Job Development Fundamentals from Someone Who Knows



What are the fundamentals of job development?

Higher Peer Advisor Carol Tucker from Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska in Omaha weighed in on this important question during a breakout session on job development at our Third Annual Refugee Employment Workshop in Denver.

Here is what she had to say:

1. Always be ready to talk, meet people and have conversations that represent your organization and clients. Have a “philosophy of friendliness.” Always carry your business cards, and always be looking for opportunities to network. Think of it as sewing seeds – things will not always work out immediately, but with time some of those seeds will grow into wonderful employer partnerships.

2. Build trust. Take your cues from the employer and respond accordingly. Share your process, but respect theirs and adjust when necessary. Your goal is to become their “go-to” person. You’ll also build trust by providing ongoing support. Check in regularly and provide helpful materials such as an employer FAQ sheet, cultural backgrounders, or information about the the legal status, documentation and rights that refugees and asylees possess. Be responsive and ready to take action if they call upon you with a problem or need.

3. Leverage all your resources. Think creatively about ways to increase your capacity and connections. Be intentional about partnering with your development department, with faith communities, and with community volunteers.

4. Help employers become partners. Provide opportunities for your employer partners to share their values through involvement – career mentoring, coat drives, world refugee day, family mentoring, or charitable giving. This will help employers not only value your services but be invested in welcoming refugees to the community.

5. Overwhelm them with your passion, love and faith in refugees. Passion is contagious. People know when you are genuine and when you are sold on your product.

For more tips from Carol, check out this video interview!

Have more job development fundamentals to share? Leave a comment below, or share your thoughts with us at

Please follow and like us:

Thinking Strategically about Survival Jobs



It’s never too early to think about the long-term success of our clients. Although our job development efforts are often focused on initial survival jobs for our clients, it’s important to realize that these jobs don’t have to be dead-end jobs. In fact, some of the industries that we commonly place clients in are industries that are expected to experience serious labor shortages.

A recent Fast Company article titled “5 Jobs that Will Be the Hardest to Fill in 2025” summarized a 2016 report by The Conference Board which predicts that the following industries will have the hardest time finding workers in the coming decade:

Skilled Trades– Large numbers of workers are retiring, but fewer young people are choosing these professions. Electricians, machinists, plant and system operators, rail transportation workers and other skilled trades workers will be in high demand.

Health Care– Healthcare workers of all types will be in greater demand in the coming years. Occupational and physical therapy aides, health diagnosing and treating professionals and home health aides are a few of the professions that expect to experience worker shortages.

Manufacturing– U.S. manufacturing will face a shortage of 2 million workers by 2020 in areas ranging from engineering to production workers.

Sales– Everyone knows that sales is a tough gig. In a nation of consumers, companies rely on brilliant sales people, but they struggle to find them. This will continue to be an issue for companies, large and small, in the coming years.

Math-related fields– While STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields in general are not predicted to be at risk for shortages, jobs that require specialized mathematical skills are in danger of not finding enough talent. Some of these jobs include actuaries, statisticians, and mathematically-minded professionals to work in the big-data sector.

Perhaps with the exception of sales (which in most cases is not a good fit for newly arrived refugees), these fields have great potential as career pathways for refugee job seekers, whether low-skilled or high-skilled.

Healthcare and manufacturing are common industries that we place newly arrived refugees in, and not only offer entry-level jobs, but in many cases offer a career path as well.

Skilled trades are a bit harder to access, but there are some refugees who come with these skills, and opportunities such as on-the-job training and apprenticeships can be a helpful entry point for clients who have the skills and the English ability.

And finally, while it may be a smaller percentage of our clients, we’ve all met refugees who bring STEM skills, including mathematical skills, who are so impressive that it’s intimidating (let’s be honest!).

So next time you’re doing employer outreach why not focus on one of these industries? You may find a survival job that leads to a long-term career path or you may find an employer who desperately needs the skills that one of your clients just happens to have!

For more on using labor market information for job development, check out our post “Using Data to Drive Job Development.”

Please follow and like us:

3 Fall Job Development Strategies

Photo Credit: Michael Nagle/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Michael Nagle/Getty Images

A surge in arrivals now means that you’ll need strong employer relationships and plenty of job openings this fall.  Hiring slows down over the holidays. Now’s the time to make the next four months count with lots of solid job placements.

Here are three ideas to consider from a previous Higher blog post:

1.  Turnover  in Student-related jobs:  There will be turnover in jobs filled by students as their schedules change for a  new semester.  Campus housing, maintenance and food service jobs will be widely available.  Watch for school district hiring fairs for kitchen and lunchroom monitor jobs.  Great for moms who need part time work around children’s schedules.

2.  Start of busy season for hotels:  Business travel.  Cooler weather. Hotels are gearing up for full occupancy now.  Get in touch with your hotel partners.  Approach a couple of new ones.  Consider organizing a special job readiness session focused on preparing for success in back of the house jobs.

3.  Special events staffing:  State fairs. Fall concerts. Football games. All kinds of special events recruit staff to set-up, serve, and clean up. These opportunities are great to build US work experience or as an interim job while you work on a permanent placement. Aramark and Sodexo are national contractors.  A quick google search or phone call should help you identify local contractors.

And why the turkey suit, you ask?  My favorite college job was delivering flowers in costume, including the Easter bunny and a Thanksgiving turkey!  

Please follow and like us:

Email 101: a Two Part Series

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 8.42.09 PM

A screen shot from the infographic

Email signatures:  Make Sure You Have One. Today.

Social media, infographics and vlogs might be trendy. Email is the most common (and cheapest) form of business communication, though. That’s why we’ll offer two companion posts to help you get the most from your email.

Not having an email signature can mean that employers who want to follow-up take the easy path to call a staffing agency. Who knows when a contact suddenly hears about a job and needs to find you quickly?

It’s hard to contact decisions-makers when you’re prospecting.  You can often access high level employer contacts easily and directly via email. Don’t let that security guard or receptionist shut you down!

According to a careersherpa,net Infographic, 48% of professionals don’t have an email signature. This is no surprise based on how many emails in Higher’s inbox don’t include one.  

The Infographic offers  seven tips for creating a good email signature. You can read them for yourself here.  The most important thing is to start using an email signature today. A quick google search will give you easy instructions for how to set it up.  

Higher also advises to include your email signature in replies as well as email you generate. Send us an email to show off your new email signature!

Please follow and like us:

Free Higher Webinar: Job Development Strategies for Syrian Clients

6.30 webinarPlease join us Thursday, June 30th at 3:30 pm EST for a free webinar, Job Development Strategies for Syrian Clients.

Learn about emerging job development strategies that have been effective for Syrian clients.  Hear how your peers provide employment services that are client-centered and results-oriented.

Panelists will discuss unique barriers to employment faced by Syrian clients, as well as the unique skills they bring with them to the U.S.  Whether it’s your first day or you’re a seasoned job developer, you won’t want to miss this opportunity!

Register for the webinar here.

Please follow and like us:

Using Data to Drive Job Development

With such limited time and capacity, you’ve got to make the most out of the time you have for Job Development.

Back in February, we highlighted some online industry research tools available on that can help Job Developers be strategic about what industries they pursue by looking at local labor market information such as fastest growing occupations, most total job openings and occupations with the largest employment.

We’ve recently come across a similar (though less extensive) resource that also presents labor market information, but in a format that is much more user-friendly and more visually appealing. provides a “graphic representation of occupation employment statistics.” The website was developed by SymSoft Solutions using open data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, and provides insights on employment trends and salary information for various occupations.

This helpful website allows you to view big-picture information such as top industries across the nation, or filter search results by occupation group, specific occupation, state or metro areas. For example, here is what you get when you filter results for “Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations” in the San Diego – Carlsbad, CA area:

Where are the Jobs Visual

We hope that this tool as well as the resources available at will increase your ability to use your time wisely and strategically identify the best opportunities for your clients.

If you have any stories about how you’ve used data-driven strategies to drive your job development efforts we’d love to hear them. Share your story by emailing us at or by using the comments section below.



Please follow and like us:

11 Options for Low Skilled Clients

Throwback Thursday: a classic Higher blog post about a fundamental of our work.

11 Job Options for Low Skilled Clients

Please follow and like us:

8 Steps to Get the Most from Cold Calling in a High Volume Shopping Area

Outdoor Shopping CenterThrowback Thursday: a classic Higher blog post about a fundamental of our work.

Cold call canvassing can be intimidating, but is one effective component of your job development strategy that you can’t afford to avoid.  Consider trying it in a high volume outdoor strip mall with a high volume and wide variety of retail businesses.

If you plan well, an afternoon’s work can net immediate job leads, numbers to call for future openings and even strategic employer contacts for longer term relationship development.

Sometimes getting out of the office helps you stay motivated and fueled with fresh ideas.  (And, if you happen into a DSW or Starbucks, a 10 minute break can really boost your energy level, as well.)

Here are 8 steps for making the most of this approach.  Gather your courage.  Make a plan.  Now, GO!

  1. Pick the best target.  Select a location on a bus line or accessible on-foot for a large number of clients.
  2. Come prepared.  Bring business cards, marketing materials and something to record information for your database and follow-up plans.
  3. Look the part.  Plan to dress appropriately since your first impression will be important.  Wear comfortable shoes since you’ll be walking a lot.
  4. Timing is critical.  Canvass businesses between 2:00 – 5:00 pm.  Noone wants to be bothered during the lunch rush.  Decision makers are often not on duty early in the morning or late in the work day.
  5. Jump on the openings you find.  You are very likely to identify a few immediate openings, some of which might not be advertised yet, so competition might be less.  Be prepared to respond to them within 24 hours at the latest.  Text or email them to your team immediately.  Have a couple of clients in mind so you can help them apply quickly.  You could even bring client resumes to lay the groundwork for them to respond in person.
  6. Be on the lookout for follow-up opportunities.  Note any employer that seems especially promising for longer term relationship building.  This won’t apply to every business in the shopping area, but you might find an interested manager or employee with some kind of connection you can leverage.
  7. Grab applications. They can be useful for future openings or to help clients practice completing them for general skill building.
  8. Don’t forget to capture basic information.  Include contact information, the application process, common types of jobs and any other details you can glean for your employer database.






Please follow and like us:

Tips from a Veteran Job Developer

Need a little mid-week inspiration? Higher Peer Advisor Carol Tucker, Job Developer at Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska in Omaha, shares tips from her 18 years in Job Development:

What tips do you have to share? Share your tips in the comments section or by sending us an email at

Please follow and like us:

Why Job Development Should Speed Up When Hiring Slows Down

Snow tracks


If you’ve worked in employment services for awhile, you know that December and January are the slowest hiring months of the year. If there is one time of year when you feel like you’re terrible at your job, it’s probably during this so called “most wonderful time of the year!”

But before you give up and resort to reckless consumption of eggnog or chocolate, let me offer another perspective: December and January may be the best time in the year to begin cultivating strategic relationships with brand new employers that will benefit your clients in the long term.

Yes, some people will be on vacation, but with less hiring going on, employers probably actually have time to talk to you! Believe me, it is worth it to brave the cold and get out there for some meetings. The effort that you put in now will have a direct influence on which employers are calling you several months from now- If you want to have a good March, June, or September make it a good December.

As you think about which employers to target, consider prioritizing employers that have a strong record of providing in-house training programs that help employees “climb the ladder” within the organization. Last month at Higher’s Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop, Dr. Faith Nibbs of the Forced Migration Upward Mobility Project (FMUMP) shared that refugees who found long term career success often did so through these types of training programs.

A great place to start identifying companies that provide training is Training Magazine’s annual “Top 125” list of organizations that excel at employee development. While some companies may be out of reach for your clients, there are many on the list that offer realistic career entry points including Jiffy Lube, Dollar General, Walgreens, ConAgra Foods, McDonalds, Choice Hotels International, MGM Resorts International, PetSmart, and Enterprise Rent A Car.

For a wonderful example of this kind of career laddering check out this video story from FMUMP about an Ethiopian refugee who has opened more than 20 Domino’s Pizza franchises!




Please follow and like us: