parnassa expo

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By: Shimmy Blum.



Its yours.

The 2015 Parnassah Expo introduces their new interactive floor plan where booth registration is in full gear.

The Expo will be held on March 17th and 18th at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center, the state’s largest exhibition hall.

With an innovative new registration system for the Expo’s main B2B multi-industry trade show, you can be exactly where you want to be – in the heart of the action.

One visit to will show you exactly what the buzz is all about. In front of your eyes is a detailed floor map, on which you can easily select the booth you wish to reserve. First come, first serve.

If you’ll notice something particularly fresh about the layout, you’re precisely on target. This year, the main B2B floor will include businesses from across the world, in a cross section of industries, intermingled in one central section. It is open to those in all industries but not divided by industry. The energy and networking prospects for will be exceptionally strong throughout the entire floor.

There is so much you can gain by interacting with such a large and diverse segment of the global business world, most of whom you would ordinarily never reach.

If you are an elite industry leader, there’s a special “Red Carpet” section for you to exhibit in. Everyone who walks in to the Expo will walk through that section and be tempted to see what you have to offer.

If you are a small business, startup or sole proprietorship, there’s the perfect option for you too. For a particularly affordable rate, exhibitors can be featured at the first-ever “Tabletop Station” exhibition section. The smaller exhibition space is perfectly suited for these sorts of businesses and offer vast exposure to everyone else on the floor.

There is also a standard premium package, where exhibitors get extra perks together with their booth purchase. This option is recommended for the average business, offering excellent exposure in the booth of choice, with a fully lloaded package of goodies.

The two day Expo will feature a host of exciting guests, seminars, panels, speakers, shows and more. Stay tuned for more details in the weeks ahead.

“Each year, we aim to make a superb event even better,” says founder and director Reb Duvi Honig. “Baruch Hashem, we’ve accomplished this again beyond expectations. We look forward to helping everyone in our community benefit.”

Booth and sponsorship reservations for the 2015 Parnassah Expo are well underway. The earlier you reserve, the better choices you have. Visit or call 855-PAR-EXPO for more information.

The following post is from an informative article on interview guidelines prepared by PCS of Lakewood in conjunction with Alvin Kahn, President- Alvin Kahn & Associates Inc.

The article may be slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts

U.        Provide references when asked.

Volunteer a professional reference only if you are certain you want the position and you are sure that you will receive an excellent recommendation.  If asked, provide letters of reference or names, addresses and phone numbers of appropriate references. (Please see Paragraph H of Part II above for further discussion of “references.”)


X.         Thank your interviewer.

When the interview is over, stand up, shake hands and thank the interviewer for his or her time.  Again, express interest in the company and job.

Send a warm follow-up email of interest expressing your thanks at the opportunity afforded by the interview and your willingness to provide any additional information the interviewer might require.

Please see a sample below:



123 Madison Avenue



January 1,1997

Dear Mr. __________,


Thank you for interviewing me yesterday. It was very helpful to me and I appreciate your having taken the time out of your busy schedule to meet with me. I am very excited about the potential position and I feel that I have the qualifications to meet your needs. I hope to hear from you   soon.

If you require any additional information about my qualifications, my references, or me please do not hesitate to contact me.  I can be reached at (732) ___-______.

Thanks again.



Ploni Applicant


Z.         After the interview.


Your interview is over. It is now time for introspection. Consider your experience at the interview and review it. What part of your interview performance did you like? What part of your interview performance did you dislike?  What have you learned about the company?  About the industry?  About the interview process?  About yourself?  How can you use that knowledge on future interviews?


Keep Posted for part VII

The following post is from an informative article on interview guidelines prepared by PCS of Lakewood in conjunction with Alvin Kahn, President- Alvin Kahn & Associates Inc.

The article may be slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts



R.        Use Caution in Bringing up the Subject of Salary.


            1.  Timing must be appropriate.


In most cases you will know the salary range before you go to the interview.  In such a case, be patient, and wait for the interviewer to bring up the subject.  If he does not, you may bring it up near the end of the interview.


2.  Consider special factors.


Special factors, for example commission in sales jobs, can be an important or even a dominant part of your pay.  In such a case, it is appropriate to discuss the circumstances and any limitations that apply to the commission.


3.  Do not discuss your personal financial details.


Never, never discuss your personal or family’s financial needs.  What you spend your money on is not an appropriate topic for discussion. 


4.  Salary Requirements


There are several appropriate responses to this question.  Give an answer such as “I would like to be paid competitively based on what the market is paying for someone with my skills and the position requirements”.  Do not give yourself a price tag.


You may ask about fringe benefits at the appropriate time, towards the end of the interview. Medical insurance, dental insurance, retirement plans, tuition reimbursement, etc., must be taken into account for you to decide on taking the job. Travel expenses are another item for you to consider.



            S.         Sometimes you have to negotiate.


1. Counteroffer.


Sometimes, it is appropriate to make a counteroffer.  A counteroffer is an offer made by someone who has rejected an offer.


            T.         Some special interview “no-no”s


1.  Do not bring up the subject of Shabbos and Yom Tov in initial interviews.


It is a good idea to postpone the Shabbos discussion until the company has expressed definite interest in you.  Before actually taking a job, however, you should explain your non-availability during those days and late on Fridays.


            2.  Never say anything negative about a former employer.


            3.  Never put the interviewer on the defensive.


Don’t try to educate the interviewer, criticize his religious practices or in any way imaginable make him feel bad about himself.


            4.  Share common ground


If, in the course of the interview, you become aware that you and the interviewer share a common interest, it may be worthwhile to linger for several minutes on that subject. Brief conversations about the shared interest, for example, stamp collecting, camping, the New York Yankees, etc., can frequently put you and the interviewer at ease. You may even search for such a common ground by describing yourself as having certain hobbies or interests. However, don’t get bogged down. Remember, you are there to get a job.


5.         Never cut the interview short


Don’t take the initiative to terminate the interview. Let the interviewer do it.



The following post is from an informative article on interview guidelines prepared by PCS of Lakewood in conjunction with Alvin Kahn, President- Alvin Kahn & Associates Inc.

The article may be slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts.


              A.        Be On Time

 It is essential to be on time.  Coming late gives the impression of unreliability and lack of responsibility.  It is also extremely discourteous.  Coming a little early demonstrates eagerness for the job and respect for company and your interviewer. Be in the building 10 minutes early. Be at the interview 10 minutes early.


            B.        If you are delayed, be sure to call.

            C.        Your first impression is with the receptionist or the secretary.

Good receptionists and secretaries often serve as the “eyes and ears” of the boss.  They are sometimes asked, and do not hesitate to volunteer, their impressions of individual job-seekers.  Greet the receptionist with a smile, introduce yourself confidently, state your name clearly, and mention the name of the person you are there to see and the time of your appointment.  For example, “Hello, how are you?  I’m David Smith, here to see Mr. Jones for a 10 o’ clock interview.”  If the receptionist asks you to have a seat, sit down.  Be sure to say “Thank you.”  If the receptionist is not busy, engage in polite conversation about the company, the weather, transportation, sports, etc.  Always smile and be friendly.

            D.        Leave hat, coat and other belongings (except for handbag or    briefcase) in the reception area.


            E.         Be prepared to wait, if necessary.

F.         Keep your right hand free to shake hands.

            G.        When you meet your interviewer, smile, shake hands and introduce yourself.

            H.        Make small talk initially.

The interviewer may ask you about the trip or the weather. Respond appropriately in full sentences.  You may compliment the decor or the directions.

            I.          The interviewer must reach a certain comfort level with you.  Help him do so.

The interviewer needs to feel the company will be comfortable with you and you with the company.  He needs to enjoy talking to you and feel you enjoy being there.  The best way for you to help is:

*           Smile often.

*           Appear relaxed.

*           Make frequent eye contact.

*           Sit straight, even if it means you have to sit forward in your seat.

*           Do not slouch or cross your legs.

*           Put your handbag and briefcase down.

*           Do not twiddle your thumbs or look around the room.

*           Limit hand gestures.

*           Don’t cross your arms across your chest.

*           Do not answer phone or text from the time you are in the outer office, even if the boss/receptionist is doing so

             J.         Listen well.

 Hear what is and what is not being said. Watch for body language. An interviewer with his arms folded across his chest is resisting, or at least not accepting something you are saying. Try to get through to him. Maybe a bit of humor will work well here.

            K.        Respond appropriately.

Do not speak too quickly. Answer all questions. Do not answer a question before the interviewer finishes asking it. Answer directly and fully, but do not ramble. Look at the questioner while answering. Answer the questions in the order that they are posed. Give the basic answer and then explain, if appropriate.

There are at least three special types of questions you will be requested to deal with:

  1. Technical Questions For example – Can you run a specific type of machine? Do you know how to type? Are you computer literate? If you don’t know something say so.

2. Personal Questions  Do you have children? How old are they? How many? Does your wife work? Where? What does she do? These and other personal questions are  designed for the employer’s benefit. He wants to know whether you will frequently take emergency leave to care for your children, take them to the doctor, etc. These questions are intrusive and unfair. Nevertheless, just answer them truthfully.

3. Value Judgment Questions. Would you be willing to travel three days a week for this sales position?  Give a decisive answer.

             L.         Speak up and speak well.

This is not the time for false modesty. Speak up and speak well. Speak in full sentences, using proper English, at an appropriate voice level, pace and volume.  Do not use any yeshivishe words, even if the interviewer is frum (unless possibly if the interviewer does so).  Never interrupt.  Be confident and assertive without being arrogant.

            M.        When reviewing your job history, start with the last job first.

Explain the function of the company you worked for, the function of your group, and then your title, responsibilities and accomplishments. State to whom you reported and how many people, if any, you supervised. If you were a supervisor, state the skills and role or function of the people you supervised. Show how your skills or experience are appropriate to the new company, subtly displaying your knowledge of the company based on your research.

N.        If you are interviewing for a particular position, it is important to communicate your    understanding of that position and its role in the firm.


            O.        Emphasize that you are willing to learn and undertake new tasks.


P.         Highlight how you think you can blend in with the firm and how you can work with a broad range of people.


            Q.        Do not ask questions until after you have answered the interviewer’s  questions.


Keep Posted for Part V with more on the Interview

The following post is from an informative article on interview guidelines prepared by PCS of Lakewood in conjunction with Alvin Kahn, President- Alvin Kahn & Associates Inc.

The article may be slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts.

          E.         Why should we hire you? (Answers to consider)

Below is a list of interview questions introduced in the last post with suggestions on how to answer.

1.         Q.    Why should we hire you?

A.        I don’t know the qualifications or personal qualities of other people you are considering for this job.  However, I know that I am a hard worker and highly motivated. My own standards are high. No matter what I do, I want to know that it’s               the best I can do. Moreover, I am honest and relate well with people.

B.         Note that your answer should show you have good work habits and an excellent character. Of course you can answer this question in many ways. Just make sure  you stress the two major items: work habits and character.  Never say “I am the best candidate for the job because…” You have no way of knowing what the other applicants bring to the table.  And, since the interviewer knows this, your statement that you are the best will damage your credibility with the interviewer.


2.       Q.        Why do you want to work here?

A.        (1)  From the ad I saw, I was impressed with the potential for personal and  professional growth.


(2)  I know one of your employees and he has related…

(Don’t lie here. The interviewer might ask for the name. If you can’t or refuse to tell him who told you, you will look bad.)

(3) I have heard about this organization and its successes and I would look forward to the opportunity to grow with it.

(4) This looks like a great opportunity to develop my skills in the ___________area. From what I have read and heard, the __________ industry, and this company in particular, is enjoying a period of explosive growth. I would like to be part of it.

B.         There are many more potential answers.  But, each should have as its central theme a positive statement about the organization.  Occasionally, you will be  interviewed by an individual who himself or whose boss, CEO, etc., enjoys an                                 excellent reputation either in   business or the community as a good business owner, CEO, boss, supervisor or community leader.  In that event, if you have   heard good things about the individual, say so.  But don’t fawn, that is, try to court                   favor from the interviewer by insincere exaggeration.  If you fawn, the only person you fool will be you.


3.         Q.        How do I know that after the training we give you, you won’t leave?

If the job and I are a good match, I won’t want to leave.  I hope to prove to be an excellent employee.  I assume my efforts will be recognized and I will be rewarded.

B.         This is a tricky question.  Just as in all honesty he can’t guarantee that you will be with the company for the long term because of such factors as mergers,  downsizing, etc., you   can’t honestly give him a guarantee.  Nevertheless, don’t  point this out.  You are there to get a job, not to sharpen the interviewer’s logic.  Above all, don’t guarantee the interviewer a long-term commitment.  Such a commitment would be dishonest and the interviewer will quickly recognize it as such.

4.       Q.        What was the last book you read?

A.         (1) The last book I read was ABC by Joel Smith.  It was about….

(2) Recently I have been terribly busy.  I haven’t read a book in several years. I just read the _________ newspaper.

B.         This question may be designed for three purposes. The first is to draw you out so  that the interviewer gets a chance to see you as more than a single-dimension job applicant. The second is that the interviewer gets a chance to see how well you communicate.  Thirdly, the interviewer may be tempting you to fake it, just to see how you respond.       

5.      Q.        Where do you see yourself in this organization five years from now?

A.         That’s hard to say.  However, I see myself moving up gradually as the organization gains confidence in me on the basis of my performance.  By “moving up,” I mean that as their confidence in me grows, I will be given more responsibility and more authority.  A lot will depend on me. And I, of course, am anxious to give it a shot.

B.         This question could tempt the job applicant to be overconfident.  Resist the  temptation.


6.     Q.        What are your goals?

A.         (1) To grow as a person and in experience in doing my job.    After working in the position for years and gaining the appropriate experience, I would like to eventually grow, possibly into a management position.

(2) I want a job where I get an opportunity to develop skills and expertise that  will make me more successful in my position. That, to me, represents the ultimate in job satisfaction.

B.         Here you don’t want to go too deeply into your own personal philosophy.  Any of  the above answers alone or in combination will do.  However, this is yet another instance where saying too much might put you in conflict with the interviewer’s  value system.

                         Each of us has minor shortcomings that we are comfortable in admitting. These minor shortcomings do not make us bad or evil, but merely human. The key is not to bare your soul at the interview. The interviewer is not a psychiatrist.

                        But, don’t lie. If you lie, you will be unable to discuss the admitted shortcoming intelligently.

8.     Q.        What are your strengths?

(1) I am reliable, honest, and motivated.

(2) I am conscientious about my work.  I want to be able to say my performance represents my best effort.  Naturally, I anticipate developing stronger skills. But, you will never see me just going through the motions.

(3) I have very strong skills in the area of _______________.  I developed these skills while I was employed by_________________.  As near as I can determine, many of these skills would be applicable here. Moreover, I am flexible and more than willing to learn new skills, new techniques and procedures.

(4) I am a quick learner.  I like it best when I am totally focused on the job at hand.  I hate it when I repeat the same mistakes.

             B.         This question gives you a chance to shine.  It is a natural opening to show your strong points.  Do so.  The samples are short.  Your answer can be longer.  However, don’t overstate the case.  The interviewer will know the difference                          between your being sincere and your exaggerating.  It is better to claim fewer favorable characteristics and explain them briefly than to make yourself into   Superman.  Once again, the interviewer usually has a great deal of interviewing                             experience.  He will be hard to fool.

            F.         Prepare for each interview separately.

 Think about the individual company, the individual job, and the individual interviewer.  Consider what strengths and weaknesses you should emphasize or de-emphasize in a particular situation.

             G.        Practice shaking hands, smiling, meeting the interviewer’s gaze and                                        introducing yourself.

             H.        Prepare references, both personal and professional.

You should bring with you to the interview the names, addresses and phone numbers of personal and professional references.  These should be typed on a separate sheet of paper and ready to be given to the interviewer, if requested.  Prior to your use of an individual as a reference, get his or her permission. If possible, get a general letter of reference from former employers or coworkers, especially the former.  


Keep Posted for Part IV

The following post is from an informative article on interview guidelines prepared by PCS of Lakewood in conjunction with Alvin Kahn, President- Alvin Kahn & Associates Inc.

The article may be slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts.


             A.        Prepare a good resume.

 Ideally, your resume should be one page. It should list:

  • your name
  • address
  • phone
  • education
  • experience
  • career goals

You may wish to include one or two sentences about your strengths.  You may wish to develop your resume with a PMES counselor or other professional.  The resume should be on good quality paper and be clearly printed in a conservative type style or font. Don’t use textured stationery where the ink is absorbed and the printing gets blurred.

Also, be sure to keep an editable copy of the resume on a file you can easily access.

            B.        Read up on the prospective company.

Knowledge of the company impresses the interviewer. Try to learn the company’s annual sales, president’s name and recent announcements.  Try to speak to contacts or friends who work at the company to give you insights.

However, be careful during the interview not to “name drop” or “fact drop.”  Mention information only when it is relevant.  Superfluous or extraneous information is frequently non-responsive to the question at hand and makes a bad impression.

Knowledge of the company is also good in that it helps you put the employment opportunity in perspective. For example, if ABC, Inc., is considering you and you learn that ABC, Inc., has a reputation for promoting from within, you might consider your future opportunities at ABC more attractive than working for another company with a higher salary, but where your perception of possible advancement is more limited.

            C.        Know the name of your interviewer(s) and his/her phone number.  Know his  position, department and department’s business function.

This will allow you to greet your interviewer properly, to call in case you are delayed, and to talk to him/her intelligently.  It may also provide a clue as to which of your experiences or strengths to emphasize in a particular interview.

            D.        Prepare answers to common questions.

  1. Why should we hire you?
  2. Why do you want to work here?
  3. How do I know that after the training here you won’t leave?
  4. What was the last book you read?
  5. Where do you see yourself in this organization five years from now?
  6. What are your goals?  What would you say is your biggest shortcoming?
  7. What are your strengths?


Not all questions asked of you during the interview will be fair. Nevertheless, you should be prepared to answer and be responsive to the interviewer.

Try to avoid long answersDon’t be curt either.  Be responsive, but strike a balance.  Remember, in answering, sometimes “less” is “more.”

IN the next post we will expound upon how to answer the above questions.

Keep Posted for Part III

The following post is from an informative article on interview guidelines prepared by PCS of Lakewood in conjunction with Alvin Kahn, President- Alvin Kahn & Associates Inc.

The article may be slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts.


            A.        Consider the types of job for which to interview.


If your strength lies in interpersonal behavior, that is, you are a good “people” person, you will not be happy with a job requiring endless hours isolated in making and analyzing computer data entries. Likewise, if you feel awkward meeting new people, give second thoughts to a job in sales. In other words the best job is where the person fits the job and the job fits the person.


There is an enormous amount of literature in work-place psychology that establishes two important points:


1. People who are happy in their jobs are eminently more successful over time than people in the same organization, industry or profession who are not happy.


2. Getting along with people, for example, co-workers, supervisors, customers, clients, etc., is much more important than technical skills for successful job performance and future advancement.


In short, job fit equals employee happiness. Happiness equals employee effectiveness. Effectiveness equals employee success.



B.        Don’t limit yourself unnecessarily.


Don’t let your experience or lack of it be a hang-up. True, experience is nice to have. But, experience is not everything. Often, it is not even a dominant factor. Prospective employers for entry level positions will often value the applicant’s pleasant personality, apparent energy and flexibility over the applicant’s limited experience. Employers know that the experience gained elsewhere is only partially applicable to their firm. Furthermore, when you add in the differences in procedures between the firms, that prior experience may matter even less.


Another limitation to avoid is seeing yourself as doing the same work over the long haul. For nearly all people, such an assumption is wrong. Look around among your family, friends and associates. Most are no longer working for the employer who gave them their first job. Remember, this is a free country. If you don’t like your job, you can quit. Second, the dynamics of change is everywhere. The rate of change is constantly accelerating. People change jobs, industries and careers. Your interests change; your skills change; your opportunities change. What doesn’t change is your need to take the first step, that is, to get the job.



C.        Make an active job search.


Don’t wait for someone to come to you with an opportunity.  Be aggressive. Search the want ads.  Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work. If some of the people you know have access to a broad spectrum of the community or are otherwise active or influential in the community, give them your resume. They can act as your agent.  Prepare a resume and send it out freely. Keep track of the resumes you send out for purposes of follow-up. Respond to every lead.


D.        Networking


Networking, as it applies to searching for a job, means establishing a system or series of lines of communication with people you know and through them to people they know, but you don’t know.  Networking enables you to get the word out, even to strangers, that you are looking for a job.  It enlists the help of others to help you find a job.

*  How do you get started?  You contact others.                    

*  Who are these others?  They are your relatives, friends, neighbors and acquaintances.

*  Why should they get involved?  Because helping somebody get a job is the  highest form of tzedakah, according to the Rambam.

*  How should these others get involved?  By providing you with any information about opportunities of which they are aware.

*  What else can they do? They can ask their relatives, friends, neighbors and acquaintances, on your behalf, for similar information. (Make sure everyone participating in your network is adequately armed with your resumes.)


You are encouraged to form similar, although smaller, networks with other job applicants.  When you meet other people seeking employment, find out what line of work they are interested in.  Make an agreement with them to share leads.  For example, if you are looking for something in accounting and you meet Jake who is interested in work as a computer programmer, agree with him to share leads.  That is, if Jake comes across accounting opportunities, he calls you.  Similarly, if you come across openings for a computer programmer, you call Jake.


Be enthusiastic about your network participation. Your enthusiasm will be contagious. Soon you will be getting and making a number of phone calls daily about job opportunities. This should open up many new job leads for you. But, you can’t be passive. Like many things in life, you must give to receive.



E.         Go on every possible interview, unless the job is clearly not for you.


Unless a job is clearly unsuitable, go for an offered interview.  What you view as the least likely possibility may turn out to be the first step on a long career.  Don’t dismiss any potential job with,  “They won’t hire me anyway,”  “I’m not in the mood,”  “Why bother?”, etc.  The interview process itself will give you valuable experience in learning to be at ease in otherwise stressful situations. It can also provide knowledge of the workplace and different industries. Getting interviewed successfully, that is landing a job, can be the result of your prior experiences in being interviewed.



F.         Undertake practice interviews


Have friends or professionals who conduct interviews go through practice interviews with you. Be serious. These practice interviews should retain an air of formality similar to that which you would encounter in an interview with a strangerAsk these practice interviewers for suggestions for improvement in your interview technique.  Listen to their suggestions.


Keep Posted for Part II

The following post is from an informative article on job searching written by Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Joblink Baltimore.
The article has been slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts.


A Word or Two on Training:
Obtaining and Maintaining Industry Standards 

Regardless of whether you are pre-career, early career, mid-career, or more senior-level, it is advisable to determine whether your training is appropriate for your target position. 
Training can come in a variety of forms
.  One is formal education.  This involves obtaining a degree from an accredited and reputable institution.  The degree should be both relevant and accepted as the industry standard.  While in some limited cases, a general degree will suffice, in most cases, the degree should be a fit with what is typically seen in job postings.  A litmus test for the value of any degree is by consulting with seasoned professionals in that field who evaluate credentials to fill jobs, or someone who previously completed the program and was able to reach his/her career objective in the field. 

The field of higher education is very competitive and many of the claims made by institutions are mere marketing ploys to increase enrollment.  Make sure that you are not being misled by false promises so that the financial commitment in your education will not be a waste. 
One new entrant onto the scene is distance learning in the form of online programs.  Before considering such a program, please make sure that the program is accredited and that its graduates have been able to find employment.  It is always a good idea to ask for names of recent and not-so-recent graduates to determine the value of the program, as well as contact employers to confirm that they recognize that degree. 
The advantages of obtaining a more traditional undergraduate and graduate degree from a “brick and mortar” school include: 
(1) a more direct rapport with faculty
(2) more a hands-on interactive component in working with fellow students on project work
(3) experiential or clinical learning
(4) job placement services in your geographic area offered by a Career Center and connections with employed alumni through professors in the program. 
So, before investing in any program, it is wise to look for successful outcomes.  Shortcuts may be appealing in the short term but may sell you short down the line.  Let the buyer beware.

As jobs change, so do the work and the skills necessary to perform them.  Technology is the most common manifestation of this.  Certainly for technology careers, keeping current with the industry standards is necessary to keep your job or to obtain your next one.  Even for non-technologically focused jobs, it is quite possible that there is some important product or system on which you must be minimally conversant—often spelled out in the job announcement.  While it is quite possible that on-the-job training can be obtained, there will be certain prerequisite skills that will separate those who get the job from everyone else.  As intelligent as a person might be, that is often not enough to make a case for your being hired in a competitive job market.

Make sure, that whether it is a matter of education or skills, you have what it takes for your next job.  It is reasonable to re-assess every few years.  If there is a skills gap, you probably want to proactively seek out available training resources that will put you in the running to be positively noticed by a prospective employer.


Looking for employment is a job in and of itself. 
It requires perseverance, networking, and communication. 
As difficult as it is to do sometimes, you must communicate and present yourself with an upbeat and positive attitude. 
The objective is to present yourself as a potential asset to the target organization so that you are evaluated favorably.

The following post is from an informative article on job searching written by Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Joblink Baltimore.
The article has been slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts.


 Responses and Feedback from Employers or Other Parties

After applying for a position, the waiting game begins. 

If there is a closing date for applications, it is likely that you will not hear back until a period of time after that date.  This is especially the case in government.  In most government sectors, some form of response or feedback to an applicant is required by statute.  The feedback may be provided by conventional mail or email.  Sometimes the feedback will be merely that you are qualified at some level and may be contacted for an interview. The decision as to whether you receive an interview or not may be based on a variety of criteria of which you could not be aware.

In the private sector, there is much variability in terms of feedback. 
Some organizations are more responsive than others. 
Some organizations take the perspective of “don’t call us; we’ll call you” after an application or even after an interview.  If you are selected for an interview, you will be contacted; if you are not, you will not receive any reply at all. 

The amount of time before you get any feedback could be up to several months.  At that time, a polite “rejection letter” will be sent informing you that the position has been filled by someone who meets the requirements of the position more closely.  Organizations sometimes only send out such letters only after the person hired has officially accepted the offer and has begun working in the position.  That is the reason for the delay.

If you interview for a particular position, it is appropriate and advisable to send a follow-up letter or email to express gratitude for the opportunity to present yourself.  Not only is it the “right thing to do”, but it also serves to maintain a positive presence on the organization’s radar screen moving forward. 

Many wonder about the protocol for following up with an employer either after the application or after the interview, if the employer has not reached out.  How long to wait and how to follow-up is dependent on a variety of factors, so there is no one hard rule.  However, if you have not heard back in a week or two, it is reasonable to send a brief email along the lines of:

Dear ___________: On (date), I submitted my application/interviewed for (job title) with your organization.  As I am in the midst of my job search at this time, I was wondering if you could give me a sense of the time frame for any next steps you will be taking on this recruitment.  Thank you.

Please allow an employer a reasonable timeframe to respond to an email or phone call relating to these types of follow-ups.  Never engage in phone stalking.


Keep Posted for Part VIII


The following post is from an informative article on job searching written by Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Joblink Baltimore.
The article has been slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts.





Everyone conveys a certain image to others.  This image is very much a reflection or who we are. 

In the job market, this image conveys a message of what we bring or do not bring to the table as an asset to an organization.  We communicate to others not only by what we say or write, but how we do those things.

 Here are a few relevant pointers:

 (1)    Physical appearance- always present yourself in a clean, appropriately dressed way.  Remember, a mirror is your friend.  Personal grooming standards should be normative for the environment in which you will be presenting yourself.  If you are unsure as to what is normative, please ask someone who has operated in that environment for awhile.

(2)    Consider using a neutral name - regardless of religious observance level, a neutral name is often more preferable.  This is especially true if you have an official name that is part of legal documents such as your Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, Driver’s License, or Passport.  Ultimately, you might be completing official documents with which you will be cross-referencing those pieces of identification.  Having a neutral name may also be easier for others outside of the community to pronounce.  This is especially true if you have a double name like “Rivka Sorah” or “Shlomo Shmuel”.  In some circumstances,“Rebecca” or “Sam” might be better alternatives to the double Hebrew name.

Everyone should have a prepared “elevator speech”. 

An elevator speech is a concise (2 minutes at most), coherent presentation of your background including education, experience, what you have done, accomplishments and scope, and portable skills that you can offer an organization. 
It should be used when networking professionally, with friends and acquaintances, and possibly during an interview (depending on the structure).
It is best to practice this speech in front of relatives and professionals in your field of expertise.  
Please accept any constructive feedback and criticism as it relates to what is said and how it is said.

 Keep Posted for Part VII


The following post is from an informative article on job searching written by Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Joblink Baltimore.
The article has been slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts.





Some describe today’s society as “the communication age”.  Numerous communication channels are available to all of us.  Communication is faster than it has ever been and goes beyond boundaries of time and place.  In many ways, it is more efficient.  Electronic and digital media often replaces paper communication through letters and memoranda.  For example, documents can be emailed from anywhere to anywhere.  Text messages can be sent from any wireless phone to another device instantly.

One downside of this trend is that communication and messages are not as thoughtful as in the past.  Messages are terse and often leave much to inference.  As a result, recipients of messages often make assumptions based on the inferences, some are grounded in fact and others not. 

Because email messages are not accompanied by a visual or voice context, those reading the message may ascribe a negative or hopeful tone to it, which may or not have been the intent.   This is especially the case with text messages in which the number of characters used to convey a thought is kept to a bare minimum.


Another downside is the fact that the skill required to write grammatically correct sentences and cogent thoughts has been lost.  However, it is still important to frame cover letters, resumes, emails and other materials using proper rules of spelling and grammar.
Failure to do so will cause a potential employer to receive a negative impression of you and subsequently not take your application seriously
Especially in today’s competitive job market, it is critical that you do not do anything that will lessen the impression that a potential employer has of you.


It is also important for letters and emails to maintain a respectful and grateful tone.  For example, a “thank you” email sent the day after an interview would convey a genuine (but not overly flowery) appreciation for being allowed that forum.  This is not a difficult or costly thing to do.  Also, be sure that your communication is even keeled and appropriate.  Emails or letters that are overly enthusiastic, assertive, flowery, or otherwise over-the-top should be avoided.


In today’s business environment, communicating by email is acceptable.  Some important points to keep in mind are:

  • While email communication is typically shorter, emails should not be casual or resemble a text message. 
  • Grammatically correct sentences should be used as well as a proper greeting (e.g., Dear Mr. Jones”). 
  • Every email should have a sensible subject line that matches the content of the email.  In such a business context, it is best to err on the side of formality and respectfulness. 
  • Also, before hitting the “Send” button, please review the entire email, from top to bottom, and delete any content that might be irrelevant, confidential, or embarrassing.  Problems in this regard often occur when someone simply hits “Reply” or “Forward”. There are times when someone in the communication chain may not want his/her identity associated with such a digital “paper trail” and that should be honored in anything sent out.
  •  In sending out communication and materials, please keep in mind that most software programs have some type of spelling and grammar checks available.  It is important to utilize those features. 
  • It might also be helpful to have a third party review important correspondence and materials before you send them out.


Communicating effectively in person and in writing is key to creating and maintaining any relationship.  Experience in the workplace and consulting with mentors should give you a sense of what is professionally appropriate.  Obviously, there might be differences in norms and expectations depending on the context.  But, it is always better to err on the side of professionalism and cordiality.

Some other communication-related points to keep in mind are as follows:

(1)    Remember to include any attachments (e.g., a resume) that you reference in your email before sending.  It is a common faux pas to omit the attachment.

(2)    Before clicking “Send”, proofread for spelling, grammar and content.  Delete any extraneous material from the body of the email.  Often there is a paper trail of correspondence that other contacts have sent you with which they might not want to be directly associated.  Please respect that.  And if an email contains a “reply” or “forward”, please make sure that what appears in the Subject line matches with the nature of your current correspondence.

(3)    Use a “neutral” email address for professional correspondence, not one that is cute or funny (for example, should be used instead of

(4)    If searching for a job while employed elsewhere, do not send out such correspondence from that employer’s email account.

(5)    Make sure that your outgoing greeting on your cell phone or home voicemail is professional and has a name that matches the name you use professionally.  Greetings from toddler and other age children should be replaced with outgoing greetings from responsible adults.

(6)    When in job search mode (and even in general), make sure that if children collect home phone messages, they must be responsible and able to take cogent messages and deliver them reliably in a timely fashion.  A job opportunity may be at stake here.

(7)    Never engage in communication related to your job search activities in a manner that is connected to a current employer.  In most cases, job search activities should be limited to your home.   You should not use a work email address or phone number on your resume or send out correspondence from a machine at work.  You should not be using Internet job sites to search for opportunities while on the job.  Not only can it be electronically tracked, but others will notice that you are doing so.  You should also not use your work phone to speak with other employers or third-parties while at work and/or on work time.  In some cases, you can use your cell phone to communicate in a private area during breaks.

(8)    If you do not hear back from a prospective employer within a timeframe that you envision, never engage in “phone stalking”.  This applies to any professional contacts.  Phone stalking means calling someone more than once or twice on a given day with or without leaving a message.  Persistence is sometimes a virtue in life.  However, please recognize that people are busy, things come up, and your inquiry is not the only pertinent matter for the recipient to handle.  With many telephone systems having “Caller ID”, it will become evident if someone is calling multiple times.  If you are discovered to be engaging in telephone stalking, it will convey a sense of desperation and reflect poorly on your communication skills.  In most cases, give someone 1-2 business days to respond to any phone or email message.  It is best to leave a voice-mail message and be patient unless you have been instructed to try more often.

(9)    In your job-related or professional conversations with those you do not know well, please be aware of the “TMI” phenomenon.  That stands for “too much information” by which one introduces into conversation aspects of one’s personal life such as excuses for missing appointments or action items, or even as off-the-cuff remarks.  Doing so, might very well brand you in a negative light towards those who are not very familiar with you.

(10) Almost everyone today has a cell phone or Blackberry which puts him/ her in touch with others 24/7.  This connectivity is used for both business and personal matters.  When you have a formal meeting with others, especially a job interview, it is best to not only silence your cell phone, but perhaps even turn it off (unless there are unusual circumstances).  When a device rings or vibrates, the recipient of the call is not only distracted, but has to make a decision as to which matter is more important.  In an interview of formal meeting, it can be a “turn-off” to the other party.

Keep Posted for Part VI

The following post is from an informative article on job searching written by Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Joblink Baltimore.
The article has been slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts.


Necessary Resources, Equipment, and Skills

In today’s world, it is essential that you have phone, PC and Internet access either in your home or nearby.  This also includes having a printer to print out readable resumes.  Since computers, printers, and technology may fail us on occasion, you must have a backup.  All public libraries have free access to PC’s and the Internet.  Companies such as FEDEX-Kinko’s and others have printers that you can use to print for a nominal fee.   Please note that the professional standard today is to have work printed on a laser printer, not a dot matrix or inkjet.

(We would like to point out here that if you do have internet in the house, it should be properly filtered from destructive and inappropriate sites. If you do not have the internet in your home, you need to have some sort of access that you can check regularly in your job search, whether it’s the library, or even better, a friend nearby that is happy let you use their PC periodically to assist in your search.)

In addition, operating within the professional world calls for basic electronic literacy. 
At minimum, the three necessary skills are: the effective use of email, Internet searches and using a program like Microsoft Word.  Email is an accepted use of communication that has become standard.  Very often, resumes are included as attachments to emails.  Searching the Internet for available positions and to conduct research on employer organizations are also functions that are expected.  Finally, proficiency with a Word processor is required in order to compose/edit a resume as well as for cover letters.  Someone who lacks these basic skills should seek training in order to operate within the employment world.


Someone who is in the market for a job and is actively engaged in a job search must check email and voicemail on a regular basis.  Phone messages and emails should be returned promptly.  If not, you will be at a great disadvantage when compared to assertive job seekers who do.  While it is always recommended that you have someone in your home record and reliably forward accurate messages in a timely manner, it is especially critical to do so when you are actively looking. 

Please make sure that in setting up your outgoing greetings on your home and cell phones that you record them in a way that is professional, clear and understandable.  Not doing so will be a turn-off to any company that calls.  It is advisable that the outgoing greeting is recorded by an adult and not an infant or child.


In some places, there are various types of public transportation that is available.  However, for most jobs, some form of reliable, personal means of transportation will be required.  This applies to getting yourself to a job interview or commuting to work on a daily basis.  While depending on rides or loaned cars may be OK in the short-term, a reliable solution will be necessary.


One of the key competencies that employers look for is basic writing skills.  Being able to express yourself in writing to convey ideas and technical concepts is often lacking.  You do not necessarily have to have the most sophisticated vocabulary.  However, you must make sure to use cogent, complete sentences and subject-verb agreement in written reports, emails, and letters.


Another skill that is valued and expected in the workplace is basic “menschlichkeit”.  That is not an easy word to translate into English.  But, basic menschlichkeit means that you show yourself to be polite and gracious to whomever you are dealing with in your relationships.  Menschlichkeit also means being responsive, sensitive to the needs of others, and returning calls/messages.  Some refer to these as “people skills” which are critical, regardless of your personality.



If you feel that your current training, education, and skill sets are not putting you into a position to compete for quality job opportunities, it might be worth considering obtaining them.  A training course or two, an entry-level internship or apprenticeship, or a relevant degree might be something to seriously consider in conjunction or in lieu of your next job.  You should view this re-tooling as an investment in your future, which could have positive income ramifications down the line.

Keep Posted for Part V

The following post is from an informative article on job searching written by Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Joblink Baltimore.
The article has been slightly edited and will be divided among a few posts.

Submitting your Resume
Today, submitting a resume or job application in consideration for a job is as easy as it has ever been. Resumes can be emailed, completed on-line, and faxed as well as mailed in the traditional way. In fact, resumes can even be banked in a database for review or automatically submitted without the job seeker’s explicit action. However, a carefully worded or customized resume is critical to being considered for a given position. Failing to send a customized packet geared toward a specific job will either fall short of what is expected or not sufficiently differentiate you from the many resumes that are received. Another way of having your resume noticed is to leverage a connection that you have to the organization or to the hiring manager.
It is absolutely essential that written materials presented in applying for jobs are grammatically correct. Given that most programs like MS Word have spelling and grammar checks, this makes it much easier. However, there is no substitute for a careful proofread of any materials presented, preferably by an outside party. Also, any printed materials should be free of smudges, tears, and food stains. A malfunctioning printer is never a legitimate excuse for poorly presented written materials.
The Importance of the Cover Letter
In most cases, a resume should be sent to the organizational contact point accompanied by a cover letter. The significance of a quality cover letter should not be overlooked. In short, a cover letter provides a “bridge” between the job seeker, the job, the organization, and one’s resume. It is beyond the scope of this article to get into the specific structure of the cover letter.
However, it is recommended that you first read through the job announcement or description or announcement carefully. Search for (1) the experience requirements; (2) the education requirements; and (3) the major job functions.

In the cover letter, you should identify point-for-point how your experience matches up with 1, 2, and 3. Merely sending your resume alone by email and hoping for the best, in most cases, will be an exercise in futility. If you cannot present a match to the contents of the job description within your cover letter, it is likely that you are not qualified for it.
Most people will have a cover letter template that is saved and then subsequently customized towards a specific position. It is essential that job seekers proofread the cover letter to make sure that the details pertinent to a previous job applied for are not still in the letter.


Keep posted for Part IV