I find myself, like many of you, a culprit of the Covid-19 dimension. Looking for a way out of this pandemic madness, I have decided to channel my inner being and entertain the masses with my daily ramblings and profound wisdom (ok, that was sarcasm people…. at least the wisdom part). None-the-less, I believe that there is sanity in sharing thoughts, feelings and overall moronic insight in these troubling times.
Suffice it to say, I will look to provide you with antidotal profundity. I look forward to passing a portion of my time with you during the week in the hopes that you will find value, humor, insight or a host of other adjectives or adverbs related to the many descriptive thoughts from my head that become words on this page. So, sit back, strap in and let the words begin.
As we all try and make sense of these pandemic times (is it me or do you think of pandemonium
when you hear the word pandemic?), the other negative aspect of falling ill to the virus is falling
out of employment. Like millions of you, I have found myself as the soldier of “misfortune” and
playing the ill begotten host of the new game show, “Unemployment Jeopardy.” Today’s categories are,
“The Website is Down Again; Oxymoron - Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; Check back
on status of your claim in 72 days not hours.”
As frustrations can and do run high when you are faced with the reality of finding a new job/career path
and are in need of rewriting your resume, it is important to remain positive and focused on the
opportunities in front of you. Changes occur and we can either choose to have a victim mentality or
one of faith and hope for an improved way of life. Make no mistake about it, like many of you, I would
not have chosen this path of being jobless at the moment. Yet, I have faith that things will work out for my betterment.
Here are eight things that you need to do in order to focus on what lies ahead of you and not dwell on what has already happened.
- Finding a new employment opportunity is a full-time job. Treat it as such. It is important that you dedicate applicable and uninterrupted time each day to this new endeavor. You need to dedicate a minimum of 6 hours a day to this cause. If you need to break it into one- or two-hour segments, then do so. No exceptions! So, let’s get started.
- Make a list of all of your positive attributes. Not sure of what these are? Ask a friend or family member to help. Yes, they may be biased but you are looking for positive characteristics from which to build. Still stumped? Google “Positive work attributes” and see what aligns with you and your personality. Word to the wise…… you better be able to back it up and demonstrate evidence of it when asked.
- Tie your positive attributes to actionable items (past work activities or experiences) that you can state in a tangible way. Potential employers are likely to ask you Behavioral Based Interview (BBI) questions to gauge your ability to have transferable skills into the position for which you are applying. Example – “Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure to meet a deadline?” “How did that make you feel?” “Were you able to meet the deadline?”It is important that you have scripted responses to these types of questions. I suggest that you Google “Behavioral Based Interview Questions” and prepare yourself accordingly. Or, you can disregard this and “wing it.” I’m sure that will make you stand out against the other thirty or more people that have applied for the same position.
- Your Value-Add Statement: Jeffrey Gitomer, a well-known author and speaker of Sales and Business, refers to this as your “30 Second Elevator Pitch.” Simply put, it is your statement of who you are, what your value is and why you are the right person for the position. You need to know this, be able to verbalize it to anyone and everyone you meet and finally, you need to believe in it 100%. Would you hire you? Write it out and memorize it. It is your sales pitch and yes, you are selling yourself!
- Review resume formats online and choose one that fits the type of job/position that you are applying for. Keep it clean and straight forward. Employers do not have time to read a resume so short direct statements that are bulleted are best.Use tangible facts and figures to state and describe your point. Rather than stating that you achieved improved results in year over year production, use specific numbers or percentages and state what specifically it did for your department or company.
- Have someone else review and edit your Resume. All-to-often, we as the writers of our own material read and see what we want it to say rather than what it actually states. Make sure your proof readers are not afraid to challenge you and ask questions related to “What do you mean by this statement?”Make sure that you have accurate statements or stories to back up each of the items on your resume. Additionally, be prepared to take those statements and apply them to the position that you are applying/interviewing for. Practices these in the mirror or with a friend. No exceptions!
- Your Cover Letter: Your resume states general items about your past career and highlights those. Your cover letter, allows you to be more specific related to the position that you are applying for. You will need to list your specific relatable, transferable skills and talents so that you draw parallels from these attributes into this new position. You need to “Paint the Picture” and help this new company to connect the dots. Be as simple and direct as possible. No need to get wordy now.
- Visibility: How are you standing out in the crowd? DO NOT BE ASHAMED THAT YOU ARE CURRENTLY UNEMPLOYED! Everyone has been unemployed at least once in their life not by their own choosing. Get your friends, family, past co-workers and anyone else that is willing to get the word out for you to do so and do it now. You need to market yourself. It is time to tell the world you are available to work!Use your social media outlets; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., to help your voice be heard and recognized. Look up recruiters in your field and email them your resume and cover letter. Ask your friends to email your resume to at least five other people they know to champion your cause.
- Bonus item – Yes, we all like that extra free item in our shopping cart. One thing that I wanted to mention is “Self-Improvement.” Part of your dedicated time you spend to further your opportunity towards reemployment needs to be geared towards education and improving your skills. You Tube is a great place to start. Do you want to improve on your skills with Excel or PowerPoint? How about marketing or selling? There are videos galore for these items and hundreds of other job applicable attributes. The best part is that they are free and usually less than 15 minutes.TED Talks are also valuable for messaging that will get you motivated, inspired and educated. Want something a little more studious? Coursera offers thousands of free online classes from major universities and educational facilities on almost any subject. If you want a certificate for the course completion, you will need to pay a fee. This is usually less than $50 per course.
The saying goes, “If you are not green and growing, you are ripe and rotting.” Always be learning and invest in yourself. Future employers want team members to continually grow in order to remain inspired and productive. New ideas not only help your department and company, it provides you with a sense of purpose and value. Keep learning every day!
Stop for a minute and think about this. We are all going through an unprecedented time in history. We are going to have to live a “New Normal” way of life. There is nothing that states that this new normal should be anything but positive. Your world is waiting for you to step out and step up to the challenge. The first step may seem difficult, but I assure you, the ones to follow get easier.