For the first time in over 30 years, Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings is in the job market and feeling pretty excited about it.
“At first I didn’t even know where to start,” says Cummings, whose position ends January 1 with the inauguration of a new mayor. “Working with Careerminds really focused me, got me thinking about my accomplishments and positioning myself for my next opportunity.”
This Fall, 28 upper level City of Wilmington employees who are considered “appointed personnel” are working with the Wilmington-based outplacement company Careerminds to chart their future paths. Having been appointed, they understood that their positions had a time limit.
“We worked with Careerminds four years ago and the response was positive,” explains the city’s Human Resources Administrator Sheila Martin. “This year we started with a seminar from which the group’s response was 100 percent, overwhelmingly positive, deemed very helpful and necessary.”
Chief Cummings explains that his enthusiasm for a job search process, that is typically dreaded by people, is based on Careerminds’ focus on identifying attributes and work accomplishments. “Once you understand what you offer the market, that becomes your message from networking to your resume right up to interviews.”
Identifying and developing participants’ brand is a key component to Careerminds’ program, says Raymond Lee, the company’s founder and CEO. “For a lot of people, this is a whole new concept especially if they’ve been out of the job market for years, even decades like Chief Cummings. Yet without understanding their own brand, or what they can do for a prospective employer, job seekers face a much greater challenge in this market.”
Outgoing Licenses and Inspections Administrator Ray Rhodes describes his experience with Careerminds as “phenomenal,” pointing to a focus on the role of networking in a job search. “I knew about networking with family and friends but now I see it goes beyond that to include things like LinkedIn and social media.”
Although Rhodes has a background that includes 21 years in military service and a combination of private and public sector positions, Careerminds is the first outplacement program he has experienced. “What has also been enlightening to me is the importance on your resume of accomplishments and key words and phrases. These can really tell a person’s story,” Rhodes says.
Nationwide, few cities and municipalities offer outplacement services even though their administrative and management positions, like in Wilmington, tend to be appointed to terms of limited years. “Cities and municipalities typically rely on traditional government programs that frequently focus on job postings more so than career development,” says Lee of Careerminds. “Yet we know there’s definitely a need and a place for higher level services in the public sector.”
The participants in Wilmington’s program agree. Chief Cummings says the experience has led him to explore new fields and is opening possibilities beyond government while Ray Rhodes says he feels heightened optimism.
“Working with one of the best companies in the region if not the country, I’m in a much stronger position to both chart out my path and land a great new job,” Rhodes says.