Register and Research:

  • Register early to have the greatest access to materials.
  • Research whether it is on-line written chat or video chat.
  • Research employers, identify your top 5, take notes to use in interactions.

Technology Tips:

  • Review any written or video tips about the platform and event.
  • Test your technology equipment.
  • If video fair, have a clean, non-distracting background, computer camera at eye level height (use books to raise as needed), and screen arranged so you are centered on the video from shoulder to head.
  • Log-on early to explore the logistics and ask for help as needed.
  • During the event, review any additional event or employer chat rooms for up-to-date information and so you are not asking a question that has already been answered. Show your attentiveness by referring to what has been written.

Prepare and Practice:

  • Prepare your “elevator pitch” including one sentence tailored to that employer demonstrating your research.
  • For written chat room fairs, prepare your pitch in advance so it is thought out and easy to cut and paste. You may prepare some template or individualized follow-up questions or closing as well, tailoring to the conversation.
  • Review typical questions you may be asked and prepared bulleted answers including examples, stories and results. Prepare questions to ask that demonstrate your knowledge of the organization.
  • If video, practice with a friend, in a mirror, or through Zoom recording option. You could post a few key points at the top of your computer or behind it.
  • Decide in advance who you want to connect with. Start with an employer of less interest and end with your top employer.

Professional Presentation:

  • In written chats, use correct grammar and capitalization.
  • For video, fully dress as if it is an in-person fair. Have a few inches visible to show professional dress
  • For video fairs, make sure to smile and periodically look directly at the camera. Arrange your screen so that the employer is centered and as close to the camera as possible.
  • Be patient and courteous with recruiters who may be fairly new at this too. Demonstrate your professionalism with statements of understanding.
  • If networking rather than job searching, share this and be respectful of time.
  • Ask for contact information, next steps, and time-frame. Consider asking for an interview.

Follow-up:

  • Send a thank you note (email is fine, hard copy can stand out) within 24-48 hours.
  • Follow any instructions given by the employer, such as applying on-line.
  • If you have contact information, follow-up a week after the fair or a few days after the timeframe the employer gave you re-expressing your interest, giving another copy of your resume, and asking about your status or interview timeframe.

More Stand Out from the Crowd Tips:

  • Reach out to your top five employers in advance whether on-line application or email so you can start your “elevator pitch” sharing your initiative.
  • Even without reaching out in advance, you could stand out by saying “You are one of my top five organizations of interest.” Then say why.
  • Connect with organizations of interest even if the vacancies are not of interest to learn about the organization culture and structure, and perhaps receive a referral to an appropriate department.
  • Circle back toward the end of the fair reminding the employer of who you are and your strong interest, again tailoring and demonstrating your knowledge of the organization.

©2020, Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC, Pittsburgh, PA. May be reproduced with permission including this full section. Litzinger Career Consulting contact information: www.KarensCareerCoaching.com, Karen@karenscareercoaching.com, 412-977-4029.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is sponsoring the Hiring Pittsburgh Digi-Me Virtual Career Fair to be held on April 29 and April 30. I’m excited they reached out to me to me to be a partner in co-presenting How to Prepare for a Virtual Career Expo on Tuesday, April 28 at 2:00 PM. Please share this blog with people who may benefit so they can get the links for more information.

At the preparation webinar, you will learn:

– What to expect from a virtual career expo and receive a live tour of the platform

– How to present yourself professionally as you make virtual connections with employers

– How to develop an elevator pitch to help you stand out from the crowd 

CLICK HERE to register for the webinar. Space is limited.

To get ready to stand out from the crowd even before the webinar, do register for the fair including a smiling photo, review the list of employers on the Post-Gazette Facebook page HERE, pick your top 3-5, and check out their web pages for current openings. Even if the employer doesn’t list an opening of interest, it is still worth registering to connect.

CLICK HERE to register for the Expo.


Attendees can visit the virtual resource center during the expo. Here, attendees will receive assistance building their resume, can ask questions about the platform and can download a list of local support services.

CLICK HERE for a list of employers and positions that are updated daily on the Event Facebook Page.

I wait and wonder

               For those who are furloughed

               Will I go back? Should I look?

               How I ache for the familiar that I took for granted

               Even the parts I hated.

I wait and wonder

               For those whose jobs may be insecure

               Am I next?

               In the meantime, I feel guilty as a survivor

               Even if I don’t like my job.

I wait and wonder

               For those whose jobs have ended

               What can I find in these turbulent times?

               I’m not sure where I fit and what to do.

               Even if I’m motivated.

I wait and wonder

               For those who have been unhappy

               How can I change now?

               Maybe I better just hang on

               Even if I’m beyond ready.

I wait and wonder

               For those who are happily employed.

               How can I process this turmoil?

               I feel privileged as well as overworked

               Even as I feel grateful.   

I wait and wonder

               For those essential workers on the front line

               How long can I do this?

               It is taking its toll

               Even as I know it is important work.

I wait and wonder

               For those who own small businesses

               Will I need to close my doors?

               I can’t bear to face lost dreams and lost faces

               Even if I worked more than I wanted.

I wait and wonder

               For those working at home with children

               How can I do justice to both jobs?

               I feel like I’m not doing enough

               Even when I’m doing my best.

Rise up to self-awareness and self-care.

Rise up to learning and loving

Rise up to hope and help

Rise up to compassion and courage

               You are not alone.


By Karen Litzinger, Pittsburgh, PA, 2020, Litzinger Career Consulting, www.KarensCareerCoaching.com

Permission granted for reprinting with this byline.

Life has been turned upside down, crashing down the last weeks with the progression of the coronavirus, COVID-19. With states of emergency and businesses temporarily closed, the Department of Labor reported last week that 3.3 million people applied for unemployment in the past week, five times the all time high in 1982. The $2 trillion stimulus package will eventually give some relief to the unemployed and business community and it’s hard to keep up and know when resources will be coming.

With all that is going on, I would like to share some relevant resources to help you navigate these turbulent waters.

Don’t Quarantine Your Career: 7 Career Tips in COVID Times, my latest blog post: http://karenscareercoaching.com/2020/04/dont-quarantine-your-career-7-career-tips-in-covid-times/

Career Advice in a Quarantine podcast where I was a panelist: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6648289819447349248/

KDKA Radio Interview and Tips from March 27 (go in 30 seconds): https://kdkaradio.radio.com/media/audio-channel/karen-litzinger-jobs-specialist

Fortune article from March 27 about unemployment benefits from the stimulus rescue package: https://fortune.com/2020/03/27/coronavirus-unemployment-benefits-stimulus-package-who-eligible-when-start-how-much-long-faq-relief-bill/

Partner4Work, the region’s major workforce development organization (scroll to Job Seekers): https://www.partner4work.org/news/covid-19-resources/ 

Hopefully you’ve started adjusting to our new normal of isolation. Although parts of the job market are at a standstill, there are things you can do both for job searching and for thinking about a future career shift or further education.  Additionally, some industries are in big hiring modes, if you are in need of immediate cash flow; think warehouse, transportation, logistics, healthcare, food, pharmacy, and technology.  Now may be a good time to dust off or refine your resume, reflect on what you want out of your life and career, and consider adding to your skill set. Keep reading for my 7 career tips in uncertain coronavirus times.

Think: Be prepared, be ready!

I first started thinking about what makes sense to do during this time when a client emailed me even before the stay-at-home advisories asking “should we even meet about the job search since no one will be networking?”  At some level it reminded me of what clients say in December: “Should I even job search since no one will be hiring during the holidays?”  Even if not much hiring is happening, it good to keep things going since an according to the Department of Labor in 2019 an average job search took approximately five months. More time is needed if you are considering a career change. Some people may even have more time available for a networking conversation. In today’s new world of social distancing, people may actually welcome a remote opportunity to connect or may be in a more altruistic mood. 

1. Reach out for relationships and networking –Consider simply reaching out to someone you haven’t connected with to stay in touch and ask “how are you?”  Don’t forget to reply back.  My clients sometimes say they don’t feel like they can reach out to ask a networking question since they haven’t been in touch for a quite a while.  This is your opportunity to reconnect with people from long ago, and it won’t seem odd. When you do purposefully reach out for networking, remember that this is about seeking information and advice, not asking about job openings (they will tell you!). Offer support and assistance to others as well.

2. Reflect and reassess your goals – The upheaval may cause you to think about exploring a career shift for greater satisfaction.  Alternatively, you may have lost a job in an industry that is hard hit, and you need to explore a shift out of necessity. Typical steps of career exploration involve self-assessment, including interests, skills, personality traits and values/what you want from a job. Then explore and research career and education options, including the job market.

3. Build your skills – Through career research you may find a need to gain some skills for a career shift or to increase marketability.  Now may be a good time to catch up on the professional development reading you’ve set aside. New and free webinars are being offered to develop personal and professional skills.  Many free on-line education platforms exist, although some have a mix of free and fee-based offerings. Click here for a top 10 and click here for a top 25.

4. Upgrade your technology  – As part of developing your skills, give some special attention to technology since this is a necessary and marketable skill.  Learn tips on how to use and present your best self on video platforms like Zoom. Free conference call tools are another resource to learn about and use, even if just for family calls. This may also include upgrading your physical technology with better audio equipment. Employers are always looking for people comfortable with technology. Sharing that you’ve recently learned new tech skills will be a plus for your job search, especially if you are a mature job seeker.

5. Polish your presence – Revise your resume, making sure it is current and targeted to your goals. Enhance your LinkedIn profile by completing sections, inviting links with personal messages, giving and requesting recommendations, and participating in interest groups related to your career. If applicable, update or add to your professional website or portfolio.

6. Take action – Keep applying if you are in search mode even if you think people aren’t hiring or won’t respond. Don’t just bury your head in the sand. Recognize that the hiring process may take longer. Follow-up periodically to stay in the game and show interest.  Get creative. I recently advised a client applying for English instructor positions to send the department heads a few relevant, inspirational passages from literature as a follow-up.

7. Take care of yourself and others – Stay connected with people, get adequate rest, eat healthily, exercise, get out in nature, enjoy a favorite hobby, read inspirational material, meditate or pray. Take care of others too, such as calling relative, friend, or neighbor, sending someone an uplifting message, or volunteering safely if you can.

We’re all in this together and hopefully we will come out stronger, wiser, and more compassionate.

I am happy to help you whether for career and education goals or the job search, whether an immediate need or planning for the future. To keep us all safe, I am working remotely via video or phone. Call me at 412-977-4029 to explore or schedule. Gift certificates are available.

Don’t quarantine your career! 

Think: Be prepared, be ready!

Since I was interviewed twice in two months regarding the high cost of college, I thought I would share some top jobs that don’t need a bachelor’s degree. Most people are shocked to learn that of those entering a bachelor’s degree (thinking it will be four years), the actually graduation rate SIX years later is just 59%. Career counseling can help save individuals and families time, money and heartache! Do be sure to graduate from high school, and some type of training, certification or apprenticeship is a yes!

Employment Projections 2018-2028. Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 4, 2019 News Release,

Of the 10 fastest growing occupations, projected 2018-2028, the first five do not require a degree:

  1. Solar Photovoltaic Installers, 63.3% increase, $42,680 median wage May 2018
  2. Wind Turbine Technicians, 56.9% increase, $54,370 median wage May 2018
  3. Home Health Aides, 36.6% increase, $24,200 median wage May 2018
  4. Personal Care Aides, 36.4% increase, $24,020 median wage May 2018
  5. Occupational Therapy Assistants, 33.1% increase, $60,220 median wage May 2018

CLICK HERE for the rest of the top ten and the full news release.

Highest Paying Jobs without a Degree, Best Jobs U.S. News and World Report, January 7, 2020

This data is part of a comprehensive report with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and interviews. The report includes information on mobility, stress, balance, unemployment rate and job links to vacancies.  Helpful is more salary data beyond the median wage, so can give a more realistic view of starting salaries. Job growth is noted at the end of the job descriptions, so keep reading. Numbers of actual expected to be created is important to know in addition to growth because if it is a very small field, even with rapid growth, opportunities may be limited.

Top 10 highest paying jobs without a degree:

  1. Patrol Officer, 5% growth with 34,500 jobs, $61,380 median wage
  2. Executive Assistant, -19.8% growth losing 123,000 jobs, $59,340 median wage
  3. Sales Representative, 1.7% growth with 23,300 jobs, $58,510 median wage
  4. Electrician, 10.4% growth with 74,100 jobs, $55,190 median wage
  5. Wind Turbine Installer, 56.9% growth with 3,800 jobs, $54,370 median wage
  6. Structural Iron and Steel Worker, 11.5% growth with 9,200 jobs, $53,980
  7. Plumber, 13,6% growth with 68,200 jobs, $53,910 median wage
  8. Hearing Aid Specialist, 15.9% growth with 1200 new jobs, $52,770 median wage
  9. Sound Engineering Technician, 1.6% growth with 200 jobs, $52,390 median wage
  10. Brick Mason and Block Mason, 9.7% growth with 8400 jobs, $50,950 median wage

CLICK HERE for details about these jobs, the rest of the top 25 jobs, and specifics about report methodology.

10 Highest Paying Jobs without a College Degree Paying more than $79,000, April 24, 2019

Also sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with just slightly older data, these fields are also worth a look:

  1. Transportation, Storage and Distribution Managers, $94,730, 7% growth
  2. Nuclear Power Reactor Operators, $94.350, -10% growth
  3. First Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives, $89,030, 7% growth
  4. Power Distributors and Dispatchers, $86,410, -3% growth
  5. Commercial Pilots, $82,240, 4% growth
  6. Detectives and Criminal Investigators, $81,290, 5% growth
  7. Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay Electrical Repairers, $80,200, 4% growth
  8. Elevator Installers and Repairers, $79,780, 12 percent growth
  9. Power Plant Operators, $79,610, 1% growth
  10. Media and Communication Equipment Workers, $79,580, 8% growth

CLICK HERE for the article, including brief descriptions. It was source from prior Bureau of Labor Statistics data which had projections until 2026 rather than the more current 2028.  This is a good example of how employment projections data changes, so career decisions should be based on more than wages and growth because the job market can change. Making sure you have skills and interests that fit is important too.

Remember when gigs mostly referred to music jobs or other cool, hippie-like short-term engagements? Investopedia defines a gig economy, as one where “temporary jobs are commonplace and companies tend toward hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees.” Many experts note we are in that economy with approximately one third of our workforce as independents per a recent NPR report. Last year CNN reported that that 44 million Americans make money outside of their job with side jobs.

Read on for a new series sponsored by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh called “Side Hustle” featuring several gig economy programs.

Sometimes a person chooses entrepreneurship or contract work for freedom and independence. Sometimes it’s a part-time gig to supplement retirement income or a low wage job with an employer. And sometimes it is all a person can get whether due to ageism, lack of skill or other barriers.

Prudential conducted a research study which illustrated some of the plusses and minuses of the gig economy. The research showed gig worker income at $36,500 per year compared to $62,700 for full-time employees, but people were working a median of 25 hours per week as compared to 40. Maybe that’s why they are happy with their choice with only 19% wanting to move to a traditional work arrangement. Of boomers in the gig economy, 75% said they are “extremely satisfied with their work situation”. Click here for more on the research about the pluses and minuses of working in the gig economy.

For four Wednesdays in February and March the Carnegie Library in Oakland is hosting a series called

Side Hustle

February 14: Selling on Etsy

February 21: Online Earning with YouTube, Podcasting, and Air BnB

February 28: Consulting and Freelance

March 7: Driving for Uber or Lyft

Click here for information on all four and to register.