Job skills refresher suggested for successful search

Whether people are in need of fine-tuning their résumés and interviewing skills or seeking to enhance their employability, there are resources across the city to help job seekers get hired.

PJ Sheldon, a career consultant and author of "You're HIRED!," helps people, regardless of skill level or employment background, prepare as they enter the interviewing field.

"You never know where you'll find your next job," Sheldon said. "It could come from your next phone call or your next handshake. Just be ready."

She teaches workshops on techniques ranging from résumé building and interviewing styles to job searches.

Grammatical errors on résumés are among the most common problems she sees from job hunters.

"People don't make sure they don't have typos or errors," Sheldon said. "Some don't make sure the format is consistent all the way through."

It's not just the résumé that has hindered people but also the interview process.

"The biggest trip-up is they don't know how to interview," she said

Sheldon said when going to an interview, it shouldn't just be the job seeker being asked questions.

"People go into an interview thinking they only have to answer questions and not ask any," she said.

Job hunters have a due diligence to research the company, or even the interviewer to some extent, before meeting.

"You should ask three to five good questions," she said.

Sheldon also teaches people to avoid trap questions.

"You might get asked a question like, 'Do you prefer communicating by writing or by telephone?" she said. "If you pick the right one, you're lucky. But if you pick the wrong one, you shot yourself in the foot."

She recommends that for those types of questions, try to stay in the middle.

When discussing the interviewing process, Sheldon talks to her students about potential uncomfortable silence.

"A lot of times, they do it to see you squirm or to see if you start rambling," Sheldon said.

While some people struggle with résumé writing or other interviewing techniques, others are having difficulties finding employment opportunities.

"People think they need to sit in front of a computer to find a job," Sheldon said.

Instead, she encourages people to attend job fairs or networking groups.

"It could be with people you used to work with or a community place perhaps," she said. "Maybe a church or with family members."

Regardless where people search, they should always be prepared.

"When you're at a job fair, don't just walk through," she said. "Be interview-ready with fresh résumés. Engage the company. When you get a business card, write the date you got it on the back."

After every interview, make sure to send a thank you note.

"It lets them know you're serious, professional and interested," Sheldon said. "It used to be common practice."

In some case, job prep isn't enough. Organizations such as Nevada JobConnect or Workforce Connections provide resources and job enhancement for people who face obstacles while getting hired.

Ron Fletcher, the chief of field operations at Nevada JobConnect, said there are options to amplify people's skills through the Career Enhancement Program. There are two categories people fall into.

The first is for people who might not have the additional training to qualify for some jobs.

JobConnect helps pay for training opportunities when people re-enter the job market.

Fletcher said training can range from basic computer skills to getting credentials as a certified nursing assistant.

"We pay the cost for the course or the post-secondary school to help you improve," Fletcher said.

The second provides people with the necessary equipment, whether it is a Techniques of Alcohol Management card or proper safety shoes.

"Sometimes, an individual is offered employment and is required to purchase something," Fletcher said. "It might seem like a nominal expense, but it can be a barrier."

To fall into either category, people must be unemployed, a Nevada resident attached to the labor market and earnestly seeking employment.

At the three Nevada JobConnect offices - 3405 S. Maryland Parkway, 2827 Las Vegas Blvd. North and 119 S. Water St. - people can walk in and ask the receptionist about the program.

Through the Silver State Works Program set up by Gov. Brian Sandoval in 2011, there are incentives for businesses to hire Nevada's unemployed.

"We work with businesses trying to partner them with job seekers out of work," said Ben Daseler, the business service manager with JobConnect.

There are three components to the program.

Daseler said the first, which isn't the most popular, is a training program in which the person spends six weeks working about 24 hours a week learning about the job.

"The job seeker gets a $200 stipend a week," Daseler said.

After six weeks when training is done, the employer has no obligation to hire the person.

"It's a training opportunity that lets the person develop a new skill they might not have," Daseler said.

There are 35 companies that have used the program.

The second, Daseler said, is an employer-incentive job program, which 73 companies have used.

"This is on-the-job training," Daseler said. "They are hired on after the program."

Employers use this if they want to hire someone or need to teach the new hire a particular skill set or technique.

To mitigate the cost, the employer pays 50 percent of the person's salary while JobConnect pays for the remainder.

The last, and most popular, program is incentive-based employment, which has been used by 407 companies.

"An employer gets a $500 incentive per month to keep their employee," Daseler said. "They have to keep them up to four months and can get up to $2,000."

The employee has to work at least 30 hours a week for the incentive to apply.

In order to qualify for these, a person needs to be receiving unemployment insurance or exhausted unemployment insurance or be a veteran, older youth from 18 to 21, disabled, ex-offender or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANIF, recipient.

"Of course you still need to be qualified (for the job)," Daseler said.

For more information about Nevada JobConnect, visit or call 702-486-0200.

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at or 702-387-5201.


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