Employers Share Advice at Career Forum

By Toni Vranjes

March 18, 2010 1 Comment

If you’re trying to relaunch your career after a long time away from the workforce, you want to get the attention of employers.

From right: Roya Cole, Jane Caddell, Evelyn Nazario, and moderator Judy B. Rosener at the iRelaunch career forum.

But not for the wrong reasons.

Last week, a panel of employers discussed strategies for job seekers to pursue — and steps to avoid. They spoke during an iRelaunch conference held at the University of California, Irvine. About 100 job seekers attended the Career Relaunch Forum, which offered tips and networking opportunities for people returning to the workforce after a career break.

One member of the panel, Evelyn Nazario of California State University, advised job seekers to include specific dates on their resumes. If a resume lacks this information, an employer may think the job candidate has something to hide and assume the worst, said Nazario, who serves as assistant vice chancellor for human resources management at the state-university system.

“It’s a red flag if you see no dates,” she said.

Job seekers can explain their employment gaps in their cover letter, Nazario added. In that way, they’re being upfront, while also providing a reason for their career break.

Panelist Jane Caddell, vice president of human resources at The Capital Group Companies, said that employers are seeking candidates with a wide range of strengths. They include strong communication and leadership skills, as well as creativity, critical-thinking abilities, and self-management skills.

So be sure to demonstrate these talents to employers.

To make a good impression, it’s also vital to do your homework before a job interview, said panelist Roya Cole, first vice president at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Job seekers can research a company on the Internet, and the knowledge they gain will show hiring managers that they’re well-prepared.

At the conference, iRelaunch co-founder Carol Fishman Cohen said that “relaunchers” have many valuable assets, including experience, a mature perspective, and enthusiasm. These qualities can give them an edge during their job search.

One of the job seekers at the forum was Dawn Breaux, a mother of two boys who has been out of the workforce for seven years. Before her career break, she had worked as a litigation paralegal for 16 years. Breaux, who lives in Huntington Beach, Calif., is considering a new career as an advocate for special-needs children.

A key lesson from the conference, she said, is “not to be intimidated — and to be excited about yourself.”

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One Comments to “Employers Share Advice at Career Forum”
  1. Carol Fishman Cohen says:

    Thank you for this excellent coverage of our Career Relaunch Forum last week! We were very excited about the event – the participants, the speakers, the companies represented, and the energy. A note to those in Chicago and Houston – we are headed there next – see http://www.careerrelaunch.com for details.

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