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Advice For My Discouraged Jobseeking Friend

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For many years, I sat across the aisle from someone who was always happy, always smiling, always full of life.

She messaged me Tuesday after reading my latest post. She told me how she contacted all of these firms and none of them got back to her. She went on to say, ‘I guess people like me are a dime a dozen.’

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I felt for her, not just because of what she’s going through but because I’ve gone through the same thing, more times than I care to remember. I told her with her skills and experience she is tremendously valuable.

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Sixteen years have passed since we sat on the same aisle. We’re both in our 50’s. My family relocated to St. Pete, FL, hers to Orlando.

I knew where she was mentally, because I had been there. I wanted to do all I could to help her, as I’ve strived to help as many people as possible. I wanted to help her understand how to successfully navigate her job search. So I shared what I’ve learned.

1.) When you’re not working you are judged differently.

I came to FL Feb 2013 and for four months my only interview was with a company where a friend who worked there recommended me.

I finally decided to accept a contractor position in June 2013. I never planned on doing that. I never wanted to do that, however as soon as I showed that I was working, people wanted to interview me.

2.) Your past salary can hurt you.

I applied to a great company. The job was a perfect match. I went nowhere so I decided to call one of their HR recruiters. He was kind enough to answer the phone and tell me, “We looked at your last salary and figured you would never take this job.”

The job I had applied to paid ~40% of what I was earning in the NYC metropolitan area. When I took a contractor position (in June 2013) paying Florida salaries (~60% of what I previously earned) and employers saw that salary on my application, I got interviews. (Salary-wise Florida is not NYC.)

3.) Ignore the advice about only applying to jobs where you have 80% of the job requirements.

I applied to a position at a great company. While I didn’t get that job, because of the exposure I was called back to interview for another position. I’ve been there more than three years.

I spoke with a fellow jobseeker who also interviewed with a firm, wasn’t a good match for that role, but was hired into another role.

4.) Some people won’t hire you because they’re afraid, with your experience, you will outshine them.

There’s nothing you can do about it. I know, I experienced this.

5.) Join organizations where you can meet people who can connect you with people who may be interested in your skill set.

I strongly recommended Industry associations and Industry conferences and seminars.

Another organization worth considering is SCORE. SCORE has approximately 370 chapters throughout the United States and its territories and over 11,200 volunteers. Many local chapters also have branch locations throughout the regions they administer. (Wikipedia)

6.) Do you have achievement stories demonstrating your accomplishments?

In 2013 I had 17 of them. It amazed me how interviewers enabled me to share these stories at length. See link for more information on creating these stories.

7.) Have you reached out to connections at former employers or schools?

LinkedIn is a great way to contact these people. Be willing to put some time into this because it can really pay off. Remember, in general, people like helping people looking for work. Six months to a year from now, they may turn to you for help.

8.) Does your LinkedIn profile attract the attention of Recruiters?

Read my post You Deserve The Best LinkedIn Profile Possible – Here’s the How-To. Here’s the link

9.) Have you spoken with recruiters who fill roles in your field?

10.) Have you reached out to staffing firms who vet candidates for employers?

See my post, The Most Common, Least Understood Reason You Get Rejected. Go to the section entitled, Answer #3: Leapfrog the ATS through staffing companies. Here’s the link

11.) What Industries are you pursuing?

Our former employer’s industry has been contracting for years. Healthcare is growing tremendously. Healthcare is so much more than doctors and nurses. It’s analysts to count the money and process the cash flow. It’s marketers to communicate the services. It’s supply chain to manage distribution. It’s leaders to manage these organizations.

 12.) Are you praying?

I pray fairly regularly today. When I was a jobseeker, I got on my knees every morning and prayed. I prayed for wisdom, calm, direction. You name it. I needed it. (I still need it.)

13.) Where is your mind?

Joan of Arc said,

All battles are first won or lost in the mind.

I believed I would get hired and I ultimately was hired, thankfully by a stable company. I just kept persisting. (I came in Feb 2013; took a contractor role in June and was hired into a permanent role in Dec.)

You might find these posts helpful:

The Most Common, Least Understood Reason You Get Rejected

You Deserve The Best LinkedIn Profile Possible – Here’s the How-To

Who Wants A Powerful Resume That Makes You Stand Out?

Unlock The Secrets of a Successful Powerful Cover Letter

The Hiring Manager’s Secrets…

The Truth About Quick, Easy And Affordable Resume Customization

Resume customization, that is, including enough of the keywords in your resume so HR’s Applicant program selects you is essential in today’s world. The above article shows the best way to do that.

One more thing,

Please don’t think I’m saying it is easy. Looking for work is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There are times I’ve grown discouraged, not many thankfully. There are times I also lost my cool, as my frustration overruled my calmness. After all, I’m human too. Simple perseverance delivers the desired result. It is in our persevering that we get better at what we’re doing. As we learn more, we get better and eventually we get hired. I will never give up, nor should you.

Remind yourself of your many gifts and accomplishments. Relive those experiences in your mind. This step will enable you to see the value you can bring to any employer. Do make sure you have achievement stories so the hiring manager can understand your capabilities as well. (I also think achievement stories help the hiring manager understand that you are not blowing smoke up a part of their anatomy.)

I hope you found this helpful.

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