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May 2011
Advice in Today’s Market
By Tony Zeiss

     As president of the largest community college in the state, I am often asked what advice I would give to job seekers and employers in today’s market. Regardless of the economic conditions, my advice remains the same…

 

Advice for Job Seekers:

 

Go Back to School

     Even if you already have a degree, or even an advanced degree, consider going back to school. Community colleges offer a variety of certifications that can enhance your skills set, from Six Sigma to Microsoft Training, Project Management and Leadership and Management. You can also explore a number of personal enrichment courses that can help you balance your work with your personal life, help you improve your physical fitness, reduce stress and more. Courses are affordable and accessible.

 

Network in the Traditional Ways

     It’s not new advice, but it’s effective, particularly in the Charlotte area. Cultivate relationships. Get involved in your community and stay in touch with business associates. Build your network and participate in business and community activities whenever possible.

 

Network in New Ways

     Stay up to speed on the latest social media resources. Utilize LinkedIn to feature your experience, to showcase recommendations of your work, to enhance your professional network and even to start an online portfolio. On Facebook, take full advantage of the security features, including friend lists, to ensure you keep personal information private.

 

Attend Career Fairs

     Participate in career fairs, but be wary; some fairs are just marketing opportunities for educational institutions. Look for credible events that feature businesses which are actively hiring. CPCC’s annual career fair this year hosted over 70 companies hiring for hundreds of full-time and part-time jobs. These events can provide great opportunities to meet face-to-face with potential employers. When you go, bring your resume and dress professionally.

 

Stay Positive

     Throughout your search, stay positive. Job hunting can be frustrating, but keep your eye on opportunities and remain optimistic. Employers want to hire individuals with good, positive attitudes. If you find yourself feeling jaded or discouraged, take a break between interviews and do something you enjoy. Remember to take care of you during this time, not just your resume.

     The bottom line for your organization’s success is tied to your ability to attract skilled workers, develop them and retain them.

 

Advice for Employers:

 

     Today’s economic environment is challenging not only for job seekers, but also for companies who are hiring. There are plenty of skilled workers hoping to find great companies with meaningful work opportunities.

     To attract them, develop a reputation for being a great place to work. You can do this by becoming a great place to work. You can develop peak performing employees by providing professional development activities for all employees. And you can retain and motivate your peak performers by publicly recognizing their contributions, by making them part of the team, by providing personal growth opportunities, and by providing fair compensation tied to performance.

     In the end, building and keeping trusting relationships with people is the key to business success. All people have the same nature and seek security, a sense of belonging and significance. Your success depends upon your ability to meet these fundamental needs of your employees, suppliers and customers.

     Content contributed by Dr. Tony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community College. Learn more at cpcc.edu. For information about Corporate Learning, visit cpcc.edu/cce. Small business resources available at cpcc.edu/e-institute.

Dr. Tony Zeiss is president of Central Piedmont Community College.
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