Happy Thanksgiving

This is a strange holiday weekend. A few days ago, we celebrated Thanksgiving Day. A day dedicated to family, friends, and being grateful for what we have. Then the next day is Black Friday where we are expected to shop ‘till we drop, grabbing “bargains” and spending more than we can afford. And Monday will be Cyber-Monday where again we’re encouraged to spend with abandon, but online. Who put those things together?

If you are job hunter, I want you to mentally go back to Thanksgiving Day. I hope that for you that was a nice, energizing day. I know that large family gatherings can be stressful. I also know that for some, the absence of the large family gathering is also stressful, or sad. But let’s take this back to the roots. Thanksgiving is a chance to assess where we are, and to be thankful for whatever it is we have.  It might be meager or bountiful, but regardless, we can still find gratitude.

Find that peace. Relax. Assess.

As a job seeker, the next 30 days will be difficult. Traditionally, the job market slows way down after Thanksgiving. Hiring managers are focused on their holidays, getting things cleaned up for year-end, and using their vacation time so they don’t lose it. In this wacky economy, I still expect all out hiring in retail, warehouse, and food services, but I expect the professional hiring world to slow way down.

Take this time to recharge and get yourself ready. Polish your resume. Practice your interview question responses. Send thank-you notes to your network. And get ready, because I expect the 2022 labor market to start off hot.  If you need some tips on how to make the most of your search, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.

Networking 101

New to networking? The skill of building a network of contacts is crucial to finding your dream job. Here is a set by step guide. It’s easier than you think.

  1. Make a list of everyone you know – not just the people you think might have good contacts – everyone.
  2. One-by-one, contact them and ask them if they would help you.
  3. At that meeting, tell them your elevator speech.
  4. Hand them your resume.
  5. Ask them if they know anyone you might talk to about your job search.
  6. If they say no, show them your target list and ask if they know anyone who works at one of these companies.
  7. Ask them if there is anything you can for them.
  8. Thank them.
  9. Using the list of names they gave you, return to step 2 and repeat the process.

Depending on your personality, networking might be fun, or daunting, but it is by far the most effective way of looking for a job that you’ll really love. it is rarely fast. For most of us it is exhausting and frustrating. But it works – consistently.

Over the coming holiday season, the job market will slow down, but the networking season can ramp up. People will be feeling more generous, and they may have more time on their hands. Use this time to work on your network, and when the job market opens in January, you’ll be ready. If you want more help with networking, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.

So, how does it feel to get fired?

Anybody a fan of the movie Big?  I love it when Tom Hanks sings “Feelings, nothing more than feelings …” to his mom to prove that he is really her missing little boy.

So, how does it feel to get fired?  Simple – it sucks.  It’s like getting punched in the stomach. Even when you know it’s coming it is an awful feeling.  I’ve been blindsided a couple of times. The boss calls you in.  You think everything is going great.  Then she says, “I’m sorry but we’ve decided to make a change.  We’re eliminating your position.  Your last day will be …”

You don’t really hear much after that. Your head starts to swim.  You feel a little nauseated.  Depending on how quickly you move through the stages of grief you may get angry. You may try to plead.  Your fight-or-flight instincts kick in and you just want to get the heck out of there.

You’re probably reading this because you’ve already been fired and know what I’m talking about. If so, then you may be wondering why I’m wasting your time recalling bad memories.

Here’s why.  You need to remember what that feels like.  I don’t know if you got fired yesterday, last week, or 10 years ago, but look at where you are today.  You’re alive.  The world continues to revolve, the sun rises and sets.  Life goes on, and no matter how badly you felt when that happened, you survived. 

It might have been difficult to talk about – maybe it still is.  It’s always hard to tell your family – believe me I know that – but you’ll go on.  Follow this blog. Read the book.  Build a network. There are people who can and will help you.

Now let’s get busy and find you that next job. If you are struggling with your job search, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.

Be Scheherazade

You remember Scheherazade, right? The legendary storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights?  Go read Wikipedia.

Anyway, if you haven’t had an interview in the last decade or so, you may find that the process has changed some.  Most interviewers use some form of Behavioral Interviewing and while no longer revolutionary, it’s still state-of-the-art.

The theory is that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance.  If you ask a candidate how they would handle a certain situation (for example – talking with an angry customer) they’ll tell you what they think you want to hear.  But, if you ask them to tell you a story about the last time they handled an angry customer, they are more likely to reveal their true stripes.

As the applicant, you need to be ready to tell the story.  Search the web for interview questions then think about them and write out your answer.  Include all the color and excitement (but still stay succinct).  Practice saying the answers out loud so you feel comfortable telling the story.  You may not be asked that specific question, but having a back pocket full of stories will build your self-confidence and you’ll be surprised how you can weave one story into many different questions.

Here are some of my favorite questions just to get you started and Google can find you thousands more.

  • Tell me about a time when you were a member of a team that had a difficult goal to achieve.  What was your role on the team and how did you help influence the success of the group?
  • Tell me about a time you had an employee who was not being successful.  How did you manage that process and either help the employee become successful, or transition out of the organization?
  • Tell me about a time when you were in a fast-paced environment and you had multiple and possibly conflicting priorities.  How did you prioritize your work?  What techniques did you use to keep yourself organized and avoid missing deadlines?

So, be prepared to respond to an interviewer who says “Tell me about a time …” by becoming Scheherazade and tell a story that people will remember. If you’re struggling with your job search, this may help – https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.