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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Illinois workNet Centers have Assistive Technology

The Illinois workNet Centers in Elgin, DeKalb and North Aurora provide the following Assistive Technology equipment to assist job seekers with disabilities the ability to access the Internet, information and computer systems.

Sorenson Video Relay Service Phone – Benefits individual with hearing and speech impairment.   

Expert MouseTrackball – The Trackball is a simpler mouse for individuals with limited dexterity. 

Adjustable Keyboard Tray – This is a height adjustable tray for individuals using a wheelchair or has ergonomic concerns.

IntelliKeys Keyboard – This is an enlarged, programmable keyboard for individuals with impaired motor involvement and vision impairment. 

Large Monitor – This is a 21-inch computer screen for individuals with mild vision impairment.

Closed Circuit Television - An electronic magnification device for viewing printed materials.

Large Print Keyboard Labels – Adhesive labels that make the keyboard keys easier to read.

ZoomText – Is for individuals who require large print to read, certain colors to enhance reading, and speech output to assist in reading text. 

Open Book – This gives blind or visually impaired individuals the tool to read, edit, scan, and manage printed text as well as text that is imbedded in graphics. 

JAWS – Is a screen reading software that works with your PC to provide access to today’s software applications and the Internet for those individuals who are blind or visually impaired and have high reading and word processing skills.

Home Page Reader – Software that reads most web pages aloud for visually impaired or blind individuals.

Talking Books Tape Player – Plays and records both standard and “talking book” audio cassette tapes for individuals who are blind. 

Duxbury Braille Translator – Is a complete Braille translator/word processor for those individuals who are blind or visually impaired. 

Juliet Braille Embosser – Is a Braille output printer for individuals who are blind and use Braille.

Pocketalker – Is a simple sound amplifier for individuals who have a hearing impairment.

For more details about any of these items visit our webpage at

Donka, Inc

Donka is a partner of the Illinois workNet Center in North Aurora that is a non-profit organization providing computer training and job readiness services to persons with physical and visual disabilities.  Through computers and Assistive Technology, our clients become more self-sufficient and independent members of the community.  Our primary goals are:

  1. Provide a credible computer training program to people with disabilities
  2. Provide adequate training and experience to enable students to pursue further education or see employment
  3. Provide a way for people who are disabled to utilize their intellectual abilities, increase their self-esteem and become more self-sufficient, independent members of the community.
Our computer instruction focuses on the common business applications.  Our training is intensive and individualized, with a goal of student driven success.  Donka believes that strengthened personal confidence combined with marketable computer skills yields a more productive person.

Our curriculum prepares students for work.  Students learn while working through realistic business scenarios.  They work at their own pace and ability level.  Students learn through a variety of instructional formats.  We use easy to follow textbook with CD ROM tutorials for review.  Besides following textbook instruction, students are given independent projects.  Students work on these projects with step by step assistance from the textbook.  These exercises reinforce learning while helping students identify performance gaps.  Students are tested as instruction for each computer program is completed
Assistive Technology assessment and training services are now available at your office, classroom, front door, or at the Illinois workNet Center.  Students from Kane County must have a fee for service contract with the Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Twitter and YOUR job search

How are you using your social media to help you find a job?

What are some pros and cons about using Twitter while your job search progresses.

To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question. Do all of your tweeps (the other people you follow on twitter) care if you are unemployed? Will that help or hurt you in your search?

There are two schools of thought on broadcasting over Twitter that you have recently lost your job. One thought pattern is that you are seeking sympathy; another is that you get the “news” out to everyone in one fell swoop and then when you see the person face to face, you can move on with other topics.

Twitter – Twitter profiles provide some of the same information that Facebook and LinkedIn provide. The information shared on Twitter is in 140 character "tweets".  Often it has a “pay it forward” concept.  You might find something and share it.  Someone else tweets something you think is worthy – you retweet it.  If you are looking for a job, try to hold back from tweeting what you had for breakfast or that you just went for a great 12 mile run.  Follow others who will provide job leads or useful information for your job search.

Search tools for Twitter allow you to find people or organizations as they do in LinkedIn.  Use this to your advantage to “follow” potential employers or contacts at an organization at which you would like to work.
You may even use Google or Bing or other search tools to find a person or a company and then search for them on Twitter.  You can search by company, field, job type, region, or in general.  Often, websites will post their Facebook or Twitter account with a link to follow them. Or you can search for people or organizations to follow on Twellow or on We Follow.  Mashable also has a suggestion for 15 Twitter Directories in a comparison. Look for recruiters to follow who hire for companies that do not publicly post their job openings.  Use Twellow (will search people's bios) to search for a company for which you would like to work and follow anyone from that company that might have twitter profiles.

If you are tweeting, a good source to follow for valuable tools about all aspects of social media is @mashable. Mashable suggests jobseekers follow: @microjobs and the hash tag discussion #tweetmyjobs. As you follow more people, you will discover more #resources. A few other hashtags to use include: #jobs, #jobhuntchat, #jobsearch, #jobadvice.  Be careful to watch the ratio of who you follow to those that follow you to prevent yourself from being classified as a spammer.

Read more of our articles on Social Media on our webpage -
What other hashtags have you found? Post in our comments please.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Your Personal Elevator Pitch – Can you highlight your resume in an elevator ride?

Marketers and public relations specialists know that in many situations you have just the time it takes for an elevator ride to grab the attention of a reporter. Hence, the phrase “elevator pitch”, came to be to explain the amount of time you have to explain your business or pitch your story. Can this correlate to your personal elevator pitch when it comes to sharing the key aspects of your career with someone?

A career coaching company in New York suggests a two-minute pitch. That isn’t how long it should take to “get to” your point, but it should take no longer than two minutes to share the best points of your career with a tiny bit of embellishment. Richard Skaare, a communications specialist, suggests that your resume should be able to be boiled down to the 140 – 160 characters you would use in a text message. Now, those two concepts work in concert with each other. To verbalize and expound on the 140 characters could take about 2 minutes.

Unless you are in that dream situation - sitting on the Metra next to someone who just happens to need someone with your exact skill set - the concept of using a 140 character resume is reserved for Twitter or a text message. The principle behind both thoughts mentioned above is you need to know exactly who you are, what skills you own, and how you have used them. Better still you need to be able to communicate those same things in a short, cohesive, cognizant statement if time is limited.
A couple of situations where your elevator pitch will work perfectly are networking events or job fairs. Yes, you may hand someone your “real” professionally prepared resume, but, what will you say to that job fair representative that will make him/her put your resume in the “second look” pile. What will you say to those you meet at a networking event that will pique their interest and entice them to spend more time with you, finding out more about you in greater detail?
Creating your Personal Elevator Pitch

You want to include a few key statements about yourself:
  1. Your position – I am an architect – This is your key statement
  2. General Experience – in commercial development for 10 years – this gives listeners an idea of what level of expertise you have.
  3. Your sub-pitch – I’ve supervised over xx projects ranging from 10,000 square feet to 130,000 square feet in 20 major metropolitan areas
  4. Add interest - including Singapore, New York, Chicago, and Little Rock.
  5. Apply it to your listener – My concepts attract new business from companies like …. – if you are using your pitch in a cover letter or interview, direct this last portion of your pitch to create a comparison to the businesses situation, perhaps their direct competition if possible.
Let’s go back to the 140 characters. Forced brevity sharpens the mind. Work with a trusted friend or counselor to keep your pitch brief. Just as in creating new marketing ideas, you may need to brainstorm ways to keep the word count down.

Using your Personal Elevator Pitch - You have created your personal pitch, but if you don’t memorize it, practice it and know how to modify it depending upon your audience, you could end up stammering and jabbering just as if you didn’t take all the time to create your pitch in the first place.

Tell me about yourself is a typical question you will be asked on any interview. When asked, you want your personal elevator pitch to just flow. To do that you need to write out your pitch, memorize it, practice it in front of a mirror, a family member, your employment and training rep, your dog, or the car in front of you in line at the drive-through. You want the words to just flow.
You want your message to be crystal clear. Refer to it enough throughout the interview, that if the interviewer is asked to tell their boss about you when your interview is done, you know how they will position you after you leave.

Remember that when you are speaking, use a personal level. Standards today are based on the medium of TV, using a conversational style that is friendly and one-on-one. Speak as if you are speaking to an acquaintance and tell the interviewer something in your pitch that they won’t read by going through your resume.

How we can help – We offer many resources to help you gain a new position on your way to a career. The Employment and Training Representatives at Kane County Department of Employment and Education can help you create a professional resume, refresh your interview skills, or help you find ways to network effectively. Visit and click on the JOBS link, you can find additional tips to help you in your job search.

Four Offices to serve you:

  • Elgin – 30 DuPage Court 847-888-7900 x 230
  • N. Aurora – 2 Smoketree Plaza 630-844-6640 x 203
  • DeKalb – 1701 E. Lincoln Hwy. 815-756-4893 x 240
  • Yorkville – 811 W. John St. 630-553-8304

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is your job search a noun or a verb?

Recently, the word career popped up as the Merriam-Webster’s word of the day in my email. I thought I knew what the word career meant, but I was surprised when I read that it was referring to the verb Career – meaning to go at top speed especially in a headlong manner. This made me think that one could “career toward a new career”.

If your job search is not actively moving forward in a headlong manner, maybe it is because you aren’t using some of the best action verbs to describe your skills. Following are some action verbs adapted from The Damn Good Resume Guide by Yana Parker. They are great for resumes. Even better, incorporate them into your cover letters and during the interview as you speak about your previous work duties.

achieve, act, adapt, address, administer, advise, allocate, analyze, appraise, approve, arbitrate, arrange, assemble, assess, assign, assist, attain, audit, author, balance, budget, build, calculate, catalogue, chair, clarify, classify, coach, collaborate, collect, communicate, compile, compute, conceptualize, consolidate, contract, convince, coordinate, correspond, counsel, create, critique, customize, delegate, demonstrate, demystify, design, develop, devise, diagnose, direct, dispatch, draft, edit, educate, enable, encourage, engineer, enlist, establish, evaluate, examine, execute, expand, expedite, explain, extract, fabricate, facilitate, familiarize, fashion, forecast, formulate, found, generate, guide, identify, illustrate, implement, improve, increase, influence, inform, initiate, inspect, institute, instruct, integrate, interpret, interview, introduce, invent, investigate, lecture, maintain, manage, market, mediate, moderate, monitor, motivate, negotiate, operate, organize, originate, overhaul, oversee, perform, persuade, pioneer, plan, prepare, prioritize, process, produce, program, project, promote, publicize, purchase, recommend, reconcile, record, recruit, reduce,refer, rehabilitate, remodel, repair, represent, research, resolve, restore, retrieve, review, revitalize, schedule, screen, set, shape, solve, speak, spearhead, specify, stimulate, strengthen, ,summarize, supervise, survey, systematize, tabulate, train, transform, translate, upgrade, validate, write

When you describe your skills and accomplishments with action verbs potential employers will take notice. Which example has more punch?

1. I had 7 people that reported to me while we put merchandise back on the floor that sold the day before. We would scan the shelf labels to see other merchandise that needed to be filled that didn’t arrive in the truck. We would also help store the merchandise in the stock room with a computer system.

2. Supervised 7 employees; Responsible for merchandise replenishment; Generated lists of merchandise for replenishment; Processed merchandise for storage.

Not only will the action verbs help your resume sound snappier, it will help keep it to the recommended one-page length that hiring managers like to review.

How we can help – We offer many resources to help you gain a new position on your way to a career. The Employment and Training Representatives at Kane County Department of Employment and Education can help you find all the information you need to make your resume get noticed. Visit and click on the JOBS link, you can find additional tips to help you in your job search.

Four Offices to serve you:

Elgin – 30 DuPage Court 847-888-7900 x 230

N. Aurora – 2 Smoketree Plaza 630-844-6640 x 203

DeKalb – 1701 E. Lincoln Hwy. 815-756-4893 x 240

Yorkville – 811 W. John St. 630-553-8303