Connecticut: The Danbury Career Fair is this Friday

Connecticut Job Fair

Photo By WCSU, Peggy Stewart,

Article By Alicia Sakal

If you or someone you know is looking for a job, then it is well worth the effort to go to The Danbury Career Fair on Friday, September 19th at the Ethan Allen Hotel in Danbury, Connecticut from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This job fair is well-established and the co-sponsors are The Connecticut Department of Labor, the Danbury Chamber of Commerce, Townsquare Media and the city of Danbury.

Now is your chance to meet in-person company representatives that are hiring all over Connecticut for many different kinds of positions and skill-levels.

Here’s a partial list of some of the companies recruiting…

Sagarsoft Inc.: Database Administrator, Programmer, Software Engineers, Application Developer

Ability Beyond: Counselor, Mental Health Worker/Aide, Nurse-LPN, Human Services Workers, Employment Specialist

Stamford Fire Department: Entry level Firefighter

Belimo Americas: Assemblers, Material Handlers, HVAC Technical Support Representative, Shipping Group Leader, Manager-Product Management, Manager-Marketing Americas, District Sales Managers and Regional Application Consultants

United Technology Aerospace Systems: Technical

Adam Broderick Salon & Spa: Stylist, Colorists, estheticians, Massage Therapists, Nail and Spa Therapists, Hospitality Coordinator, Reservation Specialist, Makeup Artist, Salon Intern

Townsquare Media: i95 Kicks 105.5 and Sports Radio: Account Executive

There will be food services, hospitality, retail, security, sales, banking and insurance industry job opportunities to explore as well.

For more details on free services being offered, along with some helpful job fair interviewing tips, please read my full announcement article on Examiner: The Danbury Career Fair is this Friday 

Connecticut’s startups, expansions and layoffs announced


Photo By jglazer75, Wikimedia Commons

Article By Alicia Sakal

The Connecticut Department of Labor – Office of Research just released the August Business and Employment Changes Report.  The list provided each month is by no means extensive and is only a sampling of activity when it comes to job growth and staff reduction trends in the state.

The latest layoff news:

Announcement came from Smiths Detection that they are closing the company’s American headquarters office, located in Danbury. This defense contractor is cutting 130 jobs in February because they are moving out of Connecticut and relocating to Maryland.

The job growth highlights:

Three manufacturers: Memry Corporation, TOMZ, and C. Cowles & Company announced both short-term and long-term job growth plans for this year and within the next 10 years. Collectively, they will create 165 jobs.

Dave and Buster’s, a restaurant arcade, will bring an estimated 200 jobs to the area with their new Manchester location in September. Walmart, too, is creating 80 more jobs in their Manchester store.

For Connecticut State Representative Richard A. Smith of the 108th District, who represents Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman and New Milford, this August update is not impressive because there are no major indicators that show Connecticut’s economy is improving significantly.

Richard thinks that the overall picture of the economy in Connecticut remains bleak. He stated: “Just totaling up the sampling of job gains and losses in the chart provided shows a significant net loss of jobs. Certainly, I am always happy to see job growth, but until we change the culture of over taxing, Connecticut will remain mired in a sluggish economy.” He also confirmed that “this report is just a snippet of activity and is by no means an exhaustive list of job gains and losses.”

The “chart” State Representative Richard is referring to that includes more detailed information about job losses, gains and expansions since last November can be found in this updated report:  Connecticut Business & Employment Changes Announced in the Media

Original article appears on Connecticut’s startups, expansions and layoffs announced in August

Job searching: The summertime job hunting advantage


By Alicia Sakal

Many Americans take late summer vacations right before Labor Day weekend. If you are in active job search mode because you are an unemployed job seeker, or need to make a job or career change soon, then now is not the time to take a vacation.  Don’t let these lazy days of summer tempt you into putting your job search efforts on hold for even just a few weeks.

Now is the perfect time to be planning your job search strategy for the upcoming peak hiring season. You should update and refresh any outdated career documents such as your online resume and social media professional profiles.

The reason for doing so is quite simple. Many Human Resources (HR) professionals and recruiters aren’t sitting on a tropical island watching the tide roll in. In fact, they are typically starting their behind-the-scenes hiring ramp-up process now and through August.

It is important to also keep in mind that often times new employer and recruiter job postings go up a few weeks before Labor Day weekend.

As a job seeker, this is a golden opportunity to get a head start over the “other” job applicants who may be taking a late summer vacation or mental break from their job searching efforts.

Applying to jobs now, before the next peak recruitment cycle begins in September through early November, can also put you ahead of other job seekers in landing a job interview.

In other words, your chances of getting noticed by an employer or recruiter increases this time of year because there are less job applicants applying to the jobs you are going to apply to since they have taken a break.

Originally published on Examiner: Job searching:  The summertime job hunting advantage

The job interview: Be nice to every person, and not just the hiring manager


Photo By John Jacobi,

The in-person interview starts well before the scheduled time of the interview. How will you fair?

By Alicia Sakal

Some of the most desirable companies to work for value their employees of all levels, including contractors and onsite laborers.

Conventional wisdom knows that it’s always a good idea to be nice and respectful to, literally, everyone you meet and come into contact with. Yet, some people are just naturally better at being personable than others.

Especially when interviewing for a job, sometimes interviewees may appear abnormally focused or edgy right before the onsite job interview begins. Some job candidates may also fail to give a friendly smile in the parking lot, hold the elevator door for another person, or say thank you to the receptionist.

When you find yourself going on an in-person job interview, it’s important to be aware of your new environment, and all of the people in it, the very minute you arrive on the company’s property.

The reason being, never underestimate nepotism in the workplace and how people will talk.

To illustrate this point:

Company X’s parking lot attendant is the CFO’s nephew who is earning money after school to buy his first car.

The front door security person knows every employee on a first name basis.

The nice receptionist happens to be the hiring manager’s aunt.

The cleaning person that was helpful with the empty towel dispenser in the lavatory is endearing to every employee in the office.

As for the mailroom clerk you met on the office tour, he is working on his college degree. When he graduates, the VP of Marketing promised him an entry-level position in the marketing department.

In other words, you just don’t know what the company dynamics are so it’s a good idea to be at your personal best at all times, before the interview even begins and after as well.

Whether job seekers realize it or not, company employees are paying attention to how job candidates interact with the entire office and their supporting contractors.

Therefore, it’s wise to remember to thank the parking lot attendant for telling you where the visitors parking area is; and to be respectful and pleasant to the receptionist, the cleaning person, the mailroom clerk, and anyone else you come into contact with.

After all, chances are good that the astute hiring manager will ask the receptionist right after the job candidate leaves, “so, what did you think of him?”

An unfriendly job seeker with poor business etiquette skills will not get the job offer in a company that values its employees.

Originally Published on Examiner: The job interview: Be nice to every person, and not just the hiring manager

The job interview: Not saying thank you can cost you the job offer


The in-person interview starts well before the scheduled time of the interview. How will you fair?

By Alicia Sakal

Especially in a pro-employer job market, when all skillsets are equal between the job candidate finalists, the politest and most personable professional will likely get the coveted job offer.

The reason is simple:

Personality and good manners are often times more valuable than the actual job skills a candidate brings to the table. As unfair as this may seem, humans make the hiring decisions and usually hire who they like and who will fit into their corporate culture.

Naturally, some job candidates get nervous about interviewing for a position. As a result, they can forget to say “thank you” during and after interviewing.

By being appreciative, thoughtful and aware of others throughout the interviewing process, this conveys that you can be a team player. Doing so also demonstrates that you have good business etiquette skills, which is important for retaining and growing the company’s client base.

Helpful tip:

Before the interview, write the words “remember to say thank you” on a yellow sticky or piece of paper.  Then, review it one last time before getting on the phone interview or walking through the company door.

The “thank you” touch points for each person you meet…

The phone interview:

Thank the person for her time and for the initial phone interview.

Follow up with a thank you note via email or snail mail the same day or next morning.

Note: If Human Resources (HR) or the interviewer shares with you that the hiring team will make a decision in a few weeks, and time is on your side, then nothing says “thank you for the interview” better than a handwritten note on professional-looking card stock.

Rebecca Black, Business Etiquette Coach and Author, says that “if a job candidate is serious about getting a job, then she will thank the recruiter and interviewing team personally and in writing.  The handwritten thank you note in the mail works best.”

Either thank you method also demonstrates responsiveness and great follow-up skills.

The in-person interview:             

When applicable, thank the person in conversation for any information you found particularly interesting or useful throughout the interview. Be care not to overdo it. Also thank the interviewer for his time at the end of the job interview.

Then, follow up the same day or next morning with the thank you note.

Helpful tip:

Write on the same check list a note to “ask for business cards” from anyone you meet at the interview. Having to ask the receptionist or HR person to find out the person’s contact information, like email address or job title, later on can look forgetful on your part if you cannot find out the information on your own via LinkedIn or the company’s website.

After being on the interviewer side, more often times than not, the job offer truly will go to the politest job candidate when all skills are equal.

So, don’t forget to say “thank you for your time and the interview” to every person you meet or speak with. Then, follow up with a thank you note that also reiterates why you are the best person for the job.

Originally Published on Examiner: The job interview: Not saying thank you can cost you the job offer

Why I Bought Real Estate in Small Town, USA

Real Estate Lake View

12 reasons why I will never go back to an urban lifestyle.

By Alicia Sakal

Simply put, “Big City Life” can be very stressful. For this reason, my husband and I made the decision several years ago to buy real estate in Small Town, USA for a much better quality of life.

If we had to work our lives away, we decided to at least live in a place that felt like we retired early and were on vacation in the evenings and weekends. So this is how we ended up living in a scenic small town community in Connecticut, Population – 3,500. Our Connecticut / New York border town is just 90 minutes away from New York City, yet it feels like a different planet.

12 Reasons I Will Never Go Back to Urban Living…

1. Oxygen, Glorious Oxygen. There’s nothing like fresh air, and plenty of it.

2. Well Water. Naturally pure, thirst quenching H2O that happens to be free.

3. Farm Fresh Produce. Organic, local farmers market options. Farmland is plentiful. Strawberry, blackberry, and blueberry picking… a favorite of mine. We have a winery; too, that’s part of the Connecticut Wine Trail.

4. Spectacular Country Views. We enjoy breathtaking sunsets, sparkling lake water, mountains full of trees, and crystal clear night skies perfect for stargazing with our child.

5. Outdoor Recreation Activities. Choices are endless like boating and swimming on a lake, biking and hiking on trails, and horseback riding at farms.

6. Family-Friendly Neighborhoods. We, “The Locals”, know each other. All of us have names. We smile and wave” hi” to each other. It’s extremely civilized in a small town, and we try to help each other out.

7. No Rush Hour Traffic. There’s only one traffic light in my small town. “Rush hour” is 5 cars in a row, a duck crossing, or a tractor slowdown.

8. No Strip Malls or Overdeveloped Land. A typical New England small town may consist of the necessities like a bank, small grocery store, post office, library, and a small church. “Maybe” even a block or two of unique retail shops, along with a few restaurants. If the town is “lucky”, there might be a gas station.

9. Slower Paced Lifestyle. Ahhh, peace and tranquility. There’s very little stress out in the middle of “the country”.

10. No Crowds. Lines are never long at the post office or bank.

11. Low Crime Rate. No place is ever crime-free, but it’s nice to live in an area with low criminal activity.

12. Lower Taxes. We only have a Pre-K through Eighth Grade school. Since there is no high school, this is one main reason why taxes are low. High school teens have their choice of 4 reputable high schools in neighboring towns.

I definitely don’t miss some of the major “Big City” negatives like expensive real estate prices, crowds of people, air and noise pollution, and high crime rates. I’ll take my pure, clean air any day with a much lower cost of living.

Originally Published on Yahoo! 

How I Save 72 Percent on My Auto Insurance


For Getting the Better Rate on Auto Insurance, carefully examine your current policy’s “Summary of Discounts” and know what they are inside-and-out. If you don’t see this section on your statement, then you are overpaying!

By Alicia Sakal

How did I save several thousand dollars on auto insurance over the course of just the most recent decade? By being an aware comparison shopper that knows what kinds of “Summary of Discounts” options are available. By doing so, the opportunity to qualify and negotiate for “discounts” to get a better auto insurance rate improves significantly.

Whenever I “stop-by” or call my insurance company, the #1 question I ask: Are you offering any new discounts? This gets the dialogue going on what’s new and what has changed.

For 2 Cars: I pay $858 per Year ($429 for 6 Months) on Auto Insurance.

My 72% Off “Discounts”…

1. Go 100% Paperless. I auto-pay online by credit card, and receive a 10% discount. Recently, I found out that if I go completely paperless then I can save 10% more on my auto insurance. Save those tree branches! – 20 Percent Combined Discount, $172 per year

2. Have a Flawless Driving Record. Being part of my insurance company’s “Safe Driving Club” is certainly worth its weight in platinum. – 16 Percent Discount, $136 per year

3. Get a “Multiple Policy”. Add auto insurance (boat and life, too, if applicable) to your Home Owner’s or Renter’s Insurance Policy. Bundling different insurance needs with one “umbrella company” is usually the best way to go because they want ALL of your business. – 16 Percent Discount, $136 per year

4. Always Pay On-Time and In-Full. Being a habitual “Responsible Payer” makes a lot of difference and, literally, pays off. – 10 Percent Discount, $86 per year

5. Own a Car with Safety Features. Antilock brakes and electronic stability control, for instance, make perfect sense for obvious safety reasons. – 10 Percent Discount, $86 per year

What I also find: Discount “types” vary by auto insurance company. For example: My provider no longer offers a “reduced mileage” discount or a major discount for having a higher deductible, but others still do.

Seventy-two percent off in discounts adds up: $616 savings per year ($308 savings for 6 months)

But, don’t get too comfortable with any insurance company…

Routinely Comparison Shop.

For peace-of-mind, it’s always good to find out what a competitor offers. If the quote is better, in most instances I find that it’s not, then first use it to negotiate for a better rate with your current insurance company.

In the end, the “total discount” is relative and arbitrary.

When I comparison shop next, I could find out from a competitor that my 72 percent discount is more like a 10 percent discount. Worse yet, I can find out that there is no discount because the competitor’s rate is better.

For these reasons, it’s a good idea to “shop-around” a few months before your current policy expires. Then, you won’t feel pressured if you need to negotiate or change providers.

Originally Published on Yahoo! Voices