“When people lose their jobs, they tend to become hermits instead of getting out there and connecting,” Allyson Monson, the Danbury forum leader of the women's networking group B.I.G explained. “The two biggest obstacles to finding a new job are thinking you are worth more, and expecting jobs to come your way. People aren't prepared for the competition. There are now ten other people looking for the same position.”
As intimidating as that sounds, finding a job is possible, and the time to start looking is right now, even if you already have a job, according to Ellen Treacy, Middlebury, a career counselor at New York City Employment Resource Center. Anyone can make use of their extensive career counseling services both on the website and at the Center in Manhattan. (Check out the extensive list of resources the NYCERC provided in our photo gallery!)
“People looking anonymously for jobs on the web may feel demoralized,” Treacy said. “You have to get up, get dressed, get out. Your job search is your job, and it has to be from 9-5 every day. If you do that, within three months, you should have a job.”
Treacy advised, “Sit down and make a list of everyone you know; the gym, the vet, at the grocery store, everywhere you go, because they may help you find a job. Every day make personal contact with five people, people that you meet. Send 10 emails. Make 15 phone calls.”
“Only 4 percent find their jobs online,” Treacy added. “About 70 percent find employment through networking and word of mouth. Recruiting and referrals by family and friends is about 25 percent.”
“When you lose a job, the first thing you have to do is get out of the funk,” Chris Jensen, Newtown, business and career coach with Executive Forums counseled. “Make absolutely sure you you are prominent in social networking. You must have a good strong Linked In presentation online. Quantity of online “friends” is not necessarily better than quality. Cultivate the kind of people you want to be, employers will see you are connected to people like them.”
Research Your Interview
Both Treacy and Jensen said it is imperative to know the company before you go for an interview. “People think if you don't have the energy or motivation to know the company before you come in, why would you have energy and motivation in the job,” asked Jensen. “Today everyone has a website, it's easy to find out about companies. Manta website lists thousands of websites, who the head people are, gross volume of companies, you can find out a lot right there.”
Cassia Verzello, Southbury, told how her husband sensed his position within the company was coming to an end, and began networking before he lost the job.
“He knew things were changing in the company. He now has a new position in the same company but a lot of other people lost their jobs. The key to his getting the position was that he was able to submit a letter detailing the changes he would make and how he would run things more cost effectively. When they hired him, they told him, 'You are the only person who targeted what you would do the minute you got here.' Networking and research were the key,” Verzello said.
No matter what kind of a job you are looking for, the employer's expectations are the same. Anthony Moore, Danbury, is a machine operator who is still looking for a job. “I learned that cover letters are very important, and nowadays they don't have one interview, they have two or three. Communication is important, those interviews show if you are determined to get to get the job. They brief you on different departments to see how much you know about the company.”
Jensen counseled, “During the interview, any good Human Relations is going to ask certain questions such as, 'Tell me about a time that you really botched a project. How did you fix it? What was the outcome?' Answer the question they asked because the answers tell a lot about a person. Listen to the interviewer, people feel comfortable with a person who listens to them. Build a rapport.”
Cover Letter and Resume
“Be brief in your cover letter. Let the resume sell you,” Jensen advised. “After you look at the company website, tailor your resume specifically for the job. Make sure it shows what you have accomplished. Don't just say the position that you held, but anything that sets you apart.”
One Brookfield resident, Paul Holko, was out of work for four months without a single interview. Holko's son advised him to update his resume, and within weeks, he had multiple offers.
“I would check the computer once a day for a job, and my son, who is majoring in Business at Albertus Magnus said, 'You think you are writing for a person, but you are talking to a computer.' He rewrote my resume and put in the key words the computer looks for. He told me to look four times a day at 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 4 p.m., and 8 p.m.”
“My son explained that jobs start to come on at 6:30 in the morning and they are taken off only two hours later. After they get a substantial amount of hits they take it down. The computer will sort through them based on certain words, and pick out the ten best,” Holko said.
Holko's son revised the resume using the words experienced and professional several times throughout, and emphasized Holko's capabilities and unique skills. “The resume really kind of praised the companies. Within three weeks, I had three interviews, three offers, and the job I got, I was interviewed on the phone.”
None of the other applicants had one particular skill that Holko did, and that was what clinched the job.
“You have to be able to communicate that you bring some value to their company. You have to present yourself with enthusiasm for the job and company,” Treacy said.
“If you can survive being laid off, you'll make it,” Monson said. “My husband took a huge cut in pay and he is way happier. You start to understand what's important.”