How JVS Career Services helped an Israeli transplant find the perfect mix of career and passion

 

“When I told David there might be an IT opportunity in farming, I thought he was going to fall off his chair,” said JVS Career Services Senior Business Development Manager Sherry Gordon. “He couldn’t believe it. I contacted 80 Acres CEO Mike Zelkind, and within an hour, David had an interview.”

JVS Career Services aims to find that sweet spot where qualifications, openings, and passions collide; and that spot couldn’t have been sweeter for David Litvin.

David moved from Israel to Cincinnati with his fiancé in December of 2016. The two met working with an Israeli Scout program. They moved to a kibbutz, where they lived with 50 others; several years later, all 50 joined the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Fresh out of the military and ready to begin life in the United States, David’s fiancé began school, and he started looking for a job. He got off to a slow start.

“It didn’t really work out,” he said. “I couldn’t find anything that really interested me. I was looking at jobs in IT or cyber security, but I’m also interested in farming.”

On the kibbutz, David harvested dates as well as built and tended to botanical gardens. While in the IDF, he volunteered on a number of volunteer agricultural projects on his weekends off.

He couldn’t find many openings in Cincinnati that interested him, and the interviews he went on didn’t go very well.

“The interview process in Israel is very different,” David said. “Here it’s a lot more formal, and you need to be intentional about what you say.”

His fiancé’s mom suggested he contact JVS Career Services. Finding an opening he was interested in was quick. Preparing for the interview took a little longer. Sherry helped David hone his interview skills. She helped him develop his resume—from creating the proper layout, to narrowing down his job experience to just the essentials, to developing a punchy cover letter.

“From the moment I stepped in the door, Sherry made me a priority. She made me feel comfortable enough to come back and get the training I needed to find a job,” David said.

So he got to work, preparing for his interview at 80 Acres, a hydroponic farm in Spring Grove Village that provides pesticide-free local vegetables year-round from an indoor farm. Hydro-, as in water. There’s no dirt at this farm. They use technology to create a perfect growing environment and to produce fresh vegetables that go from farm to table in a matter of days (without the need for washing!).

Mike Zelkind was eager to get David in the room for an interview. He gave JVS Career Services a tall order—someone with IT and back-office experience, but who knew something about growing vegetables—and they delivered.

Mike says they put David through the ringer during the interview process, but that he was phenomenal.

“He’s bright, has a great work ethic, and is a tremendous member of the team,” Mike said. “When we hired David, we were looking for someone with the right attitude; the ability to be honest and transparent about what he didn’t know; the ability to adapt and problem-solve; and a knowledge base in advanced technology components, biology, and IT.”

A tall order, with a worthy candidate.

David is now several months into the job as one of three growers at 80 Acres, responsible for cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. He ensures they’re growing properly and that there aren’t any diseases or deficiencies. He uses his tech skills to create a highly controlled environment—the lighting, the humidity, the temperature, and more.

80 Acres delivers vegetables to local grocery stores, including Jungle Jim’s, markets in Hyde Park, and Clifton Market. Most vegetables are picked weeks before they’re ripe because they’re shipped long distances; 80 Acres’ veggies are picked just days before they’re eaten. Since there are no bugs or dirt, there’s no need to use pesticides or other chemicals.

“All three growers bring different things to the table, but collectively, they’re incredibly powerful,” Mike said. “In this case, 1+1+1 does not equal 3—but something more like 10. David’s temperament, intuition, and ability to learn add a lot to the team. He’s a critical component to our success.”

For David, finding 80 Acres was more than checking the boxes for both IT and farming.

“I wanted to work for a company that wasn’t a big corporation,” he said. “I wanted somewhere I could really get involved—not just another 9 to 5. I was drawn to a startup because everyone is working to build the company; everyone can bring up ideas and contribute; and you’re not stuck in a cubicle. JVS Career Services understands what you’re looking for. They found the right opening, and gave me the skills I needed to land the perfect job.”

To learn more about JVS Career Services’ career coaching, contact us, email careerservices@jvscareers.org, or call (513) 936-9675

Wise Temple Partners with JVS Career Services: Ups Talent Game, Lets Staff Focus on Big Picture

“We had ample reason to trust, from the quality resumes we got, that JVS Career Services worked well on our behalf. It was a robust effort with good strong vetting, all in a timely fashion. Their response was good at every step.” —Rabbi Lewis Kamrass

When Rabbi Lewis Kamrass and the Wise Temple Board of Trustees were looking to fill a senior position—a role “critical to all that we do,” says Rabbi Kamrass—they considered multiple options.

At Wise, staffing numbers aren’t necessarily increasing, but needs are constantly evolving, says Rabbi Kamrass. “Every time we need to find new staff, we don’t just go back and dust off the old job description; it’s an opportunity to expand the role and to think in new ways.”

In the past, the synagogue had conducted most searches internally, listing openings in various places including with JVS Career Services. In more recent years, when critical talent and specials skills were needed, they had sometimes used search firms to broaden the candidate pool beyond local and regional talent. For this position, says the rabbi, “we knew we wanted a national search.”

In the meantime however, JVS Career Services had developed into a full-service search firm, so the synagogue met with the team there as one of their options for filling this critical position.

“We were impressed with the new platform they had established for high-level talent search and recruitment,” says Rabbi Kamrass. “We asked carefully about how they would reach beyond the local and regional level, and were satisfied and pleased with their answers.” The Wise Temple search team included people with extensive experience in the for-profit world, he adds, where engaging search firms has long been routine.

Wise Temple chose JVS Career Services. “It wasn’t simply because we met them and liked them,” says Rabbi Kamrass. “This was a decision we made thoughtfully, from our earliest design of the position through our strategy for filling it.”

It was a good decision. First, reports the rabbi, the team at Wise appreciated the fact that the staff at JVS Career Services are accustomed to dealing with the unique needs of not-for-profits—in the Jewish world specifically, as well as in not-for-profit Cincinnati. “But their reach for talent wasn’t just in those worlds,” he adds; “They were in conversation with talented people regionally and nationally whose skills had been honed in both the non-profit and for-profit worlds, and could be put to use in ours.”

As resumes came in, the team at Wise was even more encouraged. “We had ample reason to trust, from the quality resumes we got, that JVS Career Services worked well on our behalf,” says Rabbi Kamrass. “It was a robust effort with good strong vetting, all in a timely fashion. Their response was good at every step.”

The search went more quickly and smoothly than expected. The position has been filled for more than a year now, and Wise Temple has since turned to JVS Career Services to help fill two more positions, one a department head position with responsibility at the synagogue’s Amberly location as well as downtown at Plum Street Temple.

The other position filled was an administrative role, requiring important skills but the kind of position for which Wise Temple hadn’t considered enlisting a search firm until recently.

These most recent successes underscore how the synagogue’s learning has evolved when it comes to recruitment.

For any nonprofit, hiring an outside firm can, at a glance, seem like too great a cost. But that doesn’t consider what Rabbi Kamrass calls the “opportunity cost,” the potential detrimental effects of conducting a search internally. These effects might not be measured in a budget, he points out. “But distracting staff people whose primary skill isn’t recruitment from their important daily work driving the larger mission can take a toll.”

As Wise Temple has solidified its partnership with JVS Career Services, that problem appears to be in the the past.

For more information about JVS Career Services recruiting capabilities, please contact Senior Business Development Manager, Peter Landesman by phone (513) 745-2905, or email plandesman@jvscareers.org.

Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager and Career Coach, comes to JVS Career Services after 40 years as a marketing and marketing communications professional. Peter has worked in a wide variety of industries that include consumer packaged goods, retail, publishing, healthcare, information technology, private aviation, professional services, and employee benefits. He has worked for well-known companies such as World Book Encyclopedia, JCPenney, American Heart Association, NCR, and NetJets.

Peter has passionately pursued and welcomed opportunities to assist individuals with their careers and share connections that lead to the next step in their journey.  In addition to fulfilling a volunteer role with many JVS Career Services clients, Peter co-facilitates the American Marketing Association’s Career Transition Group. Among his other non-profit activities, Peter served on the Governing Board of the WE Lead Athena Program and continues to serve on the Steering Committee of the Greater Cincinnati HR Collaborative.

Why Everyone Needs a Career Coach

By Joni Burton, CEO, JVS Career Services

In the past, most career coaching was a remedial effort aimed at poor performers. But today, smart employers understand coaching as an important tool in support of high-potential leaders. And what are they getting for the money they invest in coaching? A recent study by Price Waterhouse Coopers and the Association Resource Center concluded that the mean ROI for companies investing in coaching was seven times the initial investment, with more than a quarter reporting an ROI of 10 to 49 times the initial investment.

Effective leaders must constantly be polishing and improving their skills while also developing new skills for the ever-changing demands placed on them. Executive coaching services are designed to expand the performance of an organization’s employee and more clearly define the employee’s career progression. Executive coaching reinforces successful leaders’ strengths and accelerates meaningful results. Additionally, executive coaching provides the awareness and direction needed to improve and maximize leadership talent, in turn, leading to a higher level of productivity, satisfaction, and personal fulfillment.

Could your or any of your employees use an executive coach?

  • Is your executive technically brilliant but needs to improve his or her “soft” skills?
  • Do you have an emerging leader needing to elevate his or her executive presence?
  • Could your newly-promoted employee need support in his or her new role?
  • Could your accomplished or new executive benefit from having a trusted confidant to evaluate strengths and deficiencies in order to help him or her develop personal performance improvement strategies?
  • Does your forward-facing executive need to build confidence and positive relationships with stakeholders?

Whether you are a company considering making a commitment to executive coaching support for your high-potential leaders, a newly-appointed executive looking to jump-start success in your new role, an experienced leader, or a motivated employee exploring internal career options, JVS Career Services can help you master and market your competencies.

Contact JVS Career Services to learn more about career coaching.

Joni Burton, CEO of JVS Career Services, is a seasoned Senior Management Executive with decades of experience in recruiting, staffing and management. In her role as CEO, Burton is focused on growing the agency and significantly expanding both types of services offered to job seekers and employers, and the number of clients served.

Prior to joining JVS Career Services, Burton served as CEO of ERB Solutions, a permanent placement and staffing company that assisted organizations in recruiting top-notch talent. Prior to this, Burton was President of Trasys, Area Director for CIBER, Territory Manager for CompuCom and Area Vice President for Whittman-Hart (marchFIRST/Divine) where she was instrumental in taking the firm from an unknown consultancy to one of the leading firms in the country.

Also, Burton is active in Jewish Family Service and The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.

Burton has a Bachelor of Science Degree from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.

“Work-life-blend”: the new and improved “work-life-balance”

By Kim Slaton, Managing Director, JVS Career Services

Everyone talks about working hard to achieve a healthy “Work-Life-Balance.” My question is, is it plausible or has “Work-Life-Balance” become a myth? The term implies that time should be spent separately and somewhat equally on both professional and personal life. However, technology has changed the way we do business. While having 24/7 access to emails, remote files, websites, mobile applications and various modes of communication has made life easier in some ways, it has also blurred the lines between our professional and personal lives. Let’s face it, many of today’s working professionals have schedules that are not conducive to being productive only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Job seekers and career changers routinely ask me for strategies on how to manage schedules to achieve a happy coexistence of work and personal life. I’ve long abandoned advocating separation of both as an answer. Instead, I encourage embracing and creating an environment where work and personal life are blended, not separated. Striving for a “Work-Life-Blend” is not only more realistic, it’s far more achievable. Here are three tips on mastering the “Work-Life-Blend” model:

Give the same amount of attention to organizing and structuring your personal life as you do your professional life.
Accomplishing your personal goals are as important as accomplishing your goals in the office. Dinner plans with colleagues or business connections are scheduled with the same priority as dinner with family members. Just as you would wait to read and answer emails from family members during a business dinner, checking and doing work-related emails can wait until after dinner with family.

Determine technology “down time” guidelines.
We love being connected and plugged in. However, designating time to be unavailable can help you break away from work. Determining your guidelines for unplugging and then sticking to those guidelines is key. Give yourself permission to disconnect during specific times and circumstances. You might decide to leave your phone and/or computer in the locker during your workout. While on vacation, decide when you will be available to check-in with staff or respond to emails. Instead of checking your phone all day long, schedule to check emails once in the morning and once again in the evening.

Time for yourself is top priority.
Thirty minutes a day or an evening a week devoted to a hobby or interest like reading, watching your favorite show, or exercising gives your mind a break and helps to keep work and family stress in check. Whatever activity you choose, make your “me time” something you enjoy and look forward to doing.

Achieving a successful “Work-Life-Blend” model is to discover your individual “blend.” Determine what is important to you in your work life and in your personal life and give what you can to each without compromising the other.

 

Kim Slaton, CPCC, CPRW – JVS Career Services Managing Director, is a Senior Career Consultant with more than 11 years of experience advising people in transition about how to prepare a successful marketing strategy for today’s competitive job market. As a career catalyst, Kim is known for her consistent successes, adaptability and resourcefulness while staying current with the most important career search trends. This includes helping individuals craft sharp résumés and cover letters, creating effective marketing tools, polishing interviewing skills and enhancing social media and face-to-face networking abilities.

Kim partners with clients from all backgrounds and industries to provide focused and effective methods for navigating various life transitions. This includes college graduates, young professionals, mid-career professionals, executive level clients and retirees seeking encore careers.

Kim is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs® personality assessment tool and holds a BS degree in Human Services with a concentration in counseling from Plattsburgh, SUNY. She is also a graduate of The Nonprofit Leadership Institute of Greater Cincinnati EXCEL year-long leadership development program. In addition, Kim has reviewed and contributed to several college career course textbooks. Prior to joining the JVS Career Services (formerly Cincinnati Career Network), Kim was the Director of Development and Event Planner for Hillel Jewish Student Center of Cincinnati, Senior Fund Development Associate for the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, as well as the Acting Executive Director for the Central Kentucky Jewish Federation in Lexington, Kentucky. Kim’s focus is on building relationships with her clients by getting to know them and learning about what empowers and motivates them to achieve.

To contact Kim Slaton by phone, please call (513) 745-2903, or email her at kslaton@jvscareers.org.

Part of the family: JVS Career Services’ recruiting helps Viking Partners reach new heights

“We try to run the business like a family,” says Bret Caller, CEO of Viking Partners, a Cincinnati commercial real estate company. That “family” has quadrupled in size over the last decade.

It’s quite the human resources feat.

“We don’t have an HR department. You’re looking at her,” says Jennifer Ehrhardt, the company’s CFO.

Caller and Ehrhardt say they couldn’t have successfully expanded without the right partners to help them recruit the right people.

“When we first started the company, there were only four or five of us, and over the last eight years, we’ve grown to 20 people. Since working with JVS Career Services, they have provided significant support with this growth, including successfully recruiting talent for three key positions at Viking Partners this year,” Caller says.

“We have worked with recruiting agencies that didn’t provide as many qualified candidates,” Caller says. “And as soon as we signed on with JVS Career Services, they sent me three or four resumes right away.”

It wasn’t just a quantity upgrade, but a quality upgrade, as well.

“They sent us people who were screened— people they thought were a good fit for our culture and could deliver what we needed,” says Ehrhardt.

She credits JVS Career Service’s successful recruiting to their unique position in the Cincinnati job market.

“JVS Career Services knows who’s living here and they have a pretty good sense of who’s moving here because they’re based here,” Ehrhardt says. “This provides JVS Career Services a real advantage over out-of-town recruiting agencies.”

Both Caller and Ehrhardt were impressed with how fast the hiring process was with JVS Career Services helping. They say without JVS Career Services’ help, it used to take them six to ten weeks to find and hire the right person.

“If we ourselves posted a job on LinkedIn, we’d probably get hundreds of resumes that we’d have to look through and screen. You’re looking at hours and hours of work, and then phone screening and interviews. With JVS Career Services, it only took two weeks and we had our candidate,” says Ehrhardt.

“When I communicate with JVS Career Services about what we need, I know they understand. They understand our culture. They’ve been in our office. They know what will work here,” adds Caller. “They’re fast to make good marriages.”

Caller says he’s been so impressed with JVS Career Services, that he’s come to trust them with referrals too. As a well-connected member of the business community, Caller says he gets frequent calls from people looking for a new job, or to move up in their careers.

“I send those resumes to JVS Career Services. A career consultant usually calls them within 24 hours—and I don’t hear from them again,” Caller says. “These are people looking for high paying jobs in some cases. JVS Career Services is the nucleus of career services. It’s a great referral.”

Ehrhardt is looking forward to next summer, when Viking Partners plan to use JVS Career Services to help them find qualified interns, and create an internship program.

“We don’t have a hard time finding interns, it’s just finding interns who have studied in our area and are interested in real estate, and that’s what they’re going to make sure that we get,” she says.

The service is free to businesses, and Ehrhardt says it’s a great fit for their company because JVS creates an intern community, that they, as a smaller business, can’t provide.

“They coordinate intern outings to Reds games other leadership activities,” she says. “They make it a really enriching experience for interns, which benefits us too.”

Looking at the future of Viking Partners, both Caller and Ehrhardt agree that JVS Career Services has become part of their corporate “family” — invested in helping them take their business to the next level.

“They have become a trusted, valued partner. They are part of our growth plan—whether that’s through interns or a higher-level position,” Caller says. “We’re going to look to JVS Career Services to help fill that role first.”

For more information about JVS Career Services recruiting capabilities, please contact Senior Business Development Manager, Peter Landesman by phone (513) 745-2905, or email plandesman@jvscareers.org.

Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager and Career Coach, comes to JVS Career Services after 40 years as a marketing and marketing communications professional. Peter has worked in a wide variety of industries that include consumer packaged goods, retail, publishing, healthcare, information technology, private aviation, professional services, and employee benefits. He has worked for well-known companies such as World Book Encyclopedia, JCPenney, American Heart Association, NCR, and NetJets.

Peter has passionately pursued and welcomed opportunities to assist individuals with their careers and share connections that lead to the next step in their journey.  In addition to fulfilling a volunteer role with many JVS Career Services clients, Peter co-facilitates the American Marketing Association’s Career Transition Group. Among his other non-profit activities, Peter served on the Governing Board of the WE Lead Athena Program and continues to serve on the Steering Committee of the Greater Cincinnati HR Collaborative.

Hilb Scholarship Program

By Dedra Perlmutter, Senior Career Consultant, Human Resources Manager, and Scholarship Administrator, JVS Career Services

JVS Career Services offers many different services regarding career goals and development including the administration of several different scholarship funds through an ongoing partnership with the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.

The Hilb Scholarship Fund has been administered by JVS Career Services since its inception. Gus Hilb established the Hilb Scholarship Fund at the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati in 1955 in honor of his parents, Mannis and Yetta Hilb.

“JVS Career Services’ long-term partnership with the Hilb Scholarship Fund is committed to making funds available for students who want to further their education after high school and adults who want additional education and training,” said JVS Career Services CEO, Joni Burton.

The Anne and George Heldman Family Scholarship Fund was established in 2009 by the Heldman family. It is designed for Jewish students who are graduating high school. Additional funds include the Saidel Award, the Guthman Award, the Graff Award, and the Weiss Award, each of wish are available to subsections of the scholarship applicant pool.

Tamara Zmood, MSN, CRNA, shared, “The HILB scholarship has helped me achieve my dream of becoming a Nurse Anesthetist. As a recent graduate, I couldn’t be where I am today without it.”

Ninty five scholarships equaling over $215,000 were awarded for the 2016-17 academic year.

Students interested in applying for any of the scholarships administered by JVS Career Services should keep several deadlines in mind:

  • March 24, 2017: Last day to submit an application for the summer term and make an appointment for an interview with the scholarship administrator
  • May 1, 2017: Last day to submit an application for the 2017-2018 academic year and make an appointment for an interview with the scholarship administrator.

Apply for a Hilb Scholarship here.

Scholarship assistance is just one of the many services that JVS Career Services offers to students. The agency also works with students on career coaching, resume writing, networking, and interviewing skills. As students approach the end of their schooling, JVS Career Services helps students find internships or jobs after graduation. For more information, contact JVS Career Services at (513) 936-9675 or jvscareers.org.

You can read more about Tamara Zmood’s experience with JVS Career Services here.

Dedra Perlmutter, CPRW, SHRM-CP, PHR, is a Senior Career Consultant and Human Resources Manager at JVS Career Services. Dedra provides extensive knowledge to clients in the areas of job searching, interviewing, networking, personal branding, image and career strategies. With almost 20 years of HR experience, in a variety of industries, Dedra is well-versed in recruiting and employment, and brings with her “insider knowledge” of what employers are looking for in potential employees. By leading workshops and working with clients individually, Dedra is able to serve as a resource for those that are looking to make a career change or to enhance their current career path.

In addition to utilizing her past experiences, Dedra also works in conjunction with other HR industry professionals to remain up-to-date on current hiring and employment trends. Being able to share knowledge and experiences with clients has proven to be a huge success factor.

Dedra is known for her positive motivation and her upbeat approach to the job search process. She also has a sincere interest in getting to know her clients and helping discover their goals.

Dedra, a Cincinnati native, received her Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in Human Resources from Bowling Green State University. Dedra also holds a PHR, Professional Human Resources Certification, a SHRM-CP, Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional, as well as a CPRW, Certified Professional Résumé Writer.

In Praise of Chutzpah

noah-photo-for-web_squareNoah Ferro, TJF Fellow, JVS Career Services

Whether we say it out loud or just imply it subtly, we tend to place a high value on chutzpah in Jewish tradition. The word itself doesn’t have a precise translation into English, but the idea has made its way into our secular culture: audaciously daring to act, to speak up, or to stand out, when it would be easier to sit quietly and let life happen to you. For Jews, it may account for everything from our culture’s survival during 1800 years in exile to the success of innovators like Sam Goldwyn or Albert Einstein.

Before Yom Kippur, I happened to read an old Hasidic story which underscores the role chutzpah plays in our spiritual lives.

As the story goes, Elimelekh of Lizhensk once sent his hasidim (disciples) to a tailor’s house on the eve of Yom Kippur, so they could learn how to pray. They gathered at the man’s window and watched as he and his family said their afternoon prayers and ate their pre-fast meal, all with the simplicity of a humble tailor and his family.

After the meal, the tailor took two account books off his bookcase and declared, “Ribono shel Olam – Master of the Universe – these are the sins which I and my household have committed against You in the past year…” And he began to read from the first book – simple sins, minor things that one might expect from anyone.

When he concluded, he opened the second book, a much thicker one. “And now,” he said, “let me remind You of some of the things You have done in the last year…” And again he read. This time the list was much longer. It included diseases and famines, wars and pogroms, orphaned children and bereaved parents, in addition to all of the personal hardships that he and his family had endured.

At last, the tailor finished his list. “To judge it fairly, Ribono shel Olam, it would seem that if anything, You owe me. But as it is the Day of Atonement, I will make you a deal: You forgive me, and I forgive You.”

The hasidim were aghast. They returned to Elimelekh and said, “Rabbi! Such terrible things this tailor said!”

But the rabbi shook his head and said, “You must know that every year, the Holy One, Blessed Be He, waits to hear this tailor’s prayer. For its sake alone do blessing and joy come into our world!”

In his book Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn’t, and Why, career consultant Donald Asher offers twelve insights on what it takes to get ahead in a competitive business world. It goes without saying that things like doing good work and understanding organizational culture are key. Running through Asher’s insights and anecdotes, however, is a consistent theme: advancement requires daring – chutzpah.

Getting too comfortable or being content to let circumstances dictate our next move can make a real difference in how we feel about our lives and our dreams – whether we’re looking for a new job, angling for a promotion, or taking on new responsibilities.

In our story above, Rabbi Elimelekh gives a great deal of credit to the tailor’s chutzpah – even seeing the whole world as depending on this audacious prayer. We may not all be ready to go toe-to-toe with our Creator, but a little chutzpah may still be the difference between deserving the life we have and having the life we deserve.

Noah Ferro grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, where he graduated college with a degree in History and English from Tennessee State University. He spent several years working in libraries and bookstores before beginning HUC-JIR’s Rabbinical program. In May 2015, he received a Master’s in Religious Education (MARE) from the school’s New York campus. Noah is finishing his program as a Rabbinical student at the Cincinnati campus, anticipating a May 2017 ordination. He has also begun a PhD program at HUC in Rabbinic literature. As a rabbi, he hopes to teach Talmud and other rabbinic texts to adults and teens.

During his rabbinical studies, Noah has served congregations in Illinois and Tennessee as a student rabbi, worked as a chaplain in a Cincinnati-area hospital, and taught in four supplementary religious schools (not including student pulpits), as well as in one overnight summer camp. He is currently working on his senior thesis, which includes a commentary and translation of Chayyei Adam, an 18th-century digest of Jewish law by Rabbi Avraham Danzig. Noah and his wife Cassondra recently became parents with the birth of their son Lev in February.

Networking and the Holidays

kim photo for web_SquareBy Kim Slaton, CPRW, Managing Director, JVS Career Services

Whether you are searching for a new position or working towards securing career advancement, networking is key. Use the holiday season to leverage the connections of colleagues and meet new people while schmoozing at all the seasonal parties and gatherings. Here are some things to keep in mind as the party invites start coming in.

Spend some time preparing and create a plan.
Think strategically about the people you will be meeting and craft your “elevator pitch” accordingly. This might be the only time during the year when you’ll have audience with specific people. Now’s your chance to guide your conversations in the direction that will be impactful for you and your goals. Do your homework and develop a list of great questions targeted to those you anticipate meeting. Make sure you have your resume updated in case it is requested and have your contact calling cards ready to exchange as you meet people.

Think of networking as an investment in your future.
Networking and relationship building takes time, energy and effort. Don’t wait until you are out of a job to begin to network. By developing relationships over time your connections will be more genuine and these contacts will be much more likely to help you when you are looking for a new position.

Maximize your time at each gathering.
Most folks want to show up for holiday gatherings, make an appearance, enjoy the offerings, and then leave. Plan on arriving at the start of the event and stay as long as you need to see and speak with those on your networking list. Remind yourself to “work the room” so you don’t end up speaking with the same person the entire time. Take notes about your conversations and schedule follow-up tasks as soon as possible while the exchanges are fresh in your mind.

Networking is a two-way street.
Keep in mind that networking is an exchange of information. Instead of beginning conversations about yourself and your situation, ask questions and listen. Find ways to be helpful and focus on giving. Offer to be a mutually beneficial networker and suggest ways you can facilitate networking opportunities for the people you’re talking with. Your network will, in turn, be more willing to bend over backwards to be helpful to you.

Keep your network alive and healthy.
Touch base with those in your network to stay on their radar with the occasional email, phone call, or text. Use birthday or anniversary greetings as simple ways to stay in touch. Or share a link or anecdote you know they will find interesting. Once you have invested the time to create a connection with someone, nurture the relationship to keep it strong.

Kim Slaton, CPRW, JVS Career Services Managing Director, is a Senior Career Consultant with more than 12 years of experience advising people in transition about how to prepare a successful marketing strategy for today’s competitive job market. Kim is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs® personality assessment tool. In addition, Kim has contributed to and reviewed several college career course textbooks. Kim’s focus is on building relationships with her clients by getting to know them and learning about what empowers and motivates them to achieve. Partnering with clients from all backgrounds and industries, Kim provides focused and effective methods for navigating various life transitions. This includes college graduates, young professionals, mid-career professionals, executive level clients and retirees seeking encore careers.

 

From Jewish educator to IT pro: how JVS Career Services helped a rabbi make a career 180, and fast

“To be honest it was probably the hardest year of my life,” says Rabbi Dovid Brotsky, as he reflects back on the winter of 2014.

He had just moved his five children and his wife to Cincinnati, so that he could take a teaching job at Cincinnati Hebrew Day School. After sixteen years of Jewish study, he couldn’t have been more excited.

chaim-mordechai-kibel

Then reality hit.

“At first I figured it was growing pains, but at a certain point I realized teaching kids wasn’t the right fit for me. I loved teaching adults, but teaching children is a totally different world,” he says.

At the same time, his wife, who is an occupational therapist, was realizing she wasn’t happy at her newfound job in Cincinnati.

“I had just come to the difficult realization that teaching children wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I was committed to finishing out the school year with my students. I had to continue in a very demanding job while at the same time, start moving towards a career change,” says Rabbi Brotsky. “With my wife reevaluating her employment options and having five kids to care for and support—it was definitely difficult.”

Without time on their side, the couple knew they needed help identifying and taking their next professional steps. A short Google search turned up Cincinnati’s JVS Career Services, and within minutes, Rabbi Brotsky’s wife was on the phone with the agency’s managing director, Kim Slaton.

“My wife explained our situations, and Kim said, ‘Why don’t you both come in and we’ll have a joint meeting,’” says Rabbi Brotsky.

When the three got together, Rabbi Brotsky says it was immediately clear that he and his wife had come to the right place.

“We saw that Kim and the rest of the JVS Career Services staff really genuinely meant what they did. Everyone was very sincere,” says Rabbi Brotsky. “We knew that it wasn’t just a job for Kim. We saw that she genuinely wanted to help both of us.”

But all of the good intentions in the world weren’t going to automatically fix Rabbi Brotsky’s career dilemma. After almost two decades in Jewish study, what would be next?

“I had spoken with some friends in a few other fields, and decided I wanted to pursue opportunities in information technology,” says Rabbi Brotsky. “When I met with Kim, I suggested computers, and Kim instantly confirmed it. With all my years of Talmudic study and analytic problem solving, she saw immediately how the skill set would transfer. She gets a lot of credit for giving me the confidence to pursue IT.”

Because the fact of the matter was that, while his strengths made him a good fit for IT, Rabbi Brotsky knew very little about computers.

“I was starting pretty much from zero,” Rabbi Brotsky admits.

He needed training.

“We looked at what it would take for me to get another degree, but it wasn’t so simple,” Rabbi Brotsky says. “We have five kids to support. Going back to college, paying tuition, and not making any money? That wouldn’t work.”

In seconds, Kim had a solution. She suggested an IT “boot camp” at Per Scholas, a nonprofit that provides free IT training in downtown Cincinnati. Eight days later, Rabbi Brotsky was sitting in class. And just eight weeks later, he was giving the valedictorian speech at the program’s graduation. He was proud to tell JVS Career Services’s CEO, Joni Burton, about his achievement.

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“I felt the whole time that Joni and Kim very sincerely cared about me and my success. And that’s a really powerful thing!”

Rabbi Brotsky’s winning streak continued. Only a few weeks after graduation, he was offered a job working in the call center for Pomeroy, an IT services company based in Northern Kentucky. His first call was to Joni.

“She was there again to help me weigh my options and make a good decision,” remembers Rabbi Brotsky.

After he got settled into his new position, the two continued to keep in touch.

“Joni would often email me, just to see how things were going,” he says. And even though he wasn’t looking for another job, he found himself calling Joni again, ten months later, before a big interview for an even better position with a software development startup called Krush Technology.

“We had a good half-hour conversation. She helped me see all of the benefits that would come with working for a startup, and she also helped me get ready for my interview,” Rabbi Brotsky says.

Joni’s interview insights worked again, and Brotsky has been happily working for Krush ever since.

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“Without JVS Career Services, I don’t know what would have happened,” Rabbi Brotsky says, thinking back. “The fact that everything went so fast—I got into that program, got a job, then got an even better job—it was all thanks to them.”

He takes a deep breath, relieved that the hardest year of his life now feels far away in his rear view; relieved that he found JVS Career Services in the nick of time.

“The fact that you’re not in it on your own. You have a network. You’re with people who are very caring and sincere and really genuinely want to help you. That’s what was so critical,” Rabbi Brotsky says. “Finding a job is all about networking and knowing the right people. It’s just not as easy on your own. If you have a network that’s established, like the one JVS Career Services has, it helps your chances 100 fold.”

To learn more about JVS Career Services’ career coaching, contact us, email careerservices@jvscareers.org, or call (513) 936-9675

Why Use a Recruiter?

By Joni Burton, CEO, JVS Career Services

You are a hiring manager who needs to fill a position. What do you do? Try to recruit for the position yourself? Adding recruiting responsibilities the already-full plates of you or your staff can make the candidate search stretch out for months. Meanwhile, work isn’t getting done. You’re down one employee and your staff is spending precious work time looking for the right candidate. How about having your human resource manager recruit for the position? Does your human resource department have recruiting capabilities or the time to recruit for the position? Not all human resource departments have recruiters on staff. If they do, how many positions is the recruiter currently working to fill?

Consider bringing in an outside recruiting organization to help you. I know what you might be thinking: “I can’t afford to hire an outside recruiting firm.” The truth is, there are lots of costs incurred by not hiring a recruiting firm. In reality, hiring a recruiting firm pays for itself.  Here’s why:

  • Recruiting firms often have access to a better network and use a proprietary database of candidates that an in-house recruiter doesn’t have access to.
  • Because they have other responsibilities, human resource and hiring managers often don’t have the time to build and maintain a network of outside professionals who would be suitable for positions.
  • A recruiting firm can apply focused attention to specific openings, allowing the positions to be filled quicker. They can also filter candidates and only send over those that are prequalified.
  • For a specialized or hard-to-fill position, a recruiting firm can often fill it faster. Recruiters bring specialized skills in cold-calling our customers’ competitors and approaching the passive job seeker. Good recruiters also are constantly networking and have a large pool of candidates available at any given time.
  • When you have decided on a candidate and want to make an offer, an outside recruiter can serve as an intermediary and can handle any contentious issues in hiring negotiations.

If you need to fill a position, contact JVS Career Services. We have experience recruiting all levels of talent, from entry level to senior manager positions. JVS Career Services has access to the best, most qualified talent in the Cincinnati job market, and we specialize in personalized service. We’re committed to understanding your organization’s goals and needs, and we use a talent-screening process that takes into account skill, experience, background, personality, and culture-fit.

A good recruiting firm can take the monumental task of finding the right person for the job off of your plate. JVS Career Services assumes all of the responsibilities for recruiting and screening candidates so you can focus on your business.

Joni Burton, CEO of JVS Career Services, is a seasoned Senior Management Executive with decades of experience in recruiting, staffing and management. In her role as CEO, Burton is focused on growing the agency and significantly expanding both types of services offered to job seekers and employers, and the number of clients served.

Prior to joining JVS Career Services, Burton served as CEO of ERB Solutions, a permanent placement and staffing company that assisted organizations in recruiting top-notch talent. Prior to this, Burton was President of Trasys, Area Director for CIBER, Territory Manager for CompuCom and Area Vice President for Whittman-Hart (marchFIRST/Divine) where she was instrumental in taking the firm from an unknown consultancy to one of the leading firms in the country.

Also, Burton is active in Jewish Family Service and The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.

Burton has a Bachelor of Science Degree from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.