How to Help Your Friends Who Experience a Job Loss (or Yourself!)

Glory Borgeson
 


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Do you have friends or family members who have recently experienced a job loss? Career transition can be a very trying time. Share these tips with them to make the experience more palatable:

Tips

If you're feeling tired, give yourself some grace (a. k. a. cut yourself some slack) and sleep an extra 1 or 2 hours for the first week or two. The experience of losing a job can be very draining. Get some extra rest at the beginning to get your energy levels up.

Once you have rested for a week or two, set your alarm on Monday through Friday for an early hour (as if you are going to work).

Schedule exercise. Preferably, try to fit in some type of aerobic exercise in the early morning, such as walking, jogging, swimming, or biking. If you belong to a health club, try to spend 30 to 45 minutes, 3 days per week, lifting weights and using the weight machines.

Ask someone to review your resume. Do you know someone who is a writer, such as a technical writer? Do you have a friend who has a well-written resume? (Who wrote it for them?) Are there resume writing services in your area? Definitely get a good “second opinion" on your resume. I have seen some poorly written resumes in the past few years! Resumes should be written to show a potential employer “what they are buying with their money" when they hire you. What knowledge, skills, and experience are they “buying"? Use verbs to describe what you did previously, such as “developed", “managed", and “created". Use the verb at the beginning of each paragraph, as well as at the beginning of most sentences. Discuss the outcomes of your work, such as saving time, saving money, or increasing sales.

Get into Networking:

  • Call people you know (even if you are only acquainted with them) to ask them to get together with you for coffee or lunch. When you meet with them, rather than give them your resume, make your contact with them somewhat informal. Your goal is to help them become mindful of what you are looking for and to spur their thoughts as to whom they know who might be able to help you. (If they ask for your resume, you can send it to them later. )
  • Consider the companies you would like to work for. As you call people and meet with them, ask if they know anyone at those companies. If they do, get their contact's name, address, and phone number. Send a letter to their contact requesting an informational meeting to discuss their company and the industry, noting that you will call them in about a week. When you call, try to schedule the informational meeting either over the phone or in person (some “meet" with you right then on the phone). When talking to them, do not ask for a job. You only want to discuss the company, the industry, what they do, etc. (They may ask you what you are looking for in a position. ) Your goal is for them to become mindful of you and to possibly introduce you to others. Ask them if they know anyone else in the company whom you might talk to. If so, get that person's name, title, phone number, and address; and the networking process of informational meetings starts all over again. Eventually, you will be introduced to someone who will conduct an interview. That is the person to whom you send your resume. (The only other people to whom you should send your resume are those who request it. )
  • If you are in the Chicago area, there is a great networking group for people in career transition that meets for dinner monthly in Northbrook. Check their website for information at www.grayhairmanagement.com and click on “Events".

A Few More Ideas

I know several people in career transition who have business cards to hand out at networking events. You can order free business cards from www.vistaprint.com (you pay for shipping, which is less than $10). At VistaPrint, you choose a design from their free cards selection, choose where to put your text, and they ship you the cards. Most people enter the minimum information: name, phone number, and e-mail address. Many people include a title or area of work (i. e. Chief Financial Officer; Technical Project Manager; Human Resources Executive), an address, and/or a fax number. The corporate designs are professional, the cards are made of a normal weight card stock, and VistaPrint puts their name on the back of the card in small print.

Be careful about spending time with people who are negative or who say things that cause you to worry or feel fearful (even if they are well-intentioned). You need positive influences at this time.

Set weekly goals for yourself to:

  • Make X number of calls to set up a time to meet for coffee or lunch with friends and acquaintances.
  • Meet with X number of people for coffee or lunch.
  • Get X number of contacts for informational meetings.
  • Send X number of letters to request informational meetings.
  • Make X number of calls to follow-up the informational meeting letters, and to schedule the informational meeting.
  • Exercise
  • Review your resume

Some days will go by very fast. Before you know it, the clock will tell you that it is 6 p. m. You'll wonder where the day went. It's all part of being in career transition. Try to put these tips into practice and watch your life change.

© 2005 Borgeson Consulting, Inc.

Glory Borgeson is a business coach and consultant, and the president of Borgeson Consulting, Inc. She specializes in working with executives in the “honeymoon phase" of a new position (typically the first two years) to coach them to success. Glory is the newly appointed executive's Secret Weapon!. Top athletes have a coach; why not you?

Click here for Borgeson Consulting, Inc.

This article was originally published in The Business Express, Borgeson's free monthly ezine. You may subscribe by clicking here: Ezine

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