September Offerings for Job Seekers at the Newton Free Library

September 8, 2011

Newton Free Library Parking Lot Entrance

SERIES PROGRAM:  The first of eight programs, Reinventing Yourself in Today’s Economy,  is being presented on Wednesday, September 14th, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in Newton Free Library’s Drucker Auditorium.  It is part of the Library’s Job Seekers, Career and Professional Development Series being offered from September though May.  There will be two speakers, Danila Szekely and Tammy Gooler Loeb, both career coaches.  For a complete list of topics and dates, see my blog posting dated July 27th, 2011To find the Drucker Auditoriumtake your first left after you come into the building from the parking lot. Then it’s the first door on your left.

This first program is being given by career coach Danila Szekely.  The presentation will include tools, suggestions, and exercises to help you progress to the next step in your career.  Whether you are working within your chosen career, looking for another position,  or seeking an entirely new job in a different field, the information provided here may prove useful to you.

CLASS:  The second September offering will be my Applying for a Job Online class being held on Thursday, September 15th, starting at 2:30 pm. The class can run over it’s 3:30 deadline depending on various factors in each class.  It must be over no later than 4:00.

How to Get to the Computer Training Room: The class is held in the computer training room on the second floor near the front staircase.  When you come off the staircase go straight.   There will be a reference desk on your right.  On your left you will pass a statue who’s back is to the study rooms.  Straight ahead will be the computer training room. If you come from the front elevator (on your right just before you get to the first floor Children’s Room) take a left as you step out of the elevator on the second floor then go straight and follow the directions as though you have come off the staircase.  This room is open for use when classes are not in session.  Hence the 4:00 deadline.  Patrons will be signed up to use the computers from 4:00 pm onward.

Class Content: The class covers the use of several online databases, gives tips on dealing with applying for a job online, and demonstrates in detail how to change a formatted resume into plain text.  Having a plain text copy of a resume is critical when it needs to be sent in the body of an email or to be cut and pasted into an online job application. There is a large amount of material to go over.  This is one reason a class can sometimes run overtime. You will be given handouts of everything covered in class. You should be able to  follow the handouts and  do at home most of what we do in class.

CLUBNow in its eighth year, “Women in Career Transition” will meet on Tuesday, September 20th, at 7:30 p.m. in Room A.  The meeting room is in the group of rooms directly across from Druker Auditorium.  The purpose of the club is to provide information, share concerns, and give support. It’s a great networking opportunity.  It is led by Joyce Picard, a Career Counselor.  If you are interested or have questions, you may call her at 1-617-969-5673.

vea/8 September 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.
Applying for Job LibGuide


A Word About the Usefulness of Books

January 21, 2011

Career and Job Hunting Books at the Newton Free LibraryThe postings you find here usually point to online resources, classes, or programs held at the library.  Let us not forget another very important source of information —  books.  Whether you are flipping through pages looking for a more effective resume format or are reading closely to learn  how to do something that is complicated or unfamiliar, there is nothing quite like a book to help you with your job search.   If you take a look at this blog, you will see several tabbed subjects at the top, between the blog title and the latest posting. “Books” is one of these tabs.  Click on it and take a look.

I have just finished [20 January 2011] revamping this list, attempting to set in up in the order of a job hunt.  Starting with broader topics, like overall guides and reference books, I then list books that help you find job information on the Internet, including broad topics like search strategies down to specifics like job banks. Towards the beginning a job search, a person  will begin composing a basic resume, then cover letter . These are the next two categories. When a person finds a job listing, the process of refining a resume and cover letter begins. This hopefully leads to an interview, the next category of books.  At some point in this process, people start seeing references to the potential of social networking, especially LinkedIn, the next set of books. Looking for work in government offers a whole different set of demands and challenges. You will find books on that topic.  Questions or problems with career skills? There are books that help here as well.  The last section is on staying safe online.  Though not specifically related to your job hunt, you need to keep yourself out of the clutches of identity thieves.  And believe me, they prey on vulnerable people, and people looking for work are vulnerable.  Think about it.  How often have you been tempted to take chances that you might not do otherwise while you are hunting for a job.  A tip or chapter from one of these books might help keep you out of trouble.

An additional software format that is relatively new to the library is called LibGuides. Clicking lists of useful books will bring you directly to the Jobs’ LibGuide tab that includes books.  Updates to the various job booklists will now appear here first. [20 September 2011]

Take a look and give me some feedback if you have the chance.  Feel free to offer suggestions if a book has helped you that you don’t see on my list. Also books that you used but did not find especially useful.  Your comments are deeply appreciated.

vea/revised 20 January 2011/updated 20 September 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.
Library website:
Newton’s Job Search Blog:

Help for Job Seekers from the Massachusetts State Website

November 17, 2010

The state of Massachusetts offers help for job seekers in various sections of its online website.  I would suggest starting with the Job Seekers section of Labor and Workforce Development. Click here to find this.  Take a look at the headings and explanations to see which of these categories will be most useful to you.

Two key sections that you should definitely read through here are “Career Centers” and “Job Hunting: Information to Help You.”  Under “Career Centers,” you will find free classes that give you the opportunity to learn or to hone computer and  job searching skills. “Job Hunting: Information to Help You” is a treasure trove of useful material.  It includes advice on everything from resumes, networking, and interviewing, to tips for completing an online application. (If you are already trying to cut and paste your resume information into an online application or email and are having trouble, you may need to change your resume from formatted text to plain text. This is not covered on the state site. To learn how to do this, click on the Newton Free Library list of class handouts and open number 7.)  

When you are going through the Massachusetts offerings, as with anything on the web, use your judgment.  If you are not comfortable with a recommended site or with launching your resume onto an online posting site, don’t use it or do it.  The state lists as one of a number of recommended sources.  Personally that would be a site I would hesitate either to use or to recommend.  (See new posting above regarding craigslist.)  To learn more information about posting resumes, click here.

One additional site is the state’s  job blog.  Called Commonwealth Conversations, you can find it at

If you want to check the main site for Massachusetts state government, go to  Here you will find a whole range of state services and information. To maneuver your way around the site, you can scroll down to the very bottom right corner and click on Site Map.  You can also check the A-Z Subject Listing near the top right of the website.

Good luck on your job hunt.

17 November 2010/vea
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.

Career Coaches: What They Do and How to Find Them

July 28, 2010

I first started noticing the term career coaching about a year and a half ago. Since then I’ve found it coming up with increasing frequency, usually in terms of helping job seekers, career changers, and people dissatisfied with their current work situation.  I thought I would do a little digging to find out more about it and pass the information along to you.

Why career coach?  Why not job coach?  I’ve also seen the terms life coach and retirement coach, but it is career coach that I’ve seen used most often.  A statistic that is in my last posting explains why you may be seeing more people who are advertising specifically as career coaches.  “Today’s workers will run through at least 10 jobs, three careers, and two layoffs between college and retirement.”  These days, people who are currently employed may feel the need for professional help when thinking ahead to their next career moves.  Others, whose main concern at the moment is finding a job, may also need help in planning a long term strategy for controlling, as much as may be possible, the course of their work life.  If one of these options sounds like a good idea to you, you have some homework to do.  Your first assignment is to figure out what you want a career coach to do.  Do you want them to do the majority of their work figuring out why you are not finding a job?  What you don’t know, or are not doing, or are doing incorrectly?  Or do you also need help in short term and/or long term career strategy?  In what profession?

Once you figure out what you need, your next step is to find some career coaches. The first thing to remember is that career coaching is pretty much an unregulated profession. You have to figure out who is legitimately there to help you.  Richard N. Bolles has a very good section on career coaches in his 2010 edition of What Color is Your Parachute.  He points out that career coaches come in three basic categories.  The first includes those coaches that are good and know what they are doing.  The second are those that think they are good, but don’t really know what they are doing.  The third are those people who know precisely what they are doing and it has nothing to do with helping you.  Their goal is to get as much money out of you as possible on totally fraudulent promises and expertise.  Even among the very good coaches, some will be better equipped to help you with your specific needs than others.  Now you are starting to see why you, and only you, must do your homework.

You have a number of options when you start out on your hunt for names. You can check your local yellow pages.  You can ask friends and/or relatives.  You can check your contacts on your LinkedIn account.  (If you don’t have an account, check out the postings about LinkedIn and get one.)  You can check the organizations that certify career coaches.  There are a number of them.  They, like career coaches, will vary in their usefulness to you. You can find a list of them here. Remember, this is not an endorsement, just a list.  One Wall Street Journal article mentions The International Coach Federation and The Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.

When you have your list of coaches, you need to interview them, thoroughly and completely.  If the person you are interviewing becomes impatient with a set of thoroughly planned questions, it is probably a good indication that you will not work well together.  You will want to know how much experience a coach has had.  What is their success rate?  Is their experience limited to career coaching or have they actually been out in the work force before they became a coach?  Do they have experience in your field, either working in it themselves or successfully finding jobs or obtaining advancement for  clients in your field?  These are only a few questions. Check below for more sources. Don’t forget to think about additonal information that you need before signing onto a coach.

Now there is the subject of cost. Unless your company has laid you off and supplied job coaching for you, you are going to have to pay for the help. The good coaches are providing a valuable service that may affect the rest of your work life.  Asking about the cost should be right up there on your list questions.  The price can range anywhere from $50.00 per hour and up.  Some coaches will charge for your first interview.  Others will not.  It is not a good idea to decide that one coach is better than the other on the basis of whether or not they charge a fee for your first contact.

You may decide you want to investigate firms that employ a number of coaches. If you do this, you will have additonal homework. The good news it that it is unlikely these firms will charge you for the first visit.  The bad news, from what I’ve read, is that they often do not charge because they want to sell you the most expensive package that (your) traffic will bear.   You will need to find out about the firm as well as the coach you may be getting. You can use the same sources as with coaches above.  You may also want to use some of the business and periodical databases available through your public library, as well as contacting your local Better Business Bureau.

Be prepared in advance to deal with contracts.  Make sure you can get a copy to take home to read before you sign it.  If the person you are interviewing (an individual coach or the representative of a firm) insists that you sign it immediately, that would be a deal breaker, at least for me.  Being by nature skeptical, I always wonder what they don’t want me to notice.  Also like me, I think most people have to carefully read a legal document a number of times and think about implications to truly understand it. If someone is putting you under fabricated (by them) time pressure, I would proceed cautiously.  I definitely would not sign anything under those circumstances.

To continue your research on career coaches, you might want to check out two articles I found useful. You can find the first, a Wall Street Journal Online article, by clicking on the title “Career Q&A: Finding the Right Career Coach”.  You can also look at the second, “How to Find the Right Career Coach,”  the same way.  If you get your hands on the current edition of What Color is Your Parachute mentioned above, just look for the appendices on the green pages.  The first entry gets you started with “Finding Your Mission in Life.” Then make sure you spend time with Appendix B, “A Guide to Choosing a Career Coach or Counselor.”  Bolles ends with a list of coaches by state.  He points out that these are not recommendations, just a list. Look at other career books at your local library.  They may also have a section on career coaches.  If you want to know about what these coaches do, take a look at a book like Career Coaching: an Insiders Guide by Marcia Bench, pictured at the beginning of this article.

Wishing you a successful search.

vea/27 July 2010
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.