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Hola! Regreso de los “Cinco Amigos!” - February 19th, 2014

Three years ago this month, I asked six friends – career professionals – to offer career advice. Readers around the country liked my “Six Amigos” so we did it several more times since.

We are five now (one changed careers), but we persist in collaborating to offer advice. So it’s time again for my amigos to return: “Regreso de los CINCO Amigos.”

We agree unequivocally that the job market is well: jobs created, job losses stemmed, industries growing, and landings everywhere. Are things great? Not yet, but we’re getting there. So today, the amigos discuss challenges in a rising market. Here are my “Cinco Amigos,” spot on as always.

Janelle Razzino, Executive Recruiter, Razzino Associates, Westwood, NJ

Challenges are always challenges but hiring is up, companies are making room for great people, and you happen to be one of them. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or write a compelling short cover letter to that CEO/President. Don’t be bashful about your gifts and talents. You offer so much but most companies don’t know that. Tell them who you are. Don’t wait. Go after them, armed with a weapon no one else has: you!

Confidence is like a hot air balloon. Let the fire pump into your brain and body and don’t let anyone put that out. The higher the flame the higher you’ll soar.

Here are every-day confidence builders to help you soar. Dress sharp, stand up straight, have a personal commercial you can recite, practice gratitude (think about all you have), praise others, sit in the front row at networking meetings, and work out (it’s the endorphins thing).

Cathy Love, Director of Career Development Center, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ

Staying self-motivated is sometimes difficult. Feelings of anger, frustration, and disappointment may hinder you. How you manage your feelings is critical to your well-being and job search.

What can you do to get out of the doldrums and feel empowered? Start by planning your days. For years you’ve had a work schedule; now that’s not the case. Although initially that sounded great, after a long period of time it becomes exasperating. Create a to-do-list, setting short term goals. Make sure to celebrate each of your successes. Join a support group and find a mentor. Stay current in your industry and brush up on your skills.

Take time out for yourself. Whether utilizing your local Y or just walking around the block, get some exercise. Maintain your sharp appearance; you never know when that next networking opportunity will happen.

Alex Freund, The Landing Expert, Career Coach, Princeton, NJ

Interview success: what’s important to the hiring manager? A hiring manager considers several factors. For example, he’ll review your professional background and career progression. He’ll also question your accomplishments as described on your resume. Be prepared to elaborate on those accomplishments in your interview.

It’s a huge plus if you were referred by a trusted source. Why? Because the roles in the interview process are well defined: it’s a transaction between you and the hiring manager. You are tantamount to a salesperson with the intent to sell yourself. The hiring manager is the buyer. His job is to select among several salesperson candidates. He is not inclined to buy everything the salesperson wants to sell. However, if a trusted person recommended you, then the hiring manager’s scrutiny is significantly minimized, thus dramatically increasing your chances of being hired.

Juanita Turner, Job Search Counselor, Women’s Rights Information Center, Englewood, NJ

A great way to fill the dreaded resume gap – and to gain experience during unemployment – is to volunteer. Paid or unpaid, work is work. Your goal is to let prospective employers know that your skills are currently being used to benefit an organization.

Volunteering your professional expertise can also help you network into a new job by meeting and impressing people who might recommend you. Working pro bono is also good for the confidence and ego. During a long, frustrating job search, getting a sincere “Thank you,” is like a shot of Vitamin A(ppreciation).

Volunteering only works in your favor if you connect with the right organization, give it your all, rack up accomplishments, and get noticed. Don’t just show up and sign in. Potential employers might check. Explore local volunteer opportunities by contacting nonprofits supporting specific causes, or explore the many volunteer opportunities in your area by keyword and location at,, and even

Marty Latman, Financial Executives Networking Group, Franklin Lakes, NJ

Keep positive. Transition can be lonely and depressing if you try to do it alone. As I tell many people who are in transition, you need your “ABP” – Always Be Positive attitude. To keep your “ABP,” I recommend that you establish an “Inner Circle,” which should be comprised of between two and six people who will meet with you on a regular or ad-hoc basis and be your advisors. You can contact these people any time to provide you with emotional support, an honest critique regarding your search strategies, act as a sounding board for your ideas and methods, help you “think out of the box,” and help monitor your progress. Additionally, your “Inner Circle” can help open doors for you.<