How to Deal With Gaps in Your Employment History
Whether you have been out of work for some time due to an illness or a family situation or simply have not been able to find the right employment opportunity, at some point you will have to answer the dreaded question of what you did while you were out of work for so long. Don’t panic! Think of this time off as a positive rather than a negative. Consider the examples below:
I was out of work because I had kids.
I gave birth to two wonderful children in the span of 2 years and my family and I made the decision that I would stay at home to raise and nurture them during their younger years. I am now eager to jump back in the workforce and hit the ground running using the time management and conflict resolution skills that I sharpened during the time I spent with my children. I’m sure these skills will greatly benefit your bottom line.
My mother was sick so I had to take care of her.
I spent the last two years as the primary caregiver to my mother who was diagnosed with a terminal form of breast cancer. During my time off I attended many appointments, treatments, and support groups with her. I learned a great deal about the disease and truly developed empathy and understanding for those going through treatments. I’m eager to bring this experience to this position which will help me understand and relate to your customers in a genuine way.
My last job burned me out.
In my previous industry the status quo was an 80 hour work week. In the summer of last year I decided that for the sake of my health and well-being I would take a sabbatical. After taking time to get to reconnect to my family and friends a little better I found that I truly enjoy working with teens and young adults. I volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters and found my true calling.
Do you notice a pattern here? The negative examples all sound like they are excuses, as if you are blaming someone else for your situation. In the positive examples, you put yourself in the driver’s seat and you show what you learned and gained from taking time off. This will set you apart from the masses and ensure that an employer will remember you for your abilities and not your excuses.
Written by Guest Blogger and CFEC Board Member:
Employment Coordinator, Orlando Office
Brevard Achievement Center
Volunteer Employment Counselor
Founder, Empower Creative Services, LLC
Hope for the Hurting
I feel betrayed, beaten.
I draw into my shell for protection.
How easily I retreat
to stay untouched.
I wrap myself in pity.
With my body rolled into an
impenetrable ball, my muscles grow
weak, my mind dim.
Lord, untangle me, please.
You were rejected by many.
I know you understand.
Fill my drained body
with energy and courage,
Help me to try again.
Lois M. Ludwig, Seattle, Washington
I’m a wounded soldier. How silly of me! I didn’t expect to get hurt when I picked up the cross to follow my Commander. He warned me that I would have to suffer with Him to be raised; that I would have die before I could truly live.
I didn’t count the cost beforehand; death didn’t even occur to me. Totally disregarding the enemy’s strong arsenal and my orders, I failed to put on the protective armor. With reckless abandon feeling confident that my Commander was fortunate to have me in His troop, I grabbed my slingshot of sincerity and stones of child-like faith rushing headlong to the front-line of battle. Assuming that ministry was a picnic, I was engaged in spiritual civil war.
My first reaction to being “shot” was shock and denial. I ran a few feet before falling helpless and numb. The pain was not as intense as I would have expected. The danger of the wound seemed minimal; hardly life threatening. Besides, the location and cause were embarrassing— imagine telling a physician that you were dumb enough to go to war without your armor!
So, I picked myself up, put on a Band-Aid, and persisted. I managed to fight a few more battles feeling relief when my wound scabbed over a bit. But one day, rampant infection burned and festered refusing to be unheeded! I wanted to mask my emotions, but I was bleeding like someone who had been riddled with a virtual machine gun.
It’s much more difficult, for me, to receive ministry than it is to give it. Suddenly, I’m not in control, but vulnerable and dependent. I hate the trauma of transparency! I don’t like to bleed on the floor and make a mess for someone else to clean up. Even now, with healing well on the way, battle fatigue keeps me very sensitive. If someone inadvertently touches my wound, I burst into tears: it’s so embarrassing. I desire the hurt to disappear quietly and the ghastly scar to fade. Crying, however, is a normal part of healing which God allows for our benefit and considers priceless.
Chuck Swindoll, in his precious book, For Those Who Hurt, says this about tears: “A teardrop on earth summons the King of Heaven. Rather than being ashamed or disappointed, the Lord takes note of our inner friction when hard times are oiled by tears. He turns these situations into moments of tenderness; He never forgets those crises in our lives where tears are shed.” Such comfort!
I see myself as one still on a stretcher. The stretcher has four poles. One is prayer; the second is the healing Word of My Commander; the third is the leave of absence for rest and relaxation (although I want to be active); and the fourth is the love of the fellow soldiers.
The first handle is my prayer journal which I’ve been keeping since I got “shot”. Most of the entries are embarrassing to me now. (In my confusion, I actually turned and started fighting my own army. Some friends were hurt before I was stopped.) It is wonderful to know that I can be completely honest with my Commander and Chief, Jesus. Nothing I say will cause Him to turn His back on me. The prayers of others on my behalf have obviously been answered, also.
The Word, the second handle is probably the most helpful. Really, it was right there all the time; I should not have been surprised. In James 1:2 – 4, J. B. Phillips paraphrased: “When all kinds of trials crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they have come to test your endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men (and women) of mature character . . .”
The third arm of R&R is very humbling. It’s hard to sit on the bench when you were once in the thick of battle. It seems like people are saying, “What’s wrong with you; are you lazy or backsliding?” But when I try to get up too soon, my wound reopens. So I sit and wait, not too patiently or gracefully, I’m afraid. Healing takes time and God gives us refreshment and room to mend our broken hearts.
This leads to the fourth pole, which is the love of my fellow soldiers. Oh, how I need acceptance and touch. I feel so unworthy and rejected, and as I said, my wound is still sensitive. I’m very thankful for faithful friends who are willing to overlook my grouchiness and self-pity and don’t take it personally when I bark and wince. One precious lesson they’ve taught me is what comfort and compassion are. I used to think that people wanted answers for the questions asked in crisis: “Why me?”, “Why now?”, “Why this?” But grief doesn’t respond to pious platitudes, however true they may be, except as healing makes its long procession. Joseph Bayly in “A View from a Hearse” said, “Don’t try to “prove” anything to a survivor. An arm around the shoulder, a firm grip of the hand, a kiss: these are the proofs grief needs, not logical reasoning.”
Hebrews 11, Faiths Hall of Fame is full of stories about real people like you and me who have experienced and, best of all, survived suffering, fear, temptation, loss of friends, family and support, failure and yes; even death. Hebrews 11:13 says they were all “controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it form a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth.”
I may not belong in that famous group yet, but I have learned that there is certainly no one with a better offer than the grace of God through Jesus Christ (whom I lean on desperately). Therefore, with Job I say, “Why should I take my flesh in my teeth and put my life in my own hands: though He slay me, yet shall I trust Him”. Although sometimes discouraged, I echo Simon Peter, “To whom shall I go? You alone have the Words of eternal life, and I believe and am sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Jesus Christ was offered to us not only as our Savior, but as a role model. Peter wrote, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21). I think that must have been in the small print. If you are feeling that way now, you are not alone.
As C. S. Lewis said, “There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket (safe, dark, motionless, airless) it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy or at least to the risk of tragedy is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
I believe that my needs were ignored, had a pity-party, questioned God, and blame-shifted. That didn’t bother my Commander-and-Chief at all; He wasn’t offended. Instead, He met me where I was and listened patiently. He spoke to me from His written Word and through fellow soldiers. He gave me room and time to adjust to the changes in my life. Like the man in the famous “Footprints” poem, I am so glad to say that when I have only seen one set of footprints in the sand of my life, I know that it is because He has carried me. I would not change the course He has for me because I trust my Savior with the life He has given me. Although still not thrilled with all my circumstances, my position on this Solid Rock is just fine.
What will the outcome of this situation be? Just what the Master promised in the beginning: first, there must be a crucifixion; then a resurrection. He first must bring His warriors to the place of realizing that we cannot accomplish this mission of salvation on our own… He does not share His glory with clay. A. W. Tozer said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”
I want to encourage you not to waste your sorrows. Remember, above all, that God loves you and keeps His promises. He will never leave you or forsake you. He is there when the pain is too great for you to believe it. He will not even leave if you tell him to. “For He (god himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up, nor leave you without support [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless, nor forsake you nor let [you] down, (relax my hold on you). Assuredly not! So, we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, I will not be seized with alarm; I will not fear or dread or be terrified. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5:6, Amplified)
© Copyright 2015 Chris Hammett
If you have made a New Year’s resolution for 2015, you are part of the estimated 40% of Americans who have done so. In comparison, roughly 1/3 of Americans watch the Super Bowl. So more Americans make resolutions each year than watch the Super Bowl. Yet despite the good intentions, research conducted by the University of Scranton shows a mere 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals.
Well…that’s a topic for another post.
But it might help to consider the most common New Year’s Resolutions. As documented by USA.gov, three of the most common resolutions among Americans are: losing weight, managing debt, and getting a better job.
If one of your New Year's resolutions is to find a job or earn a better position, let me help you become one of the elite 8% that actually achieves your 2015 goal.
Job seeking in the Digital Age requires you to discover, develop and deliver your personal brand to the world. Put simply, your personal brand is your unique promise of value. A strong personal brand can help you land your dream job, earn a promotion, or make a successful career transition. It is what allows you to stand out from all other candidates in the mind of the decision makers or those in your network.
While there is no shortage to personal branding tools to help you build your brand’s presence online and off, here are 3 of my favorite tools to help you build your personal brand in 2015.
Social media is not, I repeat, NOT a fad. Social media is not going away. Yes, the tools/ platforms of social media will change but the concept of connecting and building relationships online will never fade away. If Facebook falls, market demands will cultivate another platform to take its place. LinkedIn has managed to brand itself as THE professional social network in more than 200 countries. LinkedIn grew from 259 million users in Q3 2013 to 332 million users in Q3 2014. That is more than 28% growth in users in 1-year.
To help users develop personal brands on their social network, LinkedIn created the 9-a-Day tool. This tool makes creating your profile and building your network uber easy. It is designed to empower you by providing the insights and techniques to get ahead in your industry in just 9 minutes a day. You can customize your 9-a-day plan with the drag and drop features. Once you are satisfied, simply export your plan to your personal calendar (the tool is compatible with iCal, Outlook, and Google).
According to LinkedIn, they "consulted experts and professionals across the globe, and found that spending just 9 minutes a day, and no more, developing your ‘at work’ brand, could keep you better informed and make you better at what you do. 9-minutes can be slotted easily into your day, and it gives you complete focus."
Link to Tool: http://www.linkedin-9aday.com/
When making decisions, we use both rational and emotional thoughts, but research has shown that emotions play the primary role in final decisions. Antonio Damasio, M.D., heads the department of neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. Antonio’s studies found that, “pure thought untainted by emotion and other "lower" mental functions is less useful than commonly supposed. The brain often "decides" among alternatives by "marking" one alternative as more emotionally salient than another.”
Storytelling is the best way to touch the emotional triggers that inspire someone to make a decision in your favor. Sure you could share statistics, job duties and data points with hiring managers but telling them your story will leave a lasting impression; one that allows you to stand out from the other qualified candidates.
SlideShare partnered with LinkedIn to bring professionals a visual storytelling application guaranteed to give job seeker’s a leg up on the competition. This new app allows even the most technologically inept job seeker to create a visually stimulating version of their career journey with a single click!
Make sure to update your LinkedIn profile completely before creating your visual career journey. Add as much information and multimedia pieces as possible and then create your masterpiece!
Link to Tool: https://www.slideshare.net/professional-journey
Long before an employer meets you in person, they will meet you online. First impressions in the 21st century consist of what I call “digital handshakes”. This is when a potential employer searches for you online before they meet you for an interview or networking event. Therefore, however Google sees you is exactly how your potential employer or professional contact will see you.
Say you share the same name as a convicted felon. His/her mug shot is now representing your name (your personal brand) online. Granted, this is an extreme example but this does happen. If you don’t show up in a Google search, then you don’t exist. Sad but true. Think about it – how many times have you searched for local restaurants on Google and went to the most favorable option that appeared? How many times did you patronize the restaurants that did not appear? Just like a business, your target audience needs to first know you exist and second believe you can add value to their lives in some way.
The perfect tool to help you proactively manage your personal brand online is the Reach Online ID Calculator. It is free to use and within 5 minutes you have a report that tells you just how strong or weak your online personal brand really is. It even gives you suggestions as to how to improve your online identity, which is rated by your brand’s Volume, Relevance, Purity, Diversity, and Validation within search engine results pages.
Link to Tool: http://www.onlineidcalculator.com/index.php
Although the tools listed above are incredibly powerful and can certainly help you build your personal brand in 2015, habit forming will inevitably decide whether or not you are successful in achieving your new year’s resolutions. I’ve found the studies to be true that indicate it takes 21 days to form a new habit, which is why I am recommending you use this tool to form habits that strengthen your online presence in 2015.
21Habit is a digital motivational coach that emails you each day to remind you of the habit you are trying to form. The email reminders are interactive such that you answer YES or NO to if you completed the habit that day. The tool records your answers and provides a calendar at the conclusion of 21 days that shows how well you stuck to your plan.
If you are really committed to improving your personal brand in 2015, I recommend using the “Committed Mode”, which is a brilliant concept. According to 21Habit, “you invest $21 towards your 21-day challenge. Each day you succeed you get $1 back. Each day you fail or do not check in you forfeit $1 which 21Habit donates to one of several charities.” Now that’s motivation!
Link to Tool: http://www.21habit.com/
What’s your New Year’s Resolution for 2015? Keep us posted on your progress. To a productive year ahead!
Author: Ryan Mickley, Career Advisor at DeVry University
Called to cultivate servant leaders, Ryan helps young professionals discover, define and deliver their gifts to the world. He is 1 of 20 Master Certified Personal Branding Strategists worldwide and is the youngest person to ever earn this status. Educational institutions have asked Ryan to speak on topics pertaining to professional development and content marketing, most notably DeVry University, Full Sail University, University of Central Florida and the Drop Back In Academy. With extensive experience in producing informative programs, Ryan has been practicing content marketing for over 5 years. Clients have expressed appreciation for his welcoming demeanor and ability to simplify and explain complex issues, which he attributes to the years he spent in the hospitality industry.
In 2014, Ryan joined the Career Services Team at DeVry University in Orlando, Florida. He serves students and graduates from the College of Business & Management and the College of Media Arts & Technology.
By Scott Vedder - #1 Best-Selling Author and Résumé Expert
April 13th marks the 271st birthday of Thomas Jefferson. Often called the "Father of the Declaration of Independence," Jefferson gave some fatherly advice to his granddaughter including the famous quote, "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today." That's also great advice for job seekers. The best time to start writing a résumé is today.
Don't put off writing your résumé until you see your dream job posted tomorrow... or the next day, or next week! Today is the best day to start writing a résumé full of !@#$%, the Signs of a Great Résumé:
! - Any part of your experience that was “amazing!”
@ - Defining points, places, dates and things in your career
# - Numbers that quantify and prove your past successes
$ - The dollar value of your contributions
% - Figures that easily show growth and results
It is critical that you customize your résumé for each job application. However, you can start writing your résumé today, beginning with your core skills and most significant accomplishments. Then you can customize it to directly align to the qualifications listed in each job posting.
For example, Thomas Jefferson may have started writing his Summary of Qualifications by highlighting his outstanding written and verbal communication skills. We hold the truth that he was a great communicator to be self-evident. And in addition to writing the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s résumé would surely include the fact that he spoke four or five languages!
If TJ started writing a résumé to apply for a leadership role in government land acquisition, he’d likely describe one of his most significant accomplishments, the Louisiana Purchase, using !@#$%, the Signs of a Great Résumé. Perhaps he’d write:
"Increased the size of the continental United States by nearly 100% through the $15 million purchase of 828,000 square miles of land."
That’s certainly an “amazing!” achievement which is explained and quantified with lots of !@#$%. If Jefferson applied for a position where the job posting also required experience negotiating international treaties he could customize the statement on his résumé to match the posting:
"Negotiated an international treaty to increase the size of the continental United States by nearly 100% through the $15 million purchase of 828,000 square miles of land."
By customizing his résumé based on the job posting and using !@#$%, Thomas Jefferson would be writing a résumé that speaks for itself.
From the early days of the militia that won the American Revolution to today's modern military, Americans have enjoyed life, liberty and a pursuit of happiness thanks in large part to the brave military men and women who have proudly served our country. I'm sure Thomas Jefferson and all of our Founding Fathers would encourage you to support our nation's veterans. Jefferson did his part to prepare and support our service members when he signed the Military Peace Establishment Act to create the United States Military Academy at West Point. One way you can support our nation's military veterans today is to join our Indiegogo campaign to help 2,000 veterans, transitioning service member and military spouses get to work. You can send deserving veterans a copy of Signs of a Great Résumé: Veterans Edition and help them find a great new job in the civilian sector. Don’t put it off until tomorrow, contribute today.
Jefferson loved to read. In a letter written in 1809, Jefferson said "I have often thought that nothing would do more extensive good at small expense than the establishment of a small circulating library in every county, to consist of a few well-chosen books." I'm grateful that the Central Florida Employment Council has identified a few "well chosen" books to help job seekers and has recognized Signs of a Great Résumé and Signs of a Great Résumé: Veterans Edition as recommended reading.
In an 1815 letter to John Adams, Jefferson said "I cannot live without books." When you write a résumé that's full of !@#$%, you'll wonder how your résumé ever lived without at least one book... Signs of a Great Résumé.
Scott Vedder is a Fortune 100 recruiter and author of the #1 best-selling book, Signs of a Great Résumé and Signs of a Great Résumé: Veterans Edition. Scott has been recognized by the White House and Pentagon as an expert on veteran résumés. He’s taught thousands job seekers in résumé workshops at colleges, universities, conferences, veteran service organizations, military installations and non-profits across the country. Scott has been featured as a career expert in national and international media. For free résumé and interview tips, visit http://www.authorscottvedder.com/free-stuff-.html.
5,647 was the number of applications I had submitted online, or at least that is how many it felt like. Fresh out of college and ready to start my career, I was in a new city and felt like I was banging my head against the wall searching for a job. Surely my spray and pray application method would pay off eventually, right? I did have a college degree after all. After several months of job searching without much traction, I stumbled upon the silver bullet of the job search: the informational interview. Whether you are just starting your career, like I was, are considering a new field, or are just seeking out a job, the informational interview is a great step to succeeding in your search.
My strategy for conducting the informational interview was four-fold. First, have a compelling reason for meeting with the person you contact. I was a recent college graduate who had just moved to the area and was interested in learning more about the local nonprofit sector. Your situation may be different than mine, but that does not mean you do not have a unique reason as to why someone should sit down with you. Maybe you are interested in learning more about a specific field or want to find out what it takes to be in your new contact’s position. Whatever it is, do not make it about the fact that you are job searching. Let that fact come out naturally. Mentioning it before you have even sat down will tie the person’s hands and make it tough to get appointments with people.
Second, keep it short. Only ask for 15 to 20 minutes of their time and was sure to keep that promise during the meeting. If the meeting goes longer, make sure it is on their terms and not because you forgot to keep an eye on the time. People are busy, so asking for only 15 to 20 minutes of their time makes it more manageable for them and more likely that they will meet with you.
Third, ask questions about them. Do not make it about yourself. You are there to find out more about them, their background, and the field they are in. Listening is an excellent skill to develop and communicates that you are genuinely interested in the person across from you. Plus, most people love to talk about themselves. Your ability to ask the right questions and actually listen to the answers will speak volumes about yourself without saying a word.
Finally, do not get out of that chair until the person you are meeting with has given you 2 to 3 more people with which to meet. In order to keep the ball rolling, you need to continually meet new people. In addition, with their permission, you can use their name as your compelling reason for meeting with your next contact, saying, “I recently met with John to learn more about the field, and he recommended I meet with you. Can I have 15 to 20 minutes of your time this week?”
Conducting informational interviews will expand your network and help you to learn about the community and industry you are pursuing. Not to mention getting out and meeting new people will boost your morale tremendously after sitting on the couch endlessly churning out applications to no avail. But how does it help you find a job? The people you meet with will have a pulse on the local job market and will likely know of openings in the field. If not, they will know somebody who does. Even though your meetings are not about the fact that you are job searching, it will likely come up organically. Even if it does not, you can reach out to your contacts later if you see they are connected to a position you are interested in for a reference or advice on your application.
If you are stuck in your job search, connect with people through the informational interview. Consider it a useful tool to add to your toolbox of job search skills. In my experience, limited as it may be, landing the right job really is all about who you know. The informational interview is a great way to quickly expand your network and gain some traction in what can be a difficult and discouraging job search.
CFEC Guest Blogger for Job Seekers in Central Florida:
"Do you have vague, childhood memories of milk being delivered to your door? Can you recall when your Mom would bring your shoes to be fixed at the shoe maker on Main Street and you might get a Root Beer float at the counter at Woolworth’s afterward? Was your older sister learning to type on an IBM Selectric so she could get that great job after she graduated high school?
Did you think when you choose your career as a young adult that you would work in that field until you retired and are now finding out that’s not quite true? As a job-seeker over 45 years of age, loaded with experience and wisdom, are you finding it hard to get a good-paying job (or any job)? Are you discouraged? Then this segment is for you (honestly, it’s for everyone).
Our time together will be fun and productive. We will explore what it takes to overcome your obstacles, how you can present your added value to a potential employer and how to effectively position yourself for a good paying job in a difficult job market through branding. Laugh if you must, but let me ask you this: ”What brand of bottled water do you buy?” You think about that until we meet together."
To find out more about this great topic by Tracy E. Trimblett, Consultant join us Thursday evening, April 3, 2014 from 6-9pm for our Re-Charge and Re-Energize Your Job Search Seminar© in the fellowship hall at College Park Baptist Church 1914 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, FL 32804.
Guest Blogger for Job Seekers:
Tracy E. Trimblett, Consultant
I was recently speaking to a local licensed mental health counselor, Cheryl Malone, M.A., about the mental struggle we all go through while looking for employment. She stated, “Humans feel the most stress and anxiety during a cross road in their life.” Think about it and look back in your life to some of the worst times. Some of those times were due to events in your life that caused a cross road. What is a cross road? A cross road is a time when your life seems to be stuck or literally standing still. You feel like you don’t know what to do or that there isn’t anything moving forward. Cross roads can be mentally and physically painful.
When you are looking for employment you are at a cross road and it’s very easy to think negatively, get depressed, and lose hope. Every application that you submit goes into a black hole, your phone never rings, and your email inbox is empty which all has a physical and mental effect on your body and self-esteem.
In my book, “The Recruiting Snitch, Recruiting Secrets to Help Land Your Dream Job”, I’ve provided an arsenal of tips and ideas to help get you through this time in your life. I never admit to have all the answers but I know after reading “The Recruiting Snitch” you will feel empowered to keep going and achieve the success in life that you deserve.
Please join me at the CFEC Job Search Seminar on April 3rd, 2014, to learn more about the “employment game” and secrets recruiters don’t want you to know. I would love to meet you!
Change your circumstances today by following these tips:
1. Stop saying, “I’m unemployed.”
Whatever you say and put in the universe will come following you. So if you keep telling people you are unemployed, guess what? You will stay unemployed. Change that sentence to, “I’m currently in transition and on a mission to find my next career.” Then guess what will happen? You are going to find your next job. I know it sounds crazy but the power of your words is beyond mighty, so begin by putting an end to sending negative words in the universe.
From here on out, only positive statements and words will be released from your lips.
2. Stop saying, “No one is hiring.”
If no one was hiring, I would be unemployed. I’ve been a Recruiter for 10 years. This means for the past 10 years I’ve been working for companies that are hiring. I receive hundreds of emails, LinkedIn messages, and see all day companies who are hiring and looking for talent every day. So, the truth is, companies are hiring, you just aren’t holding the skills they are looking for or you are looking in the wrong places.
By using the excuse, “No one’s is hiring”, you are immediately showing your lack of research in the current economy and job market because the fact is companies are hiring everywhere. You are also sending negativity out in the universe, which again will only breed negative reactions.
So the best way to rephrase that sentence is to say, “I hold a very niche skill set so I’m currently looking for a company that can use my skills to provide me with an opportunity.”
3. Stop sitting behind your computer.
In “The Recruiting Snitch”, I provide a detailed plan on how you should spend your days looking for employment. In summary, the first 2 weeks are heavily on the computer but then in week 3, I advise the reader to get out of the house at least 2 times per week to meet up with other people. This can be at a professional networking event (www.meetup.com), meet up with a family member, old co-worker, past teacher, professor, cousin, friend, or just start a friendly conversation with anyone at the mall, gas station, grocery store, or library.
The fact is you have a better chance of receiving employment through a personal referral. So you need to expand your personal network as much as you can. This does NOT mean sending more friend requests on Facebook or liking more pictures on Instagram. Have a face to face conversation and interaction with at least 2 people a week. You may meet someone out at the library and find their cousin is a manager at the company you’ve wanted to work. That’s all it takes sometimes.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Social media has made it easy for us all to look in to everyone’s life and immediately think, “Man, they have an awesome life.” Then what do you do? You immediately think, “Gosh, my life is horrible, I wish I had what they have.” The depiction of your friend’s life is based on the pictures they chose to post, it’s an edited or Photoshoped version of their life. So of course! They post the most attractive pictures or the most exciting stories to share.
Here’s the truth, we are all going through our own struggle and you are not in the boat alone. When you are feeling bad about your current situation say to yourself, “Everyone goes through this and I’m not alone, it may be a tough time, but I know this is just a moment in my life that isn’t fun but it will get better very soon.” See how you changed the negative to a positive?
In summary, this method of positive thinking will not come easy but it is worth the change. Once you can start viewing this time as an adventure, a change for the better, and just a bump in the road, you will start to see little opportunities open up for you. The universe will bring you people that will inspire and help you get to where you need to go, and you will take your life and happiness back.
If you enjoyed this reading or want to hear more, please join me at the CFEC Job Search Seminar on April 3rd, 2014. I will be speaking on recruiting secrets, how to ace the interview, networking, and resume writing. All very valuable topics if you are looking for employment.
Also, make a $15 investment in yourself and pick up a copy of “The Recruiting Snitch” at www.recruitingsnitch.com today!
The Recruiting Snitch
Some say that after 55 (I’m 66!!) you are “set out to pasture” to graze for the rest of your life. I take issue with that. The question really is what’s in that pasture?
I see a pasture with 3 distinct sections. Section one has an abundance of grass. The “Senior Citizens” (SC) there are grazing to their hearts content, loving it. They are making money, they are relaxing doing what they really want to do and don’t care what their age is.
The second section of the pasture is sparse. There is some grass and the SC who have “settled” there are complaining that there is some grass there, but they want more. They are working on a “Plan B” because during their prime (before they were set out to pasture) they were making a salary and loving it. Now they have to work, and work harder so that they can eventually meander over to “Section one” where there’s an abundance of grass.
The third section is sandy. It has no grass. There are a few SC over there, but they are constantly complaining that there is absolutely nothing out there (do I hear apathy?). They have worked hard and now they are standing there trying to find SOME grass to graze on, but they are just not finding it. They are not prepared for this eventuality. They have been given advice by dozens of people and have opted to take the wrong advice as those people didn’t have a clue as to what they were talking about but felt comfortable just “giving advice”. These are people who are “doubting Toms”.
Now, let’s revisit that second area. What led them to the path where there is some grass? Preparation? Great advice from those “in the know”? Networking with the right people? A high quality resume and LinkedIn profile? The answer of course is yes to all the above. Will they (or can they) meander quickly to the dense grassy area and make something of their life? The answer is a definite YES.
Preparation is the key word. There is no genetic or DNA issue here. There is no magic formula. There is no large bank account. There is no large “silver spoon”. It takes hard work to get to that middle patch. Yes, we all want to be in the far left grassy patch (Section one). We can do it….won’t happen overnight….it may never happen, but we can’t say we didn’t try. We all went to bed those nights saying, “we did the best we could all day and into the night. We are being paid what we are worth. We are not being paid what others feel we are worth. If we took a tablet and put two columns, we’d see something like the following:
Plan A (a paid position) Versus Plan B – The alternative
Plan A – The job we love to hate or hate to love
Plan B – I’ll do my own thing and make the best of it
A paycheck each week
A commission check saying this is what you accomplished
This chart depicts the difference between working for someone and working for yourself. As the “new crop of senior citizens, we all want to have a weekly pay check. We all want to have our bills paid on time. We want all stores to have “senior discounts”. This is a new age for us. We are used to working in our comfort zones, that “box “ called 1980 when we saw life a lot easier.
Newsflash, this is the 21st century and we are (by our own admission) BabyBoomers or “Boomers” for short. We were born post WWII. We didn’t have a choice!!! Now we have children and grandchildren. We are in the same or similar boat that our grandparents and parents may have been in during the 60’s and 70’s. Only the economy IS NOT the same. It is terribly different.
Are your skills where they should be? Should you go to school to update those skills? There is a mountain of questions to be asked and, yes, answered. Should you seek help? A resounding YES is in order here. What kind of help should you seek? Help comes from those who either “have been there” or from those who ARE there and are struggling just like you. The word NETWORKING comes to mind. These could be your peers and (yes) even your competition.
The biggest selling point YOU have is YOU. That’s right. Walk up to someone and smile. Stand on a street corner and look up. How many will stop and look up right beside you? Your “soft” skills are just as important as your “hard “skills. Soft skills are that grin or smile you always display. That sense of humor. Having “people skills” is over used.
The next selling point is your resume. Does it tell the whole story? Although I am an expert resume writer, I will not sit here and tell you to meet with me. This is not my time to self-promote. I will say this though, and that is that your resume is not an android. YOU are not an android! There are rules and rules governing how a resume should be written. I am not going to expound on ANY of them at this point. I will say, however, that if you talk to 12 different people, you are going to get 12 DIFFERENT ANSWERS. Some may be the same, some will be different. Who makes the decision ultimately? You do!!!
The last selling point is your LinkedIn Profile. It MUST match your resume. Again, I am not going to promote my seminars, aside to say that they deal with creating a polished LinkedIn Profile. If you don’t promote yourself….no one else will. Remember, if it is to be, it’s up to me. If you don’t self-promote, someone else will and that person (could be a good friend in the same field) will get the position before you do!! So you ask, “What’s in it for me”. Plenty….a job or new position for starters.
Being “put out to pasture” is no fun. No matter what section of the pasture you end up being in. Growing up and getting gray, is (hopefully) a time that we are all looking forward to. Better we are vertical than horizontal. We read obituaries every day about those in their 60’s who opted to take their own life because they admitted to being (in their own view) losers.
I heard the statement, “God didn’t make junk”. We need to regroup, realize that we have peers and we have support groups who exist simply to help. Are you taking advantage of them? Leaders of these groups can “lead you to the trough” but we can’t make you drink.
You have to do your part. What is your part? Simple, don’t stay in “Section three”. Meander over to the sparse grass and get used to it for a while. Build and keep building. Then, after you’ve built, meander over to the dense grass and START EATING. After all, we are “boomers” and we are what we make of ourselves. Plan B DOES exist. Will you use it? Or will you simply stay by the fence and watch others go for success?
Written by one of CFEC's Guest Bloggers:
"Scott Vedder is a Fortune 100 Recruiter and #1 bestselling author. Scott will share his expert insight and answer your résumé questions in a lighthearted, interactive presentation at the CFEC Job Seekers Seminar on Thursday, April 4th. Scott will give you the inside scoop on what recruiters are really looking for on a résumé. Learn how to write a résumé that speaks for itself. Find out why your résumé should be full of !@#$%, the Signs of a Great Résumé."
If you are job searching in Central Florida, we have the privilege to hear Scott’s presentation on this topic at our Re-Charge and Re-Energize your Job Search Seminar, Orlando, FL Thursday Evening, April 4, 2013 at College ParkBaptistChurch / Fellowship Hall, 1914 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, FL32804. This Seminar will have two adjoining professional presenters to help you with your job search. You will not be disappointed, but instead you can expect to be re-charged, encouraged, and engaged. Help another unemployed friend by inviting them too. Reserve your seat below, mark your calendar, bring a few resumes just in case, and we will see you there! All Central Florida job seekers are invited to Rsvp for this event.
For more details and to RSVP for this event please click here.
Additional Information about this speaker:
"As a Fortune 100 recruiter, Scott conducted over 5,000 interviews. Scott’s
book, Signs of a Great Résumé became the #1 best-selling résumé book on
Amazon.com. Scott has helped thousands of job seekers in presentations at
college and universities, networking groups, non-profits, chambers of commerce
and more! Scott’s expert insight has been featured in syndicated newspaper
columns and blogs and he’s been interviewed on national television and radio.
Put Scott’s experience to work for you!"
Barbara Seifert, Ph. D., CPC
You may have heard that there are people "out there" who can help you find and land a job, but you may be wondering exactly who 'those people' are and what exactly do they do. Well, this article will explain what a career coach is, what they do, and how you could benefit from working with one.
In the broader context, a coach can best be defined as "a person who guides and supports other people on their life and work journeys to create more of what they are wanting; coaches act as partners with clients to discover what they want and how best to achieve it" (Levine, Kase & Vitale, 2006). According to Coach U, Inc., coaching works due to synergy – becoming a team with the client and helping them get more than they would alone; structure – helping the client take more action, think bigger, and get the job done; and expertise – helping the client make more money, make better decisions, set the best goals, and restructure their personal and professional lives for maximum productivity. Most people find that, even though they are reading self-help books or tapes, they wind up going back to their old ways so they need someone to give them the "push" they need, as well as the accountability – and that is what the coach is there for. While they help the client to set goals, develop the action steps, and then help them clear out the 'blockages' that may deter them from reaching the goal, it is the accountability system that helps clients to achieve these goals.
There are many areas and populations that coaches work with, but one of the major niches is career coaching, which is aimed at helping people to find a job, change jobs, phase into a new career, or to start their own business. A career coach can work with clients who fall into several developmental phases, including: high school students, who are unclear about college or a major; college students who are not sure about their chosen field of study or still question what they want to do; people who are in-between jobs or are unhappy with their job and want to find a new one, and older workers who are looking to reinvent themselves or retire from the workforce. A career coach can help you to discover your purpose and passion, define and set your career goals, and develop a strategy for getting there; they also assist with interviewing skills, resume review and writing (not all), salary negotiation, and business etiquette skills. In addition, they can help you develop professionally to enhance your skills and move up in your career.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the role and benefits of working with a career coach and will consider finding one to aid you. Coaching can help you be the best you can be and find the success you've been looking for!
Dr. Barbara Seifert, LCSW, CPC, NLP is the President of Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting in Orlando, Florida. She helps individuals to take charge of their careers, find the work they love and enhance their professional development to reach their peak performance. She also coaches in organizations to enhance employee engagement and leadership development. Dr. Seifert is an adjunct professor, a certified coach and certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. You can learn more by visiting www.cyscoaching.com and Your Career Success Blog at www.allaboutcareerssite.wordpress.com.
Dr. Barbara Seifert, CPC, NLP
In order to be recognized and noticed in the business community, it is important to have your own 'brand', or a catchy way for people to recognize and remember you. This could be done either through a motto, a phrase, or a logo, but it should be something that identifies you and your company or service. It also should peak someone's interest so they say, "tell me more." This personal branding also applies in your job hunt. It doesn't mean you have a fancy title or even a catchy phrase, but it does mean that you have a way to describe yourself - in a career perspective - so that a prospective employer will ask, "tell me more." This can be done in your 30, 60, or 90 second elevator speech, that is clear and concise, but lets people know the extent of your skills, talents, or experience.
To find your personal brand, the following steps may be helpful:
1. Write down all the skills, abilities, experiences you have in one or two words; be clear and brief; your brand statement should create immediate interest in you and get the listener asking questions.
2. Identify and include a benefit, such as reduce, enlarge, create, eliminate, which will make people listen; avoid verbiage, such as I sell, or I manage.
3. Don't use jargon that is too technical or slangy to your profession - others will not understand and it will prevent them from asking you more.
4. Avoid negative talk, such as "I helped my company increase sales by 50%, but it was really nothing". Showcase your achievements and accomplishments; after all, you are selling you.
5. Avoid boasting or bragging - this is the opposite of negative self-talk. While you are trying to get others interested in you and hearing more about you, overstating your talents and accomplishments can have a negative effect that can be long-lasting.
6. Make your introductory statement unique so that when people hear it they will remember you.
7. Practice, practice, practice so that you will feel comfortable saying it at any time or in any environment. Say it in front of the mirror and get feedback from friends or family.
Dr. Barbara Seifert, LCSW, CPC, NLP is the President of Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting in Orlando, Florida. She helps individuals to take charge of their careers, find the work they love and enhance their professional development to reach their peak performance. She also coaches in organizations to enhance employee engagement and leadership development. Dr. Seifert is an adjunct professor, a certified coach and certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. She is a writer for The Work at Home Woman and Forbes. You can learn more by visiting http://www.cyscoaching.com/ and Your Career Success Blog at http://www.allaboutcareerssite.wordpress.com/