A few years ago I started thinking about all the ways participants in the Dislocated Worker Program move through transition. Some move quickly through the process while others struggle.
I started asking people to share with me just how they made it. While I can spout job search readiness all day, the people who have lived it and are now celebrating after all their hard work can speak beautifully about how to do a job search right.
I would like to share with you some of the responses I got about Surviving Transition.
“I know you said you would like some feedback from me to pass along to others who are unemployed. I have a couple helpful hints. I was unemployed for over a year (actually over 2 years, but I worked as a contract worker intermittently the first year and a little of the second year!) and I’ve found out a few things.
1. Create a daily schedule with timing for your job search.
2. Create a plan of action with goals so you can see yourself meeting the goals.
3. Work with Job Partners for an awesome résumé!
4. Decide on minimum job requirements including type of job, hours, salary and benefits. Don’t just apply for everything that’s out there. You will soon feel bad when you’re getting FT job offers but have to turn them down because the minimum wage won’t cover daycare (or other expenses).
5. Take a PT job, if there are any out there! It’s also nice to get out of the house and meet people and network.
6. It is imperative for people with small children to maintain the normal routine as though they were employed. Bring the kids to daycare so that you can really search for a job without distractions. Also, then the kids are used to going to daycare, so life won’t be so much of a change when you do find a job.
7. Volunteer anywhere. You will make important contacts and gain knowledge and be useful. I volunteered at my church creating excel spreadsheets. I learned a lot and met a lot of people and made a lot of potential business contacts. My church was very disappointed when I had to quit because they were very impressed with my work and had passed my name along to others who might have a need for me. It’s also nice to get out of the house and meet people and network.
8. Take all classes available at Job Partners. The resume and interviewing classes were very helpful for me. It’s also nice to get out of the house and meet people and network.
9. Find pertinent classes that will benefit your job search and take them. Talk to your counselor about payment options. It’s also nice to get out of the house and meet people and network.
10. Take notes immediately after each interview. Note the type of questions asked, your answers, what would have been a better answer, follow-up questions you would like to ask, the tone of the meeting and any other pertinent details. This will help you prepare for future interviews.
11. When you get a job offer, make sure you have all the tools to negotiate a good offer. Don’t let them ask you what you want to be paid without knowing the salary range first. You need to know the salary range (and they have that information so they should give it to you) and then you will plan to ask for a salary in the midpoint or slightly higher. There are good resources on this if you Google it.
13. Update your LinkedIn profile. Many companies look at this! Take the LinkedIn class at Job Partners. It’s also nice to get out of the house and meet people and network.
14. Okay, I had more than 6 interviews for the job I have now! It’s not unheard of! I had multiple interviews before and didn’t get the job! Some didn’t even bother getting back to me at all. That’s just what happened to me!”
“I'll give some thought to what it takes for a long-term job search (in my case it was 9 months) The biggest thing I learned is that you have to work on making connections outside of your network and really have to focus on the hidden job market vs. the job boards.”
“I don't know that I have any words of wisdom really. I would just say what helped me was to keep networking, you never know when something will come up. This position was never posted, it was all through contacts and persistent networking. I think there are a lot of jobs like that that never get posted, you just need to be out there talking to people and make sure your name and face are in their minds when an opportunity comes up.”
“Some words of wisdom is (from experience) employers DO care if you send them a thank you note.. I never did send it because I always felt I was bugging them, they responded too soon, or I was so busy looking for other jobs that I forgot (too many jobs applying for at one time to keep them straight).. Well needless to say, I sent my first thank you letter and low and behold I got offered the job.. Also, you can express that they need to go in there understanding the job, it makes the interview sooooo much easier.. Ask questions and let the employer know you are interested in their company.. And lastly, don't ask questions that are clearly stated on the job post, that appears to be laziness..”
I made it through this process because I knew that everything was happening to me for a reason and new that when the time came, it would be the right time.. I would make sure I got out of bed every morning (sleeping in not an option) so I would not get depressed.”
Nothing beats your story. Tell it often. I hope that your transition goes smoothly. Keep sharing what works and the difficult parts too. Ask for help! Everyone wants to see you succeed.
If you have tips for surviving transition, share them with your counselor. We need to know what works too!