Welcome to Between the Trapezes! Often the changes in
our lives feel precarious as we are in that space between two certainties.
But taking that chance is what brings success.
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Unemployed: A Curse or a Gift?
we don't know the real meaning of a negative event in our lives. Sure,
being laid off, especially when you don't expect it, is a shock and a
financial hardship. Or being in a job where you can't really blossom
fully, can be a frustrating hurdle.
But there may be reasons
that become clearer later. A client I'll call Bob was taking longer than
he would have liked to land a job after selling his business. Summer
became fall, fall become winter, and it was looking like spring, and
despite interviews and good networking, nothing had clicked.
Then his daughter was suddenly stricken gravely ill. He and his wife were
spending many hours each day with her in the hospital. He spent time
talking with doctors and other medical professionals, and being with
concerned family and friends. If Bob had been working, even a generous
family leave provision would not have been enough to have had the time to
be with his daughter. Fortunately, she recovered and ultimately went
home, and that was when Bob made a great connection with a super company,
and landed their COO position. He was grateful to have the time with his
family when he needed it.
Another client, Dara, was
laid off and thought she'd use the time to catch up with her doctors'
appointments. One routine test caused concern among her doctors, and
further testing showed cancer, fortunately very treatable because it was
caught early. "You know", she said to me this week, "Maybe
it's good I am not working, because I would not have had that doctor's
appointment, and who knows what would have happened to me?"
Sometimes the reason
isn't known until years later, and you find yourself looking back and
saying something you never thought you'd say: "At the time, that was
tough, a real curse, but now I see that it was a gift."
So although the screaming
headlines make everything seem like the sky is falling, stay focused on
your "job" right now -- either getting a good job again, or
getting a better one than the one you have. And particularly at this time
of year, enjoy what you do have, especially if you are blessed with that
thing that's usually so hard to get: time.
Thank You Letters
"thank you" is just plain good manners. In job search, it can
make the difference between you and another candidate being chosen for
the job. Back in the 80s, Business Week reported a story about a
large corporation in New York who interviewed six candidates for CEO. The
selection committee decided that any of the candidates would have been
fantastic. But they sat back and waited to see if anyone wrote a
thank-you note. Only one candidate did. He got the job offer.
A thank you for an interview should be in the form of a business
letter. Some say you should send a handwritten note. However, that format
does not allow you to say what you need to say so send a letter that
1. Thank you for your time.
2. Meeting with you has made me even more excited about the
company/organization, and the position.
3. One more reason I'm right for the job is: (then tell them something
you didn't tell them in the interview).
4. Offer to meet with them again, and confirm what the next step is.
Should you email this or send it via US mail? The case for using US mail
is positive again, because so few people use it today, that you'd stand
out. But it will take a few days to get into the interviewers' hands. So
if it's a company where things move fast and email is how they do all
their correspondence, use email.
While you're at it, be
sure to thank network contacts for the connections they've helped
you make. And your references, who may be contacted over and over
again in this volatile job market: let them know you appreciate their
ongoing support -- take them to lunch! Don't forget your family
who are cheering you on.
In the spirit of the
season, don't stop there. Why not thank a mentor from earlier in
your career, or a teacher who believed in you, or a positive
friend you've fallen out of touch with? A note -- and a handwritten
one for these is fine -- will make their day, week, year!
Speaking of Giving Thanks...
Thank you to all my
clients, in Minnesota, Massachusetts, and everywhere else; you teach me
something new every day. Thank you to those who send me family members
and friends, the ultimate in trust. And to colleagues in my field who
generously offer their wisdom and share their ideas.
And to my family, thank you for cheering me on to do the work I'm
on this earth to do.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Want to See Other Issues of this
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Tip of the Month
Thought of the Day:
Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
-- African proverb
Tip of the Month:
Key Words in Your Resume Today, it's all about databases: your
resume is a mini-database that goes into the hiring company's resume
database, for that job. It must match as close as possible what the
hiring company is looking for. Where does one find key words? In the job
posting, in the company web site, in publications about your field. Use
these key words, and you'll increase your percentage of matches -- and
that will get your resume read by an actual human being.
We are proud members of:
- Association of Career
- Career Management
- Chapman Private Practice
- Business Networking
Called "The Resume Queen" years ago by a career
counselor colleague, Joanne Meehl decided to have fun
with the nickname (which we've officially trademarked). But she also
takes it seriously by keeping her career management skills on the leading
edge, through research and ongoing dialog with hiring managers.
You're now seeing us use "The Job Search Queen", which
better reflects the breadth of our services. The trademark is pending. We
use both "queen" nicknames in our materials.
Joanne is also the author of The
Resume Queen's Job Search Thesaurus and Career Guide for Professionals.
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Are you trying to fix the wrong problem? -- Maybe you think your
resume isn't working but could it really be that there just aren't many
jobs in your field right now? Or maybe the companies just aren't a good
fit? Find out what's wrong, especially if you're stuck, stalled, and
confused, during a Quick
Consult with the Queen. This 1-2 hour session gives you concrete
steps to follow for getting unstuck, for a fee of $150. And if you choose
to work with Joanne on these steps, that fee is applicable to your
The Heart of the Matter