National University: Manpower’s Phil Blair Shares Job Search Tips


By Richard Lloreda, Staff Writer

National University Herald

February 26, 2016

The view from the Manpower offices main floor is spectacular. On the right planes fly in from distant shores. A World War II aircraft carrier, the USS Midway, rests majestically on the left. Dividing this impressive panorama is a bay of tranquil waters, all of which made for one lovely morning in the world of employment staffing.

Phil Blair’s office affords an Olympian rooftop vantage point.


Phil Blair on KUSI News:


At a recent interview, he immediately listed the reasons why he started his own temporary employment agency and wrote his Amazon best-seller Job Won! 500,000 Hires and Counting, a book on how to get and keep a job after graduating college.


“First, focus on job readiness while you are still in school. In fact, do this during your entire college career down to taking classes with a plan in mind,” he said. “You should plan on two years of getting ready to job hunt while still in school. And start a career path plan developing your skills at finding a job.”

Asked if the current job search is a combination of patience, knowing what the job offers one personally for fulfillment, common sense, insider information and joyful networking, Blair continued: “All of those things, plus polite persistence, and never say, ‘I don’t know what I want to do.’ Let the interviewer know you would like the job, and tell him or her so at the end of the interview.”

An expert in the subject of getting a job after college, Blair specializes in employment with his job placement agency Manpower. His book Job Won has also received strong reviews from Amazon readers who have given the work 4.3 out of five possible stars.

Readers are finding Job Won a valuable job-hunting tool.

Blair continued with the sage advice that “Students should integrate the job search from the beginning. This should be stressed from the beginning of their educational plan.”

Blair added that it can be helpful for students to take free non-credit courses to build their job-hunting skills. One-third of college students move back home instead of getting a job right out of college, so they should consider taking job search and interview courses.

He also stressed the importance of professors encouraging their students to take classes that may not directly relate to their chosen career path.

Informational interviews can help a job seeker get a foot in the door before a formal job interview. “Informational interviews are great for gaining inside information since 50 percent of all job postings are never posted. Also, keep your eyes peeled for jobs for which you feel you are a good fit. A powerful skill to practice is a 30-second elevator speech, outlining your intent, strengths and support statements in a polite and concise manner.

Lastly, send out a handwritten “thank you” note that is relevant to the conversation in your interview, and be polite to everyone at your interview, including the receptionist,” Blair said.

By adopting a “back to the drawing board” attitude, Blair said, “You can massage your resume to match the job by using keywords and relate-able and interchangeable skills to a particular job posting. Use your cover letter to express why you are such a great fit.”

“The job search is sort of like dating, so develop an instinct and accept that you will make some mistakes, then correct them as you go along. A job search takes time. Go to interviews for jobs you don’t want and use them to practice your interviewing skills. Show some of your personality without overwhelming the interviewer. You want to stand out, so be your best, unique self.”

When the subject of millennials came up, Blair smiled and took a deep breath, then offered this advice: “Millennials do bring many desirable qualities to the table. They are embracing of their creativity and curiosity. They are idealistic and out-of-the-box thinkers.” Blair went on to say today’s high school age group can learn from millennials because they tend to be pragmatic and organized.

Blair’s last bits of advice for graduates and college students alike included these helpful tips:

• Write your plans in pencil because you will be flooded by possible strategies and even more ideas.

• Think about preparing your career path two to three years before you graduate. Ask your professors about where you could look to start your career in the fields.

• Use your school’s career resource center, and massage your resume to each individual job posting.

Jan. 6 — of ANY Year — is Busiest Job Search Day of the Year

Businesswomen with paperwork talking face to face


January 6 is anticipated to be the top job search day of 2016, according to analysis of proprietary data released by Monster Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: MWW).

The research is based on 2014 and 2015 data showing that there were 70% more job searches on the first Wednesday of the year when compared to an average day on Monster that year.

“This historic uptick could be attributed to a combination of many things, but we believe as people return to work after the holidays, they are more motivated and aware that better is out there,” said Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster.

“If Monday and Tuesday are all about getting back into the swing of things, it’s that first “hump day” – Wednesday – that seems to give us an extra push to see what’s out there. So if you’re searching today, you’re not alone.”

Recent data also found that job seekers in 2015 searched most for part-time jobs, sales jobs and accounting jobs. These areas have grown exponentially, according to Monster.

For example, “gig economy” jobs have been trending as people, particularly millennials, are having more of an entrepreneurial mindset seeking part-time jobs to pay the bills while they achieve something bigger.

See more at:

Manpower Monthly Employment Report: October 2015



SAN DIEGO –  Despite a slight uptick in the unemployment rate, San Diego’s economy showed strong signs of growth, according to statewide data released by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) for the October 2015 period.

San Diego’s unemployment rate rose to 5 percent in October, up .4 points from September. However, when compared to October 2014, the employment rate dropped by 1 percent. San Diego’s unemployment rate is below the statewide average of 5.7 percent.

Key Findings:

  • Despite an uptick in unemployment, there are still 15,700 fewer unemployed individuals than there a year ago—a 16.7 percent decline.
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical (PST) services, which is strongly associated with the region’s innovation economy, grew by 7 percent and was one of the highest growth industries in the region. PST services accounted for more than one quarter of all private annual job growth in San Diego.
  • Growth in goods-producing industries continued to be a bright spot in October, accounting for 13.6 percent of all private job growth

Phil Blair, executive officer at Manpower San Diego said, “San Diego’s economy is continuing to grow, despite the forthcoming headlines about the seasonal rise in the unemployment rate. Most importantly, the unemployment rate is a full percentage point lower than it was a year ago, our labor force numbers are showing signs of confidence and the region has added more than 40,000 jobs since last October.”

Mike Combs, research manager at San Diego Regional EDC, said, “We continue to see solid employment growth overall and very high growth in key high wage sectors like technical services, construction, and healthcare. It is very likely that this growth will drive the unemployment rate back below 5 percent by the end of the year.”

These findings are part of the California Employment Development Department monthly employment report, which was released this morning. Using the report, San Diego Regional EDC conducts its own analysis – the Manpower Monthly Report – to understand how the region’s economy is performing.

The report is sponsored by Manpower San Diego.


Manpower Monthly Employment Report: September 2015



SAN DIEGO – San Diego’s unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in September, according to statewide data released today from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) for the September 2015 period. This is the lowest unemployment rate since June 2007.

Despite another weak U.S. jobs report released earlier this month, San Diego showed more strong signs of growth led by important traded sectors and sectors with high-wages. San Diego’s labor force is up by 22,300 people from September 2014 and unemployment is down 21,900 people over that same period—all amid solid and increasing employment growth.

Phil Blair, executive officer at Manpower San Diego, said, “The September employment report was even better than expected, as the regional economy looks to be picking up speed toward the end of 2015. We saw a disappointing national jobs report released earlier this month, but it was just the opposite in San Diego, with outstanding job growth driven by our construction, manufacturing, and technology sectors.”

Mike Combs, research manager at San Diego Regional EDC, said, “It is always a great sign when growth is driven by high-tech sectors and goods-producing industries like construction and manufacturing. These tend to be high paying jobs, and these industries tend to be more connected to local suppliers, which leads to even greater impacts throughout the region’s economy.”

These findings are part of the California Employment Development Department monthly employment report.

Five Biggest Resume Mistakes You Should Never Make



At Manpower, we receive dozens of resumes every week. It’s our job to go carefully through each one and determine if there’s a good fit with the many job openings we have available.

Believe me, I’ve seen the best and the worst resumes that you can imagine.

Here are the five biggest resume mistakes I’ve seen here at Manpower:

Mistake No. 1: Typos

This may seem obvious, but it happens again and again. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that nearly 50 percent of resumes that come across my desk have at least one typo.

Now, one typo or grammatical error may seem like a small mistake. But once that first one jumps out, it’s out. And then your resume is more likely to be tossed out. Typos are deadly because most employers interpret them as a lack of detail and a failure to care about quality.

The fix? Read your resume from top to bottom – and bottom to top. Then ask someone else to proofread it closely.

Mistake 2: Too long, too boring

A good rule of thumb is one page, maybe two pages. The more pages, the less likely they’ll be read closely.

Think of it this way: The main purpose of any resume is to get you that initial face-to-face interview. That’s it. Keep that in mind. If you think your resume is too long, you’re probably right.

Mistake 3: Illegible, hard-to-read format

Neatness counts – a lot. For e-versions, make it easy to read. Use a commonly accepted font. Unless you’re a creative artist, stay away from overly artistic formats.

For hard-copy versions, always use white paper and black ink. Chose a legible font. Use consistent spacing. Make your name and contact info easy to find.

Mistake 4: References unrelated to the job you’re seeking

Make sure there’s a direct connection between your references and what your employer needs from you. More experienced job-seekers should be careful about listing influential friends who are just merely friends.

Mistake 5: Barely disguised lies, distortions and exaggerations

Sorry to say, we see this all too often. People fudge about their degrees, where they went to school, their work positions, their salaries, their successes. All the time!

Don’t do it. Not for any reason. Not ever.

Final advice:

1)   Have a friend or colleague proof-read your resume before you submit the final version.

2)   Pretend you’re on the receiving end of your resume. Be your own worst critic. Would you hire you?

3)   As much as possible, try to specifically tailor each resume you submit to each job you’re applying for.

Good luck!


What to Do When You Merely Tolerate Your Job


How many of us truly enjoy our jobs and find our careers fulfilling in every way?

The truth hurts: Only 10 percent are lucky enough – or have planned carefully enough – to claim that distinction.


The next 40 percent like their jobs, but they’re very happy – ecstatic! — when Friday rolls around. Finally, they get to do what they really want to do with their lives.

The next 40 percent are the ones who say, “Oh, my gosh, is it only Wednesday? This is the longest week of my life! And I thought last week was the longest week of my life.”

The bottom 10 percent are the ones who say when that alarm goes off, “Please, please, please don’t make me go to work today!”

Life is too short to merely tolerate your job. Each day I do my best to help people find jobs and careers that they’re excited about – whatever their age or career path.

Yes, it’s an ongoing challenge, especially if you’re the one who’s looking for a better, more meaningful, and better-paying job. Is it stressful, risky and uncomfortable? Yes, yes and yes.

When I talk with clients who are unhappy with their jobs and careers, I feel it’s my duty to shake them out of their complacency and point them in a better direction – and to a different job. Because we know that once people are bored at their jobs, they don’t give it their best.

And in this economy, once you don’t give it your best, employers take notice. Guess what happens next. You’re out of work.

These days, you and your employer form an unwritten, but vital pact: No matter what your level – CEO or entry-level – most companies will keep you employed for only as long as you bring value to the company.

That means: Do you stay current on technology? Do you ask for more responsibility? Do you have a positive attitude? Have you pursued an advanced degree or certification? Are you being challenged? Are you learning new skills? Do you bring energy into the room?

As long as your current job offers you enough opportunity to grow as well as prosper, you’ll likely continue to be a very happy — and even more valuable — employee. If not, you might consider making a change.

Because as the percentages prove, life can be much too short if you don’t like your job.

Make Sure Your Resume Reflects the Job You’re Seeking


Putting together a strong, persuasive resume can seem like trying to write your first book report when you were growing up. Especially if it’s the first time in a long time.


Resumes, of course, are those brief written summaries of who are as a person — and why you are the right candidate for the job. They introduce you to potential employers. They outline your career accomplishments and work objectives, your qualifications, skills, and experience.

The intent is to get hiring managers interested and curious enough – or better yet, excited – to want to meet you, learn more about you, and, ideally, schedule you for a face-to-face interview.

A resume isn’t meant to be a complete story of your life. Instead, it’s all about making a favorable first impression — in a document that should not exceed two pages.

Here’s what a resume should be:

  • A summary of your accomplishments — not your previous job duties
  • The story of your career and work successes – not your missteps or failures
  • A living document that should change and evolve as you do – if you keep it updated

For these reasons, I always recommend that you develop a slightly different resume for each job that interests you.

For example, a professional writer exploring different kinds of careers would have different resumes for potential jobs in different areas — from journalism to public relations to copywriting.

Though he or she may possess skills that are common and crucial to varied types of writing, different resumes will highlight skills and experiences that are especially valued in each particular type of work.

In another example, let’s say you’re pursuing marketing jobs at two different companies.

Both jobs are broadly similar, but Company A is looking for someone with exceptional “people skills,” while Company B needs someone who’s a master of master of numbers and finance.

Your resume should be tweaked to highlight your relevant talents and value to each company. In this way, you’re doing HR a favor by not making them weed through data that they don’t really care about.

I can always tell when a candidate is really serious about a particular job opening. If I advise them to rework their resume to be specific to that job and they balk, that’s a red flag – clearly, they’re not very serious.

If you feel you’re not 100 percent serious about landing a certain job, don’t waste your time or that of the HR person. Rethink and reset your target. In your heart, you know who you are and what you do best.

Ask yourself whether your resume makes you feel proud and accomplished – and truly represents your strengths. If the answer is no, there’s more work to be done. Because if you aren’t impressed with your resume, no one else will be.

Why Should I Hire You? How to Ace Your Job Interview


At some point during your job interview, you’re very likely to be asked a handful of difficult, even tricky, questions.

Don’t blame the interviewer. He/she genuinely wants to hear how you phrase your answers and how you respond to the situation.


To get better prepared, ask yourself the following questions, then come up with your most suitable responses. Practice out loud until you’re able to deliver your answers easily and smoothly, as if you’ve never practiced them at all.

1)      Tell me about yourself.

The interviewer has no interest in your personal life – at least not right now. What the interviewer is really asking is: “Why should I hire you?” The interviewer is posing this question in a clever way. Your task is to cleverly respond. Talk about your professional background, your strengths, and why hiring you will bring tangible benefits to the company.

2)      You seem to switch jobs a lot. Why?

The wrong answer, of course, is simply to say you’re always on the lookout for a better job with better pay. Nobody is going to hire a candidate who regards every new position as a stepping stone to the next. Anything less than three years requires a convincing reason. Be succinct and convincing. Never dwell on the negative.

3)      What would you change about your former job?

Again, never speak negatively about your former position, co-workers or supervisor. If you’re asked about a former job, use the opportunity to express how you wished you could have had more responsibility, or that you wanted to become a more valuable member of the team. No need for details.

4)      Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?

This is tricky because no one can predict the future. But this question offers you a chance to spread your wings without sounding ruthless. Don’t answer: “I want your job,” even if you do. A better response would be: “I would like to work toward a job similar to yours.” That sounds much less threatening, more respectful to the interviewer. Always be respectful.

5)      What’s an example of a major problem you faced and overcame?

This question is asked by interviewers who want to observe how you define a problem, identify options, decide on a solution, manage obstacles, and solve predicaments. Deliver your story in a thorough, compelling manner. It is always best to end your story with what you learned from the experience and – if applicable – relate how the experience has better prepared you for the role you’re seeking.

6)      What has been your greatest accomplishment? What did you learn from it?

While recounting how you saved your company $1 million in taxes might be quite an achievement, it will likely ring false in terms of a personal accomplishment. Better to talk about an example of hard work and perseverance. The details in your answer can be used to reveal your professional strengths. And no, this is not the time to talk about overcoming drug abuse, alcoholism, or failed marriages.

7)      What is your greatest weakness?

Again, focus on work, not your personal life or character. Turn this question into a positive: Talk about how your commitment to work sometimes translates into working long hours, sacrificing free time to get the job done. You might note, for example, that you’ve become much more organized and now prioritize better so that essential projects are always completed on time.

Congratulations! You’ve Got the Job: What to Do Before Saying ‘Yes’


Finally, the moment arrives.

You get the call. You’re offered the job. You want the job. You want to say yes.

Hold your horses.


Never accept a proffered position until you’ve had time to consider a few things. These include, naturally, issues like salary and benefits, but also might include things like commute time, office space, childcare, weekend work, and how much time you’ll be away from home or family.

Most job offers don’t come out of the blue. By the time you’re finished a job interview, you should have a pretty good notion of what the job entails, what it pays and how it’s likely to impact your career and life.

Nevertheless, these issues cannot be fully evaluated until you have a legitimate job offer or employment agreement in hand.

Asking for some time to consider a job offer is fair and reasonable. You can do so by simply saying you need time to discuss the offer’s details with your spouse or family.

No employer should deny you this opportunity, and few would. If your would-be employer does, it’s a red flag and you should immediately ask  for an explanation.

A demand that you decide here and now suggests the company places its interests first and foremost, without real regard to employee rights or considerations.

No matter what the work entails, a job offer is a thing of many parts. It may be fairly simply or extremely complex.

Salary tends to be the No. 1 issue for most job applicants. In some cases, that’s known going in and may be non-negotiable, though you can inquire if you think there’s reasonable room and causes for discussion.

If you think you’re worth more than the first offer and want to counter, do your homework first. Find out what your value is in the job market. You might already have a good idea if you’ve been doing a similar job.

If you’re uncertain about asking for a higher salary, don’t be reluctant to seek guidance and help from a trusted mentor. Be wary of family and friends, who may have your best interests at heart, but no real insight or knowledge about negotiating salary and benefits.

Before you take a job, weigh the intangibles. Of course, some of them you should have pondered earlier in the job-hunting process. Now that opportunity has knocked, how are you going to answer these questions?

1)      Do you want to learn new skills? Does this job teach them?

2)      Is this job a stepping stone on a longer career path?

3)      Does this job give you more authority and/or responsibility? Are you ready for that?

4)      Will you be challenged? Do you want to be challenged?

5)      Do you want to work along or as part of a team?

6)      Are you looking for a position with less stress?

7)      Do you want to work in a fast-moving, high-growth industry?

8)      What kind of job security do you need?

9)      How important is pay, title or perks?

10)  What about overtime, travel, working weekends?

11)  How will the new job affect life at home? How does your family view it?

Point is: Have a serious discussion with yourself and others, so that when you do make your final decision, you know exactly why you’ve decided to say “Yes!”

You Can Change Paths Mid-Career


Many of the people I work with are in the middle of their working lives, in careers they no longer find fulfilling or they are working for a company going downhill fast. They are bored. Maybe they are all of the above. Meet David.

Years ago, David took a part-time job as a bank teller while still in college. He majored in business administration. He was a hard worker and after graduation, the bank asked him to remain full-time. He was offered extensive training and had regular job advancements and salary boosts.

David is now 55 years old and a middle manager at the bank where he started. Banking wasn’t David’s dream career back when he was in school. He’ll candidly admit he doesn’t know if he ever even thought about what kind of career he wanted. He simply followed the path of least resistance. Banking still isn’t his dream job, but it’s what defines him now. He doesn’t know any other kind of work.

In 2009, during the Great Recession and economic meltdown, a lot of banks shrunk, failed and merged. That resulted in an overabundance of branches and a redundancy of jobs. Neither boded well for David. Through no fault of his own, David found himself laid off and out of work.

Worse, David was not alone. Twenty of his colleagues, managers at other branches in the community, were let go at the same time. David confronted a tough and shrinking job market for his specific skills with 20 other peers, all pretty much boasting the same talents and experience. And those were just people laid off from his bank. Competing banks had done much the same thing. The ranks of the newly unemployed were flooded with bank branch managers just like David, competing for zero bank openings.

David had a couple of obvious choices. He could go home, curl up in a ball and whine about the gross unfairness of it all. Or he could step back, assess the situation and get back in the game. I knew David from past community involvement projects. I considered him a good friend. Unfortunately, David was one of those people who answered my question, “What do you want to do?” with “I don’t know.”