Happy Birthday AJE!

Happy birthday.This Fourth of July, coinciding with the America’s Birthday, America’s Job Exchange (AJE) celebrates its 7th birthday. AJE was launched on the fourth of July 2007 and it has been an exciting seven years so far as AJE has gradually become a market leader in online recruitment with a special emphasis on helping enterprises hire diversity talent to ensure compliance with the federal regulations governing equal employment and affirmative action. More than one thousand leading corporations of our nation have leaned on AJE to help them drive talent acquisition through a combination of private sector diversity outreach and the assets of the state Employment Service Delivery Systems. Thousands of other organizations have used AJE simply to reach and hire talent. What started as a market exploration with the left over technology of the DOL’s America’s Job Bank ended up as a pioneer and market leader in a niche category of the online recruitment market that was non-existent before 2007.

During these short seven years, AJE has launched numerous products and services to help customers be successful. Besides consistently attracting more than a million job seekers to its flagship job site www.americasjobexchange.com , it has launched community specific job sites for the veterans and individuals with disabilities to help employers enrich their affirmative action programs for those communities. AJE has extended job search to mobile through its iPhone App, and brought job search to the social media through its Facebook job search application. It has assisted employers to expand reach by the use of aggregators and created direct link to community based organizations that are critical for hiring diversity. And, it has collaborated with the state employment delivery systems to ensure job reach to those helping job seekers at the one-stop centers and searching on the state job banks. Once again, AJE has taken the lead by creating the most comprehensive reporting and data analytics platform to help organizations improve their hiring effectiveness and navigate through compliance evaluations.

This couldn’t have been possible without a great team that committed itself to the cause, and without the support and assistance from hundreds of partners in the ecosystem – such as niche job sites, affirmative action specialists, compliance consultants, EEO advisors and, of course, governmental agencies such as the state workforce development divisions in all fifty states, the Department of Labor and numerous community based organizations.

So as I look back to a hectic Fourth of July weekend seven years back trying to launch our site, I thank everyone for helping us exceed our wildest dreams of that day. And I hope that we will continue our journey with greater confidence and make bigger impact in the online recruitment and compliance category.

It is truly a time for celebration, and a time to renew our commitment!

Notes from the Road: You are not alone!

RathinOne of the greatest perks of my job is traveling through the nation and meeting industry influencers, practitioners and customers. I have this unique opportunity to learn from others and share my own perspectives on what is current and new in the industry during this pivotal year of regulatory changes. As we all know, the employment related regulatory enforcement agency, the OFCCP, has rolled out sweeping changes in regulations governing certain groups with the intent of improving employment situation of individuals with disability and veterans. Of course, the regulations relating to non-discrimination at the workplace, and affirmative action for selected groups remain in vogue, while emphasis and attention is being drawn to the employment situation of those with a disability and those who are veterans.

In the trail of the Southwest Regional ILG conference (SWARM) and Quad-A (American Association of Affirmative Action), I was at the South Carolina/North Carolina ILG conference in Columbia, SC yesterday. The theme of the conference was “Leveraging OFCCP Compliance Resources and Solutions”. How appropriate! HR and EEO departments in corporations are already up to their eyeballs with work during these days of tight budgets, and now the complexity of the new regulations and additional administrative burden is really stretching the limits. Navigating the web of regulations, understanding the implications, and then the task of actually implementing the programs pose a challenge. In addition to traditional AAP development process, and subsequent adverse impact and utilization analysis related statistical work, recruitment outreach and record keeping in support of the new regulations is a major source of anxiety for many HR and EEO professionals. This is compounded with the introduction of annual hiring benchmarks for veterans and individuals with disability, and the resulting requirement for annual review of the effectiveness of recruitment outreach.
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Getting Back to Work After a Career Break

Job SearchIt is easier to job search when you are employed but what if you currently do not have a job? What if you haven’t had a job for a long period of time? Employers will notice a gap in your resume so think about a few things seriously. For instance, who will take on the roles you have been performing during your career break? Can you share this with others? If you have been out for an illness, are you feeling a 100%? Are you returning to a familiar field or would like to enter a new area? Do you have the required skills or do you need training or retraining? Do you have a long-term plan? What if you were fired? Firings and lay-offs are very much part of corporate culture today so just move forward with your job search without letting this bring you down.

Planning:

Before you go full-on with your job search, some reflection is in order. Keep a journal, listing your skills and interests. Also, what skills do you need to acquire? How much time are you giving yourself to find this new job and accordingly, how much time can you put in daily to achieve this goal? If you are changing fields, then research what opportunities are out there in your desired field, read up on it, attend relevant lectures and seminars, enroll in courses, talk to people in the field and use their inside knowledge as a resource. Work out short-term, mid-term and long-term career goals. Once you know your values, interest, goals, the career that interests you, set target dates too. Short-term goals should be within the year, mid-term goal should be achieved in three years and long-term goals should be achieved in five years. If you have been fired, leave the explanation of this difficult situation out of your job application form. You can say things like “job ended” or “will discuss in person.” If you can get away from listing this job on your resume then that would be best. Say if you held that job for only a few months. It will come up in the interview and will need to be addressed by you.

Build your Brand: Network

Surround yourself with professional peers. If you can find an able and knowledgeable mentor who is trusted in the industry, that would be the best case scenario as he/she can help open several doors. Networking is a must, do not underestimate it. Would it not be great if a recruiter or hiring manager meets you through a trusted contact before they learn about your being away for a while from the workforce?   If they are impressed with you face to face, then your absence from the workforce won’t matter as much. Attend networking events, and invite former colleagues and clients to meet for coffee.
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Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Interview Mistakes

A resume might get you an interview but it is the interview that will get you the job. Therefore, a job interview is the make-it or break-it part of a job application process. You would want to create an impression on the employer so deep that they will not see anybody else as a better fit for the job. There are some really easy steps you can take to make sure you are completely prepared for your big day and avoid these common mistakes:

Before the interview day:

Call to confirm day/time/place of the interview. State your name clearly and ask for pronunciation of names in your interview list that you are not sure of.

On the interview day Documents:

Bring necessary documents, several copies of your resume, portfolio and completed application (if required).

Interview manners:

Stand up to greet the interviewer and anyone else who enters the room as it is a sign of respect. Make sure your handshake is firm and you maintain good eye contact. Smile and appear warm.

Speech:

Providing too much unnecessary information, rambling on and on, blurting out something as soon as the interviewer stops talking because you are nervous and pretending to understand something you do not, are recipes for creating a negative impression.

Attire:

It is really important to dress professionally. Loud colors, too much skin and too much jewelry are not good ideas. Dress conservatively.

Be ready with answers:

Research typical job questions. Know ahead of time what your answers will be to generic questions such as, “What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years? What can you contribute to the company that no one else can? What are your career goals?”

Be ready with questions:

An interview is all about answering questions no doubt. But it is also about asking good questions. You should be prepared to ask good questions about the position.

Do your research:

Never come to an interview knowing nothing about the company and about the people who you will meet on the interview day. You should research the company’s products, culture, policies, philosophy, career growth opportunities and also gather knowledge about the leaders of the company and their vision. You should definitely research the position. This way, you will be able to hold intelligent and well-informed conversation about the company. You will also be able to ask better questions.
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Virtual Job Fairs- Are You Using Them?

Summer JobsVirtual job fairs have existed for a while but now are becoming more mainstreamed and being recognized as a very useful tool by both job seekers and employers. Companies looking to match job openings with candidates with the right skills are turning to virtual job fairs to reduce cost and also to expand reach. In these online forums candidates can join from anywhere without having to travel. Some companies have their own virtual fairs while others join broad based virtual career fairs hosted by job boards. In these online “events” candidates and employers meet in a virtual environment but are able to have ‘face to face’ meetings and discussion. Job seekers can sign in and upload resume to be matched with employers, or are able to simply browse companies’ online “booths”. These “booths” are often staffed by recruiters and hiring managers and candidates can ‘line-up’ to ‘speak’ with them directly on topics such as job openings, growth opportunities, compensation, benefits and company culture.

The advantages of a virtual job fair are that candidates can be part of a recruitment event from the comfort of their own couch. In one day, they are able to meet a multitude of recruiters and hiring managers from different companies. The travel expense is completely eliminated and there are ample networking opportunities. Also, much of the information in an online job fair can be digested at the job seeker’s own pace. Sometimes there are live one-on-one chats with high level executives that a job seeker would probably not have had access to in a traditional job fair. For employers it is advantageous as they can target a very large geographic area so their candidate pool is highly enlarged. Virtual job fairs also allow candidates to learn about international opportunities.
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Don’t Slow Down during Summer !

Summer JobsSummer isn’t officially here yet, but you can feel it coming. You are ready for all the fun but worried about your job search. There is a myth out there that companies do not hire in the summer as people take vacation and family time off. The truth could not be farther off. For companies, summer is business as usual. So to keep your job search moving in the dog days, here are some suggestions:

Network at Social Events

Summer is naturally a more social time, so use social events like barbecues, marriages, picnics etc. to network and build contacts. Always keep your antennae up but don’t act aggressive and needy as that turns people off. Make connections and follow up appropriately.

Create/ Belong to Networking Groups

Create or belong to groups of like- minded people to keep your summer job search alive. You might have leads that someone else could use and vice versa. Also, this is a way to connect with people who are facing similar challenges and talking to them will keep you on the right track and provide insights.

Jobs Are There

The fact is there are many unfilled jobs due to lack of skilled candidates and the summer will give you an edge because you will face less competition if other job- seekers also believe in the “no- jobs- in- the- summer” myth. Companies are looking to hire talent and especially in the technical field there is a huge dearth of qualified candidates.

Assess Your Resume and Skills

Re-evaluate your resume. Does it show you in the best light? Are your skills very easy to understand? Is your resume reader-friendly and keyword heavy? Do some research on what good resumes should incorporate. There are many available on the Internet and are good samples. You can also enlist the help of a professional resume writing service from America’s Job Exchange. Or, perhaps have your resumes distributed to hundreds of job sites for maximum exposure. Also, take a look to see if you could or should add any credentials to stay current or show case new skills.

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