5 Reasons the Holidays are the BEST Time to Look for Work

Holiday HiringiStock_000022328217XSmallThe holidays present unique job development opportunities.  Read the entire article or just read the 5 reasons summarized here.

A more recent article from a major recruiting and consulting firm provides much of the same advice through the lens of recent strong job growth numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Enjoy the season, have fun AND do a little passive preparation to hit the ground running in January.

  1. Competition levels plummet.  Most job seekers aren’t looking over the holidays.
  2. January and February are the strongest hiring period of the year.  Laying the groundwork now can help you make up placement numbers in the slower holiday months.
  3. There’s no better time of year to schmooze.  A hard sell won’t work, but our work always makes interesting cocktail conversation with new contacts.
  4. Now is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with old contacts Click here to get more info and download a free eCard graphic to send a holiday thank you to employers.
  5. The holidays are a great time to enlarge your circle.  There are all kinds of unique venues to meet more people.  You never know who might be a future refugee employer.

(The holidays always bring different work flows for us, changing circumstances for employers and special challenges for clients. Throughout the holiday season, watch Higher’s blog for ideas and analysis you can use now to navigate the holiday season and get a jump on the new year. )

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Happy Thanksgiving

TurkeyMany of us are already traveling or cooking for tomorrow.  If any of you have special Thanksgiving events for clients and would like to share photos or ideas around this unique US celebration, we’ll be happy to share them on our blog.   Higher social media and blog posts will continue from Monday.  Enjoy the long weekend!

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50 Niche Job Boards

Niche Job Board List via higheradvantage.orgWOW!  Part-time and telecommuting, Healthcare, Internships, Trucking, Manufacturing, Finance/Accounting….

There are tons of options on this  job board list (click here) from smartrecruiters.com and  even more sites in the comment section at the end.

How to Use Them?

1.  Identify new leads for job development and job openings to pursue right now.  Especially helpful for rare client skills that don’t match your go-to employment partner positions.

2.  Share one or two with highly-skilled clients to support their independent job search.  (Be sure they know the limitations of over-reliance on online applications.)

3.  Ask a volunteer or intern to explore the list, select the best ones and then share with the network via Higher’s blog.

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Friday Feature: Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky

Heads in Beds CoverHeads in Beds, a recent memoir by Jacob Tomsky  gives an insiders view of what it’s like to work in a hotel.

Some of the terms he uses – like “heart of the house” are probably famliar to many of you already.

Other tricks and experiences may not be as familiar, but there’s lots to help you understand what refugees who work in hotels could learn and experience.  It’s an entertaining glimpse into the cynical side of the hospitality industry.

(Every Friday we highlight one entertainment option related to our clients or some aspect of our work to help you celebrate the weekend and possibly recommend to employers and other community supporters in the following week.)


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Free Tool IDs Key Words

apply online red buttonOn-line applications equal frustration for clients and Employment professionals.

Nothing good ever comes from computer literate clients wasting time submitting imperfect on-line applications and never making it past automated key word screening.

Jobscan.co offers an on-line tool that may help.  (Click here).  Paste in a resume and job description to get key word matches and other tips.  For more background about how “bots” work with online applications, refer to this previous blog post.

How You Could Use it
  • Demonstrate with a client resume as you help them understand why they aren’t getting calls and need to do more than apply on-line.
  • Provide the URL to clients after the discussion.  Assign them the homework of using it on their own to 1dentify some words to add or change.
Customer Review

With my own resume, it recommended that I change the “Professional Experience” heading in my own resume to “Work Experience”, which is more common.

I also tried it with an on-line application by cutting and pasting job descriptions I had written for a client.

It took  more time to clip in job descriptions instead of an entire resume, but it gave me several obvious key words from the job announcement that were not included at all in my application.  In both of my trials, some of the words it picked up on were clearly based on frequency of use, not relevance to any kind of skill.

Bottom line

It takes a bit of thought to put the results to work.  On balance, I think it’s worth a try and would love to hear how it works for you.




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Sign Up One Colleague to Higher’s Blog

Photo by Higher staff at higheradvantage.orgHigher needs to make a strong case for continued funding as FY14 draws to a close amidst continued funding uncertainty.

Please help us deliver measurable proof that our resources are valuable and reaching a growing audience.

Here are 3 easy steps to sign up one colleague to receive the blog in their inbox in less than 2 minutes.

  1. Go to our home page (http://higheradvantage.org)
  2. Enter their email in the box on the right hand side right below the top banner, enter a simple verification code and hit enter.
  3. Tell them to look for a confirmation email in their inbox and don’t forget to ask their permission first.

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LinkedIn: Peer Advice and Practical Steps

Linked in now whatLinkedIn becomes more important for job seekers every day.  Not on LinkedIn, yet? Not a Job Developer? Not sure social media’s more than the latest fad?

You’ll be convinced by success stories and advice from your peers, practical resources and tips to help you get started quickly.

How Your Peers Use LinkedIn

Here’s what Bonni Cutler, Catholic Charities San Diego and David Roth, Lutheran Services Carolinas said when asked to share their successful strategies:

Bonni:  I always have the name of a contact person at any company that I am going after. Recently a new bus route opened up new employment opportunities and I need contacts immediately.  Within 48 hours, I used LinkedIn to locate HR contacts to find out what the hiring needs were of the major employers in the area. I even had an email conversation with the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Sony.

Currently I am using LinkedIn to find the names of retail managers at the big box stores and low end retail outlets so my job developer can form relationships that befit our clients.


David:  I post relevant articles so that my name, agency and refugees stay fresh in people’s minds and encourages informed, welcoming communities.

I could never get in touch with a temp agency contact.  After meeting her at a networking event, we connected on LinkedIn.  When she got a new job as a Waffle House recruiter, she got in touch.  I’m still working the lead, but I’ve already learned about their manager trainee program and promoted a specific candidate for a job opening.  Without LinkedIn, I’d never have made the connections.

 How to Track Down the Contacts You Need Via LinkedIn

Bonni put together a quick step-by-step guide to use her strategy for finding the right employer contact.  Thanks again, Bonni.  You can download it here.  It’s a Higher exclusive!  Cool!

More Ideas to Make the Most of LinkedIn (or Get Started)

1.  Click here for an infographic with more ways to use LinkedIn.

2.  Go to LinkedIn and create a profile.  Have your resume and a high quality photograph ready.

3.  Connect with Higher and Lorel Donaghey to find other Employment Pros, networking groups and employers to build your networks quickly.


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TBT: Refugee Resettlement in Maine

Tom and Hassan

Hassan Mahmoud, future physician. Photo courtesy of Catholic Charities Maine.

 Higher’s February 2014 newsletter featured several innovations and program successes from Maine.  Here are a couple of updates and fresh perspectives for our own version of Throwback Thursday.

1.   Catholic Charities Maine’s Mentoring Program in Portland

Hassan Mahmoud and Sean Lena were one of the initial 21 mentor matches in CCMaine’s first cohort of an employment mentor pilot program.  Both were  working toward becoming Doctors of Osteopathic medicine.  Hassan and the program have made amazing forward progress in just a few months.

Hassan  has passed the first of three Board Exams required for certification – a major milestone in realizing his dream of becoming a doctor.  Sean and Hassan are still in touch although the formal time frame of their program commitment has passed.

CCMaine has added 28 new mentor-mentee relationships and made several program adjustments based on what works best for clients and their community.  They’ve expanded the focus to include academic goals, offered several group activities and reduced the time commitment from a year to six months with more frequent meetings during the shortened time frame.

Ashley Storrow, the Americorps volunteer who got the program started has been promoted into a full-time position at CCMaine.  Bethany Sack, also an Americorps volunteer, is now taking the program even farther and a third Americorps volunteer will begin the third year of this successful initiative in a few months.

2.   New American Sustainable Agriculture Project (NASAP) Fresh Start Farm in Lewiston

We outlined the growing, marketing and small business components of this innovative model program.  Watch There Is My Home: Somali Bantu Farmers of Lewiston Maine, a 26-minute documentary film to hear more about the power of this project from the perspective of two Somali women farmers. Thanks to Halima A. Adams, Program Specialist at Church World Service headquarters in New York for sharing the film link.


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High Skilled and Well Paid Jobs for High School Grads.

Forbes career pic

Photo Credit: Forbes.com

Two recent articles from Forbes and Business Insider feature well-paid jobs that do not require college degrees.   Clients (and maybe you, too) will not be aware of most of them.

Most require on-the-job experience and some level of vocational training or technical certification. All require strong English and communication skills.

None of these are “starter jobs”.  Providing this information to highly skilled clients could help them expand their vision of job options and longer term career pathways.

Reviewing the list could give you fresh ideas for job development or short term skill training options.


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Diaspora Profiles: Ethiopia, Colombia, Vietnam and Haiti

MPI ProfileCheck out Migration Policy Institute’s newly-released online profiles of 15 diaspora populations, including four with significant refugee or asylee components.

Diaspora populations often perform essential functions in the economic and human capital development of their countries of origin, and can continue playing a strong role in shaping these countries long after they or their forebears departed.  ...the United States… is home to nearly 60 million first- or second-generation immigrants.


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