Unexpected Layoffs Prove Why It Pays To Be Prepared

Posted: August 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Job Search Networking, Resume Advice | Comments Off on Unexpected Layoffs Prove Why It Pays To Be Prepared

I was working late one night last week when the office phone rang and, out of habit, I picked it up. On the other line was a client I worked with months ago who was surprised to hear my voice. The first thing she said was, “I thought I’d get your voice mail calling this late.”

When I looked at the clock it was 7:30p.m., so much for calls going to our voice answering system after 5:30p.m. Thank goodness we had the chance to speak, what she shared is valuable for many professionals given today’s economic challenges. She was informed a week before that she would lose her position, after 15 years with the company, along with hundreds of other professionals. If you think it’s only their company, think again.

douple dip recessionDouble Dip Anyone?

When I was young, and now actually, I loved those dipped cones at Dairy Queen. Who wanted just chocolate ice cream on a cone when it could be dipped in chocolate?  Give me the choice between just one recession and what looks like a double dip recession – at least from an employment perspective and I’ll take the single thank you very much.  As 67% of employers announce their plans to increase hiring in the next 12 months, this month also held news of new layoffs in finance, technology, banking, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries as well as the government. These sweeping job losses are spreading farther than our borders, they are hitting abroad reaching into Europe as well.  Just this month Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Blackberry all announced layoffs coupled with offshoring by G.E., who has said the offshore plans will not affect U.S. job (and I’m as successful as Oprah).

The effects hitting states are being felt close to home as well. While Connecticut sent out layoff notices to shed 6,500 employees on July 12th, just this morning I sat in a local park having coffee with a meter maid that had 20 years of tenure with the City of Chicago, until yesterday when she was given two weeks notice and two weeks pay. August 30, 2011 will be her last day of employment after which she’ll be back on the streets but this time it’ll be to look for a new job rather than to write tickets.

Expect The Unexpected

When I chatted with Lisa* that night, she said “I never thought this would happen. I never thought this would be where I was sharing my resume.” She was calling to thank me for coaching her months before and for creating a resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile that she had shared 18 times in the past week. 18 times! I was astounded that she had leveraged her resume and LinkedIn profile to that extent so quickly. She went on to say, “This isn’t something people think about.” and “There’s one job, three people already have the same job and only one is going to get it. It’s crazy. You’re competing with your co-workers for the job.”

She wanted to thank me for helping get her ready for the unexpected. Here was this tornado of organizational change swirling around her and she was able to remain calm knowing that she was ready to put her best foot forward day one despite the emotions that accompany ‘losing’ your job after 15 yrs. of loyalty to a company you truly love and appreciate.  It all worked out for Lisa, she’s been offered at new position that she’s excited about. It literally does pay to be prepared, and in Lisa’s case, it paid off with a new job at the company she loves, and with a 10% salary increase.

3 Ways You Can Be Prepared

1. Avoid Comfort – If you’re feeling like everything’s great and you’re cruising along comfortable everyday, chances are something is going to change. Be ready for the next change and always be looking to create that change rather than respond to it. Do you think Ted Turner sat around being comfortable on his way to creating CNN?

2. Get Your Resume Ready – The #1 myth in this business is clients are unemployed. 90% of my clients are actively employed professionals looking to up their game and stay on top of what’s next for them. Have your resume ready to go when a great opportunity comes your way; otherwise that opportunity will go to someone else who has theirs ready to go.

3. Stay Connected – Kids, Exercise, Work, Hobbies, Social Networking. How are you supposed to find time to stay connected with colleagues and associates? It’s a matter of making the time. 80-84% of today’s jobs are found through networking; if you stay connected regularly it makes it that much easier to activate your network when you need them. Dedicate 30 mins. each week to networking.


Discrimination Against Unemployed: Fact or Fiction

Posted: May 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Transition Networking, Job Search Networking | Comments Off on Discrimination Against Unemployed: Fact or Fiction

I often pop on to Linked In to answer questions from job seekers and other professionals alike on a variety of career coaching, job search and networking topics. This week when I logged on to Linked In to answer questions I saw a response from a professional that prompted me to ask “Is there hiring discrimination against the unemployed?” The original question posted was “What’s the most interesting question you’ve been asked in an interview?”

Here’s the exact answer that I read on Linked In:

“How come you’ve been out of work so long?” upon seeing a four-month unemployment gap that straddled the Holiday season, when I was at my last job for over 14 years. I am working now, but I found out the hard way that the latest hiring trend in Corporate America is “Unemployed Need Not Apply”. – Joseph Koptik via Linked In

Unemployed Discrimination: The case for fiction

Joseph’s case does seem extreme. He was out of work a mere 4 months, and over the holidays which basically span 2 months, after 14 years of consistent employment. Then again, was he possibly too sensitive to a question that a hiring manager or internal recruiter was asking because they were either interested in the answer or simply doing their job? Is the unemployed need not apply a real phenomenon or is it a case of overly sensitive candidates?  Being unemployment definitely strikes at one’s confidence, and ego, so to be taken to task and asked specifically what you’ve been doing for the past 4, 6, or in some cases, 14 months is a tough question. Switch shoes though, if you were on the other side of the table, would you want to know what the candidate had been doing since he’d left Company XYZ 4 months ago – other than celebrating the holidays?

Unemployed Discrimination: The case for fact

Everyone knows there are two sides to each story and that’s certainly case here. In December I had coffee with an Executive Vice President of a Fortune 100 company that I have great respect for, both the company and this particular executive. During our coffee meeting, we spoke about the hiring trends and he had just had a meeting where several of his key manager had expressed their concerns about hiring unemployed professionals because of the adverse demeanor they were bringing to the organization. After the meeting, they made an “unofficial” decision on hiring unemployed people. They would forego hiring unemployed candidates based on the negative impacts to the organization’s culture and environment. While this was an “unofficial” decision made by the organization, I can understand it, and have to say this is a case when a few bad apples spoil the bunch for what are millions of great professionals.

But I’m Unemployed…What Can I Do?

Keep your spirits, confidence and chin up. Your attitude and demeanor will overcome even the organizations with this type of philosophy. How? In a job market where 80% of jobs are found through networking, landing a new job is going to happen through a focused job search strategy rather than applying online. Remember that people hire people. When you meet the right person that finds value in your skill set, they will champion your hiring in their organization and focus on your value and skills rather than a gap in employment. (Tip: Be ready to explain the gap without defensive language.)


Spring Forward to Career Success

Posted: March 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Job Search Networking | Comments Off on Spring Forward to Career Success

There comes a time when you realize that one more gray day is just one too many. Another gray sky or 40 degree forecast is going to make you wake up and think, “I need to get away this weekend.”  Last week I woke up to a rainy day and jumped out of bed grateful as can be. Why?

Spring Job Search Success
Rain meant it was too warm to snow! The winter is gone and it’s time for Spring. In fact, as a little reminder, tonight (or for you night owls like my brother that are still awake at 2a.m., tomorrow morning) is when we Spring Forward with our clocks. That means we’ll have one more hour of daylight and I, for one, am grateful for that.

Spring also means time for renewed success on the career search front. In the past month, clients have been having more success than in the past 10 months and that’s good news for everyone. Employers are interviewing…and extending offers to the candidates they like best. It certainly looks like the only thing in bloom this season won’t be flowers; jobs will be springing up along with our favorite florals.

If you’re still experiencing a drought in your job search it might be time to spring into action and take a new route.  Do you need to do some spring cleaning on your resume or LinkedIn profile? What about your perspective on the market? Has the winter gotten to you in more ways than one?

Embrace the shift in the market and spring forward to success in your search!


Can Daycare Predict Job Growth?

Posted: February 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Job Search Networking, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Comments Off on Can Daycare Predict Job Growth?

Can the cutest and littlest Americans help predict the future of the biggest ones? That’s what Bernard Baumohl of Economic Outlook Group, a Princeton, N.J.-based research firm would have us believe.  Baumohl’s reasoning is based on the number of daycare center workers and those that will be hired therefore gauging the labor market based on the hiring within daycare centers.

The Science of Daycare
While this chicago day careis certainly a scientific way to go about things, and I’m usually all for the numbers, I’m going to go for a baseline logic argument on this one. This group’s research shows that daycare center hiring is up 0.3% in January and nearly 1% since August, a sure sign of job growth in that sector. While this is great news, please tell me there are better things to spend research dollars, energy, time and education on than this.

Daycare or Daddy Care?
Do we really need a research firm to tell us that job growth is up when daycare centers start to have a boom in hiring? Let me play out a scenario on why I say the answer is NO. When mom and dad are out of work, there’s really no need to put little Joey in daycare is there? As the job market turns around and mom lands a new job, dad’s now at home playing with the little man during the day.  Interview calls come in and now dad needs daycare to get back in the game. Booya! Dad lands a sweet new gig and little Joey is back at Miss Daisy’s Daycare come Monday morning.

Future Predictions
When mom and dad get back to work, the kids get back to daycare. I see this as less science and more logic. I’m grateful that the scientists at Economic Outlook Group are watching hiring trends, I’d rather see predictive modeling on hiring trends across less logical industries for the next 6, 9 and 12 mos.