Fool-Proof Job Creation Program

With all the media hype about job creation, America’s Job Coach knows of one way to get America working again… This includes the non-employed and the UNDER-employed. You know…under-paid, under-challenged, under-appreciated, etc.

The secret answer? Four words: “Do Something; Add Value”

Duh! Everyone knows the “take action” theme, right? Wrong. Knowing and doing are two different things.

Millions upon millions of people slog through their under or non-employed situations daily. “I do something everyday, Coach. What the heck are you talking about?”

Here is what I am talking about: Five DSAVs (Do Something; Add Value) you can do tomorrow to create your “better job situation:

1. See your employer’s business from the customer standpoint and figure out what is really missing. Don’t wait until your “analysis” is perfect…start the ball rolling now!

2. Pitch that opportunity gap to a trusted co-worker for “peer review” (or, befriend slowly a co-worker of influence who you can pitch your concept to). Ask the co-worker’s opinion of the best way to proceed.

3. Do an unsolicited “not my job” helpful thing for a person at work just as a way to brand yourself as helpful.

4. Volunteer to a charity for 2 hours tomorrow as a way to get out of the house/rut. Offer to staple fliers or even make fund-raising phone calls for them. Everyone hates fund raising but if you suck at it you’ll still be building a skill and they can’t cut your pay!

5. Leave 2 voice mails tomorrow for business leaders in an industry of interest to you. Find the leaders on LinkedIn and use the PHONE–not email, to do this. Say something like: I am/was a potential/current customer of your company and your firm would do better with XYZ if it were to: (insert your 20 second–no longer– customer-centric idea here). To discuss this more feel free to call me at xxx.xxx.xxxx.

Pie in the sky? No. Does this take some guts? Yes. The more you do it the more your contacts increase, and your confidence builds. It took over a 1,000 attempts to perfect the light bulb! Brett Favre threw more interceptions than anyone as he broke most all other passing records in the NFL.

What is your attempt and completion rate on the “DSAV 5?”

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Duh! You REALLY Don’t Know What You Want?

At a recent job fair in Omaha, Nebraska America’s Job Coach was amazed at the number of people who DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY WANT TO DO!!

America’s Job Coach asked over 100 people there the question of “What kind of work are you looking for?” At least 50% said “I don’t know,” or “Oh, I can do a lot of things…”

WRONG!! If you are on a job hunt and expect an EMPLOYER to decide for you what you want to do with your life or what you should do for your work life, you most likely will have to KEEP looking for work.

Employers are looking for two things: 1.) People who can do a very specific task for them in an efficient, helpful, professional and educated way, or, 2) People who are “raw talent” who are incredibly moldable and who have such great attitudes the potential employer will just have to hire them if they are adding entry-level or general talent.

Which one are you?

“As a Customer Service Rep for your firm, I can retain and expand your customer base due to my strong people skills and business savvy.”

Most would agree that that kind of pitch will get you hired faster than, “Well, I can do a lot of things;” or, “I’m not sure what I want to do.”

Reminds me of the concept of a TwitterVator Speech which you can learn about at this link: here on YouTube.

Check it out and PLEASE have an answer for the question of ‘What do YOU want to do “out there?”

America’s Job Coach
Author: Laid Off & Loving It for 2010

“SHE-Shoring” During This “HE-cession”

“HE-cession” means that during this recession, the unemployment rate for men is 10.7 %, but the unemployment rate for women is “just” 8.1%. This term was coined, I believe, by David Zincenko of Mens’s Health in a USA Today op ed piece. Let me know if I am wrong.

So, are employers “SHE-shoring?” America’s Job Coach invented this term while reading about the He-cession. We’ve heard for years how women are paid less than men for similar work. Some studies say up to 30% less! I am not a statistics guru, but I think we can all agree that in too many cases, women earn less than their male peers for similar work.

Now add to the mix that fact that this recession has been slightly “less cruel” to women. Fewer women than men have lost their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics (8.1% verses 10.7%). My question: Why?

SHE-shoring is “Offshoring Gone Female.” Offshoring, in case you have been under a rock for a dozen years, is where a company ships chunks of its work off US shores to countries like India, China, Mexico, Ireland, and a host of other places. Employers “offshore” tasks to locations to try to save labor costs. And firms often layoff US staff after completing the offshoring.

Computer work, customer support work, manufacturing etc. are often functions which see work offshored but all professions are being touched by this trend. Even some USA fast food restaurants will use an offshored person to take your order over the drive through window. That person then sends your order over the Internet to the locals who cook and wrap your triple cheeseburger.

So can I blame that China-based fellow for the lack of honey mustard in my chicken nuggets bag? I suppose it was the local guy who stiffed me on the dip though. But hey, they are communicating across the globe so it is no wonder my sauce is missing sometimes! As Thomas L. Friedman has aptly pointed out, The World Is Flat.

So, most major companies have embraced some level of Off-Shoring to save labor costs. Do they therefore, have a grand design or plan to lay off women less often than men? If a Fortune 1000 company sends work overseas to save money, doesn’t it make sense that they also would lay off their most expensive people first? Does this explain the He-cession? If a gender pay gap exists inside a company, does ACME layoff Harry or Harriet? Is Joe sent packing before Joan?

Who knows what goes on in executive minds when they are deciding what staffers to cut. Now however, statistics imply that men are harder targets for the layoff axe than are their wives, sisters, moms and daughters.

Who cares? You should. This blog exists to help people get on their feet during a career transition. Part of that is knowing the look of your playing field. If you are a male looking for work or a better job, be aware of SHE-Shoring. If you are a female looking for work or a better job, be aware of SHE-shoring. It is critical to know your competition when job hunting.

I heard a story about a guy who was prepared to answer the salary negotiation question with, “I’ll take $100 a year less than my closest competitor for this job.” The tale is likely anecdotal, but you get the idea about being aware of your compeition…He-cession, SHE-shoring, and all.

Kindly share your SHE-Shoring or He-cession story or comments with this job coaching community!

America’s Job Coach
Author, “Laid Off & Loving It for 2010”

Are They Beating A Path to Your Door?

America’s Job Coach spent Saturday, November 14 at the Nebraska Book Festival in Lincoln, NE at the Nebraska State Historical Society. I was there to network and promote “Laid Off and Loving It For 2010.” There were approximately 40 vendors present who set up tables to “hawk” their books or book-related services. Public foot traffic was good and the event had good guests, award winners, and presenters. On hand was Ted Kooser, National Poet laureate and Harley Jane Kozak, Hollywood actress and successful novelist/mystery writer. Harley presented a great writing workshop.

I hear you asking “How does that apply to me and my quest for a job upgrade?” Here is the answer:

P and N which means: PROMOTION and NICHE.

Over the next couple of blog posts, I’ll discuss how several authors and booksellers at the festival have had good success selling their books. Their sales did not come from events like the festival alone. Few had customers beating a path to their table (door).

Yet, many of the exhibitors present told me how they have had reasonable success selling their books. Why? How did the booksellers there sell thousands of books over the years? A quick glance at their topics answers the question:

It is their NICHES. Their lovely books were on topics of interest to MAYBE 1% of the book-reading population. BUT, and this is a big “but,” that 1% was / is loyal, devoted, passionate, and are HAPPY to spend $19.95 or $29.95 or whatever on a book that applies to THEM.

I’ll discuss specific examples in the next couple of posts, but in the meantime I challenge you to translate nichemanship into your professional goals and lives:

What skills, knowledge, experience, training, background, activities, passions, volunteer projects, unique family situations, workplace histories do YOU possess that can be “exploited” to a job market niche out there, or into a small business endeavor?

For example, were you part of a growth industry in the past but that industry isn’t as hot now? Well, how can you package that experience into something that a present day, fast-growth employer will appreciate? Even though your experience may have been in a different industry, your skills CAN translate into helping a new company in a different industry because you have “been there, done that.” Who else may need those skills?

As always, kindly send your comments of examples of your successes or failures along this line to this blog. I’d love to hear how tight, niche marketing helped or hurt YOU. And the gentle readers of this blog stand ready to offer helpful advice as always. Which niche will you own?

Next posts: specific examples of personal niche marketing!

Did He Get the Job? Also, Job Posting Scams

In my last post I discussed a young man who was interviewing for his first job out of college. The job was for a sales position and he was wondering if in fact the niche he was exploring was good for him. I mentioned  how some industries in the current economy are looking for people like him: young, techno savvy, moldable and cheap. 

None of that is new news to you who are “decades into” your careers and maybe months into your job search. Employers are flooded with applicants and some are taking advantage of that. There was an article in the Omaha World Herald on 10/26/09 which described how formerly hard to fill hands on care giver jobs were now doing just fine due to some factory closings in a Nebraska community. Before some jobs in that town vaporized, the health care facility had a hard time staffing these positions. Now it has a surplus of applicants. Ah, perspective.

Perspective is what the young job seeker had too. He was “wax” just ready to be molded by his potentially future employer. He didn’t have an entitlement attitude and his small dose of arrogance was more attributable to his youth than any entrenched “in your face” cockiness.

Yes, his potential employer wants him back for some “job shadowing.” That is where our young applicant will sit and listen to the current staff while they make their daily spate of phone calls. Not just anyone or everyone can sit in a cubicle and make 70+  phone call attempts a day. I don’t know if our young hero will want to but that employer has invited him to find out if he wants to. And there is a fairly handsome base-plus-commissions to go along with it. I’ll keep you posted on his progress. And keep remembering his child-like interview exuberance while you do your job hunting.

Speaking of commissions, I saw a listing of “The Top Twenty Most Helpful Job Hunting Websites” or some such similar title the other day. I immediately thought that would be a logical link for this blog. And of course, I clicked through on many of the web sites listed.

Well, you won’t see me linking to that list anytime soon. I found many sites I had never heard of. And the ones toward the top of the list had many “jobs” posted. The problem was, most of these “jobs” were work at home schemes. Nothing wrong with working at home…millions of people around the world work for thousands of legitimate companies in a remote fashion. Online technology allows and encourages that.

But so many of the “jobs” posted were all about multi-level marketing businesses. Many have an investment required or involved some marginally shady types of plans. The rise of this kind of “noise” out there has tracked and kept pace with the rise in the number of unemployed.

I have nothing against legitimate multi-level businesses. I have been involved in some in the past myself and have learned from them. I am just saying use caution when you “apply” for jobs within this world. Most are not jobs with a regular paycheck. Growing your own business is great but just know what you are getting into when you start. Will your new “job” require you to buy inventory?

Have any of this blog’s readers ventured into this area?  Again I have no problem with these legitimate marketing businesses but I do dislike it when these outfits dress themselves as “jobs” on what were formerly job boards. Who has a story to share on this?…

Next posting will be about a 50-something “coachee” who was recently laid off, DOES know a lot of people to network with, but is stuck in the 1990’s regarding using those contacts.

America’s Job Coach

Author: Laid Off & Loving It For 2010

But I Get No Feedback From Employers!

The 50 Over 50 Project is a “Community of Career Transition Advice” for people over 50 years old over a 50 week period.

Put your summarized career dilemma in the comments section so the group can offer their tips to you!

Here is a gentleman who appears to have some good ideas about self marketing and follow up.  His advice applies to all ages.  

Please come back after you watch and tell the community what you think!  Thanks to www.jayobi.com for making this available!

Paul M. America’s Job Coach  www.americasjobcoach.com

 Here is the link for the video: 

 Step 4. Contacting Employers.

I hope YOUR follow ups are positive!

Fast Times at ‘Expert High’

The 50 Over 50 Project is a ”Community of Career Advice”     focused on 50 folks over age 50 who are in a career transition.  Summarize YOUR career dilemma as a comment to get helpful pointers from this blog community. 

If you are old enough, you remember the semi-entertaining movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It was a big milestone in Sean Penn’s early body of work. I twisted that movie name into the hopefully catchy title for this post which pertains to “quick self promotion.”   

All people in career transition or folks who are trying to sell their expertise need to be “comprehendable.” I don’t know if that is a word, but I ran into someone the other day who sells professional services. I asked him what he did. Ten minutes later I was bored and confused. 

The small business services person (he is the one who provides the actual consulting services) rambled for minutes upon minutes about what he could do or has done.  What he didn’t know is that I tuned out to his rantings after about 30 seconds of vague generalities.

Because I have interviewed thousands of people I was able to ask pointed questions to extract from him some specific examples of his work. But that is the point.  I shouldn’t have had to “work so hard” at pulling out of him what he does and how that might remotely help me. 

He also had a written piece which included a 30-word description of his offerings. But he works in big, big niche and his description was so vague I still wasn’t sure what he did. In a glance, (which is all any of us get–my book calls this “your 15 seconds of fame”) I just wasn’t sure what he could do for me.

So dear blog readers, the old formula applies as you position yourself as an expert:  ‘Keep It Simple Stupid.’ And fast. No matter how good you are and how tightly you address your specific niche, you are still competing daily with the hundreds of emails, messages, texts, calls, tweets and friend/connection requests, etc., etc., etc. (to quote Yul Brenner). 

I remain eager to see your drafts of your elevator speech, Unique Selling Proposition, or TwitterVator Speech (the combination of the elevator speech with your USP in 140 characters or less).

You can offer them anonymously here as a comment and the community will help you to craft your pitch. Or, you can contact me privately outside of this blog for free help on this. 

Social media is great. But, as you have noticed, there are a few (million) folks out there using it. Let this community of career advice help YOU stand out….

 America’s Job Coach

  

 

Are YOU an Expert?

The 50 Over 50 Project is a “Community of Career Advice”  for 50 people over the age of 50 who are in some form of career transition.

There was a new question and comment dialog going today on a popular social media forum. I read with interest as the author ranted and raved about how awful it is that some “coaches” out there are charging up to $500 to help people build their profiles on the social media tools. He railed against these self-appointed experts for their skullduggery against the poor, laid off and out of work people.  The author made it clear he was much more helpful than these opportunists and HIS blog was free and pure and helpful etc. 

Well, in fact, his blog IS full of good information and helpful data. A ton of data, much of it relating to job seekers and much of it not.  But here is the funny part: While he disdains people who charge $500 for career strategies and who claim to be experts, his web site states that he charges slightly more than that for his own coaching services! Pot. Kettle. Black.

What’s the point as it relates to you, the over 50 job seeker? It is two fold: 

1. Are you an expert? How is an expert or expertise defined? I’ll bet that you know more about something than most anyone else. That sort of makes you an expert. You need to define that and market that as you look for employment or for income as a consultant  or SME.  

2. Are you an expert at bringing your assets to market?  The angry blogger mentioned above doesn’t like “experts” who exploit the powerless. None of us do. But do give some thought about what your strengths are and are not. I have interviewed thousands of professionals and about 2/3 of them don’t even recognize their own strengths relative to the job market they are trying to penetrate. Some mature job seekers have been in a job or a company for decades and might benefit from an economical, cost effective, second point of view. Visit “Who Needs Job Coaching”  here for more thoughts on this: http://www.americasjobcoach.com/33201.html .

The short version of the above link is that NOBODY needs it. Most all the information is out there if you have the time, the ability, and most importantly the objective ability to apply it strategically

Bottom line? Two heads are better than one. If the services you are contemplating is 100% satisfaction guaranteed (like mine are), what do you have to lose?

Paul M. — America’s Job Coach

www.americasjobcoach.com

 

 

Do As I Say, Not As I Do…

OK, OK… I am guilty! 

This community forum is about my facilitation of helpful career advice from cyberspace. The advice is from and for people who are in some form of transition as they enter and go through their fifties.   But here is the problem:

I have failed you!

I have found that the older people get, the more they like routine. We all have those older relatives who want to know two weeks ahead of time what time a dinner event is scheduled for. That way they can mentally prepare for it days in advance and be ready two hours ahead of actual event. 

While I obviously don’t think people in their 50’s and 60’s are OLD, I do realize that CONSISTENCY matters. I don’t know if the elasticity and suppleness of youth is gone by ones’ fifth decade or what it is, but people like routine as they progress in their lives.  Yes, I can show you some anal retentive 22 year  olds as well, but you know what I mean.

Routine matters. Routine matters when you are building a career, a family a fortune, or just about anything. Yes, we can “luck into” something good in those categories on occasion, but with regard to job hunting or career transitioning, the value of “routine” is high. 

I won’t repeat the often told tales of how Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or many well-known, high profile sports, cultural or business performers have reached their achievement levels due to nearly obsessive levels of drill, repetition and routine. 

But I have failed you, dear blog readers, due to MY lack of routine. You haven’t known when to check back in on this blog because you don’t know when the new stuff is going to be posted.  And with all the noise on the internet, you are unlikely to come back if you don’t know when to do so. 

I have been inconsistent because I too often waited for a juicy, success story of some formerly laid off person.  They may be in dialog with me via this blog or directly with me through  www.americasjobcoach.com. Or, I also hesitated when  “Suzie” was asking me about resume guidance and I waited to tell her story until it was complete. 

No more. I will not make you keep wondering and waiting for these tidbits. Even if the stories are not complete, I’ll throw out relevant, confidential career dilemmas so you the reader can comment on them and hopefully add your helpful comments to this career advice community. 

I will do a better job of “communing” with and communicating to this advice community. No more long pauses between posts while waiting for the other shoe to drop. No more hesitation for “perfect” content before throwing out some relevant stuff. People who need your advice so I will give you the chance to give it. 

YOU can keep this community helpful, relevant, entertaining and inspirational by offering your stories or the stories of people you know who succeeded (or didn’t). I can talk about how Brett Favre was laid off and loving it but I’d rather hear about how your neighbor got cut after 24 years with a Fortune 500 company and then started her own successful consulting company (like the woman did in Laid Off & Loving It For 2010.

I will strive to be more consistent and routine with my content posts here. You’ll see SOMETHING new and relevant almost every day.

Thanks for your loyal following and thanks also for your input and comments which will only make this community more vibrant. 

And speaking of dinner plans, it is time me to execute mine!  

Career Transition hint for today:  Be CONSISTENT in your job hunt efforts. Don’t fluctuate despite discouragement.  More about that later next week…

Layoffs Denied in Omaha, Nebraska?

  

The 50 Over 50 Project is a “community of career coaching” for 50 people over the age of 50 over a 50-week period.

 

Yesterday in Omaha, Nebraska a hi-tech company did a round of layoffs. While people getting the axe is far from new news these days, this firm had a history of fast growth, steady employment, and long tenure.  So this event is a shock to our community and an even bigger shock to those who were cut. Some of those layoff victims fit the demographical focus of this blog–they were over 50. Many had been with their firm for a long, long time. 

Their pressing question then is:  

What does a long-term employee, who is on the older side, who may have a narrow skill set for their local market, who maybe hasn’t kept up with newer technology, and who has above average earnings, DO NOW

The answers are many so we’ll address things over the next several posts. 

The first thing which might help these laid off Omaha folks is to realize their situation has some similarities to cancer. I have been very close to cancer’s worst impact so I am not trivializing it. And, I admit few people DIE from being laid off. So what is the similarity? It is this: How victims react.     

Here are the “Stages of Grief,” from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ book, “On Death and Dying:”

  • Denial (this isn’t happening to me!)
  • Anger (why is this happening to me?)
  • Bargaining (I promise I’ll be a better person if…)
  • Depression (I don’t care anymore)
  • Acceptance (I’m ready for whatever comes)

Do you see how these grief-related steps have heavy overlap for a person who has just been laid off and is nearly frightened to death? 

If you do, tell others who might benefit about these steps so they can start their process of “vocational healing.”

I’ve been laid off many times and have interviewed or led seminars with hundreds of others who have also been cut. So, our next few posts will explore this “teachable moment” we have right here in River City. Circle the wagons with your laid off neighbors or friends and we’ll work through these phases together…

As always, PLEASE offer your thoughts to keep this a “community of career advice.”

Paul David Madsen
Author: Laid Off & Loving It For 2010