In Your Job Search, Focus on What You Can Control

Famous UCLA basketball coach John Wooden used to tell his players to focus only on those things they could control.

His wisdom applies to your job search: you can’t control how many job interviews you receive but you can control how many people you reach out to. You can’t control whether or not you receive a job offer as a result of one of those interviews, but you can control how well you prepare for your interview, how much research you perform on the company and the hiring manager, how much you practice for the interview, and so on.

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Take a look below for other things you can focus on in your job hunt.

  1. Making sure your resume and cover letter are free from typos, misspellings and grammatical mistakes.

You don’t want to trip up your chances from the get-go, so proof your resume and cover letter for any and all mistakes. If you feel your grammar and spelling skills are sketchy, ask someone you know who is up on spelling and grammar rules to proof your documents.

Another way you can really help your candidacy is to write a different cover letter for each position to which you apply. You also should tweak your resume to showcase the skills and experience you have that best meet the job’s requirements. Yes, this takes more work, but every job is different and your resume/cover letter should “sell” your skills, education and experience in a way that best fits any particular job.

  1. The best positions often go to people who know someone at the company.

Is this “fair”? That’s not the point: this is reality. However, you can control your own network and allow it to help you find a great position. So start asking around (let people know what you’re looking for and the skills you possess). If you see a position you like, check LinkedIn to see if anyone you know has a connection with the employer.

  1. Many people apply for the same position. Competition can be TIGHT!

Don’t let that worry you because as someone who wants to take control of his/her job search, you are going to contact the company (or ask around your contacts) to find the name and contact information of the hiring manager for the position. Then you’re going to contact that person directly. Yes, you are!

There’s a lot you simply can’t control about the job search process, but there’s plenty that you can when it comes to your own efforts. So take as much control as you can and contact potential employers directly, make sure your resume/cover letter is different for each job and has no mistakes at all, and expand your network to help you learn of – and be recommended for –terrific positions.

If your job hunt is taking too long, consider working on some temporary assignments with us here at Helpmates Staffing as you search. Many temporary assignments can – and do – turn into more permanent positions (so you may not need to search anymore)! Take a look at our current job opportunities and then either apply or contact us.

When You Get Caught in a Lie

It happens: you’re feeling great and there’s a ball game you’d love to see playing downtown that afternoon. So you call your boss in the morning, giving the best “I have a bad cold” impersonation you can muster, telling her you’re not feeling well. She buys it and you head off to the game.

But who should you run into at the ballpark but your boss (who took official PTO for the afternoon). She’s not happy and she told you to meet her in her office the next day at 8 a.m. sharp!

Are you toast? Possibly, but not necessarily.

The scenario above actually happened several years ago and the gotta-go-to-the-ballgame employee was fired. But that may not be the case today, as many companies now meld vacation and sick-days into one entity called Paid Time Off (PTO). Employers generally want their workers to take time off for vacations and stay home when they truly are sick. But if you lie about it….

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Most of us are employed at will, which means a company can fire us at any time for any reason. (We also can quit at any time for any reason.) Most employers understand that “things happen,” and pretty much wait for egregious actions (theft) or big mistakes (losing a major client) before using the employed-at-will option and firing an employee.

But you definitely could be fired for lying (such as calling sick when you’re actually well).

However, most lies aren’t serious ones. They tend to be small: you made a relatively minor mistake and you’re trying to cover it up. Chances are you won’t be fired for these, but such a lie will damage your reputation with your manager and affect her trust in you.

So what can you do if you find yourself caught in a lie? Some strategies:

  1. When found out, don’t try to cover it up.

You’d just be continuing the lie and making the consequences when truth does come out even worse for yourself.

  1. Immediately. And sincerely.

As you do so, take full responsibility for your lie. Own it. Say you knew it was wrong and stupid and you deeply regret it. Don’t say it was a small lie, it didn’t affect anything. You can explain why you said it, but don’t try to use that explanation as an excuse: again, own your actions.

  1. Tell your manager you realize she may not trust you as much.

Again, this is part of owning your lie. You must understand that she probably won’t trust you to the same extent going forward and you must address this. Tell your manager you will work hard to rebuild her trust and that you realize this will take some time to do.

  1. Work hard to regain your manager’s trust.

It will take time, but no self-pity allowed. Work harder than you ever have. Unfortunately, you may never regain her trust. If that is the case, after a few months of giving it your all, you may want to start looking elsewhere because chances are good you will miss out on promotions and other opportunities.

When it’s time for you to look for another position in Southern California, make sure you take a look at our current job openings with some of the region’s top employers. If you find one or more opportunities that appeal  to you, apply online or contact the Helpmates office nearest you for more information.

Want to Make Sure You’re Happy at Work? Choose the Right Job AND Company

Since most of us spend more than a third of our waking hours Monday through Friday at work (one arguably could make the case that it’s more than a third after adding on commuting time and the business of getting ready for work in the morning), all of us more  than likely want an enjoyable one-third day. Maybe even a great one-third day. Certainly not a miserable third.

Many of us, therefore, may think we need to find the perfect career or certainly perfect job in order to be happy.

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But even perfect jobs/careers have their bad sides. We know of one physical therapist, for example, who loves treating her patients. The other four hours of her day typing up notes and treatment plans? Not so much: she truly hates the paperwork part, so much so that she’s seriously thinking of changing careers.

So the first thing we need to realize is that we’re not going to be happy for all eight-plus hours on all five days per week.

But we can work to make work pleasant most of the time. Here’s how:

Plan for it.

What we mean is this: you’re not going to stumble into happy circumstances on the job. Instead, you need to know what kind of working environment you enjoy along with the work you like to do. You also may want to consider the personalities of your coworkers.

Another real life example: we know of one woman who took a job in a cube farm that was dark most of the time because her colleagues who worked near the wall of windows on the southeast side couldn’t see their computer screens most of the day because the sun shined right onto them.

She also noticed during the two interview she had with the hiring manager that her future colleagues seemed to keep pretty much to themselves most  of the day. The room was dark and exceptionally quiet.

A voice inside her told her she would be miserable but she took the job knowing she would enjoy the actual work and believing its great benefits – quitting at 2 p.m. every day in the summer, five weeks of paid vacation a year – would make up for the quiet, dark room.

She was miserable and ended up leaving the job within six months (before summer and before she qualified for even one week of vacation).

So ask yourself some questions:

  • Do you like working alone or as part of the team most of the time?
  • Do you need windows?
  • Do you need an office where you can close the door and concentrate?
  • How do you feel about colleagues in an open office playing their radio/streaming music quietly? Televisions on the wall?
  • Ask your boss how she prefers to manage people. Autonomy-with-guidance-as-needed or is she someone who checks on progress every day? Does her management style jibe with how you prefer to be managed?
  • And so on.

These questions may sound trivial, but if you were to talk to either of the women mentioned above, you’d understand that the trivial – the details – are critical to being happy at work. Even the work you love to do can become a burden when the where, how and some of the what makes you miserable.

If you’ve found yourself stuck in a position that you thought would be a great fit work but you found soon enough comes with aspects that make you despondent, consider taking on a temp-to-hire position through Helpmates Staffing. These are temporary assignments that allow you to take work in a position for about three months before signing on more permanently (if both you and your on-site manager agree). These types of temporary positions are a terrific way to “test drive” a company’s and department’s culture to see if you enjoy not only the work, but also your colleagues and work environment.

Take a look at some of our current job opportunities. (Use Advanced Search and click on Temp-to-Hire under Employment Type.)

How to Decline a Job Offer (So That They Won’t Hate You)

Let’s say you’ve been offered a job but it’s lacking.   In something.  The pay isn’t enough. It’s too far to commute. (“91 freeway westbound in the morning? Are you KIDDING me!?”) Your ex-boyfriend just announced on InstaStories that he got a job there. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided that the job isn’t what you thought it would be and so you’ve decided to turn it down.

But in order to get a job offer, one usually must say right out loud while shaking a hiring manager’s hand goodbye: “Thank you for this interview(s). I think I’d be a great addition to your team and I hope you will offer me the job.” Or you said as much on the phone. Or probably in your thank you letter after your interviews.

So. Turning down the job after you baldly and repeatedly said you wanted it? This is embarrassing.

No, it’s not.

People decline job offers all the time. What’s more, job offers get rescinded all the time. So, minor embarrassment aside, it’s perfectly normal to say no thank you after an offer’s been extended.

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But. You never know: you may want to work at this company someday in the future. So be careful how you the job down: you want to do so with grace, professionally and in a way that makes the hiring manager think well of you.

Take a look below for how to do this.

  1. Don’t not show up on your first day.

Sure, you’re nervous about saying no. You also may be worried that you might be making a mistake by turning it down and so you postpone making a decision until the day you’re supposed to start. And so you don’t show up. And you don’t answer texts or calls or emails from your (could have been) new boss.

Instead, be a professional and as soon as you’re certain the job’s not for you, let the hiring manager know, preferably no later than a week before your start date. (Even better, turn it down before you even set a start date!)The absolute latest you can tell someone you’re not coming in: the day before your first day and even that is cutting it way too close.

Not showing up just shows extreme immaturity and massive inconsideration. Man- or woman-up and tell the hiring manager with days to spare.

  1. It’s best to call the hiring manager. Second best is an e-mail. Never text.

Yes, it could be a hard call to make. But the hiring manager deserves this courtesy. And you’re a professional: you definitely can do this.

Whether you call or email, follow these guidelines:

  • Thank the hiring manager for the offer. Tell her how much you appreciate her consideration of your skills and background.
  • Give a brief reason why you’re not accepting the offer/changed your mind. You don’t have to go into great detail: you’ve accepted a position at another company. After much thought, you’ve decided to stay put. You and your spouse discussed and the longer commute will just cut too much into critical family time, etc. You don’t even have to give a reason, you can just say “As wonderful as this opportunity is, unfortunately I am going to decline.” (If you say this in a phone conversation, understand the hiring manager probably ask for a reason. Have a good one handy. Again, you don’t have to go into details.)
  1. Offer a solution.

You’re not going to say “give me 20 percent more than you offered and I’m your gal!” Instead what we mean by a solution is to say you have several connections in your network who may be great for the position and you offer to talk to them about it and send their information to the hiring manager

You see, by turning the offer down, you’ve created a huge problem for your hiring manager: he has work to be done that no one’s going to do and he to go through the interview process all over again! By offering a solution you show that you understand you’ve created a problem and you want to help fix it.

This shows empathy and professionalism.

  1. Say you want to stay in touch.

The world of work is small one. Particularly within industries. There may come a time when you will want to work for this company. Or you may see the hiring manager at conferences, seminars and other professional events. If you aren’t yet connected on LinkedIn, say you will send a connection request soon (and then do so that day). Even a simple “Thank you for your time and offer and I hope we meet again,” will be enough.

Say yes to your next job offer by contacting Helpmates. We have many great job and career opportunities in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Good luck with your job search!

Face It: Your Employees Have a Side Hustle. Support Them in It

With 44 million Americans working a side hustle in addition to their regular, full-time job, we feel it’s time that employers embraced that fact and supported their employees in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Many of us can’t make ends meet on our main job: half of all U.S. workers make less than $15 an hour and even if two people making minimum wage on full-time jobs (the federal minimum wage is $7.25, although several states pay more) pool their resources, that’s just $30,160 a year, making it tough for the couple to make ends meet, let alone raise a family.

So these side gigs help a family with finances: the CNN Money story linked to above said 36 percent of those with a side hustle make $500 a month or more.

Many workers report taking on a part-time job with another employer, but many others hustle as Uber or Lyft drivers, sell items on eBay or Amazon, design websites for businesses, and so on.

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Unsurprisingly, a PWC survey this year found that 53 percent of all employees were stressed about their finances and that stress actually causes the workers to spend three or more hours each week thinking about their sad state of affairs, which lowers their productivity.

In addition, what would happen to these employees if a spouse were laid off, a child or parent became sick, or the employee herself was injured and therefore unable to work?

But what if employers helped their workers be prepared for financial tough times? What if they encouraged their entrepreneurial bent?

After all, if finances are such a huge stress on employees – and that stress is lowering their productivity – why not support their spare-time, off-the-clock efforts?

Businesses, of course, would need to come up with guidelines regarding the side gig (not working on the enterprise while at work, no starting a business in direct competition with the employer, no using the employers’ equipment in the side hustle, etc.).

But instead of saying “no” most often, why shouldn’t businesses provide resources for their workers to learn how to launch a business, invest wisely and so on? Businesses also could provide classes or seminars on how to create a budget, how to put money aside for emergencies and for retirement, and so on.

Doing so could help lower workers’ stress and therefore help them be more productive, a big benefit to the employer. In addition, who knows? A worker who embraces and learns about entrepreneurship for his own enterprise may come up with some fresh ideas for his employers’ business!

Want to find some hustling workers for your Los Angeles or Orange County business? Let Helpmates find them for you! Contact the office nearest you today.

If These Folks Changed Careers Mid-Stream, You Can, Too

Let’s say you’re over 30. Or 40. Even 50 or 60. And you’ve come to the realization that the career you’ve chosen isn’t the right career for you. Or you’ve decided “I only live once, and it’s time to follow my dream.”

But you feel old. You’ve been in this career for 10 or more years – perhaps even three decades – and you fear it’s too late, that the proverbial ship has sailed.

Or you may be very successful in your current career and you Just. Don’t. Want. To. Start. At. The. Bottom.

All are legitimate concerns: it won’t be easy to change careers. If older than 45 (or even – gulp! — 35), people probably will look at you as “too old.” If switching to a career that’s completely different from your current one, you more than likely will have to start at a level – and salary – below what you’re working at now.

But don’t let that stop you: at least explore the idea of a career change. After all, if the people showcased below can change careers mid-stream, you can, too.

From Senior HR Professional to Professor – in His 50s

Phillipe Gaud worked in HR for 25 years, eventually reaching senior level roles in “high profile companies.” He left that career, he says, even though there was no “real reason to abandon a career that was developing very well. No real reason, that its, except one, crucial one: I wanted something different.”

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He realized at the time that he could be making a huge mistake, but he now works as an affiliate professor at HEC Paris. It appears he took a huge risk, turning his first career’s knowledge into a teaching career. Doing so – making a career out of teaching all of your accumulated expertise – can make the career change easier.

Left a $500K Salary to Follow a Passion

That’s right: Susie Moore left a very lucrative position to become a life coach. She didn’t do it cold turkey, however: she started feeling restless as she approached 30 and so went for training as a life coach and started her coaching enterprise as a side hustle. Now that she’s coaching full time, she also helps other people start side hustles, even if they never want to transition the 2nd income stream into a full-time one.

Moore mentions she has helped an accountant build a side business as a Christian life coach and someone else who works as a social media director start a matchmaking service.

Starting a side business or even working part-time in your chosen next career is a wise move: you won’t have to worry about finances as you build the business and/or you lessen the risk of moving to the second career and then finding you don’t enjoy it!

Fulfilling the dream of Fighting Fires, at Age 56!

Firefighters tend to be in the 20s and 30s: after all, it takes a lot of physical strength and stamina to work a fire line. Firefighters still in the game in their 40s and 50s tend to become  captains and, well, they lead those who fight fires; they may not actively battle them as much as they used to.

Plus, if you’re a woman, it’s all that harder to become a firefighter, even when young!

But Robin Nesdale went through the grueling training to become a volunteer firefighter at age 56.

Now you may be thinking, “Well, that’s not a really a career change. After all, she works as a volunteer; she doesn’t get paid.”

So while it may not be a true career change, take note: if you can’t make your dream into a career, it’s never too late to turn it into a great hobby. Dreams don’t need paychecks attached in order to be fulfilling

If you’re thinking it’s time for a change in jobs or careers, Helpmates can help! Take a look at some of our current openings and contact us if one or more appeals to you.

 

If You Want a Raise, Be Prepared

So you’ve been working hard, really hard at your job. People have noticed and commented. Your boss has noticed and commented positively.

Then performance reviews roll around. Your boss speaks highly of your work and gives you a very positive review. And you wait, expectantly: you know that mention of a raise, perhaps even a promotion is coming. Sure as know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, a raise is coming. You. Just. Know. It.

And then? Bupkis. The boss never mentions a raise. The word promotion never leaves her lips.

You, naturally, are stumped. What happened?

You didn’t ASK for a raise is what happened!

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Of course, some bosses automatically reward hard work with raises, but not always. Your boss has many other things on her mind: she needs to make sure the big project gets done on time. She needs to keep her own boss happy. She has plenty of fires to put out, people to manage and worries of which you have no idea. There’s a lot your boss needs to manage and know.

But one thing she doesn’t know is that you want a raise and she doesn’t know it because you haven’t told her!

Asking for a raise is the first step to getting one. The most important step. But it’s not the only step: you need to prove to your boss that you deserve one!

Before the Ask, the Preparation

You can’t simply approach your boss and say “Boss, I’ve been working hard; I’d like a raise.” If you want a raise, you do need to work hard, but then you need to show how that hard work has benefited your boss, your department and/or company in some tangible way.

And that is where the preparation comes in. Follow these four steps as you prepare.

  1. The process starts weeks and months before you ask.

As you perform your job, send your boss quarterly, monthly or even weekly updates. Tell her what you’ve accomplished in measurable terms (you brought in $X in new sales, you posted X blog posts, you handled X number of customer complaints, you’re halfway through a project and are two weeks ahead, etc.)

If you do something extraordinary (landed an account three times your usual size, for example), include that, as well.

Sending these reports does two things: it keeps your supervisor apprised of your accomplishments and it acts as a way for you to remember your accomplishments months later. After all, it’s easy to forget you completed a project three weeks ahead of schedule six months later.

  1. Don’t feel you can ask for a raise only at your annual performance review.

If you believe you’ve truly gone far above what’s required of you and if you know – and can show – how that work as helped your boss, department or company accomplish its own goals, there’s no need to wait to ask for a raise. When extraordinary work has been accomplished, it’s appropriate to ask for a reward soon after.

  1. Think about how your boss likes to be approached about important things and act accordingly.

Does your boss prefer directness? If so, you may want to set an appointment and let her know upfront you want to discuss a raise. If your manager prefers a more subtle approach to important topics, bring the raise up in a weekly or monthly check-in meeting. In other words, study when your supervisor is most amenable to considering requests and approach her in the way that has the best chance of success for her.

At the least, if you feel she’s troubled, in a bad mood, stressed, etc. at the time of your meeting, see if you can reschedule.

  1. Prepare your case.

Before meeting with your manager, look through your updates and collect proper “evidence.” Show the facts: that you brought in the big client, finished the project early, saved the company money in some way, received an “atta boy” letter from the CEO for your great work, and so on.

Then, do your homework: do some research to find out what raise percentages usually are given out at your company, in your region, in your industry. You want to ask for a reasonable raise, but as mentioned below, if you accomplished the extraordinary, feel free to ask for a larger-than-normal raise. Just be doubly prepared to give solid reasons why your accomplishment warrants it.

You’ll probably be nervous asking for more money, and that’s OK. Just don’t let fear hold you back from asking for a raise when it’s deserved.

Not all raises take place with your current employer: switch to a new employer and you typically receive a 4 percent raise just by leaving one company for another.

If you think it’s time to move on from your Los Angeles or Orange County job, check out Helpmates’ current openings and, if one interests you, apply for it!

Why a Cover Letter MATTERS

Job openings always ask to see a resume and often ask for cover letters, but not always. So as a candidate you may think that a cover letter is an “option,” as in “not required.”

And it may well not be required, but it’s never not an option, not if you want to greatly increase your chances of getting an interview.

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A cover letter can be very powerful. It can help your application stand out in a sea of candidates with about the same skills, background and education requested in the job posting.  It can be “the determining factor” in whether or not you get called in for an interview.

The Many Benefits of a Cover Letter

  1. It helps you stand out.

As mentioned above, when having to choose who to interview among similar candidates, a well-crafted cover letter can end up being your golden ticket to the interview.

  1. It can showcase skills and background that don’t fit in a resume.

You are so much more than the work history on your resume. There are difficult projects you completed that need to be highlighted, challenges overcome in a job not easily delineated in a resume, skills possessed that aren’t required in a job description but which are helpful and should be described, and so on.

  1. You can target a cover letter easily for each position for which you apply.

Every account manager position is different from any other account manager opportunity and while your resume will speak highly of your abilities and accomplishments as an account manager in the past, your cover letter allows you to speak specifically as to how and why those skills will help this employer.

For example, the job posting mentions that the person selected for the account manager position will be expanding into a new product territory. You worked at your last employer for three years, but six months of your tenure there saw you expanding a product line’s sales by 150 percent in a new territory. An accomplishment such as that should be placed near the top of your cover letter to pique a hiring manager’s or recruiter’s interest! (And also mentioned on your resume.)

  1. A cover letter can explain gaps in your employment history.

Few of us have a job history with no breaks. If have a job history hole of more than six months, you can address the reason in the cover letter. This is especially important if the gap in work history is recent.

Examples: “After taking time off to complete my master’s degree in psychology in a year…” “After taking time off to raise my children until they reached elementary school age…” “After taking time off to help care for my father with Alzheimer’s disease…”

Bottom line? Always include a cover letter for each application. Write a different cover letter for each position, highlighting the skills, background and accomplishments relevant to the position that showcase your value to the employer.

We’ve been helping Southern Californians find – and land – great jobs for 45 years, so we know a thing or two about making candidates attractive to employers. If you’re looking for new opportunities, check out our current job postings and then either apply (don’t forget the cover letter!) and/or contact the Helpmates office nearest you. Contact us to learn more about our recruiting services.

You’re Working Hard, Yet You Haven’t Been Promoted. What to Do

You’ve worked at your employer for at least a year, possibly even two or three. You’ve worked hard, have always come in on time (if not even early) and never left until after everyone else had gone home.  You did more than was expected of you and were often complimented on the great work you did. Your boss also has given you an atta boy/atta girl several times over the last few months.

Yet as much as you want a promotion, as much as you absolutely deserve a promotion, you’ve watched as others received them, but not you.

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What gives? We’ve listed several possibilities below.

  1. You never actually asked for a promotion.

That’s right: you need to ask.

Should your boss notice your great work and accomplishments? Sure! But will she? Maybe, but maybe not. After all, she has her own concerns and more than likely is focused mostly on making sure she does her own job well. She needs to be sure she’s keeping her own boss happy (and securing her own promotions). And even if she does notice the great job you’re doing – and certainly appreciates it – she  may have thought that if you wanted a promotion, you would have asked for it.

Scenarios where the boss surprises you with a promotion and a fat raise? Those usually happen only in the movies. You need to ask to get.

  1. Your boss doesn’t think you’re ready.

Your supervisor did notice all your hard work and accomplishments, but when you bring the subject up, your boss tells you she thinks that while you’re on the path to promotion, she doesn’t think you’re quite ready.

Why might she think it’s not your time yet?

  • Your boss may feel you’re not enough of a team player. This trait is important if you want a promotion that moves you up to management.
  • Your supervisor feels that you don’t handle stressful situations well or that you’re too much of a people pleaser, and wants you to “mature” a bit more.
  • And so on.
  1. You didn’t show your boss the value of a promotion.

Just because you work hard and go the extra mile in your current position in no way qualifies you for a promotion. A promotion always entails more responsibility, more “skin in the game,” so to speak. So what has all that effort provided your boss, in addition to simple hard work?

Did you bring in more clients? Did save the company more money? Did you make the department more efficient? In other words, what tangible results did your work produce?

  1. There’s no benefit to your boss.

Yes, this appears selfish on her part, but in order to get a promotion, your boss needs to get something out of it. It must be something that benefits her, personally. For example, by promoting you, does a particular goal or project she wants completed get completed because of your particular skills?

If you’ve been working hard, providing terrific and provable value to your employer and have asked for a promotion to no avail, it may be time to move on. Helpmates can help. Take a look at our current job opportunities. Yes, many of our openings are temporary, but many are regular, full-time career positions.  Plus, temporary positions often can advance your career.

Contact the Helpmates office nearest you today to apply.

When You Haven’t Had a Job Interview in 6 Months, Do This

Let’s say you’ve been unemployed for a while. A long while, at least six months. You were laid off from your Orange County company and were able to score a nice severance package and so you decided to “take it easy” for a few weeks, catch your breath, rest up, relax, maybe take in some of the Southern California day trips you’d been wanting to take, but never had the time.

And then a few weeks turned into six, then into two months and you woke up one  morning and said to yourself: “Todays’ the day! I’m revamping the resume, taking a look at some job boards, maybe make a few calls.”

And you do start with gusto. But 45 minutes in to the resume redo, you decide to check Facebook. Then it’s on to the Fox News or CNN websites. Before you know it, it’s 11:30: can’t make any calls now; it’s time for lunch.

As you eat lunch at your desk, you browse your favorite sites. You look up again and it’s 2 p.m. How did THAT happen!? So you work for another 45 minutes and then take a break.

Break over, but it’s now 4:45. Contacts won’t be at their desks. You call it a day.

The Same Pattern, Day After Day

Three months in and you’ve revamped the cover letter, but you’re starting to get worried: that severance package won’t last forever.

So you make some calls and people are polite but you can her them yawning on the other end. They’ll let you know if they hear of anything.

You start applying to openings you see on the job boards. You carefully craft each cover letter to the position and tweak your resume for that particular opening, too.

Still, that sound you hear? Crickets.

Six months is coming in mere days and you’ve no prospects and you’ve gone on no job interviews and you’ve definitely received no job offers.

Panic is now your middle name.

Time to REALLY Get to Work!

Even if you’ve been diligently applying for jobs, networking, and so on but have no job offers or even interviews, well, we’ll be blunt here: it’s going to be a lot harder for you to get interviews/job offers. Not impossible; but definitely harder. In a way, employers will look at you as if you’ve been out of work for five years: “What’s wrong with you that you’re still unemployed?”

(Note to self: never again “take it easy for a few days” after being laid off. Start the job search within no more than a week after leaving your employer.)

Enough with the Bad News. Here’s What you MUST Do: You’re Going to Break Some Rules

  • You’re going to approach companies directly (No more applying on job boards. You are DONE.) You’re going to find out who can hire for the type of work you can do and you’re going to contact that person directly.
  • Once you get a name, you’re going to research the hiring manager. LinkedIn, Google, the company’s website. You’re also going to research the company’s website to see what its goals and challenges are and you’re going to Google the heck out of, finding everything you can about the company.
  • Once you’ve done your research and you know the hiring manager’s name, you’re going to write her a letter. But not any old letter. Nope. Definitely not. Instead, you’re going to write a letter about a problem you figure the hiring manager has and how you can solve it for her. You could call this a “pain” letter if you like (go ahead, that’s what she calls it).
  • People hire people to solve their problems and you’re going to state how your skills and experience can help a hiring manager solve that problem. And you’re going to ask for a meeting or phone call to discuss your capabilities in person (instructions on how to do this).
  • Next you’ll place that letter (don’t fold it) with your resume in an 8.5 x 11-inch manila envelope and address it to the hiring manager.
  • And you’ll do this again for several different hiring managers at different companies.

Results can happen pretty quickly once the letters go out. This takes considerable work upfront (finding names, research, crafting the letter, etc.) but hiring managers will contact you. After all, you’ve just shown them evidence that you can solve their problems! Not all of them, of course, but enough will and you’ll soon be headed out on interviews.

Whether you’re looking for a full-time position or some temporary assignments while you look for your next opportunity, Helpmates can help. We have dozens of job openings every day: take a look and if one or more look interesting, apply as instructed.

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