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I lost my job and found one 6 weeks later

I thought it would never happen.  I thought I was resilient and could anticipate these things a mile away.  Well my ‘superman’ cape got stuck in the door in January and I was laid off from my job.

Being laid off is a very weird situation.  One minute you are on the inside of a company and the next minute you are not.  Your manager won’t talk with you except to toot the company line that “it’s not personal, it’s business”.  They look at you like they care but you know they can’t.  They might want to care for you and your family but the job of doing the company’s business is to keep their distance.

I also found out later other people had known about the impending layoffs but didn’t tell me.  Now these people were not my personal friends but they were people who I had spent some time with while working there.  They were in leadership positions so they knew their butts were on the line if they said anything.

That was weird too.  One guy, who let’s just call him Bruce, actually said goodbye to me on my final day.  When I ran into him in the hall before I was escorted out, he had that look in his eyes that said he knew this was going to happen.  He was one of those friends I mentioned.  I later found out after asking Bruce to lunch that he did know I was going to be let go.  He knew for over a month!  I guess I am more mad that I didn’t fully pick up on it.  He is still a good guy and I don’t fault him for it.  I would have probably had to do the same if he was on the list.

I left the building at about 9:30 in the morning, the day I was let go.  A week before I had been invited to a 9:00 meeting with others from my team.  It was a very dispersant bunch (not connected except for on the same team).  We worked on very different sides of the overall business.  I knew something was up but didn’t want to admit it to myself until I knew for sure.  I even emailed our department leader (the meeting leader) and asked what the meeting was about.  I got no response.

The reason I tell you this is because I had a feeling that day would be my last.  Because of that I brought my running clothes with me.  I like to run and especially when I have a lot of stress to get rid of.  I left my company, IHS, it was snowing.  It was about 30 degrees.  I was free.  I was a little nervous.  I knew I just needed to run.

Before I left and during the short meeting when I was told I was fired, I had sent a text to my wife telling her I was canned.  I had pre-warned her if this was going to happen I would let her know.  She got the text, said everything was going to be alright.  I called her after I left the building.  It was a good conversation filled with happiness, sadness and the great unknown.  We agreed to discuss all things about the situation over the next few days and she released me to go run.

I had one of the best runs in a long time.  I was free.  I was free from the stress I had felt working there.  I was free from the ‘what’s going to happen to me’ feeling I had over the past few months.  I was free to make a change in my life and head in a new direction.  I was FREE.  Freedom is a very cool thing.  The unknown can be daunting but the freedom makes the unknown pill seem a little easier to swallow.

So let’s fast forward to today…I was just hired.  Yay.  I am so excited.  The new company is not perfect but the opportunity is very exciting.  It is not permanent position but a contract one that will last until August.  I am most excited about it because it gives me the opportunity to explore another great company.  Is it the perfect job?  Nope.  Will it help me in my career?  Yep.  I am excited.

So here is how I did it.  Here is a quick overview of what I did and how I did it.  There is no magic to my job search success…only hard work and sticking with my plan.  Along the way I learned some new lessons which I plan to share with the world in a video course I am building on how to find a new job.  I have been running the JeffonJobs blog for many years now with limited success.  I am putting a stake in the ground today and letting the world (well my little world) know that I am here to help other job seekers find jobs quickly.  The video course will come out in a few months and I am looking forward to sharing it with you.

After my run on February 14, I came home, talked with the family and got started on my job search.  I made some adjustments to my resume and started creating my job search plan.  My goal was to find another job in 30 days.  I picked 30 days because that was all the severance I had gotten from IHS.  They did provide me with some assistance from a placement company called Right Management too which was nice.

With my plan in hand and my newly crafted resume I was ready to apply for jobs.  I started in the afternoon.  I remembered thinking to myself that it was pretty cool…I got fired and now I am looking for work again.  I felt like I jumped a few steps in my grieving process.  I was proud of myself.  Little did I know there would be some ups and downs along the way.

I bult a system of searching the job boards every morning, noon and night.  My goal was to be the first person who saw a new posting to send my resume and credentials to it.  I did this every day, even on the weekends.  My favorite job boards were Indeed, LinkedIn, Craigslist and then periodically Dice and SimplyHired.  Those were my goto job boards.  I NEVER posted my resume to any of those sites.  I did set up the automated job alerts but knew they would not help much since I was on them so much.

I felt like online portion of my job search plan was good enough to find and apply quickly to the new job postings.  I love the Indeed job board the most as they have great features that allowed me to filter my job searches very easily by location, timeframe (i.e. most recent) and job title.  The other job boards were good too but Indeed is my favorite.  I even created an eBook on how to use Indeed.  If you want a copy, let me know in the comments below.

Next I joined the outplacement group at Right Management and started attending various workshops and meetings to help keep me on my toes.  I found the most benefit from the weekly networking meeting.  It is not truly a networking meeting as everyone was unemployed.  What I did realize is it doesn’t matter if people you “network” with are employed or unemployed, they all know someone.  They helped me and I helped them.

The networking group was one part networking and one part a discussion about job search topics.  Everyone was given the opportunity to share any new things happening in their job search and then we would discuss the topic of the week.  Even though I never really felt like going there each time, I was ALWAYS glad I went afterwards.  I knew how to job search but I learned something new every time.

In addition to learning new things and sharing what was going on, I made connections with other people there.  I helped them with things and they helped me with things.  One of the guys and I got together outside of Right for coffee.  Most of the visit I gave him some advice on how his resume presented his qualifications and what I would suggest changing.  It was fun getting to know him.

After about two weeks I was starting to get my first interviews with recruiters.  There was one here and one there.  Then at about three weeks, I had to really juggle the recruiter interviews with the hiring manager interviews.  It was actually tough to job search and prepare for interviews.  Because I was getting interviews I felt like my online job search was going well.  It was feeding my opportunities.

The friend I met for coffee sent me a job posting for a contract position his ex-wife had forwarded to him.  After I read it I realized this position was a good one for me to consider.  I forwarded a resume to the hiring manager and within a few days got a call to set up a face to face interview.  That was the position I eventually got.  While that one was in the works I was also completing the final round of interviews with a large electronics company and a very small consulting firm.

Everything came to a head late in the fifth week.  I was offered the contract position.  I used that offer to obtain an offer from the electronics company.  I had two offers on the table and the negotiations began.  At the end of the day, I picked the consulting position for a number of great reasons.  I was thrilled and my family was thrilled.

Here are some stats:

Duration of job search:  6 weeks

Number of resumes sent out:  80

Number of interviews:  25

Number of companies:  11

Number of offers:  2

Landing a job in six weeks was excellent.  It wasn’t the 30 days I was hoping for but 45 days is pretty good too.  I know a lot of people take many months and sometimes a year or two to find a job.  I truly think if someone takes over nine or 10 months to find a job, there must be something wrong with their process or with their presentation.  My hope is to someday really help those people who have been struggling for too long.  If you are one of them, email me and let’s see what we can do together.

I am so thankful to all my family and friends who helped support me through this transition.  The position is a contract position and will end in August but that is ok.  I was able to find a job once and BELIEVE I can do it again. If you are struggling with your job search or know someone who is, stay strong.  Get some help.  You can and WILL find what you are looking for.

Jeff

 

Nietzsche says “Stay Strong” in your job search

If you are having a tough day today job searching, here is a quote from a German philologist and philosopher from the 19th century.  I don’t subscribe to his religious beliefs but think this quote helps to frame up how to look at your job search in a new light:

Nietzche headshot

What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger!

 

 

 

 

 

Career Cliff

The Career Cliff

A life changing event is a terrible thing to waste.  Face your fear and get ready to take some risks in 2013.

Holiday Job Search Tips

snowmanMany people ask if they can actually find a job during the holidays.  My answer is always Y-E-S!  I always think any time and any situation is good for job searching…but especially during the holidays.  One of the main reasons why job searching during the holidays is effective is because it tends to be a more “social” time.  There are holiday parties, get-togethers, family events and dinners, as well as gift giving.  All those are social events that allow for unique types of engagements.  Those engagements are technically networking events.

Holiday Job Search Tip #1:  Accept invitations to all parties.  No matter if you like the people or not, a party is a great time to meet new people.  Job leads are found many times from casual acquaintances.  Meeting new people at parties is a great way to get to know new people.  If you are uncomfortable introducing yourself at parties, find the person/people who are trying not to talk to anyone and say hi…talk about the weather and get a conversation going.  They are probably more nervous than you are.

Holiday Job Search Tip #2:  Invite others to your house…have your own parties.  Don’t wait for people to invite you.  Invite them.  And don’t try to match your friends together for the perfect night.  Invite a whole range of people over and encourage them to invite someone else.  Have someone help you out at the party so you are not hiding behind all you have to do but enjoying meeting everyone.

Holiday Job Search Tip #3:  Realize companies need to fill open positions for the new year.  Many companies are thinking about the new year during the holidays.  Hiring managers are wondering if or when they will receive approval to make a hire on their team.  Sometimes they get the approval just before the new year.  The holidays might slow down the communications around a new hire but the need is still there.  Be patient with the process but don’t count yourself out of any opportunity.

These are just a few holiday job search tips to keep in mind during this season.  Get out there and meet more new people.  There are also plenty of ways you can volunteer and meet new people.  Getting out there means helping others and them helping you.

Let’s Get Started!

Job Layoff and 5 What To Do Next Tips

Well I have been out of commission for a little while and haven’t posted much lately.  My summer hiatus is over now and back to connecting with you all once again.  Today’s topic is centered around what are the first things you should do after you are laid off from your job.  I am not going to suggest you not panic or going to tell you “maybe it is for the better” or some catch phrase like that.  Instead I am going to share with you the realities of what to do first and why.

Here are five things you should focus your efforts on:

1. Start learning how to conduct an online job search.  I don’t advocate this approach as your only approach to finding a new job BUT it should be the place you start to explore the “low hanging fruit” opportunities.  This is where many (not all) employers go to start their own search for new employees.  This is also where many recruiters go to start looking for potential candidates in tough markets.

Learning how to conduct an online job search is a bit different and for another post.  But start adding this activity to your daily to-do list when the hint of job layoffs are in the air.

2. Get your resume up-to-date.  Don’t wait too long on this one.  Find someone who can help you craft a new resume.  Always keep in mind a new resume needs to have flexibility built into it so you can tailor it to meet the needs of online job postings you find or connections you make in the near future.  Tweaking resume content for EVERY job opportunity is very important…so start thinking that way about your resume.

3. Commit to an amount of time each day you will be job searching.  I personally don’t think you should search eight or 10 hours a day.  That is an easy way to get burned out.  Searching for three to five hours, five to six days a week is plenty.  You will be searching when you meet people in other activities so don’t worry, you will get a lot of time in.

4. Find a new hobby or activity.  After a job layoff it is important to make sure you are accomplishing things along the way.  Volunteering once or twice a week in virtually any capacity will help you stay “connected” to the world in general.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t help you find a job.  Instead think of it as your investment time into other people.  You will benefit from it every time you do it.

5. Start thinking about your financial future.  This is a great time for you and your spouse (if you have one) to start prioritizing your bills and how you are going to try to pay them all.  You might come to realize you need to find a part time job to bring in some income while you are searching.  That is also why I don’t think job searching should be done all day, every day.  You can find time to make some additional money along the way.  Your finances will help dictate how much and for how long.  Having those talks along the way will help keep the “monkey on your back” in check.

There are a lot of thing to consider when your job is eliminated by a layoff.  These top five will help you focus some of your efforts in the right direction.  A new job can be found with consistency…do a little each day and it will pay off for you eventually.  These things to keep in mine will help you stay in the job search game for the long haul if it goes that way.  There is a pretty good chance it will turn into a marathon job search.  You can do it.  You just need to be consistent.

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

 

5 Job Searching Tips

The following 5 job searching tips are not your traditional tips.  They are intended to shake your core a little and get you moving.  If offensive, I apologize ahead of time.  But (there is always a but isn’t there?) remember sometimes the toughest thing to hear is what makes you change and succeed.

Job Searching Tip #1:  You are LAZY…stop being lazy.  Most job seekers I meet are really not that hungry for a new job.  They are searching online four, five and even six hours a day.  They say things like: “I sent out 500 resumes and haven’t heard a thing….no responses.  There are no jobs out there.  The economy sucks and …”  When you hear yourself say this or others, get mad and call yourself or them L-A-Z-Y because you are.  You are lazy because you spend so much time doing things that don’t get results and then you blame “outside forces” beyond your control so you don’t have to look at why you are not succeeding.  Get off your butt and get out there.  Your new job is searching for another one and you can’t do that by being lazy and making excuses.

Job Searching Tip #2:  You must put in overtime on this, your new job.  When it gets down to it, a job search can take anywhere from 150 to 500+ hours to complete.  When I had my consulting business, I actually job searched for individuals.  They paid me a fee to do the work for them because they were too busy (or just scared).  Why I could not make a lot of money at it was because of the time required to find leads, connect with the hiring manager and get an interview.  This took a lot of focused energy.  I calculated it took between 150 and 500+ hours to find what was needed to get interviews.  If you are not willing to put in 10 to 12 hour a day on your job search, it will take months and months to complete.  So you have to plan ahead of time to work 50 to 60 hours a week if you want to really find something fast.  It is not just putting in the time.  Instead it is taking the time to hit walls and figure out ways to get over them, put your own feelings on the back burner and do the right activities to find the right opportunities.  It is focused time in the right directions that produces results.

Job Searching Tip #3:  It is NOT a “numbers game”.  Those of you who think if I just send out enough resumes eventually one will work.  I am here to tell you that you should not look at job searching that way.  It really is not a numbers game with resumes.  Yes you might eventually find a job this way so it has a little merit.  However, a numbers game is what should be termed “a gamble”.  Do you really want to gamble with your job searching activities?  I am here to tell you shouldn’t.  It won’t get the job done and you are just fooling yourself.  Gambling is for those who have time and money on their side, not the beginners.

Job Searching Tip #4:  You are an immature baby, scared of your own shadow.  You really are.  You ignore good teaching on how to find a job because you won’t let your brain be open to ideas and things that make you nervous.  Just admit it, you are scared.  Yes you are…you are scared.  Don’t shy away from it.  Instead recognize you are scared and find ways to help smooth out your fears.  Most of us get nervous in interviews, in tense situations when everything is on the line and some people are just plain nervous in social situations.  Ok, I get that…now you need to get it too.  Know thyself first and find tools and techniques for you to get past Y-O-U.  So you are scared, big freakin’ deal.  Stop being a baby and running away from your fears.  We all have them.  Embrace, develop technique to minimize your nervousness and move forward.

Job Searching Tip #5 (my personal favorite) – STOP telling yourself you are not going to find a new job and other stupid things you say to yourself in the shower, dark of night, when you are driving, etc.  You are your own enemy when it comes to keeping your head in this job searching game.  You struggle between good thoughts and bad thoughts with the bad ones winning out most of the time.  They start in small ways but then they seep deeper and deeper into your head like a constant dripping.  Turn the faucet off.  You have very important skills, experience, drive, passion and heart.  You do…your really do.  Everyone has something to give in this world even you.  Stop bringing yourself down with your constant dripping of negative words and thoughts.  Changing this requires you to mechanically remind yourself of what you offer.  Putting motivating quotes up in the bathroom, listening to motivational audio products, watching motivating video products, and others activities like it are all ways to mechanically change your thinking.

These job searching tips are so crucial to being successful in your job search.  Stop whining and start working.

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

Who Needs A Job?

Raise your hand if you are one of those people who needs a job?  Do you just need a new job or you don’t have one and need one as soon as possible?

I ask who needs a job because I want to better understand who is visiting my blog these days.  Are most of your employed or not? So leave me a comment below so I can better understand….please?

The “who needs a job” statement make me wonder if you are desperate.  If you are, always remember desperation can encourage you to make bad decisions.  Now the desperation won’t do it but your feelings of desperation can cloud your judgement.  So the point I want to make with this post is to remind you that if you are feeling desperate in your job search, you might be inclined to listen to wrong advice or make spontaneous decisions.

This is why you really need to plan out your job search a little before you get going.  You don’t need a rigid plan in place that you don’t adjust along the way.  What you do need is a list of basic goals for what you are trying to find in the way of a new job.  Something like:

– How much time will you work on your search each day?

– What type of job are you most qualified for?

– What type of job can you make the most money AND is this what you really want to do?

– Do you require an interim job until you find the right one for the long term?

– What is your long term job desire?

– Do you need a flexible job so you can go back to school or get some additional training for your long term goal?

All these type of questions should be answered ahead of time.  Then when you get in the middle of your search, you can go back and review what your goals are.  This review process will give you a foundation to review every opportunity along the way.

Another important thing putting a plan on paper does is helps you get out of your head the things that are swirling around causing you confusion or second guessing your decisions.  The more stuff you keep in your head the greater the chances are that you will be swayed by emotional ups and downs during your job search.  Finding ways to keep yourself grounded is so important.

So if you are one who raised your hand for the question “Who needs a job” then keep the above things in mind.  Try not to let desperation seep into your head during your job search.  You will search better and faster if you don’t.

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

Top 10 Tips On How To Find A Job 2012

Ok…here is my best shot at the most important tips on how to find a job in 2012:

1. Know Thyself – understand what you are looking for in your next job BEFORE you start searching.  You don’t have to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life.  Pick one direction, plan it out and stick with it.

2. Don’t get bogged down by social media stuff – I hear a lot of buzz around should I use Twitter or Facebook to find a job?  What is LinkedIn and how can I find a job with it?  If you don’t understand these tools don’t waste your time on them until you do.  Don’t let them be a distraction to your job search thinking they are the “magic bullet”.  They can help but they are not for everyone.  A successful job search means you connect with hiring managers and they want you.  Social media tools can help these interactions get started but I have also seen people spend so much time trying to make it work for them they miss great opportunities.  Don’t go down this “rabbit hole” if you get easily distracted.

3. Be genuine.  Be yourself – whether you are meeting someone to help you with your job search or a potential employer, don’t oversell yourself and your accomplishments.  You are who you are.  We like you as you are.  Don’t be someone or something you are not.  You have gifts and talents just like everyone else and you deserve what you are looking for.  Focus your efforts on who you are not who you want others to think you are.

4. Be a dream seeker - it is ok to be looking for the dream job or the right situation for your next job.  Dreaming and seeing those dreams become reality is such a wonderful experience, everyone should be striving for it.  I am a big proponent of you trying to find an opportunity that is over your head or out of your comfort zone.  “Stretch jobs” can be one of the most exciting times in your working life.  There are so many companies and so many types of hiring manager.  Look for the ones who believe in your and willing to give you a shot at your dream.  They are out there.  You just need to find one.

5. Your attitude is everything – I can’t tell you how important your attitude is.  Be happy, optimistic and positive no matter what is going on around you.  It will seep into your conversations and make your presentations most fruitful.  A bad attitude will do the same but sour your chances.

6. Don’t be too proud – being too proud is actually a form of fear.  Pride forces you to not let others into your life.  Pride puts up walls that might not be able to be seen by the other person but are felt at a deeper level.  Try “humbleness” on for size and see how it feels.  It is actually very comfortable and opens more doors.

7. Don’t give “canned” ANYTHING – no canned responses, no canned resumes, no canned cover letters, and no canned tuna (jk on the tuna).  If you look or act or sound like everyone else you are going to be perceived to be like everyone else…B-O-R-I-N-G.  Don’t be boring.  Instead be bold in order to stand out in someone’s mind.  Don’t be cocky but be bold and look for ways to make an impression.

8. The details will kill you – if you have never heard the old saying about the “devil in the details” you might want to think about this one.  Spending your time on making sure your resume doesn’t have errors or your “elevator pitch” sounds comfortable or whatever you are doing is done well, is very important.  Employers don’t want people who can churn out calls or data, they want people who take pride in their work (and maybe churn out the calls and data).  Make sure you are taking the necessary time to proof your work.

9. Slow down – if you are always feeling like you are rushing to get that resume to that lady or hurry up and push out that blog post or trying to hurry through coffee with a friend because your “schedule” is waiting, then slow down.  Slowing down allows you to focus on one project at a time and pour your whole self into it.  That means being a little flexible with your schedule and not putting so many deadlines on your time.  Have a plan but give it room to breath and take shape.

10. Have fun – now this one can be taken the wrong way if I am not careful.  I don’t want you to think of your job search as a party, necessarily.  I do want you to be excited about what direction your next job is going to take you in.  Thinking about the excitement for what is next in your working life can really get you pumped up.  Finding a job is no easy task most of the time, you might as well try to find ways to make it fun.  Adding a little fun to the work can make the work not seem so difficult.

I love the 10 tips here and hope you do too.

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

What Do You Need?

It is a new year for you and me.  I have been writing this blog for over four years now.  I just realized one very important thing.  I have never asked you what you need.  I have never asked you to let me know what interests you right now, where you are.

So this is not really a post but more of a question to find out what is the one thing you need right now in your job search?  Now maybe your first answer is:  “A job” which is a good one.  I think that one is obvious…hopefully.  Dig just a little deeper and tell me what you need right now in your job or your job search.  If you need help with your search, what specific help do you need?  If you need support in your search, what specific type of support do you need?  What one thing is dragging you down where you can’t figure out what to do next?

Think about it and let me know.  All job seekers are welcome.  You can comment here or send an email to me at:  jeffonjobs at gmail dot com.  I will respond (or not if you prefer) to each message I receive.  I want to hear from you.

Let’s Get Started!

New Year…New Job?

How do you know when it is time to look for another job?  This can be a daunting question to answer without knowing all the facts.  Many of us at the beginning of the year start to think about a fresh start in a new job, a new department or a new company.  We picture what it would look like, how much we would get paid and what our life would be like.  Are you looking at a new opportunity through rose-colored glasses?

Rose colored glasses are fun to wear and use to dream a little when you need some time.  But when you always look through them to analyze your situation you can make a poor decision and get stuck in something you didn’t mean to happen.  This dog looks funny with them on and so do you when you wear them.  Take them off and start looking at your working life with the right perspective.

Instead, it is so very important to really look at what is going on with you and your job.  Sometimes you don’t need to change companies.  Instead what you might need is a change of pace.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when analyzing your current career situation:

1. If you have a personal conflict with someone, try to work it out.  You might need to change a little and so might they.  If it cannot be worked out, have a discussion with your manager and see if you might fit into a new role in a new department.  Find a place where you can explore other areas of your experience.

2. Never make a decision when you are too high (excited) or too low (frustrated/depressed).  Decision making must be made with a clear head.  If you don’t you risk making the wrong decision.

3. There are times when we have to do what we are doing for other reasons.  If you have gotten yourself in debt or have a family, you know what it is like to have to work hard for a period of time until your situation changes.  That is normal and should be a reminder to not let yourself get in a tough situation again.

4. You can only fix yourself; you cannot fix others.  Try working on your own attitude or your own internal struggles with your job first.  Give the benefit of the doubt to others and try to fix yourself.  Swallowing some pride pie can really go a long way to any conflict situation.

5. Life is NEVER fair.  You should have learned this back when you were 10 years old.  Life has a way of not being fair sometimes.  You get overlooked because you are too old or too young, too heavy or too skinny, too ugly or too good-looking and others.  Life isn’t fair and sometimes you need to accept that the cards you were dealt are not all aces.  Get over it and focus on what you can control and take advantage of.

When considering what you are going to do in 2012, keep yourself grounded.  If you are ready to take a chance and get yourself out in the job search market then stop waiting.  If you gut is saying something is not right.  Look inside to fix the outside.  You will be glad you did.

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff