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.

———-

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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Are You Afraid of Networking?

The Networking Challenge

I wrote Networking May Be Right Up There with the Fear of Speaking article in another of my blogs and thought you might find it interesting.

Networking can be a challenging and slippery slope, especially for the job seeker. As a job seeker you encounter the “no” answer when you apply for jobs which leads you to avoiding other situations where the answer may be no.

Getting “hung up” on no; is a problem that stands in the way of your success in getting a new job and moving forward. You cannot take the no answer as rejection, because it will stop you in your tracks.

What Does NO Mean?

No does not mean no, it simply means that this particular route may be blocked and that you need to take an alternative route. When you have a goal (which is imperative), you must always keep your eye on that goal. You may have to take alternative routes, but you can never allow yourself to lose sight of your goal.

One of the keys to goals is not to picture the goal, but to picture yourself from the goal. When you picture yourself from the goal you strengthen your desire and commitment.

Job Seekers – Is a Professionally Written Resume for You?

Professional Resumes

I had two LinkedIn group members comment about professionally written resumes. The first was an advocate and said that she has received interviews since having it rewritten. The problem is she had it rewritten in 2008 and is still looking. The second said that she spent a boat load of money and it got her nowhere.

My experience is similar to the second individual; the professional resume brought me nothing. The problems that I see with professional resume writers is that most write to impress the person paying the fee, rather than the person that will be reading the resume.

No One Knows Your Skills as Well as You Do!

The truth is that no one knows your skills as well as you do and although your resume writing skills may be lacking; working with someone that will HELP you craft your resume is much more effective. The place where most fail is in self-promotion. We are not very good at tooting our own horn. You need to get the reader’s attention and leave them wanting to know more.

It Is Who Knows You that Counts

The point where I differ with Denise is it is not who you know, but who knows you! What are you doing to get your information out? How are you educating the people that you come in contact with and do you leave them with the ability and desire to promote you to their contacts?

You want the people that you talk with to want to present you to others because they feel they will be helping that third person solve a problem and make themselves look good at the same time.

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: 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 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.

Job Seekers – Working Day Labor

A Day Labor Primmer

First a little day labor primmer. In most of the medium to large cities there are businesses that supply day labor to employers. Day labor, as the name implies, is working for a full or partial day and getting paid that day.

Either the evening before or early in the morning an employer will call these organizations and tell them how many workers they need and at what time they should report. Most of the jobs are manual labor and in many cases things that no one else wants to do.

The day laborer shows up and signs in and then as calls arrive they are assigned to the workers on a first come, first served basis. The laborer may sit there for a few minutes or a few hours; if the calls end before everyone has a day job, the remaining laborers are sent home.

There are different types of day labor companies; most as stated above are manual labor, but some are also oriented toward office work. The ones providing day labor office workers can be a little better, because they may be looking for additional skills. These skills could include typing, MS Office, spreadsheets, or more. As the skills requirements go up there may be a corresponding increase in the hourly rate that is offered.

Succeeding at Day Labor

If your situation and needs are pressing, day labor can be a short-term answer for anyone. In fact, I did day labor for a couple of weeks when things were particularly tight. The point I want to make is that you can be successful at day labor.

Much of your competition for these jobs are people that are really down and out and in many cases have given up. Sorry to say, some may even be there to support a drug or alcohol habit. Because of the competition, if you are industrious, you can have an advantage.

When I did my day labor stint I was fortunate to be called the first day when I was there. My first advantage was that I arrived shaved, showered, and presentable. I was not there for very long before I was called for an assignment. It was working at a “Rent-to-Own” business.

As with most of these businesses my assignment was something that no one in the organization really wanted to do. I was assigned to put together furniture that would be going on the showroom floor and ultimately to the customer. Most of the stuff was of the kit variety with an assembly instruction sheet.

Being reasonably intelligent I went through the task list and assembled everything they put in front of me. It was not too long before I was asking for the next assignment. They had me clean up the back room and get rid of furniture that was damaged or missing parts; which I did. The back room was a cluttered mess so it took a while to complete, but I was finished by day’s end.

Later that evening I received a call from the Day Labor company asking if I would be there the next day and saying that the Rent-to-Own company had requested me for the next day. I said I would be there and now I did not have to show up early to get on the list. Yes, I had to sign-in, but it was sign-in and go.

Again I did as asked. This time it was cleaning up the parking lot behind the store. When the employees opened something they just threw the boxes and packaging out the back door. If there was something broken, they threw it out the back door. There were piles and piles of junk sitting in the lot.

I was told to clean it up the best I could and put whatever I could into the dumpsters and neatly pile the remainder. So I started. With some good planning and organizing I was able to get everything into the dumpsters, sweep the area, and have it very presentable. A couple of hours into the project the manager came out and asked me what I had done with all the garbage, because there were no piles. I explained that I was able to get everything into the dumpsters and he was amazed. In fact, he did not believe me. The reality is that he had no choice because there was no other place to go with the junk.

The point is that even with the crappiest of jobs there are opportunities to stand out and even better if you are down in the dumps and thinking that you have no value. Just doing something as simple as day labor and doing it well, can get you some recognition that will help you rebuild your self confidence.

Take pride in what you do and regardless of how menial it may seem, people do take notice and you can have a sense of accomplishment.