By Lizzy Solovey
While many of us hoped turning the corner into 2021 would magically fix the problems caused by the 2020 pandemic, the hard truth is that people are still battling unemployment (January’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics claims the unemployment rate of 6.7 percent has not changed since December), people are still seeking career changes, and people are still being forced to return to the workforce after either willingly leaving or entering for the first time in order to support their families. Employers are facing challenges as well, in selecting new hires from large applicant pools and staying on top of COVID–safe business trends.
In these trying times, instead of despairing, the JCS Ignite Career Center invites you to take action. Through its two comprehensive branches, member services and employer services, Ignite can help job seekers and employers stay afloat during the pandemic.
For Job Seekers:
Our career coaches can help you see your period of job hunting as a unique opportunity to explore new careers, learn new skills, and gain newfound confidence. If you are ready to get your career back on track in 2021, Ignite Career Center is right where you need to be. Members work one-on-one with a career coach to receive:
- A branded resume (our coaches are certified resume writers) and cover letter templates
- Interview preparation (including mock interviews)
- Advice on enhancing social media presence, including tips on leveraging LinkedIn
- Introductions to employer representatives who work directly with hundreds of employers (currently featuring jobs in the Baltimore Metro Area and remote positions)
- Tips for negotiating salary
- Access to higher-level supports for individuals with varying abilities
- Flexible scheduling (including evenings and Sundays)
In addition, on Ignite Career Center’s new website and client portal, members can:
- Message their coaches and upload/view files online
- Read blogs and watch videos featuring the latest career news, trends, and tips
- Access information regarding unemployment, job boards, and government resources
- Attend workshops and exclusive webinars about networking, financial wellness, and more
Ignite Career Center is also gearing up to debut some exciting new initiatives. In light of the fact that remote work is here to stay (Forbes estimates 70% of employees will work virtually by 2025), our employer representatives are working with employers to create a Remote Corner and Toolbox, which will live on our website, in order to help job seekers stay ahead of the virtual-work curve. Plus, Ignite Career Center will be launching a Speaker Series, featuring inspirational professionals who will share not only their own career journeys, but also their best advice on career building.
Proud to be non-sectarian, Ignite welcomes people of all backgrounds to become members and find success. Memberships are based on a monthly fee (reduced rates or no-cost memberships may apply to individuals meeting specific criteria).
Here are some recent success stories that illustrate the broad array of clients served by Ignite Career Center (names have been changed to protect client identities):
- Amanda came to Ignite as she was unhappy at her workplace and wanted to find a new position in human resources. Her career coach helped her update her resume, advised her on interviewing skills, and helped her navigate the Maryland unemployment insurance website when she was laid off. She found a long-term contract position at a family-owned company where she is very happy and has the flexibility to keep looking for a permanent job.
- Computer savvy and artistic, Mark, in his mid-twenties, was feeling lost about his career direction and was working in a warehouse while trying to decide which career to pursue. His Ignite coach walked him through a skills assessment test and matched the results to training and apprenticeship programs. Bolstered with an updated resume and interviewing tips, he is currently navigating the admissions process with a very selective, free, nation-wide training program that provides computer certifications and employment opportunities to its graduates.
- Requiring a career transition, Aaron reached out to Ignite. Having worked the bulk of his career as a high-level, contract employee with the government/military, he had acquired niche computer programming skills. Through no fault of his own, the contract work came to an end, and his government clearance status subsequently elapsed. This made it highly difficult for Aaron to return to the workforce in a similar capacity and earning potential. Ignite worked with Aaron to develop his online presence and virtual interviewing skills. In addition, Aaron’s career coach helped him update his resume to broaden his scope to a more corporate setting and listed additional skills and qualifications that could be applied to a new environment. Ignite referred Aaron to an employer seeking to fill a computer–based development role requiring the unique and “big picture” thinking that Aaron possessed. Aaron is now thriving in this position and earning an income comparable to his former government/military positions.
- George owned his own advertising business for decades. The business had struggled over the years and COVID was the final blow. He was in the process of selling the business. He wanted something different. After a few meetings with his Ignite career coach, he discovered that he has a passion for helping the elderly. Now he is continuing to work with Ignite to help him make the transition to become a companion/home health aide.
Ignite Career Center invites not only job seekers, but also employers to reach out and become Employer Partners. Our employer services include a team who is passionate about filling employer job orders by screening candidates and connecting employers to those highly qualified candidates who can fill open positions quickly and effectively. Employers who work with Ignite will work one-on-one with an employer representative who will:
- Learn more about your company’s needs, culture, and environment by coming to your worksite or setting up virtual meetings
- Post position descriptions on Ignite’s job board
- Contact Ignite’s career coaches to find talent
- Vet and recommend quality candidates for you to interview
- Follow up with you and the candidates after each recommended interview
- Provide ongoing support throughout onboarding and beyond
Plus, our Employer Partners gain access to:
- Employer partner events
- Speed interviewing and networking
- Organizational development assessments and recommendations
- Customized trainings
- Strategic HR advice
- Outplacement services
Here’s what some Employer Partners have been saying about working with Ignite:
- “When [Ignite] calls with an applicant, they’re just spot on. They vet the applicants and they do an excellent job of it. We try to do everything in our power as a business owner to get better and the only way to get better is to learn. [Ignite] offers those opportunities. It would behoove anyone who owns a business to reach out to [Ignite] and see how they can help your business grow.” — Global Messenger Logistics
- “Part of being a healthy community is having individuals who are fully employed. When you take a look at the employees of LifeBridge Health it’s not uncommon to see people who have been there for 10, 20, even 50 years. Many of these individuals started with an introduction through [Ignite], so we’re really happy to have that service available to us. It saves us an enormous amount of money, which allows us to in turn reinvest those dollars back into the community. It’s nice to recognize that both LifeBridge Health and [Ignite] have a shared common mission to serve the Greater Baltimore region.” — LifeBridge Health
- “[Ignite] is able to provide candidates that align with what our requirements are, but also are able to identify that cultural fit that we need. They really bring a skilled, qualified, excited candidate to the table every time.” — MileOne Automotive
- “Not only does [Ignite] save us countless hours of wasted interview time and looking through resumes — this is a free service that is provided for us. Any job candidate that we are sent is either going to fit the role that we are looking to fill or be extremely close. As a rapidly growing office, we are often looking for new employees and [Ignite] has really come through for us and been a savior in filling those open positions. I look forward to continuing this partnership with [Ignite] Career Center for years to come.” — Northwest Refuse
Join the hundreds of employers already partnering with Ignite. Most employer services are free!
Whether you’re a job seeker or an employer, Ignite Career Center invites you to get started today. Whatever your goal, Ignite is excited to meet you and looks forward to helping you go further and get there faster.
Lizzy Solovey is a Career Coach and Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW) at the Ignite Career Center of JCS.
Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go further and get there faster. Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition. For more information, call 410-466-9200 or visit ignitecareercenter.com.