Job Opportunity or Tragedy?
Tips if You’ve Just Been Fired From a Job

Man Rises Over Unemployment Word on Arrow of Recovery

“I mean, there’s no arguing. There is no anything. There is no beating around the bush. ‘You’re fired’ is a very strong term.”

~ Donald Trump ~

Tricia just got fired. Security is putting her personal items in a cardboard box and escorting her to her car. She is in shock.

What now? Her first reaction is to drive far, far away and scream loudly about the unfairness of it all. Doubtless this has happened to the majority of you at one time or another. And screaming, however good it might feel for a moment or two, is not the answer. Instead, follow this plan for closing the door on the past and opening the door to new opportunities.

Immediately

Stay calm. You may be tempted to verbally retaliate, especially if you feel the firing was unfair, and you probably do. Instead, keep calm. Having a conversation now, while tensions are high, can lead to saying things you’ll regret later.

Be thankful. Thank your boss, the HR representative, or whoever else just let you go for the opportunity they have given you. Be sincere. Any job is an opportunity to learn. And despite being fired, these very same people may be critical to you landing your next position.

Update your social media. Don’t rush to Facebook and slam your now former employer. Don’t tweet sarcastic haikus on Twitter. Instead, let the world know you’re now in the market for a new opportunity. Focus on the positive.

The Next Day

Register for unemployment. In most states, as long as you weren’t fired for willful misconduct, you’ll be eligible for unemployment. Not only will these benefits help tide you over financially while you’re planning what’s next, but the state job service is a valuable source for locating open positions.

Polish up your resume. – Highlight your key skills and experience that fit the types of positions you’ll be applying for. Use quantitative results to really show the value you’ll bring to your next employer. (“Reduced department expenses by 15%.” “Increased sales by 12%.”) Don’t be afraid to brag about your accomplishments!

Start networking. Contact your industry acquaintances and others outside of your industry to let them know you’re in the market. Even if they don’t have an open position ask, “Who else do you know that might be interested in my skills? “Often, the best positions are filled by internal referrals.

Use Internet job boards to the max. There are two ways employers find candidates on job boards: by your response to their job postings and by finding your resume when they search the site.

Create a system. Track each position you apply to, each website you register with, and every person you network with. Because your next move involves following up.

The Next Week

Follow up.  Send everyone you’ve contacted a quick e-mail, or give them a call. Remind them about your last conversation and what you’re looking for.

Directly contact companies you’d like to work for. Some of the best positions never reach public job postings. If a company is interested in your skill set they may even create a position for you. If you’re a fit, they know they are making a good investment.

Tricia vowed to treat her job search like a full time job. Although the distractions of being at home were difficult at first, she scheduled her day around the search–eight hours every day, either networking, job searching, or following up. She found her new job in less than six weeks.

No matter where you are in the fired-or-laid-off process, review our checklist and make a plan. Do the things you haven’t been doing and drop the things that aren’t producing results.

Talkback: What’s been your job search strategy? Share your tips and successes here.

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How to Turn a Temporary Employment
Job into a Permanent Position

recruitment process

“It’s having no foresight that makes the temporary unbearable.”

~ A. Lynn ~

Client Renee Asks: I’m currently temping for a company that I absolutely love. I’d really like to work for them full time. How can I get them to consider me for a permanent position?

Client Joel Answers: Sounds like you are on a test drive. Test driving employees is what many companies do to get to know you before they make the investment in bringing you on board permanently. If you are currently temping, the company may be checking you out. Obviously, what each employer looks for during this test drive phase is different. However, if you think you’re on a test drive right now, here are two important questions your prospective employer is trying to answer. 

  1. Can you walk the walk?

A lot of people can give a dynamite interview. They tell the hiring manager exactly what he or she wants to hear, and their resume looks like they have the right skill set. However, as the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.” If you’re on a test drive, the employer is giving that pudding a taste. If you’re as great as you say you are, chances are you’ll have a good shot at joining the team permanently.

  1. Do you fit the culture?

Your employer is also test driving some of your more qualitative aspects.  How are your personal skills? Do you fit well with the other team members? Do you communicate effectively? Do people like working with you? An interviewer will try to get a feel for these qualities, but really can’t know for sure until you are in place and interacting with your potential co-workers.

Ready to make your mark? There are two questions you need to answer:

How do I stand out? Standing out as a temp starts with doing the job you were originally hired do to while looking for opportunities to go above and beyond. Don’t just wait to be handed extra projectsor given additional responsibilities. Ask for them! Share with your supervisor and the hiring manager your other areas of expertise.

Also, don’t be afraid to let the company know that you’d love to be brought on full-time. Even if the position you’re currently temping for is truly temporary (filling in for someone who is out on medical leave, for example), look for other open positions where you’d fit well, and talk to the hiring manager about transitioning after your temp assignment is over. Point out the advantages you offer: they know your skills, you know the company, and you’ll save them the time and money of conducting another search.

Most important, be happy to be there. Make your co-workers look forward to seeing you every morning. Socialize if that’s part of the culture—go out for coffee or lunch when you’re invited. Bring a batch of cookies or a box of donuts for the team. There is nothing worse than a temp who comes in and just goes through the motions, ignoring co-workers and acting like they’d rather be anyplace but there. A positive, can-do attitude can make an employer want to keep you around.

What mistakes should I avoid? Obviously, if you come in late, don’t get along with other employees, and complain about the work, the company or being a temp in general, chances are you’re not going to seem like a desirable addition to the team.

And although you may have great ideas about how to do things or improve certain processes, be very careful how and when you share your thoughts. The phrase, “At my old company, we used to. . .” can become like nails on a chalkboard.

Being a temp can provide you with terrific opportunities for full time employment, if that’s what you want. When you start a temp job and you know that permanent employment is your goal, have your strategy in mind from Day One. Look upon every meeting, work assignment, or interaction with other employees as an opportunity to polish your image in the company’s eyes. Visualize yourself as a permanent employee, act like one, and before long—you will be one. 

If you are on a test drive of your own right now, make a list of five things you can do in the next week to make yourself a standout to your employer. Start by implementing #1 tomorrow.

Talkback: Have you made a successful transition from temporary to permanent employment? How did you do it? Share your story here.

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Conducting a Job Search?
Having a Plan is Critical

Recruitment and employment issues

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”

~ Arthur Ashe ~

Client Garrett Asks: I’m considering a career change, but it’s been a while since I’ve had to look for a job. Is there anything I need to be aware of before I start my job search?   Coach Joel Answers: Whether you are unemployed or employed and looking for a job, you need to be prepared before the job search even begins. When you start your job search with a plan, your strategy, daily game plan and overall focus help you find the right job more quickly. Don’t be like most people who start a job search by immediately applying for jobs, sending out updated resumes and telling people the 4-5 jobs they want without any thought process before they jump in.

1. Prepare for a long job search.
On average candidates take about six to nine months to find a job. Even though you might have excellent experience, a solid track record and well-known companies you’ve worked for, the job search period will be longer than you expect. It’s vital that you are prepared for this extended amount of time. Even the most qualified can take up to a year.

2. Be financially prepared.
Make sure you have enough finances to cover the length of your job search. Save as much money as you can, cut expenses and create and stick to a budget.

3. Confront fear and self-doubt.
Even before you start your job search, it’s common for many to feel fear and self-doubt. Fears around not being able to find a job, it taking too long, doubting your confidence, becoming needy to find a job and questioning your overall worthiness.

4. Dedicate plenty of time to the job search.
The more time you spend daily, the less time the job search will take. However, most people resist making the required commitment. The minimum amount of time to commit should be 20-25 hours a week and, if you aren’t working, the maximum amount should be 40 hours a week. If you are working, expect to spend 4-6 hours a week and the maximum will be 20-25 hours a week.

5. Create a daily schedule.
Schedule and make time for the most important things related to your job search. Block out chucks of time to avoid distractions. For example, you might designate 9-11:30am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for you to work on the most important things that need to get done related to executing your job search plan.

6. Get organized.
Create a document (e.g. Excel spreadsheet)to track the names, numbers, emails and vital information about your contacts as you move forward in your job search. This organized document will be vital as you follow-up with people you contacted in the past and need to recall their key information.

7. Evaluate job locations.
Ask yourself questions about the location of your next job. Are you willing to live in other locations? If so, where do you want to live? Once you have accomplished all of the above, you are now ready to target the exact role, industry and job you most want. This involves creating your resume, networking, interviewing and salary negotiation.

Follow the advice in Joel’s Job Searching book and get your next job quickly. Click here to buy the book

Talkback: Have you conducted a job search lately? What tips do you have for others who are planning to change careers?

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Be Advised:
More Employers are Searching Social Media Sites!

01 iStock_000024811894Small

“You are what you share.”

~ C.W. Leadbeater ~

Client Isaac Asks: I work in the IT industry, and I’m preparing to search for a new position. I know that some companies are using Google to check out prospective employees. Should I be worried about this, and if so, what steps can I take to make sure prospective employees don’t find anything that could hurt me?

Coach Joel Answers: Employers don’t just use Google to check out job candidates, they’re relying more on social networking. In fact, a study conducted by CareerBuilder found that 37 percent of employers use social mediasites to research potential job candidates.

Information technology companies are most likely to screen candidates this way. Some 63 percent of tech companies surveyed are scouring sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace to get an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at candidates they just can’t get from interviewing or reading resumes.

So if you’re in the job market – or may be in the future – be aware of what you put out on the Internet. If it’s out there – good or bad – it’s just a mouse click away from a hiring manager.

And the results can be catastrophic. CareerBuilder’s survey revealed that 35 percent of employers found social mediacontent that caused them not to hire a candidate.

With that in mind, here are some tips:

  • Google your name to see what content is out there on the internet.
  • Check out the other major social networks to make sure you have made the impression you want to make.
  • Identify the web pages where you have posted your resume or other work-related items and make sure they are up-to-date and reflect on you positively.
  • Remove any content that reflects negatively on you. You don’t want a bad reputation online.
  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs or information top the list of red flags to employers. When in doubt, take it out.
  • Create positive content about yourself and try to get it to be as high as possible in the search results.
  • Write and submit well researched, articulate letters-to-the-editor to the top trade publications in your industry. Focus on current, relevant issues.
  • Purchase your name as a domain name and create an active website that makes the best impression possible.
  • Post articles that you write that show your expertise on free publisher websites.
  • Write comments on other blogs that show your level of intelligence, expertise and experience.
  • Create a blog and write quality content for it.

Select two of the above tips and commit to working on them this week to ensure that your online presence gives a positive impression.

Talkback: Have you ever been denied a job or promotion because of something an employer found online? Tell us about it in the comments.

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How an Outplacement Plan Can Empower Middle-Aged Workers Find a Job

Unemployed

“Your success depends on what you do yourself, with your own means.”

~ P. T. Barnum ~

There’s nothing like losing your job when you’re in your late 40s or 50s. A lost job comes with the challenges of searching for a new job, trying to pay the bills, and supporting a family all at the same time.

No one knew this better than Roy Shah. In his late 40s, having worked as a senior executive in the supply chain department of his firm for over twelve years, Roy was laid off along with a few other senior managers in his department. Almost a year later, after finding nothing in his field and experiencing six months of mild depression, Roy ran across one of his previous colleagues, Jim, at the local coffee shop.

Jim was in an upbeat mood. He said he’d never felt better and that “investing in an outplacement plan had been a life-changer.” Roy was all ears. Over a cup of java, Jim told Roy how he had been jobless for eight months straight and decided to get a mentor. Jim said his job search coach helped him to reprogram some of his thinking, which led him to landing a job in a short span of time.

Here are three things Jim told Roy that he learned from his individually planned outplacement work coaching sessions:

  1. Don’t be attached to your title. Detach yourself from your title and you’ll be more open to looking for a job in another industry or taking orders from someone younger than you. Carrying your title can prove to be a heavy burden if it restricts you from learning new skills to get ahead.
  2. Act fast. The more you wait, the more you tend to procrastinate. Don’t kill time until your funds run out. If you were laid off, there’s a good chance there are hundreds like you in the same boat. If a job opportunity does open up, who do you think will get in? The one who sits at home and watches sitcoms? Or the one who networks and has the most drive, influence, and motivation? Jim urged Roy to act with a sense of urgency.
  3. Rediscover your skills. Jim told Roy how his job search coach helped him discover his passion and use it to make a living. “Besides my day job, I now write a featured column for a monthly newsletter. It doesn’t pay all the bills but it helps me stand out as an expert in front of hundreds of people and gives me authority and credibility.” Getting out there in front of people and branding yourself as an expert in your field can help you catch the eye of potential recruiters and maybe even receive a job offer.

Jim sympathized with Roy’s concerns that starting over is difficult, especially for middle aged workers. But he suggested Roy keep his options open and be optimistic. Accepting the fact that you might have to detach yourself from your past achievements or settle for lower compensation doesn’t mean you can’t get it all back in time.

“It’s a challenge, but with the right help you can get through it and actually come out stronger,” reassured Jim.

Roy invested in his own tailored plan for outplacement designed for his unique individual needs. With raised self-esteem, a brand new LinkedIn profile, and an action plan for achieving his goals, Roy has the confidence he needs to build influence, form new relationships, and get ahead in his career and his life.

Check out our proven nine-step outplacement program, which provides a structured approach to keep you motivated and focused, and empowers you to find a new job in the shortest period of time—no matter what your age. 

Talkback: Are you middle-aged and jobless? What are some of the challenges you currently face? Talk to uswe’re here to help.

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