Archive for the ‘training’ category

It’s “A” Little Thing

October 18th, 2010

I’ll pretty much answer to anything – Info Yenta, Data Diva, jw, Joanne.

I never really thought of my name as being that difficult, but the increase in being referred to as “Joanne” is having me rethinking this issue.

I’ve been called by the wrong name much of my life.  When I was in High School, I even had my name spelled three different ways incorrectly in a programme.  Perhaps this is my destiny.

My email address is my last name followed by my first name, and my name — along with my email address and twitter handle — accompanies each email I send out at the bottom in my signature file.  Come to think of it, my business cards pretty much have it spelled out clearly as well.

Just for the record, my name is Joanna Wolfe – that’s Joanna with an “a” and Wolfe with an “e” at the end of each.

You may be thinking, so what’s the big deal?  Why even bother to bring it up?

Well, in a job search, where you are trying to making an impression and make yourself memorable, the last thing you want to be is remembered for a name which is not yours.

Having lived with being called by the wrong name and having my named misspelled much of my life, I’m constantly challenged on how best to address the issue.

You want people to remember your name, not someone else’s name.

Think about it.  You would never want to address your potential new manager by the wrong name or spell it incorrectly in an email or thank you note.

But the if the tables are turned, how do you correct the interviewer, screener, or recruiter?

I struggle with the amount of people who call me Joanne, address me as Joanne in emails, and introduce me as Joanne – and these are people I’ve known for a fair amount of time, in some cases years.  I mean, it sounds pretty ungrateful for me to correct these people.  After all, they’ve taken the time to contact me and speak to me.  I don’t want to offend them or come across as difficult –  but I’d like to claim my name back.

William Blackmon, who teaches the LinkMeIn* course at Wake Tech, actually has a novel way of approaching this issue.  He suggests for names that are misspelled that you actually list the common misspellings of your name in the Summary statement in your Linked In profile.  That way if someone is searching for, say “Joanne Wolf”, they are presented, not only with the Joanne Wolf’s of the world, but (in this case) me as well.

Mike Komives, who runs the St. Thomas More Jobs Network, and teaches the workshop Networking and Job Search Strategies for the Mature Professional at Durham Tech**, suggests spelling out your name when introducing yourself or making an elevator speech.

Me, well, I’ll just keep introducing myself as Joanna, or as I have taken to when being introduced by others “Joann-NA“,  and hope people will remember the “a”.  After all, it is “a” little thing.

How do you approach problems you may encounter with your name?

* The next LinkMeIn course will be given on Friday, October 22nd at Wake Tech’s West Campus in Cary (Kildaire Farms Road between Penny and Ten Ten).  There are two sessions:  Basics 8:30am to 11:30  and then Next Steps & Advance 12:30pm to 3:30pm.  To register, send an email to  This course is free to folks who are unemployed.

** The next Networking and Job Search Strategies for the Mature Professional will be begin on Tuesday, October 19th at the  OCSDC Job Skills Center, 503 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill.  The class runs 1:00 to 4:00 PM. No pre-registration required.  Attend one of the first two sessions to register.  Questions? Contact:


Shameless Plug – Find a Job in 140 Characters or Less

October 10th, 2010

After more than a year out of work Amy M. of St. Louis, MO is back 2 work thanks 2 #Twitter.  Alison S. of Green Bay, WI is back 2 work 2. (138 characters)

Find out their stories & how #Twitter can help #jobseekers thru #jobhuntchat & #hirefriday, as well as other #Twitter job search tools. (135 characters)

Join @joannawolfe @ ProNet Raleigh’s monthly meeting @UOPX in #Raleigh 10/12 9-11am to learn more about #Twitter RSVP (138 characters)

Find out how 2 set up a #Twitter account, get 2 know useful #Twitter Tools, & ways #jobseekers are using Twitter 2 find their next job. (135 characters)

If U can decipher the sentences above, U may B able 2 land UR next job in 140 characters or less! (if not, we’ll help you figure it out) (136 characters)

And for those of you who don’t tweet…

I’ll be talking about the how Twitter can be a powerful tool for your job search at the next ProNet Raleigh.  You don’t have to have a smart phone to use Twitter.  All you need is a computer and a few minutes a day.

What: ProNet Raleigh

When: Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where: University of Phoenix offices

5511 Capital Center Drive
Raleigh, NC, 27606-3380
Phone: 919.854.2121

Take Jones Franklin Road exit from the Beltline (440), just north/west of 1-40 interchange.

Who: ProNet Raleigh is sponsored by EDSI ( who helps mid-level professionals attain jobs, training, and more.



Seeing Green – Green Economy, Green Careers, Green Jobs

August 24th, 2010

It seems the world is going green these days.

In the span of the next 8 weeks there are green events everywhere you look.

Want to understand the new Green Economy?  Michael Gaudet of Green Peak Research is presenting a class Transitioning to the New Green Economy at Wake Tech’s Cary Campus this week on Wednesday and Thursday this week  — August 25 – 26, 2010.  You can still attend the class, email Pat Taylor ( at Wake Tech and/or Michael Gaudet ( directly to enroll.  It’s free to folks who are unemployed, underemployed or pending a layoff.

Green Drinks is going to be on the Greens – the Lonnie Poole Golf Course greens at NCSU that is, on Thursday, August 26, 2010.  For more information:

A follow up to Transitioning to the New Green Economy, a one day course — Targeting Green Jobs in NC will be held on September 1, 2010 at Wake Tech’s Cary Campus, as with the previous course, it is free to folks who are unemployed, underemployed or pending a layoff.  Email Pat Taylor ( at Wake Tech and/or Michael Gaudet ( directly to enroll.

Green NC (Career Day, Education Sessions, Trade Show, and Awards) will be held on Thursday, September 9, 2010 at the NCSU McKimmon Center.  This event focuses on the Green Building, and is sponsored by the US Green Building Council NC Chapter.

The SJF 2010 Summit on the New Green Economy on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 14 – 15, 2010 will be held at the Downtown Durham Convention Center.

And the State Fair October 14 – 24, 2010 is getting into the action with an exhibit called Green NC.  Between the Deep Fried Twinkies and Pig Races, check out the exhibit.

And as if you haven’t seen enough Green yet, Triangle Business Journal is holding their Green Awards and Expo at the Embassy Suites in Cary on Tuesday, October 19, 2010.


The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

July 11th, 2010

In the past six months, Apple has introduced the iPad, Microsoft has launched their Office 2010 suite, and Intel announced their new family of processors.

“That’s all very well and fine Joanna”, I hear you say, “but I’m not working, so it’s not like I’m going to run out and spend $500 on the latest tech to hit the market.”

Oh, but don’t discount the importance of such information.  Just when you thought that you had enough to worry about, along comes yet another hidden detail of long term unemployment — keeping pace with changing technology.

When you are trying to budget to pay the rent, COBRA, utilities, as well as the little things like keeping the kids in clothes and putting food on the table (oh and my personal favorite, vet bills), the last thing you want to do is spend upwards to $2,500 to take a training course to keep current on hardware and software that is listed on your resume.

Now I’ve touted the Human Resource Development (HRD) courses that are available for free at Durham and Wake Tech.  And yes, there are some technology courses offered through this program.  However, even these courses lag a bit behind in the versions of hardware and software used.  For most folks, the fact that the computers at our local community colleges are using Windows XP (or in some cases the ill-fated Vista), and running Office 2007 is not a problem.  But if your profession is technology, you need to be current.

Believe it or not, there are folks out there who understand and are doing something about it.  SAS, TechEngage, and NCSU have teamed up to offer a week of training courses for $99.  No, really, $99.  What’s the catch? I hear you say.  There isn’t one – register, show up and focus on learning.  In addition, there will be workshops and support focusing on job search strategies and skills.  There are even hopes that there will be a job fair.  All this is wrapped up in 5 days and 3 evenings.  It really is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

An announcement regarding this program has floated around a bit and there have been postings on the web, but the brass tacks is the registration process available here:

Take time to scroll down to the bottom of the page and view the calendar for details about the non-classroom activities.

Classes will be given in six areas:

  1. Network+
  2. Windows 7
  3. SAS Programming 1: Essentials
  4. SAS Programming 2: Data Manipulation Techniques
  5. SAS SQL 1: Essentials & SAS Macro Language 1
  6. Agile Software Development (Day 1) & ASP.NET (Day 2 & 3)

Each of these course work areas will provide you the foundation to pursue certification

The week of training is July 26 – 30, 2010 and will be held at the McKimmom Center on the NCSU campus.

Registration is available online here:

I’ll be taking the Windows 7 course!  Comment and let us know what you’ve signed up for.

Here is the full announcement that was passed to me.  I believe that it was circulated to SAS employees on their intranet:

A fairytale of a conference for out-of-work technology workers From Tech Exchange participant to SAS trainer

Tell your friends and neighbors SAS Education encourages employees on campus who know unemployed friends and neighbors in the technology sector to invite/suggest they attend TechEngage, July 26-30. The conference offers a week of quality, low-cost training to unemployed technologists looking for opportunities to improve their current skills or develop new ones. For more information about registration and scheduling, keep checking the TechEngage website. (see link to NCSU Registration page above)

The idea was far too good to believe, the sort of thing a person who’s down on his luck might joke around about while talking to a friend: A week-long professional conference that offers relevant, highly technical training and job-search skills for unemployed technology workers — for a fee so nominal it would inspire eye-rolling cynicism in even the most committed idealists. It seemed about as likely as a world without cell phones and BlackBerries.  That’s what many people initially thought in 2003 when they heard about TechEngage, the volunteer-powered conference that has made a huge difference in so many lives, including many here at SAS.

“I’ll never forget what a struggle it was to convince people that this was going to be something really professional, that they weren’t getting snookered into a scam,” recalled Connie Marthinsen, a Training Consultant for Global Learning and Development at SAS and one of the cofounders of Tech Engage.

“It really did sound too good to be true to so many unemployed workers.”

But TechEngage delivered on its promise and continued to earn raves from participants and give hope to the unemployed through three subsequent gatherings, the last in 2005.

In December 2009, with troubles in the housing and banking industries taking their toll on livelihoods, SAS Vice President of Education Herbert Kirk led the call for a TechEngage come back.  Misfortune was on the rise, and he hoped Marthinsen would be up to fighting it again.  No question she was interested.  Marthinsen had watched the remnants of the dot-com bubble burst all around her seven years ago – leaving neighbors and loved ones to clean up the humbling debris of their once-settled lives: lost jobs, endangered homes and suddenly misplaced purposes. Although the bust had missed her and cofounder James A. White, a former SAS colleague, they felt swept up in the melancholy all the same.  Instead of looking at each other and shrugging, Marthinsen and White rolled up their sleeves and asked, “What can we do?”  The answer was: Get the community involved. Then as now, that is TechEngage’s mantra.

“TechEngage is an inspiring endeavor for everyone involved with it,” Kirk said. “It has added so much value to the community and made such a difference in people’s lives. It is as important now as it’s ever been that we support its mission.”

At Kirk’s request, Marthinsen and TechEngage’s board of directors got to work on the 2010 conference, which will reboot July 26-30, with meeting space donated by the McKimmon Center on N.C. State University’s campus and at SAS world headquarters in Cary, NC. SAS will be lending a hand demonstratively, donating three three-day courses in SAS Programming 1, SAS Programming 2 and SQL 1, the latter covering two-thirds of the training requirement for advanced certification; each of the programming courses make up half of base certification requirements. SAS also plans to donate free post-conference e-learning to participants who wish to continue the road to full certification.

Elizabeth Ceranowski, Student Programs Manager at SAS and a TechEngage alumna, will help sharpen participants’ resume-writing skills, with the hope that highly motivated attendees will have perfected documents ready to hand out at a job fair that is tentatively scheduled for the last day of the conference. She also will teach Programming 1, while SAS trainers Kathy Kiraly and Mike Kalt will teach Programming 2 and SQL 1, respectively.

In addition, TechEngage will offer: Software development and regulations for life sciences.  Three-day courses on Ruby on Rails, Comp TIA and Windows 7.  Two-day courses covering and Agile software development.  Seminars on planning a job search, interview and communication skills, and networking Panel discussion with tips and tricks from human resources specialists (including SAS).  While even one of TechEngage’s offerings might cost between $1,500 and $3,000 elsewhere, participants will pay $99 for the whole week of training and tips.

Marthinsen said she’s particularly excited about plans to introduce TechEngage on social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, so next month’s participants can continue to network and keep in touch about their job successes.

But no matter how they participate, Kirk hopes those who are steeling themselves through hardships will leave the conference excited about their futures – with both their optimism and preparation levels fully engaged. We want them to finish TechEngage feeling like they could go out and do whatever additional training they need to help them move forward into a new direction, or to reinvigorate the careers they knew,” Kirk said. “We’re proud to be a part of the efforts to help them get there.”

“Long before I joined SAS, the dot-com bubble burst under me & I attended TechEngage (twice!). It was a wonderful opportunity to help sharpen skills & learn a few more (including SAS). Great to see SAS is supporting local IT workers in need of this again!” Makore says. Jun 28th 13:00


The Road to Hell is Named Procrastination

June 15th, 2010

I have a junk drawer in my kitchen that seems to accumulate all sorts of things – odd batteries, warranty cards, rubber bands, non-working pens, half packs of chewing gum, paper clips, safety pins.  You get the idea.  I keep meaning to sort it out; but truly, cleaning out the drawer does not rank very high on my list of things to do.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  I say the name of that road is procrastination.

Is your job search accumulating dust somewhere amongst paper clips and chewing gum? Do you find yourself saying, “I need to get to that…”?

Well, it’s time to get to clean out the drawer.  Your Job Search drawer – the kitchen drawer can wait.

Do you have your checklist completed?

Elevator Speech:

Is your elevator speech stale?  Does your elevator speech need a bit of polishing?  Does it need more pep?  Do you even have one?  Take the time to give it a dry run in front of a mirror or at a local job networking group.


Is your resume current? When was the last time you reviewed it?  Have you had it reviewed by a peer or career counselor?  Do you need to take a resume writing course to learn how to best present your talents?  Make time to look your resume over and be sure it is accurate and up to date.


Have you lined up your references? Do you have a list of your references, including full address and contact information, ready and printed out so you can hand it to your interviewer?  You will need a minimum of three; you should consider having up to six if possible.  Have you been in touch with your references lately?  Do they still know that you are job seeking?  Make contact with your references and let them know you are still looking for the right position.  It’s good to touch base and let them know what you are up to.  A short conversation may reveal a new opportunity.

Linked In:

Is your Linked In account up to date?  Do you have a current photo?  Do you need to add information about classes you have taken?  Have you included your volunteer activities and experience?

Skills Update:

Are you rusty on the skills you need to get the job?  Do you need to take a class?  Remember, many classes are free of charge through local community colleges.  There are classes in Microsoft Office, Interviewing Skills, Resume Writing, LinkedIn, and career preparedness for industries such as Finance, Hospitality, Medical Office, etc.

Industry Skills:

Are you keeping pace with your industry?  Do you have certifications requiring continuing education?  Many professional groups offer workshops, seminars, lecture series, and webinars that award continuing education credits – some free of charge.  Take advantage of free webinars or local seminars on topics pertaining to your industry, ensuring you are to date on what is happening in your field.

Are you in the best shape to be able to ace that interview and get that job?

That junk drawer in the kitchen can wait, but your job search can’t.

Comment and let us know what’s on your checklist and what you’re doing to be prepared for that next interview.