Idaho Department of Labor workforce consultants serve as career coaches for a job seeker during a mock interview.
They say a great resume will help you get your foot in the door, but it’s how well you handle the interview which determines if you actually get offered the job.
Beth Larson and Katie Taylor, workforce consultants in the Idaho Department of Labor’s Pocatello office, often recommend and perform mock interviews for job seekers. “If you’ve gone on more than four job interviews but have not received a job offer, you may need to ask for help in the form of a mock interview,” Larson said. Larson and Taylor shared the top reasons any job seeker will benefit from a mock interview:
It will help reduce your stress about an important interview.
An important job interview can be very stressful and it is exactly this type of situation which makes most people nervous and more likely to blow it. A little practice with a job coach can make all the difference. Larson and Taylor have helped to coach students who have little to no experience in the job market and need help learning how to handle an interview as well as job seekers who have not been on an interview in a few years. “There are always things we can improve upon when it comes to making a great first impression with a prospective employer,” Taylor said.
Laurie Nowland, human resource representative for Kootenai Health discussed the company’s hiring process with job seeker Rachael Veddar.
Rachel Vedder spent the morning of a recent job fair choosing conservative business attire, collecting multiple copies of her resume and preparing for the hiring event at the Idaho Department of Labor office in Kootenai County.
By checking the local events calendar on the Department of Labor website, Vedder was able to preview the list of employers who were attending the event. This gave her the opportunity to do some research in advance. Information about a company and the job listings also can be found at the company website. Checking business publications, chamber websites and news articles gave her a firm knowledge of the employer and the industry.
The Idaho Department of Labor was awarded a $1.09 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to improve the process of connecting dislocated workers, unemployment insurance claimants, the long-term unemployed and other job seekers to all available services.
Idaho is one of more than 40 states and territories receiving funds from the Reemployment & Systems Integration National Dislocated Worker Grants to provide seed money for solutions to improving connectivity.
What a wonderful email to receive from one of our local veterans.
Navy Gulf War veteran Sherri Henry was seeking a professional position with better benefits for herself and her family. Henry approached AmeriCorps veterans representative, Sheila Kopczynski, for assistance with her job search.
Meanwhile, Mike Greco, an administrative officer with the Army Corps of Engineers Lower Granite Dam, contacted Kopczynski about filling an office automation position, a position similar to an office manager.
One Idaho Department of Labor employee has partnered with radio station KBWE, Radio Voz Latina, to connect with thousands of Spanish-speaking Mini-Cassia residents on workforce issues and employment trends.
Chet Jeppesen, a bilingual workforce consultant from the Burley office, covers a variety of topics at 9 a.m. every Friday. The show was originally planned for 15 minutes but it proved so informative, it was increased to an hour.
It’s becoming more common for employers to favor job candidates who have soft skills over those with only technical skills. While technical, job-related skills can usually be taught, soft skills are more difficult to learn.
In a recent soft skills workshop at the Idaho Department of Labor’s Meridian office, a panel of four employers was asked the following question: If you had two job candidates, one who had eight out of 10 technical skills and was equipped with noticeable soft skills, and the other had 10 out of 10 technical skills but exhibited poor soft skills, who would you hire?
The panel members, made up of human resource professionals, hiring managers and business owners, unanimously agreed: They would hire the candidate with stronger soft skills despite the fact the other candidate had more technical skills.
So what are soft skills and why are they so important when searching for and maintaining employment? According to the panelists, the most desirable soft skills for employees to exhibit include: ability to stay on task, solve problems and show up to work on time; a positive attitude, dependability, effort and an aptitude to work with others and handle stress.
Idaho’s Career Information System is not just for kids. The free, customized online tool also helps adults stay on a solid path toward a successful future while they are in school, training or pursuing a new career.
Students and adults with career plans are more likely to stay in school, pursue a higher education and once they enter the world of work, see greater promotional opportunities. Accessing Idaho’s Career Information System is free and can help both parents and children:
Understand how interests and strengths connect to the world of work
Define a career path
Decide areas of study to pursue in middle/junior high, high school and college
Find the training, education, knowledge – and money – necessary for following their dreams.
Veterans Representative Randy Wilde answers questions about how Idaho Department of Labor employees help veterans find jobs.
What does a Vet Rep do?
We have two types of Veterans Representatives: Local Veterans Employment Representatives and Disabled Veteran Outreach Program specialists. We currently have two local employment reps and 11 disabled veteran program specialists positioned throughout the state based on the veteran population within cities, counties and regions.
I am a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist. My responsibilities are to provide intensive services to all veterans with barriers to employment including service-related disabilities, homelessness, felonies, etc. We help in many ways including assessing the veterans’ capabilities and what they need to do to become employable. We also use other resources such as Veterans Affairs Medical Center, River of Life, El-Ada, Idaho Division of Veterans Services and the Veterans Center to help veterans and get them retrained if possible.
Once they are ready for the job market, the Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist works with the Local Veterans Employment Representatives to help find employment. The local employment representative works with employers to find veterans with the skills and qualifications for the particular position they are trying to fill. Local Veterans Employment Representatives don’t work directly with veterans.
There’s no question: Networking helps increase your social connections. It’s also a great way to find a new job or identify your next employee. Just ask Bob Roehl.
Roehl found employment twice with the help of professional networking group hosted by the Idaho Department of Labor. “I made contact with Clearwater recruiters at one of the meetings and it led directly to my job here at Clearwater,” Roehl said. “I also found my previous job at Transform Solar, due to my attendance at a meeting. I credit the Boise and Meridian groups for helping me hone my elevator pitch and my interviewing techniques. They were invaluable and I recommend them frequently.”
Several hundred professionals have participated in the Idaho Department of Labor’s Professional Networking Group meetings since they were first established in 2009. And if you are a professional looking to strengthen your job search skills, find a new career or wish to talk with an employer wanting to identify future employees, you should plan to attend the next session in your area.
Tracey Stone, recruitment director for Sage Wealth Management LLC, was the guest speaker at a recent Professional Networking Group meeting in our Boise local office.
Finding a New Job
The department’s professional networking groups exist because they work and have proven their ability to enhance a professional’s job search. Meeting topics are diverse and informative. From mock interview panels to teamwork challenges, participants are challenged to learn new job search strategies and networking techniques as a way of helping them land their next job.
Employers have been increasingly voicing concerns about job applicants – especially young ones – having basic job skills – what’s called soft skills.
The Idaho Department of Labor took up their cause recently with a workshop in Pocatello to help young people, typically first-time job seekers, find work. And a major focus was on the following soft skills:
Showing up for work on time
Proper dress and grooming
Working well with others
The ability to follow directions
Strong written and verbal communication skills
Stacy Miller, Mary Johnson and Kim Smith discuss why soft skills are important to employers.
“Soft skills are one of the key factors which can move a young person from being a job seeker to an employee,” department Regional Economist Dan Cravens told the 30 people who took part in the workshop. “We had many employers and parents in the area request that we do a workshop like this so that local youth can better understand how they need to act in order to find a job, and do well at it.”
Many of the 16-to-24-year-olds face the same challenges young people across the country face – unemployment rates over 16 percent. Unemployment rates would probably be higher for this age group, but too many young job seekers have just given up hope of finding work. Continue reading →