Montclair State University hosted workshops Friday for federal employees who are not working because the federal government is partially closed.
President Donald Trump and Congress partially shut down the government on Dec. 22, 2018, by failing to agree to compromise legislation on funding several branches of the federal government. Trump is demanding $5.7 billion to build a wall on the Mexican-American border. Congressional Democrats refuse to fund it.
Montclair State University President Susan Cole addressed the workers.
“It has been our pleasure to put together a program for you,” Cole said. “I wish we could do more to help. If there are other things we can do, let us know so there may be a Part Two but hopefully it will not be needed.”
Cole introduced U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-11 District. Sherrill thanked federal workers and lamented their being pawns of political fighting.
“I was a federal worker for several years,” Sherrill said. “The part about the shutdown that upsets me is it feels disrespectful to our federal workers. … We are working hard to get the government open. We [the House of Representatives] have sent eight bills to the Senate. A bipartisan group of Congresspeople talked to the President to try to get the government open. The real concern is two-fold. … We need more Customs and Borders agents and sensors.”
“What gets lost is how this is effecting people’s lives,” she said. “The second reason I have hated government shutdowns when they are used as a partisan political battle. … Despite the fact that next week I was supposed to be here, I will be in Washington to get the government open.”
What gets lost is how this is effecting people’s lives
Peter McAliney, executive director of Continuing and Professional Education at Montclair State University, helped organize the training after hearing The American University in Washington, D.C., did the same training.
“Montclair State is a member of a community and we feel it is our obligation to reach out to those who work so hard for us in a way that gives back,” McAliney said. “[These workshops] enhance their development of skills and can foster a sense of community that is now missing due to their status as being displaced.”
The training was organized by Montclair State’s Continuing and Professional Education, Communications and Marketing, and the President’s Office. About 12 federal workers came to the training.
Linda Flynn, director of career services in the student success center in the College of Education and Human Services at Montclair State University, gave a discussion on LinkedIn with the goal of making professional connections and seeking jobs.
“Put down five skills that you know that are of interest to employers,” Flynn said. “An important thing about this piece is that depending on what type of job you are going for different companies call skills different things.”
For instance, a person seeking a sales position might call his or her skills business development. Event planning is also called project development.
“There is nothing wrong with putting both of those skills to attract that type of employer to your LinkedIn profile,” Flynn said. “Think about key words.”
Flynn advised federal workers to upload a photograph to their LinkedIn profile because it results in 14 times more people viewing it and to add the geographic areas in which they are looking for jobs.
On the subject of endorsements, Flynn said she has received endorsements from people who she met at professional conferences. Some people feel comfortable asking for recommendations.
“Your profile is important because it is how employers view you,” Flynn said. “There are millions of people out there. Your filters are funneling information for employers. Ninety-one percent of our top companies are recruiting. LinkedIn gets this to a manageable number of candidates to interview.”
Flynn advised people to include their education yet not put their year of graduation if they feel uncomfortable about their age being a focus.
Flynn advised workers to use LinkedIn to publish articles, to follow professional development organizations, and to turn off sharing profile edits.
To conduct a job search using LinkedIn, Flynn recommended workers click on career interests, turn it on, and select among “actively looking, casually looking, not looking but open to offers, or not open to offers.”
This is giving them interview experience without the risks, she said.
Daphne Galkin and Danielle Insalaco-Egan of Montclair State University gave training on developing authentic leadership at any level and finding and using their internal compass. Galkin asked workers to name authentic leaders.
“Think about people in your life and what values they encompass,” Galkin said.
Galkin discussed using one’s values to be an authentic leader and that they should own their mistakes.
“Owning your mistakes is not apologizing for putting forth an opinion,” Galkin said.