Job Search – Are You a Survivor?

Job Search Challenge

Are you struggling with your job search? Does it seem that around every corner is another dead end? Are you receiving advice upon advice, but none of it is helping? Have you written, rewritten, and written your resume over and over?

If there is any comfort in this; you are not alone. Job searches are challenging, frustrating, and full of disappointments. Even sadder is that there is no quick or sure answer; except perseverance.

With all of this appearing to be stacked against you; what do you do? How do you move forward?

There Are No Easy or Guaranteed Answers or Solutions

I am not about to tell you that there is some easy solution, because there is not. What I am going to tell you, however, is that you will survive. How do I know that you will survive? Because I have survived!

I have a great education, excellent work history, I have been in a great industry full of opportunities; but that does not mean that I was protected from unemployment. In fact my unemployment has never included unemployment benefits.

I have had unemployment or underemployment periods from two or three months to 30 months over a four year period. You can lose your home, you can lose your cars, I have even slept in a car. I have gone from $125.00 per hour to $8.50 per hour. Every time, however, I have pulled through and you can to.

By nature we are survivors; we are born to succeed and to win. It may not seem like it; but it is the truth. You need to do whatever you can legally do to pull yourself and your family through.

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Tom Staskiewicz is a survivor of multiple bouts of unemployment. He understands that you cannot get down on yourself, you must keep pushing forward, and you must have perseverance. He did it and you can do it too! Tom is a Career and Accountability Coach. He helps people through the tough times. If you need help contact Tom.

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Job Seekers: Build Your Network to 100 People in Two Days

Most Job Seekers Are Not Networkers

I work with many job seekers and what I see repeatedly are people who think they are networkers. The reason I say they think they are networkers is because I do not see them working at building their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or any other networks.

As a job seeker you should be growing your network daily. If you are not adding at least 3 to 5 new contacts daily; you are not doing your due diligence. Statistics say that upwards of 70% of jobs are found through networking contacts; but even with that knowledge many job seekers still struggle.

In my non-networking years, I was pathetic. I had many contacts, but I did not have them organized on my behalf. I suffered through long periods of unemployment because I was inept at networking. I believe I have finally matured and it only to 20 years. Learn from my experiences, because I want you to avoid some of the pain.

Why Do I Need to Network? I Have Enough Connections.

There will never be a time when you have enough connections and do not need more. As you progress through your career; your network needs will change. Those that were previously peers may no longer be in that category. Those that were a level or two above you may now be your peers. The industry that you were once in may no longer be your industry. Your connections or you, yourself, have moved; so your needs have changed. Regardless, as change happens, your network must change as well.

It Is Easy to Build Your Network

Building your network to 100 or more connections should happen in no more than two or three days. Simply start by inviting your family members, your friends, your church members, the parents of your children’s friends, your neighbors, former classmates, and members of any other groups or organizations to which you belong. There are hundreds of people who you can invite into your network; so do it!

Do Not Use Default Invitations

Successful invitations are personalized. DO NOT USE the default invitations provided by LinkedIn, Facebook, or any others. You need to reach out to these people to get them to respond and accept your invite. Let them know how you know them – build the bridge.

Where to Next?

Once people start accepting your invitations look through their Friends or Connections list for people you know and invite those people into your network. Again use the personalized invitations identifying how you found them and how you know them.

Tell Your Connections the Type of Connections That You Want

Let your Friends and Connections help you build your network by telling them the type of people who you are looking to add. If they know of anyone meeting your criteria or that they believe would be a great connection would they please arrange an on-line introduction for LinkedIn or a Friend suggestion for Facebook.

Do Not Be Shy

This is no time to be shy or use that as an excuse. When you are unemployed you must be willing to step outside your comfort zone and make connections. Identify the places where potential employers and hiring managers can be found and go there. Whether it is a face-to-face meeting place or an on-line site; you cannot afford to be missing in action. Whatever it takes; get yourself to that location!

Job Seekers – Are You Turning Down Opportunities

Crisis in the Making

Obviously we are in a job crisis situation, but there are actions being taken by some of today’s job seekers that will lead to an even bigger crisis.

I was just reading a newsletter article that quotes some job seekers that said they have turned down job offers. There reasoning is that they can make more on unemployment. Sad to say in some situations that is the case, but is the problem with the pay rate being offered or the largess of our government?

I see turning down jobs as a crisis in the making! The further someone gets from productive employment the more difficult it becomes getting hired. It is a fact that to go from a job to a job is much easier than from unemployment to a job; regardless of the type of job that you are coming from.

Extended Unemployment Benefits Encourage Prolonged Unemployment

The reality is that if you are receiving unemployment benefits the incentive to take a job is less than if you have nothing coming in. That’s a pretty obvious statement, but the next statement is not so obvious. The longer you have not been working; the harder it becomes for you to exchange your leisure time for productive time.

This happens for two reasons.

  1. You become more complacent and accepting of your non-job status.
  2. Hiring Managers become more suspicious of your ability to adapt back into a normal routine.

Obviously both of these reasons work against your future employability.

Many people think that they can just “jump” back into the grind or routine when they are ready and that is typically not the case. You have become accustomed to the “lazy” life and changing that is not easy.

What I am saying is not true with everyone, but, unfortunately it is true with many; and today’s job situation only makes it worse. There are many job seekers becoming despondent and simply giving up on the idea of finding a job. This is not good for the individual and it is not good for the well-being of our country.

Conclusion

The conclusion that I have come to is: Job seekers cannot afford to turn down opportunities. Yes, the pay may be less than what you expect or deserve; but being in a job and striving to advance within that company or another is a much stronger position for improving your job outlook. Sitting back and accepting a handout; yes, I said it a handout – will never work in your favor. You must be actively seeking employment and simultaneously be willing to accept opportunities.

If you ever watched the movie “October Sky”; there is a lesson that you can learn. When the struggling space explorers first started their experiments their launching pad was a dirt patch. As they progressed they learned that a solid platform controls the thrust of the rocket engines and makes the launch more powerful. Having a job is that solid foundation for you to use to launch your career.

Job Seekers: Can You Adapt

Adaptability

The ability to adapt and respond is a critical skill for both the individual and businesses. As we have seen over the past two to three years; change is coming at an incredible speed. Our ability to adapt and respond is a critical skill for our own personal survival as well as the survival of the organizations where we work.

Everyone must assess their ability to adapt and respond. Joshua Cooper Ramos in his book The Age of the Unthinkable compares businesses and individuals to a plastic ruler. How far can the ruler bend before it snaps? Likewise, how far can you or your organization bend before snapping?

Unthinkable Change

Not only is change coming at an incredible pace, the change truly is UNTHINKABLE! We may not like it, but we always know that change is a significant part of our environment. The piece that makes this period different is the type of change and the extreme nature of the change.

While it is true that jobs and even careers come and go; it has previously never happened this rapidly. We have more unemployed than ever before in the history of our Country. Yes, the percentage may be less, but the sheer number is greater.

We are in an UNTHINKABLE period and therefore we must think even harder to survive!

How To Adapt

People must adapt to the changes if they are to recover from the turmoil that has been created. How is that done? What must people do to start putting their lives back in order?

  • Stop looking to others to solve your problems.
  • Assess your skills and abilities and write them down.
  • Record the goals that you have accomplished over your career and with each work situation.
  • Examine job postings relative to your skills and abilities assessment.
  • Recognize when the things that you thought were true have changed.

Do you have the flexibility to adapt or are you so set in your ways that you will snap? If you are the latter, then you must make the changes that will provide you the flexibility you need so you can adapt to a world that is going to change regardless; so you have no choice but to be a part of the change. We are accountable to ourselves for our actions!

Job Search – For Profit Education Alternatives

Federal Government Crack Down

I read on the front page of today’s USA Today (July 23, 2010) that the Federal Government is imposing some new guidelines or requirements on for profit schools. I have not been too happy with a lot of things our Government has been doing for the last 10 years, but I do have to say I like this.

Working with the unemployed and under-employed, as I do, and having children in college makes this a very salient topic to me. I have watched some of the unemployed people that I work with struggle to complete and pay for some of these programs to only find out that the promised jobs either did not exist or the training was inadequate to get the job.

The article does not adequately address these issues, but it does address the reality that many of these programs cause the student to incur debt that the promised job holds no hope of providing the income necessary to repay the debt. It is sad to see these people misled and their hopes dashed because of some unscrupulous so-called educational institution.

Some feel that the legislation goes to far and others feel that it does not go far enough. I am certain that there is some accuracy to both sides. Interestingly, however, this issue of USA Today, did not provide the content of the legislation, just a reference to it and then hearsay as to what it does and does not cover. Like so many pieces of legislation today, our representatives will not take the time to read the legislation, they will simply vote on it after being pressured by the leadership, lobbyists, or other invested parties and give us another bureaucratic malaise that solves nothing and costs more.

If I sound cynical, that is because I am. I am thoroughly disappointed that our representatives do not have enough interest in their constituents to read and understand what they are signing, before doing so.

Job Seekers – Is Your Search In Idle Mode?

Sometimes We Think We Are Doing Things

Quite often job seekers get caught up in the “I’m doing something, so therefore I am productive mode”. I can relate to that. There have been times during my job searches where I spent hours doing something: e.g. rewriting my resume, perfecting my cover letter, sending resumes to a black hole, searching the job boards, etc.; the problem was that it was not getting me any closer to a job. The activities were unfocused and, to tell you the truth, a waste of time.

The only thing I could say was; “I am doing something!” When you reach this point and these are the things you are doing; your job search is on idle! It is not moving forward and, in fact, it is probably moving in reverse because you are getting further and further away from your previous job and your next job.

Getting Out of the I Am Doing Something Mode

Getting yourself out of this mode, is not always an easy thing to do. The primary reason is that we do not recognize that we are in that mode; because we think we are doing something.

Job seekers must be paying attention to how they spend their time! It is extremely easy to put valuable activities off in lieu of worthless activities; because we have convinced ourselves that we are doing something, anything, and therefore that is good.

How Do You Keep Yourself On Track

One of the best ways, although not the easiest, is to make yourself accountable to you. Keep a log of your activities that shows when you started an activity, what you did, what you accomplished, and when you stopped. As part of this process you must record your distractions as well so you can see where you squandered your time. This is particularly tough because we do not want to admit our faults.

If you cannot hold yourself accountable, then you must get someone who will. This is typically not a family member or even a friend. Friends will be too understanding and family members, who have a vested interest, will either be too harsh on you; or they will accept your excuses. None of these is of any help to you.

Your accountability process needs someone that will gently keep you on track. Your accountability coach will also get tough when you continue to vary from or continually fail to achieve the agreed upon tasks. This person is much like a personal trainer that holds you accountable for your training regimen.

A job search requires focus and intention. The lack of either will continue to keep you and your job search on idle.