When you’re going down…

It’s nice to have someone reach out and give you a helping hand. It’s better when they help you find a job. Here is some nitty-gritty advice I learned the hard way.

There are times in almost every life when our plans don’t work out and life puts the squeeze on us. More and more of us have had to deal with being unemployed for short or long periods of time.

I have several friends who are going through hard times right now. One of them is my bright and capable blogging friend, Jennifer.

Unemployment is especially hard in a culture that makes credit easy. When you get a great job, it seems like the work is going to go on forever, so why not get a credit card and lease a car and live like a human being instead of a starving student?

When you are unemployed, there is not enough money to pay on the credit cards, or the car, or pay rent, and buy food. It’s too late for regret and it’s often too late to repair the damage.

You have to make changes and that doesn’t mean look for someone to loan you money until you’re back on your feet.

Borrow money to eat if necessary, but there are things you must do that will get you out of this fix with your integrity intact. Here is my short list:

Change what you are doing immediately. Disabuse yourself of the idea that you are an executive, or a manager or whatever. You need work and you have skills. At least I assume you have skills, because you are reading this.

How are you going to get work?

Forget the ads, the headhunters, the endless resumes. You are going to talk with everyone you meet about the fact that you are looking for work and you can do…LOTS of useful things. If you can’t do lots of useful things, go to the nearest In-N-Out Burger and fill out an application.

Don’t worry about writing a resume until you find someone who needs some work done. Then you write a one page summary that fits what this person needs in an employee.

You develop a CONCISE pitch that you use with everyone you talk to, or write to, even those people you see in Starbucks. It goes somewhat like this, “Do you know of a company that is looking for help with their advertising, sales, marketing, communications, website, events, etc.? I am looking for work.”

You talk with your family, friends, the landlady, the UPS guy, your cousin Edna, and the people you cared about in your last seven jobs. One or more of them will probably pipe up with a possible job which you will investigate if you are smart.

Why am I confident that you can do this with some chance of success?

Eighty-five percent of all job placements are done through personal referrals!

All of the hoopla you see in the classifieds, all of the job fairs, all of the placement firms account for less than fifteen percent of the job placements.

Almost everyone knows of someone who is working in a decent place and they will refer you to them if you ask the right questions. Just let everyone know that you are looking for work and what your skills are, not what wonderful positions you have held, what you know how to do.

Ask for money if you need to eat. Otherwise, ask for work. It is out there and you will find it.

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0 Responses to When you’re going down…

  1. Carrie says:

    great idea David. Thanks for the link to her as well.

  2. David says:

    excellent post. gets to the heart of the matter, epecially the point about telling people about what good skills you have – not what positions you’ve held.

  3. jacqueline says:

    Yes,I need to borrow money to go look for a job & buy food,do you know anybody that can help me.

  4. Jacqueline, you need to read the post again. You didn’t get it.

  5. Bill says:

    David, as usual your thoughts on what to do are exactly on target. I just want to add one thing about the resume. (You actually allude to this, but it can be emphasized).

    Many people load into their resume everything they’ve done, to show how experienced and versatile they are. The hiring manager is not interested in anything that does not pertain to the need he or she is trying to fill.

    So resumes have to eliminate extraneous stuff. Also, remember that the resume MUST begin with (1) a Job Objective, in one sentence, and (2) a Sumary of Skills (four or five sentences, or six-seven bullets). The Summary of Skills is where the sale is made (or not). It has to be worded so that the reader (HR, hiring manager) will think “If all this is really true, then THIS is one of the five people we must interview.”

    Many people really don’t know the skills they actually have; they define themselves in terms of what they’ve done, or former jobs they’ve had, as you mention.

    I applaud your emphasis on networking. That’s indeed how we get our job offers! One thought: if you ask for “advice” rather than directly for a job, people in companies will be more open to giving you time.

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