Sunday, January 10, 2010

Climbing Back Up from the Abyss: Part II

When I found myself suddenly UNEMPLOYED a little over three months ago, I began, in an unorganized way, to explore the online job sites, “the Ladders,” “Monster.com,” Link-In,” and others. But like Lord Ronald, in Stephen Leacock’s nonsense novel, “Gertrude the Governess, or: Simply Seventeen,” I said nothing; flung myself from the room, flung myself upon my horse and rode madly off in all directions!



Disorganized Flight


I wasted lots of time and energy and some money doing it that way. Those sites, unfortunately including the Linked-In site, barrage you with “how to” articles of every sort, and scare you into thinking that whatever you are doing in your job hunt, you are DOING IT COMPLETELY WRONG. That, unfortunately, may also be correct.  The rules around job searching have changed.   But how do you distinguish the articles that offer excellent advice from those that exist primarily to scare us into subscribing to the services of this or that coaching or resume writing service?

One fantastic document--the “yellow brick road” to job search success--came serendipitously to me while browsing discussion groups on Linked-In. It is Olivier Taupin’s concise and highly informative slide presentation, LinkedIn for Job Seekers: Advanced Techniques For Finding A Job Quickly On LinkedIn. I have absolutely no affiliation with Olivier Taupin, I assure you. I’m just sharing with you a resource that I feel is certain can help you. 

I suggest, if you do NOTHING ELSE to prepare yourself for the job search, this should be your bible for getting started. Read it and take it seriously. Once you get the knack, you’ll be using Linked-In to its maximal effectiveness, and coming up with your own ideas to get yourself noticed. Olivier’s information is golden. Once I started following his suggestions, the number of people who read my profile and the number of times I appeared in searches, increased by leaps and bounds. Emails began to land in my mailbox, and the phone began to ring. I recommend that you read it carefully, save a copy in your favorites.  Refer to it often, and you won’t be disappointed.

In today’s economic recession, almost nothing about job searching works the way it did a mere two years ago. If you were accustomed, while you were working, to being canvassed almost relentlessly by professional recruiters, forget about it--the times have changed. You can’t just post your old tried-and-proven resume and sit back and wait to be contacted. You must actively seek out the attention of recruiters. Unquestionably, you need to change your style. That means you have to do a lot of things, in Linked-In, while you search, to make yourself stand out in the crowd.

I’ll be back later to tell you about the most effective steps I’ve taken to get noticed in positive ways (Hint: this blog is one of them). In the meantime, take good advantage of your current and past relationships—those that you have formed in business, and even your friendships. Friends outside your industry may KNOW people at target companies, and those relationships can help to get you introduced to hiring managers. Let everyone know that you are out of work—there is no stigma to being jobless in this recession, regardless of how bad you may feel about it.

And you are NOT worthless. You were great when you were working, and nothing about that has changed. If you are feeling down, out, and alone, take heart:  You are NOT alone!  You will find that people WANT and are eager to help you. If this comes to you as a revelation, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. You will also find yourself changing in wonderful ways.



You are not alone

And never forget…you need to do all you can to help others too! Offer to write Linked-In recommendations or otherwise open doors for friends and colleagues. You’ll get a lot of personal satisfaction from simple acts of friendship like these. And your “luck” will begin to change.


Simple acts of Friendship

Just remember, unless you are very lucky and grab the brass ring quickly, today’s job searches tend to take more time than they once did.  Keep in mind: This IS NOT happening because of anything you did—you are no less competent than you were when you were working.  Drum that into your brain!

Try hard--Try very hard-- to not appear to be down or depressed, even if you're feeling like proverbial "Dirt!."  As much as possible, be your old optimistic, cheerful old self and, most of all, do not let BITTERNESS consume you. Prospective employers will not be positively impressed by the story of your misfortune.  They are looking for people whose presence enhances their own work experience and the atmosphere in the workplace.  By trying like hell, to present yourself in positive ways, soon it will become easy.

But you MUST dig in, prepare for a long haul, and learn the proven ways to get yourself noticed.  The effort will work if you work at it!



The Road Ahead



Stay tuned.

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All photos by Michelle Alton
http://www.linkedin.com/in/michellealton
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1 comment:

deannayaniw said...

Michelle,

Thank you so much for your post. I am in a similar situation to yourself and your advice and resources have helped me to take better advantage of LinkedIn as a networking tool. I wish you all the best with your search and if there is anything I can do to help you, please let me know.

Kind regards,

Deanna Orsi