Category Archives: Workforce Development Ideas

Building Your Skills & Resume in a Time of Crisis

Much of the world has been at a standstill since March, but that doesn’t mean your career has to be. 

This might be a good time for you to work on building your portfolio. An updated resume can show your value to future employers in a more appealing way.  If you’ve been furloughed, had hours cut back, or work in an industry that will be slow to return, this is a good time to reconsider your goals, priorities, and future employment.

A few questions to ask yourself

Do you want to go back into the same field?  Do you have a dream you’ve been holding off on?  Have you hoped to take a new career path?  This may be the time to try something new. 

What have you done during this crisis to pivot?  If you are still working, what can you highlight on your resume about your flexibility in a time of change?

Do you have a hobby that you can turn into a business, or leverage to help an established business?  Can you tutor math, teach piano, turn your graphic design interest into a job?

Skill Certification

This may be an opportunity to get certified in an area important for career advancement. Or it may be the right time to explore a certification outside of your current track to help you break into a new industry. Perhaps this is the time to just master a skill that you’ve been neglecting. 

Pre-crisis your days may have been so full that you didn’t have time to up your skills.  Now, with all of your evening and weekend plans canceled this might be the time to finally learn how to build a great PowerPoint Deck on your own, or learn that new programming language you’ve only dabbled in until now. 

Lots of companies are offering certification prep classes at a discount right now.  Maybe this is the year you finally get that Salesforce Administrator certification or that Project Management Professional certification you’ve been thinking about.

What about that resume?

This is a great time to take a new look at your resume.  Even if you are not applying for jobs right now, it makes sense to take the time to update it.  If you’ve been in a job for a while, it may be years since you’ve updated your resume.  Does your current resume show promotions and increased responsibility?  It should. A good resume shows what you’ve been doing and at the same time highlights your skills, not just job titles.  And go ahead and check it out for typos while you’re at it!  Hiring managers find them all the time.  Make sure they don’t find one on your resume.  Have someone else read it if you’ve looked at it one time too many. 

If you are applying for jobs right now, or plan to in the future keep a few things in mind.  It’s not unreasonable to tailor every cover letter and resume for the specific job that you are applying for.  Remember you are selling yourself.  Be sure to read the job description carefully and make sure your resume and cover letter are reflecting your specific skills and areas of expertise that make you exactly the right candidate for the job.

In this digital age of hiring bots that pre-scan resumes it’s important for you to consider keywords.  In the same way that web pages consider search engine optimization (SEO), you need to use the same principles with your resume.  What skills are needed for the job you are applying for?  What skills are listed on your resume?  It will be to your advantage to use the same language that the job posting uses to get through that first layer of resume screening. In some cases that pre-screening is done using algorithms and artificial intelligence.  Make sure your resume gets seen by a real person – the RIGHT person!

LinkedIn

When was the last time you looked at your LinkedIn profile?  It’s time to spruce that up as well.  Who are you currently connected with and who should you add to your network?  You also should think about the professional groups and interests you are linked with.  It may be helpful to read what they are posting.  Like and repost what stands out to you.  You never know the kinds of connections you may make through what are already natural connections.

This is also a great time to look at the “Intro” and “About” sections of your profile.  Are you highlighting what you have done and what you are capable of?  It might be a good idea to look at the profile of someone in your field that you admire, and model your profile after theirs.  Having an aspirational vibe can work to your benefit. 

Be sure to list your skills and ask people you work with for recommendations and endorsements.  And why not do someone else the same favor.  If someone you know is outstanding at a skill go ahead and give them a recommendation.  It may help them and it shows that you are appreciative of a job well done. 

A few things to remember during this time of uncertainty 

It’s uncertain for everyone.  Those with stable employment as well as those who are furloughed or whose jobs no longer exist are all feeling stress. These are uncertain times for hiring managers and potential employees.  Be patient with yourself. Confusion and alarm abound, and there is little you can do about it.  You can’t be responsible for the worldwide situation but you can be responsible for your reaction to it. 

In the same way that you are feeling the weight of the world, so are those around you.  This may be a time when you need to be especially careful about practicing patience with your employer, your housemates, your spouse, and even your pets.

Try your best to stay healthy.  This is a time when mental and physical health is especially important.  Get enough activity, sleep, and hydration.  And also get help if you need it. There are many online resources for both mental and physical help.  Don’t be shy about asking for help when you need it.  Being smart about your mental and physical help will help you focus better at the job you have and may help you present yourself better when applying for new work.

Dynamic Works Institute is a leading provider in relevant, engaging virtual content that allows people from all walks of life and backgrounds to “level up” their skills, their staff & the lives of the populations they serve. We are your People Training Company. Our goal is to continuously foster an online environment for the success of lifelong learners. For more information from resume writing to seeking financial aid, check out our course catalogue: https://www.dynamicinstitute.com/product-category/virtualworkz/

Or talk to someone on our leadership team by emailing info@dwfs.us

Please allow us to serve as your one-stop-shop for improving your future in the workforce and beyond!

Dynamic Teams & Working Styles

There are many things that make our team well… dynamic.

One of the most unique facets is that our team works remotely full-time. We’ve been doing it for a while, so the work from home part is not new to us. The at home all the time part is! For some of us we’ve suddenly got a house full of people at home with us! In the wake of social distancing and self-quarantine, we are all asking ourselves, “How can I possibly stay focused for 8 hours a day?” Pets, snacks, kids, laundry, screens, partners, and our comfy beds stare us in the face with each moment that crawls by. For others the new routine of not having evening plans and activities keeps us sitting at our computers longer than normal. There’s got to be a balance! Getting your work done without distraction and turning it off at the end of the work day as well!

So, what’s the magic behind an entire virtual team? How does the Dynamic Works squad stay engaged, productive, and sane at the same time?

According to Cal Newport’s “Deep Work,” there are 4 types of focus approaches:

  • The monastic approach. This is where you shut yourself off from distractions completely. An extreme example might be moving to a remote cabin in the middle woods with no technology and locking yourself in until you check off everything on your to-do list. But we don’t expect you to do that.
  • The bimodal approach. This is when you might set aside a block of a few hours to hyper focus. Once the block of time is done, you can work on all the other stuff you got to do, like finishing Love is Blind on Netflix.
  • The rhythmic approach. This involves setting aside small chunks of time over the course of a longer period to accomplish a task. You might set aside 2 hours a day for 6 weeks, for example. You know what they say: A chunk a day keeps the procrastination away!
  • The journalistic approach. This is when you use random blips of free time to dedicate towards your tasks. When you find yourself staring out a window, you may suddenly think, “I could do that report I guess.” Then you focus in and have the time of your life on doing that report.

We asked our General Manager and Business Development Manager to tell us their personal focus approach. Here’s what they said:

GENA LEISTEN, General Manager – Bimodal

“Show your face on meetings as much as possible for accountability AND team camaraderie. Seeing other people can brighten your day, especially virtually.”

NIKKI STRUNK, Business Development Manager – Rhythmic/Bimodal

This sounds silly but, make your bed and put on your shoes! I also have found that a daily to-do list and scheduling at least 30 minutes outside of the house refreshes me, too.”

Finding your own work and focus styles can be a trial & error process.

Somedays you’ll know you did something wrong when you’ve had 5 cups of coffee and 7 breaks by noon. But that’s okay! Everyone has a perfect work flow just waiting to be achieved.

No matter what your style the most important thing to remember right now is that these are extraordinary times and things are just different. Kids are going to interrupt meetings, dogs are going to bark, connections are going to be iffy. It’s o.k. none of us have done this at this level before. Things happen. A cat stepping on a keyboard is not going to wreck the space time continuum, and it may give a welcome laugh when we all need it most.

Wishing you deep focus in your missions!

-Your Dynamic Team

Ex-Offender Job Development Series

Who hires ex-offenders?

The truth is that some companies hire many people with a record–people who have the skills and abilities to do the work, even if they have a criminal record. Others may be afraid that people who have criminal records won’t be good workers. In those cases, it’s up to you, the workforce professional, to show them that’s not true.

So, what can you do, as a workforce professional, to improve employment prospects for your client, an ex-offender?

Do you know how to get an ex-offender interview ready?

What are the Green Elements Standards?

How should they talk about their conviction?

What are employer benefits for hiring a worker with a criminal record?

If you don’t know the answers to these and other questions, consider taking our new Ex-Offender Job Development Series.

This series contains lessons allowing you to uncover strategies your client can utilize to overcome employer resistance in hiring individuals with a criminal history. Learn how labeling negatively impacts an individual with a criminal history. Discover how motivational interviewing strategies can assist the client with a criminal history to find his or her voice and the strength to obtain meaningful employment. Help your clients advocate for themselves so they can experience a brighter future. Then put it all together with a summary lesson for next steps in your work with Ex-Offenders.

Check out this free lesson on Putting It All Together.


“The Ex-Offender training I took was immensely helpful! 
Yvonne Lopez, MBA Program Specialist

Yvonne Lopez, MBA
Program Specialist

I gained skills to better provide services to this population.  I also learned about how they think about themselves and how I can help them to change their mindset.  I appreciate how important it is for them to change the way they think about themselves so that they can present themselves with more confidence to potential employers.  I wanted to run out and start informing employers about the importance of being thoughtful in deciding not to hire people with backgrounds to avoid inadvertently violating EEOC requirements.”


Contact us today to learn more at gleisten@dwfs.us or click here to purchase!

An Entrepreneur and Career Planning Tool You Can’t Pass Up! Let’s Go!

GGGoGuideTM is an innovative, interactive, intuitive and easily usable tool, which allows students the opportunity to discover who they are, where they want to go, how they want to get there, what challenges might get in their way, and how they will make it to their destination!

This tool is 100% e-based and mobile friendly so students can access their plan on the go! Click on White Paper to download the PDF file describing the academic roots behind GoGuideTM.

How We Can Address the Skills Gap?

The latest on the infamous skills gap and some commentary regarding how it can be addressed comes to us from the following articles:

Confronting the Skills Gap – Are Higher Education Graduates Career Ready?

Closing Skills Gap Important for 2018 and Beyond

Dynamic Works can help close this gap with our Industry Scholars courseware that highlights high-demand industries in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries and offers practical solutions to gain experience and become trained in these occupations.Industry Scholars

This courseware entices those entering into or transitional careers into these sectors while giving them a clear picture of expectations for entry level and advancement positions along the career pathway.  Click here to learn more.

Our customers are raving about our web-based services!

LaSonya Bishop“Dynamic Works Institute offers a user friendly online training platform for learners at all levels.  The seamless enrollment process allows learners to immediately access their courseware. The training is relevant and accessible and reporting options for Managers allows for timely retrieval of learner progress. The customer service from Dynamic Works’ staff is phenomenal, readily available, and offers support at all levels.” ~LaSonya Bishop, Director of Workforce Programs, Volunteers of America

Want to see how our services and Learning Management System can help your organization?  Tour our site and LMS here.

Implementing a Successful Pre-Apprenticeship Program

A Pre-Apprenticeship program is a set of strategies designed to prepare individuals to enter a Registered Apprenticeship program. In our free webinar you’ll learn the best practices for implementing a pre-apprenticeship program in your area from those who have succeeded in doing just that! Presented by Tim Smith, Business Services Manager, and Teri Ross, WIOA Program Coordinator, both of Workforce Solutions East Texas.

Tim Smith is the Business Services Manager for Workforce Solutions East Texas. As the Business Services Manager, his focus is taking care of their primary customer, the employer.

Teri Ross has been the WIOA Program Coordinator for Workforce Solutions East Texas for the past 3 years. She coordinates data collection and program evaluation ensuring activities are implemented according to relevant legislation, policies, and procedures.

Access the webinar below for strategies to implement a pre-apprenticeship program in your area!

Finding Success, One Step at a Time


Michel LoustaunauThroughout this journey called life, I have learned that it is only through hard work and dedication that one’s goals can be achieved. My name is Michel Loustaunau, and I am from Chihuahua, Mexico, a beautiful city with a rich culture and history. I lived there for the first thirteen years of my life. After I obtained my permanent residence, I immigrated to the U.S. and started school. With that first step, many opportunities became available for me.


When I was a senior in high school I remember thinking, What am I going to do during the summer with no work experience? I really wanted a job, but I had no skills; I didn’t even know how to write a resume or fill out a job application.

My second step came after I saw a pamphlet that was promoting a summer program that would help youth 16 to 24 get a job. All I needed to do was show up and be willing to learn, which I did. In 2009 I became part of the youth program which helps young adults gain training, work experience, and skills (among many other things) providing a pathway for self-sufficiency. The case workers at Workforce Solutions Borderplex were extremely kind to me. After asking about my interests and learning that I was majoring in psychology, they prepared me for my first job.

After a couple of years of guidance and support from my family, friends, and my youth case manager, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. This step was a big accomplishment for me and my family, since I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. I continued taking advantage of the educational opportunities available to me and started pursuing a Master of Arts in Sociology and will graduate in the Spring of 2018.

Professionally, I was hired on a permanent basis as a youth case manager after I was no longer part of the program. Today, I continue to work in the youth program as a lead case manager and work with my mentor and friend, who was once my own youth case manager. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities the workforce system has provided me, including giving me the chance to fulfill my dream of working with those in need. Now I’m able to help youth reach their own dreams no matter how big they are.

Success only takes effort, serenity, responsibility and a positive attitude. In life no matter how difficult a situation might seem nothing is impossible if you got the courage to fight for what you want. And remember to take that first step.

Human Resource Services Series


As a Workforce Development Professional, what do you think about when you see the term human resource services?

Did you know that one of the many functions of your job is to work with your region’s business customers?

The Dynamic Works’ Human Resource Services Series provides you with information on how you can help businesses improve their competitiveness and profitability through human resource management. You will learn about techniques to hire, train, and retain workers; provide expertise to businesses; and link businesses to available resources.

This training will present you with both necessary information and real-life experiences on how providing human resource services is an integral part of your role as a Workforce Development Professional.

Contact us today to learn more at gleisten@dwfs.us!

TED Talk: A practical way to help the homeless find work and safety

When Richard J. Berry, the mayor of Albuquerque, saw a man on a street corner holding a cardboard sign that read “Want a job,” he decided to take him (and others in his situation) up on it. He and his staff started a citywide initiative to help the homeless by giving them day jobs and a place to sleep — and the results were incredible. Find out how your city can replicate Albuquerque’s model with this frank and optimistic talk.

Richard J. Berry: A practical way to help the homeless find work and safety | TED Talk | TED.com.  This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue, an independent event.