Q. I have been successful in the past. After this layoff, my self esteem is shot. My job search is pounding home the fact that I am not a success. No one is calling me, and I am not making it past applications. I only see what I don't have that employers want? Isn't there an easier way to get a job?
A. So you know what success feels like and you probably remember it didn't come over night. Most people have highs and lows in their careers and as part of the job search. Managing the stress associated with the process becomes a skill to be developed. Many companies provide continued access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). If your former employer has offered this to you, call them! Maintaining your emotional and physical health and strength will be vital to your success.
The job search process typically involves some rejection, so try to depersonalize it, and look at yourself as a new sales person. Sales may not be the career you want, but you are on a journey to see yourself and your skill sets to your next employer.
Many people ask about the easiest way to find a job and the key is to simplify the process and get focused. The best way to do this is to develop a job search strategy. Things to think about include:
You are the product - Define what you offer. What are your strengths What are the successes you are most proud of? What challenges have you met for the firms you have worked for in the past?
Target - Everyone selling a product or service has to identify the potential buyers. Have you created the target list of organizations you are most interested in working for? Have you developed a description of the kind of company, by size, industry, and any other criteria which are important to you? Put that in writing; you’ll need it.
Market - Develop your written materials. You’ll need a resume which is quantitatively driven and speaks to the hiring people at the organizations you have targeted. You’ll need a template of a cover letter that lets you customize it quickly, for each new opportunity. And make sure you have a new picture on your LinkedIn profile so people can find you.
Obstacles - All job seekers have obstacles. No degree, too much experience, too little experience, not exactly the right experience. Whatever your obstacle, or weakness, understand why potential employers think it matters. Then, develop reasons it doesn’t matter as much as they think. Be prepared to discuss what you have that matters more, and enhances their organizational advantage. You don’t have a degree but you have 20 years of successful experience. Perhaps you have a long list of related coursework which has enhanced your success, and added value for your past employers.
Sales team - Build your sales team. Don't wait for people to call you. You need to reach out and enlist supporters who might be able to help you identify opportunities, introduce you to new people to meet, send you jobs that others send to them, and to buoy your sprits. Give each of them a copy of the target list you developed earlier.
Take note of every positive interaction, keep your activity level consistent and high. Good luck!
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Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.