One of the nation’s employment experts shared his expertise about the job market in San Diego and the do’s and don’ts of getting a job with City College students.
Phil Blair, who built Manpower San Diego into the largest Manpower franchise in the nation, spoke on campus on May 11.
He had some advice for upcoming college graduates: Start applying for work at least three months before graduation. He told the students that they should have a job before graduating not struggling to find one after leaving school.
“Get very active right now, as fast as you can,” he said. “You will hate to graduate when there are thousands of kids graduating and you are all in the same boat at the same time. … So get on it fast.”
Blair is one of the most prominent business leaders in the San Diego region, and serves on the boards of many high-profile organizations. He frequently speaks locally and nationally about workforce trends and challenges.
His book, “Job Won! 500,000 Hires and Counting,” is a best-seller on Amazon. It’s billed as a complete guide to finding and managing a career in today’s economy.
Blair said the top job markets in San Diego are technology, health care and tourism. “They are hiring quantities of people.”
He advised students to learn interview skills and to research the company they have an interview with.
“Within the first three to five seconds of going into your interview, you’re being judged by what you are or not doing.
“The key to presenting yourself is your handshake. When I meet someone and they want to fist bump, or throw a bump, I just go, really? And ladies just give a firm handshake, don’t try to be stronger than me, but don’t give me a wet fish.
“Look me in the eye, say your name and say my name. That’s how you start a meeting, and that’s how my first three to five seconds are met.”
Another thing for an interview that is essential to making a great impression is dressing correctly.
“Did you stop by the office, to see what the dress code is? It could be very casual and you show up in a suit and tie, and it’s just like, ugh, I don’t see you fitting in here. Or it could be a suit and tie and you show up way too casual, I’m going to know you didn’t make the effort to do your homework.”
He told the women that clothes that they would wear to a cocktail party are not appropriate for a job interview.
“We don’t wear glitter, we don’t wear 18 bracelets, we don’t wear 12 earrings, and we don’t have blue hair.
“When you’re coming to the interview, know that you’re coming into my world, and you will be judged in my world, not the one you came from. The Golden rule is: He who has the gold makes the rules.”
He said job applicants should know the products the company makes, ask questions at the end of the interview and write down information in a notebook.
“You can write in it, ‘Pick up bread and juice,’” he said. “Make it at least seem like what the person is saying is important.”
Once people get the job they want, there are key things the employer will be looking for, he said.
First, is to keep up with the skill set needed, then develop an attitude of wanting to grow.
“Show that you have the initiative to take the company or department or position to the next level.”