Networking: the Groundwork for a Successful Career Campaign

Career Navigator and 5 Steps Graduate, Trade Act Training Recipient

Network! Network! Network!—that is the key to a successful job search according to Frank, a recent addition to the engineering team at Harris RF Communications.

As a self-proclaimed introvert Frank’s insight into networking reflects the key to successful networking: it’s not about you! Each opportunity to connect was not just about sharing goals and getting information. It was an opportunity for Frank to share his network with those he met who were also looking for work.

Realizing that you should not embark on a job search alone, Frank’s initiative to reach out to family, friends, coworkers and the staff at RochesterWorks! made all the difference.

Keep reading to learn from Frank’s experience and apply his tips to your own job search today!

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced in being unemployed?
A: Networking, informational meetings, interviewing, and creating a resume that stands out were my biggest challenges.

Q: What job search methods did you use?
A: I used every job search method that I could find. I reviewed job postings on Hot Jobs, Monster Jobs, Career Builder and I also networked with former colleagues, family, friends, and the RochesterWorks! staff. Besides these methods I also found job opportunities through Job Club, ABCpng, New Horizons, The August Group, PeerNet, Lee Hecht Harrison, and job agents at various target companies.

Q: What tips do you have for job seekers to help increase their success and shorten their length of unemployment?
A: Network, network, network. Use your inner circle of family and friends and expand the circle by adding more contacts through informational interviews. Build a strong list of advocates that know you and your work life including former colleagues and professors. Don’t leave any stone unturned. You never really know where the golden egg is hidden. Take classes to keep up with your skills, volunteer, ask for help, and don’t forget about your health either. Exercise!

Q: How did RochesterWorks! help you in finding your new position?
A: Through RochesterWorks! I was kept aware of the openings at Harris. I had given up on them, but continued to try and finally landed an interview as a former co-worker at Kodak told me a few of the openings were in the department he was working for. His recommendation plus my resume and the company incentive plans for internal referrals paid off! I was hired by one of his bosses!
At RochesterWorks!, I also attended several of the job search workshops as well as others including Mike Chabilik’s Networking, Referrals, and Getting a Yes! In every workshop I learned something new that I could apply to my job search. Prior to coming to RochesterWorks! I had taken several online job search workshops and training courses. I was impressed with the in-person workshops right from the start.
Not only did I attend workshops, but I also applied for a training grant through RochesterWorks! for an engineering program at RIT and then participated in 5 Steps to Rapid Employment and Career Navigator.

5 Steps to Rapid Employment
I enjoyed the focus of the 5 Steps program on the resume and networking. It is often stressful to deal with all of the resume advice that is available on blogs and websites and adapt your resume. The 5 Steps program helped me to develop an outstanding resume that increased the responses from my job applications tremendously.

Career Navigator
Career Navigator is one of the best, if not the best programs. We were able to meet and work as a team to provide feedback for each other. We also were able to network with each other right then and there. During the program follow up weekly meetings, for example, I was able to connect two other graduates to people I knew that had jobs—both of them landed! It felt great to help out. After the program, 50% of the graduates landed within just a few months.
Our team got smaller and merged with other groups that were still looking for work, continued to plan additional meetings and stay connected. The camaraderie that developed during our week of Career Navigator did not end when we graduated. We still stay connected and help each other when we can.

Trade Act
Through RochesterWorks! and the Trade Act programs available to connect dislocated workers to training I was able to enroll at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the Six Sigma Black Belt and Green Belt certification programs to fill in my skills gap in engineering. These programs were also available at Monroe Community College (MCC) but through recommendations and informational meetings I decided that RIT would be a better fit for my skill set.
One reason why I chose these programs was the major projects associated with each certification. For each certification I was able to work in a company to use the skills that I was learning in the program. These projects took a lot of time and work, but they made me aware of the struggles and where I needed to work harder to update my skills.

Q: How did you find your new position?
A:  I found my new position through networking and preparing for interviews by knowing what questions to ask and how to positively convey how I would be a great addition to the company and its culture.

 Q: If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently in your job search?
A: Concentrate on generating a great group of advocates that know you and your work and have them write letters of recommendation. Put them, along with the outstanding resume generated through the 5 Steps program, into a referral portfolio. These steps increased job responses tremendously for me in the last few months.

 Q: What led to your success?
A: If anything defines me it is perseverance. Yes, I have gone through too many ups and downs, but during the ups I would be helping others and during the downs some of my colleagues would cheer me up and give me words of encouragement. I never let the “age” thing bother me as this is what I am so try to make the best of whatever you’ve got! You basically need to block all of these negative things especially in an interview (even on the phone) and psyche yourself up!

 Q: Do you have any other words of advice for job seekers?
A: Network! Network! Network! Used LinkedIn to search for companies and people to schedule informational meetings and build a group that will be there for you rain or sunshine! If it ever gets boring take a class, learn something new, or give somebody a hand. You will feel better and energized.
Ask yourself the question, “How many people that I know, know that I am looking for work?” You may be surprised to find out that you are not using every connection like you could be.
Connections are very important so don’t discard any of them. All you need is somebody who knows somebody. Take the time to meet with people about once per week and use the rest of the time to follow up with them. You may not always get interviews, but you have to keep on trying! They are important so don’t be afraid to share your marketing plan with your family and friends and learn to get advocates at a company before you apply.

Click Here for more information about RochesterWorks! and the programs available to you, then visit our Career Center! Our services are free and walk-in’s are welcome. You do not need to be unemployed to participate. You just need to be a RochesterWorks! member.


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Get the Experience You Need to Jumpstart Your Career through a Summer Youth Work Experience Program!


Are you between the ages of 14 and 20 years old and struggling to get t
he experience that you need to find a job?


Don’t worry! RochesterWorks! is here to help. 
Through work experience programs RochesterWorks! and the City of Rochester are dedicated to connecting you to the opportunities you need to plan for your future and jumpstart your career. To help you get a glimpse of how the Summer Youth Employment Program can work for you, meet Tianna, Todd, and Stephen and learn from their experiences and advice.


“I was really shy in the beginning of the program, but once I took a leadership role it made me realize skills that I didn’t even know that I had.”
Tianna, along with fifteen other youth, took the summer to encourage people in the Rochester area to “Go Green” in the ABC Green Footprint Project sponsored by Action for a Better Community. Tianna’s enrollment in the Summer Youth Employment Program for two years gave her the confidence she needed to take initiative and become a role model for the students that she now teaches at ABC. Click here to learn more about Tianna, her experience with RochesterWorks!, and the ABC Green Footprint Project.


“Personally, I don’t just like it… I love it! Nothing can repeat what we have accomplished through all of these six weeks.”
As a sophomore in high school, Stephen learned about the Summer of Opportunity Program (also known as the Summer Youth Employment Program) at his local high school. He took the initiative to learn more about the program, applied, and found himself working at the Regional Center for Independent Living. The six-week program allowed Stephen the opportunity to work on developing a Career Readiness video and work on his professional portfolio, while developing professional skills and gaining experience working in an office environment.  Stephen’s determination to learn and grow helped him to be successful in this program. Click here to learn more about Stephen by viewing his full testimonial or to watch his career readiness video.


“It exceeded my expectations…It was an easy process to get in and start working!”
At ArtWorks professional artists work with youth teams to cultivate their respective artistic talents by teaching them the necessary skills to build their own creative portfolio, work as a team, and build a professional marketing campaign. Todd came to ArtWorks through the Summer Youth Employment Program. This experience taught him the skills to motivate his own growth and lead as a team member in the growth of others.  To learn more about how Todd’s experience led to his success as an employee of ArtWorks click here to view his testimonial.

As you consider the opportunities that are available to you through work experience programs at RochesterWorks! remember that we are here to help. You are not alone in your struggle to find a job. We have the resources to teach you how to look for work, develop your resume and portfolio, and prepare for a successful career.

Whether or not you take advantage of this opportunity is up to you. Get started today and send in your application for the Summer Youth Employment program by the March 21st deadline!
Click here for more information and apply today!

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Job Search Motivation that Works!

Sr. Staff Assistant at RIT

One of the most common challenges facing job seekers from every industry and walk of life is managing the new routine that comes with a job search. For Christie, managing this process became easier through the advice and services available at RochesterWorks! Through 5 Steps to Rapid Employment, Job Club, and a variety of workshops, Christie was able to take advantage of one-on-one, practical job search assistance that motivated her throughout the process.

Today, as a Sr. Staff Assistant at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Christie now partners with the residence hall staff to motivate others to ensure that the Center for Residence Life provides a rich, engaging atmosphere for students to learn and grow.

Keep reading for Christie’s full interview to learn about her experience and advice for job seekers!

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced in being unemployed?

A:  The biggest challenge that I faced while being unemployed was staying focused and motivated. As I grew to understand that this was my full-time job, I found it difficult to advertise that I was unemployed and looking for work at networking events and other group functions.

Q: What job search methods did you use?

A: I looked for job openings on the internet, through networking, and on job boards. I also found many job leads on LinkedIn.  

Q: What tips do you have for job seekers to help increase their success and shorten their length of unemployment?

A: Use as many resources as you can. Connect with everyone at every day functions both online, through Facebook and LinkedIn, and in person. Take advantage of resources that you get for free like those at RochesterWorks!

Q: How did RochesterWorks! help you find your new position?

A:  RochesterWorks! helped me to be persistent and to keep a log of where I’ve applied and the results that came from it. I also learned how to check out many job titles to look for comparable title names. I also participated in several of the programs available at RochesterWorks! 5 Steps to Rapid Employment helped me to figure out where I was going. If you are interested in applying for 5 Steps keep in mind that you will need a strong focus. There is a lot of information and homework, but it is worth it.

Aside from the more intense programs I also attended Job Club every Monday at the Waring Road Career Center. This group meeting helped me to start my week with energy and motivation. It also served as advertising for the other programs that were available. I also attended several workshops to help with my resume and teach me how to use LinkedIn. Many of the resources at RochesterWorks! are free and the opportunities to learn are excellent so I strongly encourage anyone looking for work to take advantage of them.

Q: If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently in your job search?

A:  If I had to start over in my job search I would have started to sign up for RochesterWorks! workshops earlier.

Q: What led to your success?

A: Having the support of several RochesterWorks! counselors directing and encouraging me to do what I needed to do to get the job led to my success. Job Club and 5 Steps to Rapid Employment as well as the job search workshops helped me to understand what I needed to do and how to manage the job search process. Todd Sloane and the other 5 Steps coaches were my number one supporters. I don’t think I could have learned all the tricks of finding a job without them.

Q: Do you have any other words of advice for job seekers?

A: Be positive, don’t take rejections personally, and always be prepared to meet your next employer. Figure out how to keep yourself motivated. Finding a job is a full-time job. For me that meant that I scheduled time to do my job search “homework” during the week. I woke up at 7am and worked on my job search until 2pm every day. Many times I had to force myself to work online and look for job openings. The time you spend online looking for a job is not futile. You still need the personal connection, but you have to be willing to put the time in.

Click here for more information about RochesterWorks! and the programs available to you. Our services are free and walk-in’s are welcome. You do not need to be unemployed to participate. You just need to be a RochesterWorks! member.

Click here to learn more about RIT’s Center for Residence Life and find out why the campus is one of the largest mainstream environments in the world.



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Continuity Compels Motivation and Success

Gary, 5 Steps to Rapid Employment Graduate

Managing a specialized job search in a competitive job market drives many job seekers to a fork in the road where they must choose either to branch out or to continue in their specialized field. For some, this fork leads them to pursue training in a new industry. For others, it drives their motivation, opening up new possibilities and a willingness to be flexible and open in the pursuit of their dreams.

For Gary, his decision to pursue his passion in the area of Business Continuity drove every decision thereafter in the entirety of his job campaign. As an RIT graduate with an extended career managing IT systems to handle outages while ensuring data accessibility and protection, Gary took full advantage of the programs available to him at RochesterWorks. From workshops to 5 Steps to Rapid Employment, Gary took the initiative to learn and apply something new every day.

Throughout his job search, Gary’s dedication to excellence and to his field motivated his success. Today, this drive continues to motivate his commitment as the Disaster Readiness Program Manager for MVP Health Care.

Keep Reading to Learn More about Gary’s Experience at RochesterWorks and Learn from His Advice for Your Own Job Search!

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced in being unemployed?
A:  One of the biggest challenges that I faced while being unemployed was finding jobs that matched my specialized experience and skill set. It had been almost 19 years since I had looked for work, so adjusting to the new way of job searching and managing all of the technological changes was difficult. Throughout the process I learned many things that I never thought I would need to know.

Q: What job search methods did you use?
A:  Throughout my job search I connected with local agencies and recruiters along with former colleagues to apply for jobs online as well as through networking.

Q: What tips do you have for job seekers to help increase their success and shorten their length of unemployment?
A:  Remain positive and devote as much time as possible to your job search. Start networking, taking RochesterWorks training, working with recruiters, and updating your LinkedIn profile right away and just keep at it.

Q: How did RochesterWorks! help you in finding your new position?
A: One of the major ways that RochesterWorks helped me to find my job was through the 5 Steps to Rapid Employment program. The coaches and the information that they present are motivational and positive. I learned something new every time! The light really came on for me when I realized that the key is to get to the Hiring Manager. I also learned the importance of putting together a 30-60-90 day plan and found out why sending thank you notes to your interviewers helps you to stand out.
The details do matter. In online job searching everyone is going after the same positions—you have to stand out to get the job. Now that I have a job, I continue to learn and stay connected through the 5 Steps Campaign meetings.
Not only did I get involved in the 5 Steps program, but I also took some of the workshops that are available at RochesterWorks. Link Up with LinkedIn, in particular, helped me to use and update my profile more often. I learned that it’s important to update your LinkedIn profile at least once a week. It keeps your profile up-to-date yet it doesn’t take a lot of time. I actually received a phone call from a recruiter that was interested in meeting with me after only viewing my profile. Even though the position wasn’t right for me, it definitely proved to me that LinkedIn works.

Q: How did you find your new position?
A:   I first heard about my job online, then when I attended an August Group networking meeting at Medaille College I asked if anyone had any connections with MVP Health Care. Someone was able to connect me with the Hiring Manager and here I am today!

Q: If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently in your job search?
A: If I had to start over, I would embrace all of the methods of job searching as early as possible in the process. I really didn’t know about many of them until I started learning about the “new” way of job hunting.

Q: What led to your success?
A:  I never gave up and I tried to stay positive which at times was difficult.  I started networking with multiple groups and took seminars and training through RochesterWorks and through online programs and local libraries. There are a lot of great opportunities here in Rochester to work with groups and people that are sincerely interested in helping you find work. You don’t find that in many other cities.

Q: Do you have any other words of advice for job seekers?
A:  Believe in yourself and that the right job will come along—even when you are sure that it won’t. Focus on the results that you want, put together all of the pieces, and stay connected with people that are there to help you.

Click Here for more information about RochesterWorks! and the programs available to you, then visit our Career Center! Our services are free and walk-in’s are welcome. You do not need to be unemployed to participate. You just need to be a RochesterWorks! member.


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RochesterWorks! Working for You: Giving Youth a Vision for the Future

Elsie, Digital Skills for Youth 2010

 Exploring career opportunities can be overwhelming for youth, but learning to embrace and explore them at a young age through internships and programs, many catch a vision for their futures and are inspired to pursue their dreams and make a difference in the world around them.

 For Elsie, the opportunity to explore her dreams came through the Digital Skills for Youth program at RochesterWorks. Supported by the RochesterWorks team, Elsie spent six weeks at the University of Rochester Medical Center researching a Healthy Youth Living program for Rochester residents. Learning the value of passion, confidence, and tenacity in a research environment, Elsie was inspired her to pursue a career in healthcare majoring in Biology and Society and minoring in Global Health at Cornell University. Several years later she also won an international internship scholarship to Nigeria. While in Nigeria, Elsie put into practice what she learned at the University of Rochester Medical Center as she researched infant mortality on a global scale and furthered her education in Yoruba (one of the many native dialects in Nigeria).

 Elsie’s experiences, along with the passion that she developed through the Digital Skills for Youth program, enabled her to explore opportunities at a young age instilling a passion for medical research that continues to motivate her growth.

 Several weeks ago Elsie took the time to reflect on her experiences through the Digital Skills for Youth program and how it has influenced her decisions and her future. Keep reading to learn from her experiences and find out why she encourages other youth to get involved and plan ahead for their careers.

Elsie’s Interview

Q: What challenge or situation brought you to RochesterWorks?
A: I found out about RochesterWorks through the Urban League Scholar Program. I came to RochesterWorks because I wanted to gain more hands on medical experience while still in high school to enhance my academic standing as a potential college student for numerous universities.

Q: How did RochesterWorks help you to overcome that challenge?
A: Through the 2010 Digital Skills for Youth program, I was able to intern at the Department of Family Medicine Research Programs at the University of Rochester Medical Center for six weeks over the summer.

Q: Tell me about your experience with the Digital Skills for Youth program.
A: I interned at the Department of Family Medicine Research Programs at the University of Rochester Medical Center where I helped to formulate a possible Healthy Youth Living program for Rochester residents.  I did a lot of research on other existing youth health programs and combined it with my own ideas to create a plausible idea for the program.  I also interviewed the Greater Rochester YMCA Co-chair about the types of youth programs that the YMCA offers youth.  I also interviewed teenagers through the Westside Health Services where we asked them about what they would be interested in a youth oriented healthy living program.  Additionally, I helped to create a possible logo for the program.  Towards the end of the program I wrote a cumulative report of my ideas and a compilation of my findings and results as well as how to go about initiating and implementing the program officially.

I also learned about the importance of colonoscopies and traveled to clinics to teach Rochester residents about the importance of a colonoscopy, especially after the age of fifty years old. I also got to sit in on important conference calls, volunteer at clinics, shadow doctors, and participate in weekly meetings where I presented the Research team with my findings and initiatives for that week.

 Q: Would you recommend this program to other youth?
A: Yes! I definitely would recommend this program to other youth especially if you’re trying to gain professional exposure to possible area of expertise.  It’s really a great opportunity that not many high school students receive.

Q: What do you think led to your success during this program?
A: I think being open minded, enthusiastic, passionate, confident, tenacious, and understanding were reasons that I was successful in this program.  One’s genuine desire for knowledge, along with a positive spirit, can go a long way.

Q: Since the program, what school and program have you been attending?
A: I graduated from Our Lady of Mercy High School with my high school diploma in 2011.  I am currently a junior at Cornell University majoring in Biology and Society (Pre-Med) and minoring in Global Health.

Q: Can you tell me more about your current research experience at Cornell University?
A: I am a Research Assistant at the Robertson Infant Lab at Cornell University.  This is my second semester working in this lab and I’m really enjoying it.  We are focused on researching the relationship between the body and the mind of infants by trying to understand the relationship between spontaneous eye, attention, and body movements during the third month of infant development. 

Q: How did you hear about the Fulbright-Hays GPA Intensive Advanced Yoruba in Nigeria Scholarship with the University of Florida?
A: I heard about this program through my Yoruba teacher. He noticed how quickly I was grasping the language and suggested that I apply to the program in order to become even more fluent in Yoruba as well as have an opportunity for international research initiatives.

Elsie, Nigeria 2013

Q: What programs were you involved in during your internship in Nigeria?
A: I attended the program this past summer for eight weeks at the University of Ibadan in Ibadan, Nigeria.  It was a really eye-opening experience and I learned so much.  The group consisted of nine other undergrad and post-grad students from around the United States.  We studied Yoruba intensely from Monday to Thursday and went on various excursions throughout Nigeria on the weekends to learn about Nigerian culture and history.  Being a native Nigerian, it was really an awesome opportunity for me to broaden my knowledge about my culture and learn new things.
During my free time I also volunteered at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Nigeria in the pediatrics department.  I loved being able to shadow nurses and doctors as well and learn more about the healthcare system of Nigeria and how it affects its citizens. Towards the end of the program each participant had to present a forty-five minute seminar based on each of our areas of expertise or interest speaking in Yoruba.  We also had to write a final ten page paper expounding on what we discussed at our seminar.  For my paper I talked about the reasons for child mortality in Nigeria and compared it to the reasons in the United States. I learned that Nigeria has the highest rate of infant mortality in the entire continent of Africa and that children are dying from curable diseases such as diarrhea and measles.  This was very shocking for me to find out.  However it gave me more motivation to continue to pursue my medical degree in order to help those who are in need and to improve health disparities not only in Nigeria, but on a global scale.

 Q: What advice do you have for other youth interested in applying for RochesterWorks programs?
A: This program is exceptional! It will give you an opportunity to experience professional settings and give you an idea of what you may want to be interested in your future.  You are the only one in charge of your future.  Why not take the initiative and apply for such a life changing and opportunity giving program?  I promise you will not regret it.

Q: What is next for you? What are your long-term career goals?
A: Hopefully this summer I will be going to Moshi, Tanzania, through the Cornell Global Health Program for eight weeks!  I’m staying focused on graduating and continuing my academic journey. I plan on studying for the MCAT next semester and hopefully applying to Medical Schools or medically inclined programs after graduation.  As of now, I am interested in Obstetrician Gynecology and Neonatology.  Through the grace of God and the support of my family and friends, I will keep pushing on!  Thank you to Digital Skills for Youth for helping me prepare for my future. I am forever grateful!


Click here for more information about RochesterWorks Youth Services or stop by one of our Career Centers to learn more about how we inspire youth to prepare for their futures!

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RochesterWorks Working for You: Learn to Embrace New Opportunities

Leslie, Debt Counselor

Learning to embrace the new opportunities that a career change affords can be invigorating or frightening depending on your outlook. For Leslie, her decision to focus on the former was the key to her success. Having spent years in the food service industry, Leslie knew that the time had come to change her career to match the needs of her growing family.

Prior experience with our staff brought Leslie to RochesterWorks. The wide variety of programs and personal assistance convinced her that changing careers was a real possibility.  After meeting with Career Service Advisors, creating a plan, and overhauling her resume Leslie jumped into her job campaign by applying for jobs, attending job fairs, and building her network. Today, as a Debt Counselor for ConServe, Leslie is grateful for those at RochesterWorks that inspired her to pursue a new opportunity and a new career.

Keep reading for Leslie’s full interview to learn about her experience and advice for job seekers!


Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced in being unemployed?
A:  Managing the anxiety of financial pressures, along with my career change, was the biggest challenge in my job search. I knew that I wanted to do something different, but wasn’t sure what or how that could happen. At first I wasn’t worried, because I had the support of my family and friends, but over time it became harder and more discouraging.
I came to RochesterWorks because I knew that I needed help. I knew that I wanted to change career paths, but trying to relate my skills to something different was hard. It sounds so easy, but it’s difficult to combine two things and present it so that it makes sense to someone else.

Q: What job search methods did you use?
A:  When I started looking for work, I applied for everything! From online job postings, job fairs, networking, and Recruiting Round Rochester, I tried to take advantage of everything available to me.  I also took advantage of the Resource Room, the RochesterWorks Virtual Career Center, and the Department of Labor website.

Q: What tips do you have for job seekers to help increase their success and shorten their length of unemployment?
A: Prepare. Take a look at the job and find out what they are looking for, then customize everything to fit that job. If you think about what they want and just do the minimum then you have a lot of people doing the same thing to get by.
You need to do something to help you stand out. Go above and beyond and do all of the little extra details. When I interviewed for jobs, I wrote thank you notes even if I didn’t get the job. If the person they do hire doesn’t work out for them, thank you notes can make a big difference.

Q: How did RochesterWorks! help you find your new position?
A:  Initially I heard about RochesterWorks through unemployment, but when I came back for help with my job search, I realized that there are a massive amount of opportunities. I found that I worked better individually with one of the advisors, but there are a lot of programs to help you no matter who you are.
When I first met with an Advisor I was frustrated with my job search. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I had gotten a few interviews, but I wasn’t getting flooded with calls. She sat down with me and said, “Let’s just take a look at everything and figure out what you think you’ll be good at and what skills you have that can help you in a new job.” She really helped me to gather my ideas into something that made sense. It was, in fact, my Advisor that recommended that I apply for my position at ConServe.
I also attended Resume Review which was phenomenal! Not only did it give me a chance to have someone look over my resume, but everybody gave me pointers, tips, and critiques, so that I got different points of view. When I went in to an interview I didn’t know who was going to be looking at it, but I knew that somehow we pulled everybody’s perspective and applied it to my resume, so it can appeal to anyone.

Q: If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently in your job search?
A:  I would have come to RochesterWorks sooner and would have tried to make a better plan from the beginning. At first, I applied everywhere with one resume and submitted it everywhere that I could online. I was all over the place! I think that I needed to figure out what I wanted to do and gear everything to that. My advice is to not let your anxiety take over. Focus in on a few key jobs, while keeping your options open, and show them that you can do that job. You need to be realistic, but clear about why you are a good fit.

Q: Do you have any other words of advice for job seekers?
A: I think it is really important, once you go into the interview, to remember that they aren’t just interviewing you. You are also interviewing them. You need to decide if that job is really going to be a good fit for you and if you are really going to be able to excel and grow in that job. I think that a lot of people take the first job that is offered to them because they are looking for work, but are really disappointed. They might not work as hard, dread going to work every day, and then they keep finding themselves in the same situation over and over again. You don’t want to waste your time or theirs. Sometimes you may need to back out of a position after an interview—employers appreciate that! They respect you and if something comes up in the future that is a better fit, maybe they will remember you and call!

Click here for more information about RochesterWorks! and the programs available to you. Our services are free and walk-in’s are welcome. You do not need to be unemployed to participate. You just need to be a RochesterWorks! member.

Click here for information about ConServe and How They Connect with Local Job Seekers through RochesterWorks.


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ConServe Connects with Local Job Seekers through the RochesterWorks Business Services Team

Sheehan, JJean Sheehan
Manager of Talent Acquisition

Rochester may be known for technical science and higher education, but did you know that it is also home to a nationally and locally ranked collections agency?

In 2013, Continental Service Group, Inc. (d/b/a:  ConServe), was ranked by the Rochester Business Alliance as one of Rochester’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies. Motivated by this growth and a mutual commitment to our community, ConServe connected with RochesterWorks for workforce assistance. From sharing job postings to attending job fairs and Recruiting Round Rochester, the services available through the RochesterWorks Business Services team has enabled ConServe to continue to invest in our community by investing in our workforce.

Hiring: An Inside Look

ConServe’s growth and commitment to employee success and development is largely a reflection of their commitment to hiring career-minded individuals. In an interview with Jean Sheehan, Manager of Talent Acquisition at the ConServe office in Rochester, NY, we learned how the RochesterWorks Business Services team eased the hiring process, while providing opportunities to match the right job seekers with the right opportunities.

Over the past four and a half years, Jean has seen ConServe’s staff grow from approximately 250 to over 500 employees. In 2013, a RochesterWorks referral helped to place nine candidates into open positions at ConServe. Jean’s experience with the Business Services team provides insight into the hiring process as businesses and job seekers struggle to connect.

Keep reading for the full interview with Jean Sheehan, Manager of Talent Acquisition, to learn how ConServe connects to job seekers through the Business Services team at RochesterWorks.


About ConServe

Continental Service Group, Inc. (d/b/a:  ConServe), founded in 1985, provides nationwide accounts receivable management services in higher education, government, and commercial markets from their offices in Rochester and Buffalo, NY. Through their dedication to serving Client and Vendor needs, ConServe demonstrates their commitment to our community by training their employees and participating in the local community.

ConServe’s commitment to our local workforce is clearly evidenced by the national and local recognition that they have received. As one of thirty-five Best Places to Work in Collections 2013 award winners, one of INC5000’s Fastest Growing Private Companies, and ten out of eleven years of recognition as one of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies in Rochester, ConServe continues to maintain their commitment to employee development and community involvement.

Through ConServe University®, a free industry training program connecting Clients and employees to industry expertise, ConServe demonstrates this commitment. New employees at ConServe participate in full-time training programs for up to the first ten weeks of their employment. Debt Counselors, for example, participate in a two-week training program at ConServe University®, followed by training known as the “nesting period.” This “nesting period” is designed to assist new employees as they learn the specifics of the clients and systems within their department. ConServe also provides free certification from the Associate of Credit and Collections Professionals for employees interested in further training. By incorporating both internal and external programs, ConServe motivates their employees while developing each individual according to their training and career goals.

 ConServe demonstrates their commitment to the community through training and hiring, as well as through community involvement. Their employees have generously contributed more than $150,000 and more than 750 volunteer hours to a diverse group of non-profit organizations in their local communities. In September, for example, ConServe hosted a blood drive where employees donated enough blood to save over 192 lives in local hospitals. ConServe also sponsors the Adopt a Highway program through employee clean up sessions and organizes internal donation drives for organizations such as Gilda’s Club and Autism Speaks.

Interview with Jean Sheehan

Q: Describe your company’s role in the community.
A: In the Rochester and Buffalo communities we have found high quality applicants and a willing workforce, which has contributed to our growth. The collections industry, while more prevalent in Buffalo, also succeeds here in Rochester because of the quality of applicants and their commitment to training. ConServe offers unique positions because our employees have a role that involves customer service in the higher education and financial industries.

Aside from hiring and training, our management team, employees, and their families participate in community service projects throughout the year. We believe it is a good thing to be involved in giving back and making “contribution” of time and monetary in-kind donations to our community. Our Jeans for Charity program also provides our employees with the opportunity to enjoy dressing down while making a difference in our Community. 

We also believe that giving back leads to a better, well-rounded life.  Our team members and employees are the key stakeholders in our value proposition to our Clients.  Our employees create ConServe by what we do every day. Good corporate citizenship is at the core of our company’s mission statement: “ConServe is dedicated to satisfying the needs of Clients while improving the human condition, fostering the development of successful, long-term relationships with Clients, employees, Vendors and the Community as a whole.”

Q: What is the biggest challenge that you face in finding the right employees for your company?
A: The biggest challenge that we face is securing quality candidates quickly to fill our ongoing call center positions with career minded, sharp individuals. We provide intensive training for all of our employees, so we stress the need for overall soft skills, general aptitude, and motivation for every hiring decision.

Q: How did you find out about RochesterWorks?
A: I’ve known about RochesterWorks from my past recruitment experience, and in my current role, we are constantly hiring and sharing available jobs with RochesterWorks. Rochester is our company headquarters, so the opportunities in this area are consistently growing.

Q: How did RochesterWorks help you?
A: Job posting services, recruiting events like Recruiting Round Rochester, and other local job fairs, have helped us to connect with the quality candidates that we need. Getting involved in Recruiting Round Rochester, for example, has provided us with the opportunity to meet job seekers in a small job fair environment. The process is easy—from getting involved to interviewing those that attend. One applicant needed to apply online and another to complete an online assessment as part of the hiring process.  They were able to use the computers available in the Resource Room at the Career Center to finalize their application and complete the assessment all in one sitting.

Q: Have our services saved you time and resources while easing some of the stress of the hiring process?
A: Absolutely! In 2013 we have already hired nine quality candidates that were referred by RochesterWorks. This is a tremendous assistance to us. The process is reasonable, simple, and free—without a lot of red tape.

Q: Where do you share information about your job postings?
A: On a monthly basis we share our current, active job postings with RochesterWorks. We sourced nine of our 2013 hires from RochesterWorks through job postings, attending their main Job Fairs and Recruiting Round Rochester events. We also share information about our openings on job search sites, through our company social media accounts (LinkedIn and Twitter), with local agencies, and through hard copy advertisements in the Democrat and Chronicle and Western NY Jobs. The majority of our postings are shared online, but we do try to take advantage of other methods to share information about our openings.

Q: What advice do you have for local businesses considering getting involved with programs available at RochesterWorks?
A: I highly recommend fellow employers to utilize RochesterWorks to assist with the sourcing of candidates. The services they offer to prepare and assist candidates to get back to work are practical and helpful. They are able to connect the right people with the right opportunities.

Q: What RochesterWorks Services would you recommend for other local businesses?
A: Take advantage of Recruiting Round Rochester and other RochesterWorks Job Fairs including the 5 Steps Job Fair. I also recommend sharing job postings with RochesterWorks through their website. It is free and easy.

Q: As an employer, what advice do you have for job seekers?
A: When submitting your resume for a job review the job requirements listed in the posting and gear your resume to reflect those requirements (without exaggerating your skills and experience). When interviewing, do your best to understand the job and the soft skills required and gear your answers to those required by the position. Take the time to research the company and ask questions about the job at the interview.

Q: Do you have any other comments about your experience with RochesterWorks!?
A: The staff at RochesterWorks responds quickly to requests and provides fabulous customer support. It is apparent from my interactions with the staff at RochesterWorks over the years that they care and work hard for the people they are assisting, the Community, and the Employers.

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