Monthly Archives: February 2016

Overcome Your Employment Barriers

Whether it’s lack of job history, a criminal record, a lapse in employment or any host of other potential barriers to employment, you can overcome. Make yourself an attractive candidate by following these helpful tips from Connections to Success Training Director Vivial Lopez:

  • Create a 30-second commercial for yourself. Be prepared to enumerate your skills and how you developed them. Whether through jobs, volunteer work or helping a family member, your skills count.
  • Identify your best features and tailor your presentation to sync them up with what the particular employer is looking for.
  • Do your research. Know what positions and industries are a good fit for you.
  • Be realistic. Be willing to start in an entry-level position and work yourself up from there.

Specific Tips for Specific Situations

When You Have No Job History

  • Develop skills and create a work history through volunteering.
  • Identify where you’d like to work and what title you’d like to have. Then focus your volunteer efforts on developing the skills that jive with your job ideal.
  • Practice, practice, practice on selling yourself with confidence.

When You Have a Criminal Record

  • Own it. Be upfront about it. Take responsibility for it. State when and what, but not the gory details of your crime. Look the interviewer right in the eye and then move on.
  • Focus on who you are now, not who you were then.
  • If you developed job skills while incarcerated be sure to phrase them correctly. Say, “while working for the DOC I learned …” instead of “while I was in prison I learned.”
  • Share what you have learned from your experiences and what you  have done since released, for example:
    • Completed job training
    • Gotten a GED
    • Reconnected with family and the community
    • Practice how to handle the felony question. Never minimize, justify or divert.

When You Have a Job Lapse

  • Communicate how you have been productive since being laid off. Share that you:
    • Have a part-time job
    • Volunteer
    • Work on skill development through classroom and/or online courses
  • Share what you’ve learned while under or unemployed and how it is a perfect fit for the job you’re applying for.

Confidence Goes a Long Way

Remember that, whatever your situation, you need to present yourself with confidence during an interview. Every employer is looking for a can-do attitude, along with a particular skill set. Demonstrate that through:

  •  Good posture. Stand and sit up straight.
  • Eye contact. Look the interviewer right in the eye.
  • Energetic body language. Exude your passion for success.
  • Appropriate dress. Let Dress for Success help you.

The Job is Yours for the Taking

Now that you know what to do, go out and get it.  


Women in Non-Traditional Jobs

Employment opportunities abound for women in the non-traditional fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The STEM career track is the fastest-growing track for women. There are so few women in these jobs that, when a woman walks in the door for an interview, she has a tremendous advantage. As in any interview, a women applying for work in the STEM fields must know and confidently speak about specifically what she can bring to the table and what she’s worth salary wise. Today’s hottest STEM jobs are in all types of engineering, computer programming and computer coding. Engineering is particularly hot because many of the baby boomer engineers are readying for retirement and that’s creating lots of spots for replacements.

Needless to say, women must have the right expertise and education to be able to excel in STEM jobs. In order to develop these talents young women are encouraged to do their homework when deciding which universities to attend and which courses of study to pursue. Career changers and stay at home moms who want to get into STEM positions should check out and Coder Girl, a network for support and encouragement from like-minded women. Coder Girl meets every Wednesday, from 6 to 8 p.m. at 4811 Delmar Blvd.

Careers in science, technology, engineering and match can be extremely lucrative. They can also help to address and solve many of the problems facing the world. And that, of course, is of great importance to many women.