Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Everyone back in the pool!

Well, the day has finally arrived. After almost seven months of being laid off from work, I'm starting a new job next week.

I can't say that I never thought this day would arrive, but my patience had begun to wear thin.

On Monday morning I will be starting a position as a Marketing Communications Manager for a public relations software management company. Fortunately for me, I'm very
familiar with the company's software platform and am excited about supporting the sales and corporate communications teams.

My new job opportunity could not have come at a better time since I was on my last unemployment check. I had actually started on the "emergency" benefits. As we say in the Baptist church, "He's an ON TIME God, Yes He is!"

Though I'm glad to be returning to work, I know that there are still a great deal of people who are enduring layoffs. A telling moment for me is when I realized that all but one of my pool of five references references is out of work. I feel that statistic is almost in sync with what we're seeing as a nation at the moment.

I wish I could provide the secret to landing a job. But I can only reiterate the importance of a good resume, having an active network of friends and professionals, effective use of the web and practicing a suitable response to "So, tell me a little bit about yourself!" It's also helpful to have a positive attitude and outlook about your situation.

The job market has gotten very competitive these days. It's become so important to separate yourself from the pack. A resume with any misspellings will be tossed out. When an employers calls for an interview, an annoying ring tone will get you a hang up. Showing up late to an interview guarantees two strikes against you, rather than the obligatory one strike of a year ago. In fact, most recruiters are advising clients not to merely be "on time", but to show up early. Make no mistake about it, things are tough out there right now. You have to shine.

Here's what I have found works:

Don't just sit there and answer an interviewer's questions. Be interactive and take notes. This shows the employer that you are interested. I took notes during the interview and asked a lot of questions about the company structure. Were they secure in this economic downturn? How long had the folks at the company been there? What were some objectives for this position? What did my boss want this person to do? With each of my questions I tried to think of how my skills and experience could provide a solution and I voiced this to my employer.


There are very few companies that don't have a web site these days. Visit their press room. If there are pictures of the management, check it out so you can see what your new boss looks like. I'll never forget an embarrassing moment at a previous employer when a gentlemen asked me what I did for the company and I told him. Then I asked what he did. He smiled and say, "What do I do? I'm the CEO!" I could have died. But no one had introduced me to him and I didn't know what he looked like. So I strongly advise getting a look at the CEO's mug, so you don't embarrass yourself.

Also visit the company's social media pages to learn about them as well. More and more companies now have their own Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace pages. is another site I LOVE because you can reach out to so many people, particularly the higher ranking individuals like VPs and senior executives.


In securing this last position, I found that it does help to go above and beyond the call of duty and expectations of your potential employer. Anyone can send a thank you e-mail to everyone they interviewed with. But employers still say that handwritten notes is still the best way to impress.

My new employer wanted a writing sample. I gave her three. I wanted to show my versatility and diversity as a writer. The recruiter told me that the three writing samples were a hit with my new boss.

It's important to be in a position to provide real solutions to your employer. After all, you're not only filling a job position, but they have contacted you because you provide a solution to a problem. Your skills are what they are seeking. They need you as much as you need them.

When they discuss challenges the company is facing. Use that as your opportunity to show how you can help them.

I called my references up and told them about the job and why I wanted it. I tried not to dwell on how long I had been out of work. I talked to them about how the skills needed for this job were the same ones I had used when I worked with or FOR them. Needless to say, I'm following up with my references with a Starbucks gift card to show my appreciation!

As I dive back into the workforce pool, I'm grateful for this time to reflect and to learn about myself. I'm also excited about beginning this new chapter in my professional career.

This blog will continue as I feel its importance is greater than ever as the number of workers who are losing their jobs expands. Besides, a job can't keep me from my duties as a writer. After all ... IT'S JUST A JOB!

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