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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Tips for the newly unemployed – #2

Hello again friends. I get how hard this time in your life is, and how your motivation waxes and wanes. Some people (unlike myself) are self-motivated,  get up early each day and spend most of the day doing what they should to find a job. If this describes you, then great! You are one of the lucky ones. I am not so lucky.

I get my best energy late in the day, and sometimes in the middle of the night. So that is when I have to go for it.

If that is like you also, I recommend just do what you can when you can. The most important thing is to keep your spirits UP!

My advice is …

(1) Do what you can to keep your spirits up. It is like pulling teeth to make yourself do something you are not ready for. If you get yourself up, then doing what you need to do can be (and will be) pleasurable.

Ways I get my spirits up are …

  • Attend networking meetings. In my city of St. Louis, there are several each week. This not only puts you in with like-minded folks, the topics are helpful and best of all, the networking!  I am not the social butterfly, but I do try to meet at least one person each time I attend an event (don’t forget your business cards!). Try that for yourself too, but if you don’t, it’s ok – don’t beat yourself up, just try to do it the next time. You will get more comfortable at it.  **If you need help in locating these types of events, first contact your local unemployment office.  You do not have to be collecting unemployment to use their services.  They should have several items of interest for you there, if you are in a large city.  If in a smaller city and your office does not have anything of value, call a center that is in your closest large city and ask for their help.  It might be worth it to travel once a week to attend an event.  Also, some churches offer group meeting for folks in this boat, and you do not usually have to be a member, nor believe in their particular faith.  Lastly, talk with friends, employed and unemployed friends.  They may know of some of these things and can lead you in the right direction.
  • Talk with friends who are happy, upbeat and inspiring for you.  This will help you immensely. Do your best to not talk with those who are generally a downer, including family. Remember this time is for and about YOU, and you do not need any help in bringing yourself down. If you do not have happy/upbeat friends, then it is all the more reason to go to networking events and make a new one!
  • Get out of the house.

    Spring is here! Spend time outdoors.

    Just taking a walk down the street can be more refreshing than you would believe. Even sitting in the sunshine on your back porch does wonders. Like gardening?  Do that.  Or go visit public gardens.  But best to get away from home. Take a drive if that is all you are up for … just get yourself out. Each day.

  • Go spend some money. Not a lot … but this helps too. If your money is very tight, go to a Dollar store, or a resale shop. Buy yourself something. It is very therapeutic … gals and guys!
  • Read a book. It’s great to read a book on job hunting, and there are tons out there, but if your goal is to bring yourself up, then read a book for pleasure. It is truly wonderful to lose yourself in a book. You can get one for free at the library … for a couple of weeks. If you are not a reader, I still suggest it, but maybe baby-step it with magazines that interest you. You can also read these at the library if money is tight … and hey, it gets you out of the house!
  • Listen to music! Put on your favorite CD. This works great for me when I’m on the computer doing my job search. It makes it so much nicer for me and I’m sure it will you too. But if you are in the dumps, get away from the computer … and enjoy your music!
  • Invest in your spirituality.  Meaning seek out ways to connect to your source (I call God), and commune, and seek out like minded folks.  That will really uplift you.  Way more than you may think.

(2) Work on perfecting your resume.  This is your key to opening the door to an interview.  I recommend getting lots of help and advice in this step.  You can find TONS of examples on the internet alone, but I also suggest you get reviews from friends, peers, and even someone from your local unemployment office … which by the way they can help you with this if you do not know where to start.

(3) Once complete (and I say that with grains of salt as you will be EVER updating/perfecting it), post your resume to several job boards.  Monster, Career Builder, Dice, and any others that are specific to your field (Google to find, search “job board business” or “job board industrial”, or something similar).  Keep your account current, meaning when you update your resume, remember to log in to your account at these job board sites and update it there too.  That does two things.  One is that you know your latest & greatest resume is out for the world to find, and two, employers who subscribe to the job board(s) can see the date of the last time you logged in to your account.  If it is recent, they know you are actively pursuing employment.  If not recent at all, you likely are not, and if semi-recent (a week to even a month old), you just are not “on it”.  Show them you are hungry!  … in a manner of speaking.

(4) Be ready for some calls about jobs!  Smile when you answer the phone and especially when you talk with someone calling about potential employment.  It will show through your voice.

More tips, thoughts and ideas coming soon!

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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Unemployment - Tips

 

Tips for living through sudden employment loss.

You have been working hard, for a long time now. YEARS. Ten … twenty. Or worse, thirty-plus. And BOOM. You are let go. Layoff? Corporate Downsize? Just found to no longer be a “fit” at the company?  What do you do?

Immediately you feel L O S T. You don’t know what hit you, or why. You can only think about your loss of income (even if you did get a severance), your loss of benefits (even if you do get COBRA Ins.), your loss of friends/colleagues, and did you forget any of your personal things from your office before you left?

Well I know this only too well, my friend. It happened to me.  In early 2009. I know all of these feelings … and more.

So, here is my advice on things to do immediately to take care of yourself. I will post more in subsequent blogs, this is just to get you going NOW.

(1) Contact those colleagues who you would like to be a reference for you, and ask them if they would be willing to do so. You could even ask for a letter of recommendation although the higher up you are in a position, the less this really matters for your future employment.

(2) File Unemployment immediately. That day, or the following. I KNOW it is hard to do, but do not delay it. This system is in place to help you between jobs and in these tough economic times, let it help you. Put your pride aside and file for it.

(3) Get yourself personal business cards.  They need to have your name, e-mail address, phone number (either home, cell or both) and ideally some bullet points of your career strengths.  Do not include your home address – that is your private information.  There are many places you can get these at, and Vistaprint (on-line at Vistaprint.com) is a great place to go.  They offer a lot of cool designs and have an easy layout each.  You can completely customize them if you are design savvy.

Another great place I found and regularly use is OfficeDepot.com (not the in-store business cards).  They have Value Cards that cost $10 for 100, and they are two-color designs and are on the thick paper stock.  And they ship for free!  I love these most.  You will need these cards for your upcoming networking.

(4) Breathe.  Deeply, and a lot.  Know that only time will help you get over this shock … and pain. Don’t try to deny these feelings, let them come when they come, and mourn your job loss. It is OK to do this. It is even preferable. The more you allow yourself these feelings, the sooner you can move on to bigger and better things.

(5) Aside from the top 4 things above, plan to take off two weeks to rest, recover and get your head together. This time of “between successes” for you can be short, although in today’s economy it is not so likely, and you deserve this little vacation.  If you got a job immediately, it would be a while before you will get a vacation … so do yourself a favor and take this now.  It helps greatly in getting yourself together.

(6) When your vacation is over, work on your resume. Get it as up-to-date as possible, then send it to some of your friends for their review. If you have friends who are in HR, even better. Take all reviewers suggestions with grains of salt, and heed those suggestions that resonate with you.  You will find over time that everyone has different suggestions and you will end up with many (MANY) versions of your resume.  This is ok.  In fact it is not uncommon to have a slightly different resume for each job you apply for (but keep a copy of each of them in case you get an interview … so you will know what they are looking at).

(7) Register with on-line job boards (if you have not already done so) and post your most up-to-date resume. You may not get a job through this venue, but you should still do it to keep all your doors open. Use Monster, Career Builder and Dice (if you are an IT professional like me).   And there are others.  You should also set up a search with each of these job boards so that they send you a daily e-mail with the search results based upon your criteria.

When you search for jobs, use Indeed.com which scans all the openings posted on job boards and the newspaper so you do not have to go looking at each of those places individually.  You may get some job overlap between what you find on Indeed.com and what you get in your daily e-mail from the job boards, but too much is better than missing out on something.

(8) Go conservative in your spending from this point on, (for the foreseeable future). This means much less eating out (give yourself tight limits, like once a week) and grocery shop at the least expensive stores. It will help you TONS. Most of the food at these cheap grocery stores are at minimum just fine, and at maximum very good. If you have an Aldi grocery store near you and you are not used to shopping there, try it out. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised.

You will find that you go through a lot of supplies at home that you are not used to, such as coffee, creamer, snack food, and toilet paper.

If you are a shop-a-holic like me, make friends with your local Dollar store (mine is a Dollar Tree),  with resale shops such as Goodwill, and other local shops that specialize in things like upscale/resale. It is not as bad as it sounds. Goodwill gets some very good items in there and sometimes new things from stores like Target that just didn’t sell. The resale shops are not as cheap, but have some very nice things which are quite affordable. But do limit your spending on this type of thing. Remember to conserve!

(9) Go to local events for unemployed persons and local networking events.  You will find out about these places the more you talk with people in your same boat, but first try your local unemployment office.  They should have information on some of these meetings.  Then meet new people!

In networking situations I tend to be a little bit shy.  The more extroverted you are, the better you will be at talking to strangers but even if you are very very shy, still go to these events.  At minimum you will gain valuable knowledge, and maybe just maybe you’ll meet a new friend.

By the way, I met my HUSBAND at one of these networking events!  No, I was not looking at all.  Nor was he.  And I do not encourage you to do this to meet a date or “hookup”.  These events are professional and that mentality will only make you lose credibility.  So keep your professional hat on while attending these events!

(10) Lastly, really try to get some exercise.  Even if just taking a walk around the block.  Just getting your blood pumping and the fresh air will do wonders for your morale.  And morale is a delicate thing.  It needs daily attention.

Until the next post … Hang in there my friend!

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Unemployment - Tips

 

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