Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Evaluating The Evaluators at Community Business College

Community Business College is unique in many ways but none more so than the fact that we take a weekly temperature of how our students are doing. We ask our students to evaluate both their course content and their instructors on a weekly basis. We have been doing this for 20 years and it has been especially effective at helping us accommodate an extremely diverse population of students.

Why? Several reasons. The first is because we really do care how our students are progressing and feeling about it. Other organizations pay lip service to caring what their customers think, but aren’t very proactive about it. The best way to know how you're doing and how your customers feel about you is to simply ask them.

Just like we do for our own daily lives (or even as the Gallup organization found, employees at a job) it's good to take a little break as time goes on reflect on what’s working and what needs improvement.

Another reason we constantly check in with our students, is if we do ever do run into any issues, finding out about them early makes them easier to solve. For example, if one or two students feel like the class is moving too quickly for them, finding out early on means we can adjust accordingly and not let any students fall behind.
A caveat to those who might wish to duplicate the process - don't ask people to be honest and blunt in your surveys if you aren't ready for the consequences. Asking people to share their concerns and then not acting on them is the epitome of counter productive efforts.

Here are some examples pulled from the written surveys of our students last week.

“I really like this class because it is explained really well. We’re all working together. It makes class feel comfortable.”

“My instructor, John, has been great. He explains everything very well and helps everyone in class that might be having trouble.”

“Excellent course for a business owner!”

“The instructor is very knowledgeable. Is very personable. I am a visual learner and he teaches ‘hands-on.’”

Community Business College
As you can see, not only do we like to know about problems early on, but we also like to hear the good things that are happening.

Monday, January 16, 2017

CBC Closed for MLK Day 2017

Community Business College will be closed today in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.

Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated how the power of words and use of language can change the course of history. As our school is dependent upon the use of language to teach ideas and thoughts to others, it is a suitable time to reflect on how words can inform and inspire.

Our history, our culture, is made up of thoughts and ideas that our turned into ideals for which we can strive.

As lifelong learners, we can take solace that just as our history can change for the better, so can we. All it takes is a little learning, time and thought.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What To Do When The Layoffs Hit? Now Even Snoopy Knows The Answer

Layoffs hit every industry, especially in today's "New Normal" economy. Now, according to this Down To Earth comic, it looks like Charlie Brown's favorite dog Snoopy has gotten fired, too.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

September 2016 Graduation

During the last week of September, we graduated another electronic bookkeeping class in Patterson.

Congratualations to all the grads!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Today's Merced Job Fair for Veterans and The Public

Today’s job fair started off with a presentation of the colors by veterans from the VFW - a definite distinction between veteran job fairs and other job fairs.

You can see the presentation ceremony at the CBC YouTube channel here in the next couple of days – https://www.youtube.com/user/CBCUtube

This job fair was well attended, bucking a recent trend of having fewer than the anticipated number of attendees at other employment fairs.

Community Business College was asked to step in and provide workshops when the original presenter canceled at the last minute. We, of course, were more than happy to provide the service.

We pulled out our tried-and-true four most popular presentations:


        10:30      Most Commonly Asked Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

“If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?” That’s just one of the questions that sometimes takes interviewees by surprise.

One of the interesting trends happening in today’s job search world is most employers are using online job boards as a resource as much as job seekers. Sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com have gotten larger. What this means is employers are downloading their interview questions straight form the source that job seekers can access. Practice a few answers to each question and you are more than half way there on what to expect from most interviews.

What’s the answer to the tree question? Just remember when you hear a question like this (sometimes instead of “tree” it’s “animal” or “cookie”) the interviewer is not that interested in trees, but in the qualities you admire of the tree you select. The “why” in this answer is much more important than the “what.”


       11:30     Your Resume - The Right Tool For The Right Job

Someone once said that a good resume is never “finished,” you just stop working on it.

One of the best tips is to customize your resume every time you apply for a job. Do you have a resume designed for clerical jobs but you want to apply for a supervisory position? It’s time to make a copy of the resume and rework it to fit a supervisor. Of course you never lie on a resume but you can phrase your work history and experience more in terms of a supervisor. For example, if you have ever trained fellow employees on new software or new policies, that’s a good thing to put into a resume for a supervisor.

We find this to be a common hurdle for people who sign up for our Groupon resume development.

Here’s one new question that came up regarding filling out job applications – “is it better to write ‘by supervisor died,’ or ‘my supervisor passed away?’” Which do you think? The consensus was “passed away” reads a bit better.


       12:30     Job Hunting In A Tough Economy

Where do you find the job leads if “no one is hiring?” We’ve heard that question a lot at Community Business College and that’s what this seminar is all about.

The secrect? Don’t just rely on newspaper Help Wanted sections or even Internet job boards. You have to go out there and beat the bushes to scare up some new job opportunities.

Try cold calling.

Use your people contacts to spread the word that you’re looking for work.


       1:30 PM   Use Social Media to Turbo Charge Your Job Search


The new technology offered to today’s job seeker is staggering. From smart phone apps to automated resume development systems to access to professional resume critiquers (e.g. Groupon), it is easier now more than ever to get your job search going.

That includes Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and all the others out there. They can be “double-edged swords” in that they can help supplement your resume to an employer by providing additional information, but sometimes people aren’t careful what they post on these sites and it can be a turn-off to some employers.

Yes, employers are allowed to look.

One way to fix the problem if you post embarrassing things is to set your page settings to “private” while you’re looking for a job. Then you can turn it back to public once you get the job.


The Job Fair Itself

The number of recruiters is up from prior years. Organizers also expect to see an increase in job-seekers. Last year’s fair drew at least 650 people seeking work, which more than doubled the previous year’s turnout.


Having a job fair right now in Merced is timely. Unemployment in Merced County is at 11.9 percent, according to the most recent figures released from California’s EDD. According to the same report, veterans are nationally unemployed at a higher rate than the general public.

The Veterans Affairs office in Fresno will sent a medical and administrative team to help veterans enroll in employment and training assistance programs.

Companies who sent recruiters to the fair include Save Mart, Foster Farms, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Tenet Health, Joseph Farms, the City of Merced, Dole Foods, Quad Graphics, Home Depot, Amie Senior Care, Best Buy, and the National Park Service.


One bit of surprise to many of our job seekers is how many local companies are still accepting paper job applications.

By the end of the job fair the exhibit room was getting a bit warm. The air conditioners were having a challenge keeping up. Luckily it was a milder day than it had been earlier this week and so it was comfortable enough right up till the end.


In addition to finding new employment opportunities at this job fair, one person in one of the workshops joked that you can pick up candy from the vendors just in time for Halloween and save money on your candy budget.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Frana asks, "Do people miss me when I leave the room?"

A GOOD QUESTION:  Do people miss me when I leave the room

I came across an interesting question recently that caused me to do some heart-searching. 

Here it is:  Do people miss me when I leave the room?

That led me to ask myself some other questions, like, what kind of people do I miss when they leave the room?

Here are some of the types of people I miss:

People who bring leadership.  I have had a boss is like that.  He knew how to gives the staff direction and a sense that everything is under control.  Instead of concentrating on problems, he seemed to thrive on finding creative solutions.

People Who Lead And People Who Follow

People who are followers.  Leaders are great, but we also need followers.  These are the people we can count on to quietly get the job done.  They do not ask to be in the limelight; they do not really ask to be noticed; they are content to  serve God in the background.
It is a good idea to acknowledge these quiet workers though, and thank them for their service.

People who are peacemakers.  These people seem to have the ability to pour oil on troubled waters.  Instead of escalating conflicts, they bring harmony and calmness.

People who bring constructive criticism and new ideas.  Even though  we might find these ideas uncomfortable, we know we need to hear them out.  They make us think deeply.

Gentle people who bring sweetness to the situation. A lovely fragrance seems to linger in the wake of these people.  They encourage and affirm us and help us to aspire to be better.

Maybe you can see yourself in these different categories.  I want to be missed when I leave the room. I hope you want that, too.

About Frana Hamilton – Frana is a long time instructor at Community Business College. She is the heart and soul of the school and an inspiration to her students. Many students have come back to the school after graduating many years ago, just to reacquaint themselves with Frana.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Should I Send My Resume In Word Format or As A PDF File?

This morning, one of our Community Business College graduates called and asked for a bit of advice – Should she send her resume to a potential employer in the Microsoft Word format or should she send it as a .pdf file?

Here’s why she asked – She said she first attached it as a Word document for convenience sake but when she tested it and re-opened it, the resume lost some of its formatting. Not bad, mind you, but it did throw some text onto a second page and the margins shifted some.

Our advice to her was to send a second e-mail using the pdf format which does not have the changing formatting issues and offer it to the employer an option with a note to saying something like, “I thought I’d also send you a pdf copy of my resume so that you have a choice to use the format you prefer.”

Now we’ll wait to see if she gets the job interview.

So just what are the rules on file attachment in sending your resume to employers?

First, there’s the

The Golden Rule on resume attachments is – first always do what the employer asks. If the employer asks for resumes but “no attachments,” for example, then do not attach anything, but copy and paste your resume. If the employer asks for “no Word documents,” then do not send word documents.

.doc Document File Type

Advantages of the Microsoft Word Format
1.      One advantage to sending a native Microsoft Word document is the job seeker can just send the most current resume and doesn’t have to worry about different versions.

2.      The second advantage is the employer who receives your Word document can open the document without any additional software (e.g. Adobe Acrobat Reader) and can then copy the data over into either other hiring software or a template used to hire candidates.

Disadvantages of the Microsoft Word Format
1.      One reason employers may ask for “no Word documents” be sent is some Word documents can carry viruses and malicious code that can hurt the recipients computers.

2.      As in our graduate’s case, you probably won’t know which version of Microsoft Word that the employer is using. If you have saved your Word document in a more current version than the employer, the formatting may get a little funky. It’s still going to be legible and the document can still be used but it won’t be perfect. Remember, resumes should be as perfect as possible. Sometimes little imperfections serve as an excuse for a screener to reject a given resume without having to read it further.

Advantages of the Microsoft Adobe PDF Format

PDF File Format
PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is usually used to present and exchange documents reliably and works equally well across different hardware and operating systems. Invented in the 1990s, Adobe’s PDF has become the standard format for document sharing.

1.      Because the PDF format is now an open standard maintained by the International Organization for Standardization, PDFs look the same the world over. The type of machine doesn’t matter and the operating system an employer might be using doesn’t matter either. As long as they have the free Acrobat Reader DC software they can see any pdf document the same way it was sent.
In that sense, this makes it closer to a piece of paper than almost any other digital format.

2.      Most other software programs now recognize the PDF format and will open or import .pdf files without any problem.

Disadvantages of the Microsoft Adobe PDF Format

1.      Sending in PDF takes an extra step and requires you to track more than one document. When you convert your resume from Microsoft Word to a .pdf document, you are creating one more file to keep track of.
Say, for example, you’re applying for a job today and you convert your resume to a .pdf format and send it off. Next week, another job opportunity comes along and you want to make some changes and send it again. Now you’ll have another version of your resume. After a few times of this, you can end up with a whole bunch of versions of your resume that can get confusing.
A simple way to fix this is to always create a new pdf before sending it. Then, delete it from your storage file after you’ve submitted it. This way the Microsoft Word document is always the most current form of your resume.
Another option is to use the same file name when saving your .pdf document. Here’s an example: BenFranklinResume.pdf. Then, the new .pdf file replaces the old one and you’ll only have one file to worry about.
2.      Although most pdf documents can allow for text to be copied in the document, some are locked. If, instead converting the Microsoft Word document to .pdf, you scanned it off a printed copy, it might even be more difficult to extract text.

Unless otherwise directed (remember the Golden Rule), Community Business College recommends using the .pdf format when submitting resumes.

Community Business College

Need to learn more Microsoft Word tricks?  Take a Microsoft Word class with us. You can purchase a short course  directly from Community Business College at http://www.cbcwebcollege.com/shopcart/

 Get a Professional Looking Resume From ExpertsDo you find the job search process frustrating?  Try taking a class on finding a job with our six-week, instructor-led online course at:  http://www.ed2go.com/cbc123/online-courses/12-steps-to-successful-job-search