Friday, May 31, 2013

Top Ten Signs your Job Search is On the Right Track

10. Your doctor says you’re more rested and healthy than he’s ever seen you.

9. You know where your former supervisors are, but not in a creepy internet stalker kind of way.

8. You have more meetings now than when you were working, only without the lame Power Point presentations.

7. Your kids are asking YOU for tips on building their social media brand

6. The non-profit organization you work for has named you volunteer of the month.

5. You take weekends off to catch up on all the TV and errands you haven’t had time for.

4. All your neighbors know what you do for a living and what your target companies are.

3. People miss you when you’re not at the professional association meetings.

2. You keep running out of thank you notes.

1. You’re finally happy with your resume.

Mary Turner
LA Fellows Cohort 7

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

LA Fellows has been the most powerful tool in my job search

LA Fellows has been the most powerful tool in my job search. The support and connections are limitless. I am a professional fundraiser, so I chose The Southern California Center for Non Profit Management as my 100 hour internship. My official title for the volunteer position was Logistics and Seminar Recruiter.

In this role, I coordinated seminars, participated in grant writing, leadership, social media, marketing, and fund development meetings, and I met the founders and the fundraisers from more nonprofits then I ever knew existed.

This all culminated on Friday May 10th with the 501 Conference. Speakers at this huge event included the president and CEO of United Way, the President of Southern California Grantmakers, the Executive Director of First 5, Los Angeles and the author of "Who Stole the American Dream.”

I am so inspired by everyone I have met. And yes, these are the people who will change poverty, education and entire communities in LA. Yes we will!!

Debra Goldfield

LA Fellow Cohort 7

Friday, May 17, 2013

Why Join LA Fellows?

It’s a fair question for people considering applying for LA Fellows to ask: What’s in it for me? If I spend those 140 hours in classes, and that 100 hours at a non-profit organization doing volunteer work, what do I get out of it? It takes away from spending that time actually looking for a job, doesn’t it?
As a graduate of Cohort 7 I can tell you LA Fellows is well worth the time spent.
Prior to starting the program, I was spending hours every day hunched over my laptop scanning for job postings and sending out resumes, with nary an interview to show for it. I assumed it was the economy, the fact that hundreds of resumes are received for every job posted. I went to the Work Source centers and invariably found myself in line next to someone looking sad and defeated who said, as if scripted, “I’ve been out of work for over a year.” I had begun to believe that that was just the reality in 2013. I had begun to believe that I would have to continue on this way until, as if by magic, some soulless employer with a job that paid even less than my previous one, and had nothing to do with my goals in life, called and agreed to let me serve a portion of my existence in their employ.
It seemed pretty bleak.
Through LA Fellows, I found that I was only doing 25% of what I could have been doing to find a job. Yes, the internet is one tool that everyone should use, but it’s not the only tool and certainly not as effective overall as other things one could be doing. The instructors de-mystified things like social media (Did you know you can get a job through Twitter?) and taught me about building my online brand as a job searcher. I learned that networking is not a four-letter word (I used to be so much better at spelling and math – what happened?) and it’s not as intimidating as it sounds, especially if you bring a friend. And I never would have thought to “bother” a stranger by calling/emailing them to ask to tap into their expertise through a short informational interview. All of these things help to make an individual more the known candidate, tap into the hidden job market and cut through the suck effect of the black hole that is the internet job search.
In addition, I got help on my resume. Prior to starting the program, I had gotten lots of free advice on what I should say and how I should format it. But many of the “experts” in person, in print and online, gave conflicting information. No version seemed markedly better than another. In class, Lynnette gave us sensible counsel on what the resume should look like and why. As a group, we got to know what each person’s experience was, what their strengths are, and where they wanted to take their careers; we helped each other translate that for potential hiring managers. I learned to stop advertising what I wasn’t selling, but to instead focus the document to play up the strengths I *did* want to use in my next position. We learned to change bullet-pointed duties to actual accomplishments, even when we took it for granted that we had none.

In LA Fellows, I met and got to know amazing people that I hope I stay in touch with for the rest of my life. Seeing myself through their eyes was a revelation, and a boost to my sometimes-lagging self-esteem. My spirits were raised because we laughed a LOT. When we struggled, or broke down in tears (yes, that’s how close we got), there was always a strong shoulder, Kleenex and help to move forward. Unlike before I joined, I no longer feel alone in this journey; they understand even better than family and friends because they’re right there on the path next to me. I frequently send job leads to my classmates that seem to match what they’re looking for, and they do the same for me. Did I mention we laugh a lot too?

I see the results of working the program, even now so soon after our graduation: Fellows landing jobs, getting more interviews, meeting interesting and influential people, finding the career path they want instead of the one they went down because it was there. I don’t panic when others succeed because I know it will happen for me too, thanks to everything we learned and thanks to the support of the program, the instructors and my fellow Fellows.
One caveat: you have to be willing to say “yes” to the opportunities offered and do the work. It’s a chance to learn (free for you!) a better way to job search. You just have to be open to it, and give it a try. If some part doesn’t work for you, you don’t have to keep using it, but you’ll have that resource if you need it.
So, will we see YOU at the next orientation?

Mary Turner
LA Fellows, Cohort 7

Friday, May 10, 2013


I have a box of comic strips I’ve collected over the years that make me laugh. One strip dates back to the last time I was unemployed. The recently laid off hero of the strip is shown typing at his home computer in the first panel looking fresh and professional, thinking “Scan all recent job postings…” That panel is labeled First Week. The second panel is Fifth Week. He has traded the dress shirt for a T-shirt, his face is stubbly and he stares at the newspaper pondering “Which sounds cooler, CIO or COO?” By the third panel, Week Eleven, still stubbly, he’s kicked back on the sofa, in the same rumpled T-shirt, hair looking shaggy, eating potato chips and thinking “Oh, what would Mayberry do without you Andy?” as the TV blares in front of him.
Does this sound familiar?
When we’re punching the proverbial time clock, there’s always someone or something keeping us accountable for staying on task, whether it’s a client calling, another widget coming your way down the conveyor belt, or the reminder that your review is coming up. Too often when we lose our jobs we find ourselves alone at home with no structure, no set schedule and no one to say, “Is that resume ready yet?” or “Did you research your list of target companies today?” It’s easy to succumb to the siren song of that big box in the kitchen  that lights up when you opens its door and hums appreciatively afterwards, or that wicked temptress of the internet known as Hulu (Did you know they have 58 full episodes of Project Runway – FREE?).
Without accountability, it’s easy to get sloppy and waste time as you lose focus on your job search. Being a part of LA Fellows is a great way to get back on track and keep your eyes on what’s going to move your search forward. Having those 3-4 days per week where you have to get dressed in your work attire (most cohorts agree that PJ’s and bunny slippers are not acceptable), be on time and be engaged really helps to put you back in the headspace of being a professional with a mission.
Moving on when those classes are over is easier too. There are classmates who are willing to check in once a week for coffee and an accountability meeting: we’ll practice interview questions, go over updated resumes (we’re still working on out non-profit internships --- brand new bullet points to add!), update each other on progress, and brainstorm on how to get over the snags we may hit along the way. You can reach out to other jobseekers too, whether from other cohorts, job clubs at LAVC or the Work Source centers, or if there was a layoff at your last job you can reach out to former coworkers and help each other through this new adventure of unemployment. As long as you don’t let it devolve into a “woe is me” whine fest or gripe session, and you focus on the goal, accountability sessions are a wonderful tool.
For Cohort 7 there are weekly accountability emails to our caseworkers at EDD, CC’d to Allison and Keri at LA Fellows describing our job search activities and what we’re doing to work the program and move forward. Even if you never join LA Fellows, keeping your caseworker informed can be a great practice. They have resources you may not know of or have access to on your own. If you don’t have a caseworker, make a pact with an unemployed friend to exchange an email at a set time every week. The act of writing it alone helps. Even if you’re not going to ‘fess up to the Mayberry marathon in print, you’ll think about it and be more averse to taking on that guilt the next week.

Mary Turner
LA Fellows Cohort 7

Friday, May 3, 2013

Job Seekers: Find your next job through free training and volunteerism. Become an LA Fellow!

Los Angeles Valley College Job Training is searching for unemployed men and women for the LA Fellows program. The program will provide unemployed individuals with skills training and volunteer opportunities while they seek full-time positions.

LA Fellows participants will be selected through an application and interview process. They will receive nine weeks of training at Los Angeles Valley College covering executive level topics, including, critical thinking, advanced job search skills, and how to generate effective business leads. In return, participants will volunteer their time and talents by sharing their professional expertise through project based roles at local nonprofits.

The LA Fellows participants will acquire new skill sets, encounter countless opportunities to network with professionals, and project a marketable career candidate impression while presenting a community-focused image.

We hope you can join us at one of our informational sessions to learn more about the LA Fellows program and application process, and get your questions answered. Job Seekers only need to attend one informational session.

LA Fellows Informational Sessions

All sessions begin at 9:00am. Be prepared to stay two hours.
Wednesday, May 8
Wednesday, May 15
Wednesday, May 22
Wednesday, May 29
Wednesday, June 5

Los Angeles Valley College
5800 Fulton Avenue
Valley Glen, CA 91401-4096
Monarch Den – located near the cafeteria         

Free parking in available in Lot B at the corner of Oxnard St. and Fulton Ave. Parking tickets will not be issued during the informational sessions.  
An application is available online and you are encouraged to fill it out prior to attending the informational session – but it is not required to attend.
If you know other job seekers who might be interested in the program, please encourage them to attend one of the informational sessions.

For more information about the LA Fellows program, please visit: or call 818.947.2941.