. Search for the company on Indeed.com and and you will notice that many of their job vacancies are listed. After all, why would they not list job openings and keep them a secret?

By repeating this 80% myth over and over, it is dissuading job seekers from looking for work. The thinking goes: “why should I apply for work when most jobs are not advertised?”

It is true that some smaller companies do not advertise their jobs as it will be cost prohibitive but this is a tiny fraction. 

Perhaps this 80% number comes from a strict definition of the word “advertise”. An advertisement is defined as a PAID announcement or promotion. There are many jobs publicly available for viewing that are not PAID for:

1. The official company website
2. Job Boards that do not require a fee from the employer
3. Industry news publications
4. Industry blogs
5. Yahoo/Google Groups
6. Linkedin Groups
7. Social Network postings
8. Bulletin boards

The truth of the matter is that most jobs ARE advertised (or at least publicly available for viewing). A key to receiving a successful response is to apply for those jobs in a dynamic way:

Are you sending the same resume and cover letter for every job or taking the time to make sure it is an appealing advertisement for that job specifically? 

Are you then finding a contact in the company through your network on Linkedin and asking them to advocate on your behalf? 

Most jobs are out there for you to see. Be dynamic to have the best chance at receiving a response.

 

Thanks Lavie! Again, to read more check out Lavie’s blog or to buy his book go to:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1453668357?ie=UTF8&tag=louboorev-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1453668357

…and for my opinion on getting jobs advertised online: http://wp.me/pWfpN-4K

Shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-eM

The Entertaining Search Terms Used to Find http://sharon.cc

Google's homepage in 1998

Image via Wikipedia

These are for learning & entertainment purposes only, in no particular order.

 

The Most Interesting search terms that have brought people to my blog: Up for debate.

can recruitment companies see if I’m unemployed?

when is the right time to promote someone internally?

why is finding a job so easy

getting a job is so easy

 

Google-job related searches: I’m apparently not the only one who wants to work there.

getting a job at google

google recruiter description

steps of getting hired at google

10 steps to get a job in google

waiting for google recruiter to call back

my job dream is google

waiting for a call from google recruter

“google recruiter”

geting a job at google nyc

google job call back

is landing a job at google easy

getting a job at google ny

google recruiter grades

getting job with google

google jobs steps

is google a career

getting job at google

google recuiter not calling back

easy job with google

is getting a job at google easy

how easy is it to get a job at google

google career coach

getting a job at google steps

 

Career Advice:

why talented employees fail

social media and job hunting

career fairs

linkedin summary examples for non profit employees

effective career fair table

is it ok to just walk into potential employers offices and drop off my resume

how to get a career in internal control?

where to find help for the underemployed

labor relations department risks and controls

political science career outlook

degrees needed to become a graphic designer

 

Sharon:

sharon siegel career coaching

sharon taublib

sharon siegel nyc

sharon blog nyc

sharon.cc

http.sharon.cc

career coaching blog wordpress

career counselor recruiter nyc

sharon’s career coaching (.cc)

sharoncc

“sharon.cc”

sharonsjobs.wordpress.com city

career consultants nyc

Other Career Coaches:

robo recruiter

lion cub job search

lavie margolin

effectiveness of career coaching + leave a comment

sharon strong recruit

dont like career coaching

:a look behind the curtain: the recruitment process

sample high school career coach resume

coaching for nyc public admin

talent coaching and development system for web designer

hris figure

Stupid Resumes:

it’s your resume, stupid!

stupid resumes

stupid resume’s

resumes are stupid

stupid wordpress resume

resume cliches

Resumes & Etiquette:

fabulous resumes

fun resume design

presentations improve student career

resume etiquette 2010

resume footers

resume wordpress

resume that looks like wordpress

resume tips

fabulous marketing resumes

What to put on resumes:

buzz words in footer of resume

should i put keywords at the bottom of my resume

“personal info on resume”

social media icons on resume

fitting content on a resume

resume design top

ways to design your resume

top 5 resume tips

what’s a resume footer?

resume with footer

resume tips footer

resume footer example

Cover Letters:

cover letter

curriculum vitae – creative ideas

job cover letter: and I wish you a happy new year in advance.

cover letter for managerial job

cover letter for internship as an auditor

cover letter for student

Harvard: Potential students are obviously doing their homework!

harvard kennedy school interview

resume harvard kennedy school

harvard kennedy school

harvard kennedy school tips

harvard resume kennedy school

ksg school harvard interview admissions

resumes kennedy school

what person harvard kennedy school is looking for

harvard kennedy school employees

harvard kennedy school career services

harvard kennedy school interviews

harvard kennedy school waste of time

harvard kennedy school application interview

how to interview for harvard hks

interview for harvard hks

harvard kennedy school admission interview

answers harvard kennedy school interview

motivation letter harvard by jfk

preparation for harvard kennedy school interview

harvard kennedy school admissions tips

harvard kennedy school resume

harvard kennedy school qualities

applying for harvard kennedy school tips

harvard career interview tips

what job can you get out of harvard kennedy

harvard kennedy application interview

kennedy school application interview

phone interview kennedy school

NYC Civil Service:

nyc provisional employees 2010

dcas long beach decision 2010

control council law no. 10

“qualified or not”

can’t afford dcas exams

“long beach decision”, dcas, 2010

nyc provisional employees

long beach vs dcas

dcas and long beach decision

dcas “long beach decision” 2010

nyc doe provisional employee

dcas long beach

 

 

 

Web & logo design: Obviously designers are looking for ideas to copy…

personal coaching logo

web design

logos from nyc companies

technical logo

web designer

business logo design

psd logo hire company

designer logo

design logo

web designer logos

personal design logos

graphic designers personal logo

graphic designs backgrounds

graphic designer logo samples

personal logo graphic designer

round graphic design logo

innovative 2 part logos

graphic designer motivation letter

 

 

 

 

Random:

seo tips

tips for the ceo

portal project requirements

workplace snob

facebook/myspace reply to “do i know you”??

jdeal

i possess a unique set educational and professional experience that, i believe, match with those required for the position.

sources of recruitment by external sources pictures of media advertisements

educational staffing+blogs

Fail: SEO – It doesn’t work if this comes to my blog:

I’m better than you