Written By Susan Lamphiear
I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint–and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you. Oprah Winfrey
Daydreaming and googling about the title of this keynote address, I revisited a beautiful Arizona song which I hadn’t listened to in a while. Written and performed by Rex Allen, Jr., the song “Diamond in the Rough” sings the uniqueness of the state of Arizona*, even as our keynote speaker urges us to be aware of and articulate our own distinctive qualities during our job search. The songwriter calls out all the places and qualities that make Arizona beautiful and special. You all have an individual song to sing that’s equally as beautiful as Arizona’s precisely because, just as there’s only one Arizona, there is only one unique you in all the universe.
* See closing for a musical bonus about Arizona which shares its state birthday this month with Valentine’s Day. Awwwww.
Keynote speaker Kristi Staab, who for 25 years has been leading individuals and organizations to become passionate, purposeful and positively influential leaders, told the online audience she wants each of us to tap into our own unique talents and be prepared to communicate that uniqueness to potential employers.
About two years ago, Kristi interviewed one of the world’s top speakers, Barbara Glanz, known for her ability to spread enthusiasm. During that interview Barbara told Kristi the story of being hired by a grocery store chain to get people excited about what they were doing and, in turn, give customers a reason to return.
Barbara told Kristi about a young man named Johnny who called Barbara a few weeks after she had spoken to employees at his store. Barbara’s mission was to get employees excited about their jobs so they could help the store build their brand and set themselves apart from all the other grocery stores out there. He proudly introduced himself as Johnny, nineteen years old, and that he had Downs Syndrome. Johnny, a worker at the store, had listened to her message of enthusiasm and went home that night wondering what he could do to make a difference and make people want to return to their store. Johnny was a bagger.
Johnny’s story ended up moving and impacting hundreds of thousands of people, maybe millions, Kristi said. Johnny went away from Barbara’s presentation wanting to make a difference. His idea? He decided he would find a thought for the day or even make one up. With the help of his father, Johnny began to create his thought for the day, a different one each night, reproducing the message on his father’s printer, cutting out the individual copies from the pages, and then signing his name on the back of each. He created a different thought for the day each day, literally putting his signature on each thought, and placed it in the bag as he handed it to each customer, saying, “Thank you for shopping here.”
In a tight job market, how can each of you stand out and give your customers a reason to come back? You need to decide what makes you unique, what you bring to the table, and then be able to articulate that uniqueness to the potential employer. Be the diamond in the rough.
Using that diamond as a metaphor for your job search, consider the qualities of the diamond. The diamond, forged 100 miles under the earth’s surface, formed by heat and pressure over time, is unique. No diamond is the same. That is largely what makes the diamond so valuable–it’s unique. A diamond is probably the oldest thing you’ll ever touch, and the rarest thing you’ll ever see, because it’s one of a kind.
The Four Cs of Diamonds
- The Cut measures how natural the diamond is and how light is transmitted. It measures how it sparkles and shines. How do you as a potential employee sparkle and shine?
- Carat measures the weight of the diamond or gemstone, not its size. Your weight as a job candidate is your knowledge and experience.
- Clarity of a diamond is the assessment of small imperfections that are difficult to assess. You want to be very clear in what you want, and what your qualifications are, and how unique your qualities are. Then you must be able to articulate in what ways you are rare and unique.
- Color Almost every diamond has some kind of color. The more unique the color, the more valuable the diamond. The more unique you are, the more value you add to the potential employer.
Kristi Adds Four More Cs of the Job Search
- Clarity. Worth repeating. You must be able to articulate the opportunities you want.
- Commitment. What outcomes do you want first and foremost?
- Confidence. This needs to be obvious to each one of the customers whether it’s your neighbor you’re talking to or the HR/recruiter who is screening candidates. You must ooze confidence.
- Control. You and only you control your job search and outcomes. Not your spouse, not your friends, not your former employer. Sometimes after a furlough, for example, we may want to blame someone else. But you’re ultimately in charge. Take responsibility for everything that happens. Reminding ourselves we are in control empowers us.
Speaking of commitment to your job search–Kristi asks five questions of the job seeker.
- How many meetings or encounters have you averaged per day?
- How many personalized letters (not emails) have you sent out each day? Including thank you cards.
- How many responses have you made to people getting promotions that you read about in a business journal? Send a copy of the article and on the article write, “Congratulations.”
- How many phone calls have you made? How many applications have you filled out each day?
- How many hours a week are you spending on your job search? Finding a job IS your job right now. Even though during this pandemic many of you may additionally be responsible for children and their education at home these days, this is a reminder of the numbers. How are you maximizing your job search opportunities to get your name out there?
Kristi’s Added Advice
- Look at your challenges and turn them into gains. In loss, we grow as human beings.
- Position yourself as a high value asset. How do you go beyond being just a commodity? Remember there are real natural diamonds and synthetic ones. Millions of people are looking for jobs. Be the real deal. How can you reposition yourself to stand out in a crowded field?
- Do your homework. Organizations are changing. Keep current about what the employer is looking for. Rely on experts, not just your friends. As an example, Career Connectors brings in experts in their field to speak with job seekers. Listen to them.
- More companies than ever are starting to look inside their company to develop their own employees. They are looking at both near term AND long term value of their employees.
- Two assets employers look for are critical thinking skills and decision making.
- Make sure your job is a good fit. What is a great fit? Energy. On paper, every candidate can shine. But how do you demonstrate your energy from behind a camera now that everyone’s on Zoom these days? This question wasn’t really necessary 14 months ago. Consider how you can communicate who you are. What are you values? Consider taking this Personal Values Assessment Kristi referenced. Complete it in addition to the DISC assessment available on the Career Connector’s website.
Now, because of the pandemic and economic downturn, we have to acknowledge what has happened. Kristi admits this past year has been the most turbulent in her professional work life of over 25 years. Some people have experienced multiple losses, and in the face of loss of lives, people haven’t even been able to say good-bye. She reminds us that even in loss there is gain in the form of key lessons or new understanding. People have to first acknowledge the loss. She asks her clients what they learned or what have they taken away as a result of the loss. That loss articulated can eventually become a way to inspire or motivate other people.
Kristi admits the pandemic has dramatically changed HER life because 95 per cent of her job was literally in the FACE of clients– including at conferences. “I needed to adapt to technology.” She didn’t HAVE to do that before the pandemic.
With all the competition out there, be that diamond in the rough. The diamond gets its value because it is rare and because no two diamonds are the same. Apply the metaphor of the diamond to your job search. Be that rare find because you offer the company what no one else can– because you’ve communicated your unique qualities to the employer. No one in the world is exactly like you.
Remember this: Because 19-year old Johnny cared enough, he found a way to share his rare personality and shifted the culture inside an entire organization.
Vanessa Paver, HR
The Arizona Department of Transportation, ADOT, is a transportation agency serving the state of Arizona, one of the fastest growing regions of the country. ADOT plans, builds and operates a complex system of highways and bridges. Also, a major part of its responsibilities is operating the Motor Vehicle Department which provides title, registration and driver licensing services to the general public. They employ 3800 people.
More than just a construction department or licensing agency, their compliance division has their own police dogs!
The organization’s values include accountability–“We take responsibility for our actions.”
ADOT’s jobs are changing and updating every day, but some current openings include the following: Customer Service Representative for MVD (openings in Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe); Procurement Specialist (Phoenix); Financial Planning Analyst (Phoenix); Administrative Assistant II (Phoenix); Highway and Construction Laborer (Avondale); Performance Auditor (Phoenix); Highway Operations Technician (Tonopah); Systems/Network Supervisor (Phoenix); Program Manager (Phoenix); and Auditor (Phoenix).
Be sure to include the requisition number when you apply. And pay attention to the date because additional applications will not be considered after that date unless the job is reopened. And while it’s possible to apply via LinkedIn, and other sites, Vanessa recommends you apply through the ADOT website because that’s where the candidates are selected for consideration with the hiring managers.
Most jobs are onsite, though there may be certain times to work at home. ADOT offers great benefits including free Covid testing for employees–which is the spit test–and employees are eligible to go twice a week.
For more information or to apply for these and other updated positions, visit their website.
James Grizzard, Senior Recruiter
Upgrade, located in the Renaissance Building in downtown Phoenix, offers affordable credit through cards and loans. Established in 2017 in San Francisco, California, in three years the company has had over 10 million applicants and has extended three billion in loans.
The company is growing and is set to roll out several new credit products this year including checking, savings and auto loans.
During their hiring process they will consider related experience. Upgrade wants people to grow within the company. One employee was promoted three times in one calendar year.
The company has a call center set up like no other. They boast adjustable desks and a break room with any snack you could imagine. Towards Covid protection, they take temperatures daily and ask key questions. If anyone tests positive, the whole floor shuts down and all are sent home to work.
Current jobs available
- Account Advisor: Pay $17.30 with 20% monthly bonus opportunity. One year call center experience required. Prior experience in financial industry working with collections is a plus.
- Entry-Level Underwriter: Pay $18.00 with monthly bonus opportunity and one year call center experience required. One or more years’ experience in banking, financial services or related industry.
For additional information, to view more jobs, or to apply, go to their website
Patrice Baptist, Recruiter/Talent Acquisition
Founded in 1999, Dexcom, a medical device manufacturer, produces glucose monitoring devices for type one diabetes.
Company culture can be described as diverse, welcoming, patients first, fast paced, challenging, evolving, and opportunistic. Benefits the company provides include medical (dental and vision), 401(k), 5 days of sick pay, 3 weeks of vacation, 2 floating holidays, work-life balance, and a wonderful staff.
Open positions at the new warehouse include material handlers, warehouse supervisors, and EHS specialist. In manufacturing they need supervisors, manufacturing associates–2nd shift, and engineering technician.
To obtain more information or to apply, visit their website.
Jason Wiseman, Senior Marketing Director
WealthWave‘s network of leaders are all independent business owners who are shaking up the status quo of the financial industry, shifting the advantage in favor of families all over North America. They call themselves the Howmoneyworks Company.
Their ultimate goal as a company is to create a financially literate world.
Reasons to choose WealthWave for your employer? They are licensed professionals with turnkey solutions, ownership, digital marketing/media, start part-time, no layoffs or furloughs, hands on training and mentorship, and a long history of helping families.
Jason discovered WealthWave in 2007 when he sought a change. Though making plenty of money, his family was running out when they decided to get educated about money.
Within two weeks of the current economic crisis, four million people couldn’t make their mortgage payment–reinforcing Jason’s belief that we need financial education in this country. And consider this: In 1985 the average home was $98,000 and the average income was $23,620. By 1989 the same house was $148,000 but the average income was just $28,906.
Jason is looking to train five new people.
Joe Bourcier, (Joe the Health Insurance Pro of USHealth Advisors) is a trusted health insurer whose team can assist individuals, families and small businesses locate the best health insurance for their wants and needs and budget.
The company has won 48 awards for business excellence in just seven years including the Gold Stevie for Company of the Year 2020.
Licensed and background checked in 30 states, Joe and his team will help you by researching all the plans available for your specific needs and do a screen share to explain the plans. Feel free to reach out to Joe Bourcier or to anyone in his agency and they’ll be happy too assist you.
Tempe Virtual Job Fair March 16, 2021— Click to check out their website and to register.
CEO/Founder of Career Connectors Jessica Pierce closed the formal part of the online meeting. Jessica thanked Career Connectors, their partners, and the 125 volunteers, stressing the free resources available on the Career Connectors’ whttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-ssXYCfvAkebsite which include the free DISC assessment, blog of this event, and free head shots courtesy of Gordon Murray Flash Photo. She then invited everyone to participate in the breakout sessions available right after the formal meeting. Sheila Coulam, Director of Operations for Career Connectors, then explained how attendees could join the breakout sessions and even move in and out of various sessions with the keynote speaker, hiring companies and experts in resume writing and LinkedIn.
*Be inspired by this beautiful performance of “I Love You, Arizona” by the Phoenix Symphony and Arizona’s Dierks Bentley, sponsored by Arizona Highways Magazine. Love that? Click to hear songwriter Rex Allen, Jr. perform it, also, in his distinctive mellifluous voice. Arizona, a diamond in the rough, shares its February 14 birthday with Valentine’s Day.