Being a Sore Layoff Loser

Women in a Publix grocery store: Tallahassee, ...

Image by State Library and Archives of Florida via Flickr

Lost your job?

That sucks.

But it doesn’t mean you have to lose your life. If anything the opposite, now you have time for one.

I’ve heard it a few times voiced a few ways, but altogether it’s a sad statement – I’m not going to my college reunion…holiday party…local grocery store because I don’t have a job. I even heard someone was afraid to go to a wedding, for fear that she didn’t have a good response to, “What are you doing nowadays?”

So I guess the sad answer would be, “I haven’t been doing much since I got laid off…just applying to jobs here & there with no response.” Then skulk away into the masses where you belong at the bar.

The too-truthful answer you can’t give would be, “Please pass the bean dip. I’m desperate for a job. Can you get me hired where you work?” (But hey, if your hostess is socially inappropriate enough to serve bean-anything at a social occasion then perhaps it’s an awkward enough crowd that you could pull off that statement?)

So how about this holiday season, try for  a happy, socially appropriate medium. Don’t be ashamed that you lost your job, so did another 10% at least of people you know most likely. Speak up about your need when asked what you’re doing, it’s not a thing to be shy about. No one will offer to help you if you don’t know they need it. And now that you don’t have to get up early in the morning, you have plenty of time to socialize the night away.

 Look at every party or occasion as a chance to network. ALWAYS have your card on you, but never pass is around inappropriately. Yes, there are those t-shirts everyone’s been selling online saying things like ‘hire me’ or ‘I need a job’, but most people don’t have the confidence or the wanting to wear any slogan t-shirt to party – but if you’re up for it, I doubt it’ll hurt your job prospects and makes an easy conversation starter.

Try working the fact that you’re looking for an opportunity into conversations, but be careful not to be too self-depreciating. Unless you’re generally sarcastic enough to pull it off, it’ll come across as desperate as you are (just kidding…sort of…see what I mean?).

Maybe try, “Can I get you a drink? I sure could use one since I lost my job…heard of any good roles around?”

Besides, you do know not to eat bean dip or other ‘difficult’ foods at parties by now, right? Well now you do. You’ll pick up some smoked fish on the way home and enjoy that smell all for yourself.

And just maybe your friend’s coworker Russel, the guy who got too drunk at the holiday party and got fired, will need a backfill. Yup he’s the same guy that ate the fish and bean dip!

Less Design is More – Top 5 Ways to Get Your Resume Thrown Out

25_1_3 Red Swans anad Floral Border Close-Up

 

1. Mail in a hard copy on floral stationary. Or any ‘stationary’. Could be that small companies or those with older hiring managers might be impressed with such efforts, but even those places generally want it faxed in. (On a side note: Can you believe people still use faxes? Sorry, I didn’t get it, do you mind sending it again? Oh, you have a confirmation receipt that it was sent? Isn’t that lovely.)

2. Email in a virtual copy on floral stationary. Or any ‘stationary’. Even the ones in outlook, like simple plaid, are completely unprofessional. Not for sending a resume, not for once you start a job.

3. Put a border on your resume or cover letter. Again, no design is professional beyond a small logo, if you have one. I’m not going to say that if you’re an artist you don’t have more leeway, but for everyone else, NO.

4. Put a picture on your application for any reason beyond modeling-type jobs. If it’s a job on craigslist requesting it, save yourself scumbags checking you out – just don’t apply.

5. Use the resume format template options in word. They’re generally terrible, and show up awkwardly. If you’re not a pro at word you’re better off just enlarging & bolding your name, headings (like “Experience” “Education” etc.), then center everything. Better yet, play with word when making your resume, and make yourself a pro. There are very few professional positions that wouldn’t benefit from those skills.

…I have yet to hear that poultry, kittens, or flowers on a resume helped to make that ‘special’ impression that helped someone snag the job they wanted…but maybe I’m hanging with the wrong crowd!

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I’ve developed Sharon.cc as a Social Good platform. It’s not a business, it’s a collaborative site which helps people, companies, and places optimally market themselves.

Would you like an outlet for your career advice, job search struggles, free resume critique (anonymously published of course) or anything else you’d like to share?

Guest posters & interviews are encouraged – just send me what you’d like to share with my readers & I’ll post it if I feel they’ll benefit from it.

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Catchy Websites Without the Dot Com

Although not career advise per se, I did an interview with Mike Sullivan http://sullysblog.com that you might want to check out –

http://sullysblog.com/Sharon-Siegel

It’s a bit more insight into why I didn’t choose a .com for my site, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to step a bit outside the norm when it comes to branding & marketing yourself.

You want to work in HR by choice? Seriously? Well…if you’re sure…here’s how…

Someone posed this question, and I thought it might benefit others to share on the topic.

I’d like to break into the HR field. I’m pursuing my BA currently. What majors or certifications would you recommend I obtain to find a strong position in the field when I graduate?

I’m sure many employers look for HR certifications, or I can’t imagine why they’d be so popular.

That being said, I have never come across a resume/application for a position where this was a deciding factor.

I’ve yet to see a resume with no relevant experience or education, but has HR certifications – and see the candidate be seriously considered for a  position.

On the flip side, I’ve never seen a great resume with strong relevant education & experience that was not seriously considered because they did NOT have HR certificates…but hey, could be this happens other places.

Majors: a business or liberal arts degree ought to suffice if complimented by internships or junior positions in the field. Depending on what type of HR environment you’d like to work in, you might want to major in something relevant to that, as opposed to an HR degree (which not every university offers). If you decide later on that you’d rather work in a different area (say accounting) a general degree would be more helpful than a specified one.

Very few HR leaders I’ve met knew they wanted to work in HR (like me!). They generally fall into it from other roles or positions. Even within HR there are many types of roles from benefits, employee relations, recruiting (yay), union relations, diversity specialists, generalists (who deal with everything), payroll, timekeeping, leaves…you get the point.

Taking a position or internship while in school is my best advice. Had I not done social work internships, I would be a social worker now. I only needed one more year of school to have my MSW, but upon working in various social work environments I realized it was not the type of challenge I would enjoy long term.

Before you plan your life around a career you have yet to experience, try it out (paid or not). It might help you specify the area you’d like to focus on, or like in my case, save you from wasting time and pigeon-holing yourself in the career realm.

Final note on certifications: Many are expensive, require annual payment, membership renewals, or maintenance to keep the certifications. In the end they’re a business. Many people will write “six sigma black belt certification obtained” as that they no longer maintain it, but once they’ve achieved it and put it on their resume, it satisfies their goal.

*Exception tip: Once you’re working in a field, many employers will pay for you to obtain certifications & allow you to do them on work time. If so I definitely recommend this! It can’t take away from your resume, and will broaden your network and skills without losing time or money. Talk to your employee development person or someone from HR to see if your employer allows for this.

Shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-93

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Mind Your Grammar: Top 5 Resume Tips of the Day

EGG Nonpast tense

Image via Wikipedia

  1. Keep all past job duties in the past tense, keep all current duties in the present, unless it is an accomplishment that was completed. If so that belongs in past as well.
  2. Be consistent with grammar. Either punctuate every sentence or don’t, either would be acceptable – but do stay consistent for all positions.
  3. Capitalize each job title, company, school attended, and the first word of each line. Use ‘sentence case’ feature on word to correct this for all if you do not have it consistent now.
  4. Do feel free to add more than one responsibility per line if related, i.e. answered phones, performed data entry, and organized files all belong on one line. If you did nothing else at a position that you could possibly correlate to the role you’re applying for, then keep it at one bullet.
  5. Do not leave cliffhangers, i.e. “Worked with CEO”  – this would be a wasted line/bullet/responsibility. Write what you accomplished for said key player, otherwise you’re leaving the reader to believe you fetched the CEO coffee or parked his car.

Shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-8w

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Going to Work for Google: The Career Equivalent of Going to DisneyWorld

This is one of the huge welcoming signs for Go...

Image via Wikipedia

There are very few places that offer better benefits than the government. Now imagine this place valued its employees, developed them, promoted talent, and only hired the best people to work with. Add in an incredible mission, forward thinking, world changing technology, and lots of perks. Then imagine this place is real and hiring.

Oh wait, it is real.

Working for google or similar (if there are) top-rated places to work does happen for some people. The question is, how to become one of them? How does one find employment in an amazing place?

I once spoke with a google recruiter I’m networked with from California a few years back. He politely explained to me that as that I did not attend an ivy league school and had not worked or consulted for one of the major firms, I had very little chance of being considered. Sigh. Was very discouraged, especially when I saw on the application you have to check off how long you worked at either: apple, bain, amazon, mckinsey, bcg, ibm, pixare, adobe, oracle, ebay, etc. It made me want to go get a job with one of those places to increase my chances of google wanting me.

Fast forward a few years later…I actually met people who work for google, people who went to good but not ivy universities (hey like me!). They never worked for those big reputation places, and they were hired fairly through their application system. When I mentioned what the google recruiter told me back in the day they were surprised, said it’s just not like that, and that people like me get hired all the time. Dare to dream.

And so I do dream, that one day I’ll find a great position in a place that doesn’t do things ‘the way they’ve always been done’, that might appreciate me and my talents, and hey, while we’re dreaming it’ll let me have a healthy work-life balance so I can see the kids once in awhile.

So I’d love to hear from you, faithful readers. Do you work for a great place or know of an amazing employer? Why do you love it? Are they hiring? Let us know!

For public notice post a comment here, for private requests please email: amazingemployers@sharon.cc

Shortlink to this article: http://wp.me/pWfpN-7R

Riverdale, NY Event: Help for the Unemployed & Underemployed

Lavie helped inspire my blog and I’m sure this will be beneficial to anyone seeking a job, or who would like to help those in that position. As we know with today’s economy no one 100% secure in their position, so even those currently employed may benefit from this.

I recommend that you at least consider buying the  book even if you can’t attend – http://wp.me/pWfpN-2r for more info on the book.

Hiring Tips from a CEO

(make that a fabulously-talented-yet-humble CEO)

Today I have my first guest blogger who’d like to anonymously share their opinion about hiring.

What’s yours? Send it over to me posts@sharon.cc and I’ll post it if I feel our faithful readers have something to gain from it.

Ever wonder what a hiring manager think when you apply for a position you’re not qualified for?

Do they think, well hey, you love kids, and want to help them, so maybe they’ll hire you to be a pediatrician even though you didn’t go to medical school? Apparently not. Here’s the real reaction: don’t over-reach if you need a job. If you’re secure and looking for a small advancement appropriate to your experience, well then good luck!

“Perhaps it is not your resume itself – rather it’s the content: do your job skills match what you are applying for?

You should realize that sometimes hundreds of people apply for the same job (although sometimes it is only a handful which may not be qualified, so don’t be discouraged completely).

If you aren’t getting interviews or responses to applications it may be that other applicants would be able to hit the ground running immediately, with little training; whereas you might seem to be a smart on paper if your resume is strong enough, but would need to be trained. 

If you know what you want to do, get an internship in the field.  Think outside of the box.  Ask people who work in the field to let you work for free.  Contact a non-profit that will let you work on your own schedule.  Call your college and speak to alumni in the field.  Ask friends and family who they know.  There are a number of non-profit organizations that can help with resumes. Start at the bottom up, with an entry level role in the field you want if necessary.

Sending a million resumes on Monster.com and other similar sites is a waste of time and energy.  Make sure your cover letter/resume matches what you are looking for. 

For instance, when I was hiring for a 10 hour a week job, I received almost 100 resumes.  People who were graduating applied and stated that they were interested in the job.  I knew they would quit the moment that a full time role was available elsewhere.  I only interviewed people who stated they were looking for a part time job and reasons why (for instance, a sophomore in college who would like to get experience to supplement education or someone looking to get back into the workforce slowly).

If you are getting interviews but not getting the job, you may need to look at your interview skills, how you come across (how do you look, how do you speak, do you have any weird mannerisms?) and how prepared you appear. Perhaps you could do mock interviews. Again, there are agencies that can help if you cannot afford to hire a professional.”

So there you have it ladies & gentlemen – a CEO is not thrilled that you’re under-qualified or not an appropriate fit but decided to waste time: both yours and theirs.

Put your energy into strong applications for positions you have a strong chance of obtaining!

Shortlink: http://wp.me/pWfpN-7g