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

Will YOU Be “Working on the Railroad” (Obama’s high speed railroad)?

Now that the president’s State of the Union speech has had a few days to reverberate, what do you think? He wants to put America to work by rebuilding our infrastructure and building a high speed railroad. He want us to rally around the train as he seems intent on having his own “Sputnik Moment.”

For those readers who are NOT over 50, a Sputknik Moment refers to the late 1950s when Russia surprisingly launched one of the first sattellites ever. A slack-jawed US decided that it was BEHIND in what was to become known as the Space Race. President Kennedy rallied the scientific troops and the Apollo Program enabled the USA to successfully shoot the moon. This was mostly inspired by that Sputnik Moment.

Obama seems to want find that moment in order to launch his own presidential legacy. He seems to be worried about his legacy more than he is worried about getting 15,000,000 people working again. It almost seemed like he was launching a trial (Sputnik?) balloon to see if the “Speedy Little Engine That Could,” can become his Apollo program.

When I was unemployed twice in 2010 (yes…laid off from my day jobs twice!), I didn’t entertain visions of using my (non-existent) engineering skills to design and implement the Speedy Little Engine That Could. Nor was I contemplating using my (weak but findable) construction skills to lay down ties, rockbed and track.

So, I would have been “stuck in the middle with you” as the song says if the Speedy Little Engine That Could was my only option. If that train is Barry O.’s way of revitalizing my career, the infrastructure, and America’s work force, well then God Bless him…I hope it works. I just don’t know where I, ME-MYSELF-and I fit into that scheme.

Fortunately, I was able to slightly tweak my skills and reinvent myself just a little and land two new day job gigs after those two layoffs.

Why all this blather about Sputnik moments and little speedy engines? Because it is not up to our Hopefully Hawian Commander in Chief to redesign your career, your marketability and your vocational passion. I am not lecturing here…just trying to inspire. What can YOU do if you don’t fit into a job where you are working on the railroad?

Can you tweak your Twittervator Speech (see “TwitterVator Speech” on www.youtube.com) to get an idea about how you can pitch your renewed and reinvented self. Getting the flavor of my TwitterVator Speech there will save you from having to buy “Laid Off & Loving It for 2010″ as found on www.amazon.com.

So whether we are the engineers building the Speedy LIttle Engine That Could, or the laborers who are building it’s seat cushions or the tracks for it to run on, or somewhere in between, remember to rely on yourself, not government policy and programs to tweak and promote your emerging new and better career! America’s Job Coach (www.americasjobcoach.com) thinks you can, he THINKS you can…He KNOWS you can!

America’s Job Coach

State of DISUnion? Reinventing You and the Union

President Obama is currently telling the USA and the world about how this country will win the future by reinventing ourselves and our workforce. He says this nation is 9th in the world in earned college degrees! He says the future jobs will be won and held by innovators who are educating themselves and reinventing their skill sets. And I agree.

In my book, “Laid Off & Loving It for 2010,” I describe 30 people who built on their skills and reinvented themselves. America’s Job Coach has reinvented himself several times over the years. My advice to that 55 year-old college student the president mentioned in his speech, is that she should appear to be moldable and teachable when she goes on job interviews.

How about you? Can you be like the woman from (I think) South Carolina who is, at age 55, now going to college and studying biotech. More power to her–I hope she competes well with the 22 year-olds with their newly minted degrees. I vote for her in the job as she competes with those “kids” –life experinece rules!

Obama is also championing the role of teachers as nation-builders in the new world economy. How about you? If/when they actually do raise teacher incomes could YOU build our nation by building our youth? Millions of baby boomers are going to retire from classrooms in the next 10 years and there is a growing younger population due to current immigration and birth trends. Teaching is rewarding and important. How about YOU?

It may have been Mother Theresa who said we can make a better world if we start by sweeping our own back steps. Kinda ties in with the theme of Union inside yourself.

If you are struggling with knowing what to do, then here is your answer: DO SOMETHING. IF you have disunion in your head or your heart, take some kind of action and reinvent yourself.

So don’t be disunified–go out and do big things. Dream big and may God Bless the United States!

America’s Job Coach
http://www.americasjobcoach.com

Do You Look Good Enough to Hire?

A newspaper story recently told how 50-somethings and 60-somethings were going under the knife, etc. in order to look better as they competed for jobs with folks who didn’t have droopy eyelids or crooked, stained teeth.

There have likely been hundreds of studies about how attractiveness can contribute to your marketability and/or promotability. Similar stories and studies exist about taller people. But what do you think?

Will a 62-year-old suddenly wrest a potential job away from a 39-year-old because the 62-year-old suddenly looks like he is only 52? Will the smile of a 59-year-old who is fresh out of braces be better equipped to land a job than say, your typical 34-year-old?

You are right…there are too many variables to consider and make blanket statements. Perhaps the 39-year-old above was slightly overweight, very average looking, but had a more well-defined technical skill to peddle to a potential employer.

Maybe the 34-year-old above lost out to the 59-year-old because the older woman has 20 more years of industry contacts, thus helping her land the sales manager job.

Who knows? So, why are people, according to the article, doing all these cosmetic procedures? In a word: Packaging.

In my extensive career of hiring and placing people though, it is never just one thing that makes a person hireable or not hireable. They may be the best geek in the world for a techie job but the other techies who would have to work with him decided the guy is an arrogant jerk who they don’t want to spend most of their waking hours with.

Maybe someone is a smooth, good-looking, well-connected, persuasive, sales type person but they are just too disorganized to manage or build a territory.

In summary, it takes the total package. So if you want to do something to your physical presence in order to help you compete out there, go for it!

Just be sure you don’t have “blind sides” which sabotage your newly white, straight teeth or firm eyelids. Perhaps your forehead is now wrinkle-free but you resume shows you were the class treasurer of the your senior class of 1969. Not helpful when you compete for jobs with people who are your kids’ ages!

Think “total package” my friends. How does your total package look?

America’s Job Coach talks about packaging and first impressions in the YouTube video called “The Twittervator Speech.” The TwitterVator Speech is a blend of your Unique Selling Proposition, an elevator pitch, and a social media tool status update bar. Learn more about YOURS here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN7n0X8PzgI . Good common sense!

When the Saints Come Marching In…to Tackle Betty White

Congratulations to the New Orléans Saints for their exciting win in Superbowl 44. They finished a storybook season with a thrilling win over the favored Indianapolis Colts.

The overhyped Superbowl franchise got what it wanted: An exciting game which kept folks glued to their set. And that was a good thing for America. A good thing for America?

It is good because Superbowl ads are the last holdout of the office water cooler chatter. With many Americans using cable or something like Direct TV with hundreds of stations of content, we are a “fractured nation.”

Gone are the days of “I Love Lucy” playing out of everyone’s living room at the same time on the same evening. Gone are the days when we relied on one guy, Walter Cronkite, for our news.

Why do Superbowl ads help this? With its 100 million viewers, it is the last show “everyone” watches. I was at the grocery store hours before the game. I couldn’t find a parking spot because “everyone” was getting goodies for their Superbowl party!

So, when people gather at the office or the plant or the conference call during the week after the big game, they’ll come together more united. They’ll talk about how Betty White (age 88) took a full tackle in the mud to help out Snickers. They’ll giggle together about the Doritos Potato Chip dog’s shock collar antics. And this is a good thing.

Good because the nation needs these 30 second novellas. People in the workforce need to feel a common bond. With layoffs hitting harder and workforces stretched to the bone, we as a nation need something light, something centering, and something uniting to at the water cooler.

Thanks Betty for the unity and the laugh!

America’s Job Coach
http://www.americasjobcoach.com

“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”

Will Santa Bring New Jobs?

According to this, Santa or the Easter Bunny may be bringing us some new employment opportunities!  Check out what the Jacksonville Business Journal has to say!

 

Economists predict first-quarter hiring – Jacksonville Business Journal:.

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!

Two Girls For Every Boy!

In 1963, the song Surf City was recorded by a young, feel-good band named The Beach Boys.  It was the number one song on Billboard  Magazine‘s Top 100 (according to www.Wikipedia.com).  Some people who are ‘Over-50 Types’ might even remember when the song hit gold. 

What a fun concept for millions (of especially young men) to think about — a place where the girls may have worn an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, AND there were also two girls for every one boy!  Wow!  

First Wave Boomers were not alone in their indoctrination to this song however. It went on to be enjoyed by millions more who were born later and grew up hearing it at wedding dances and theme parties for decades to come. Throngs (not thongs!) of youth heard it for dozens of years and it became a part of culture.

Fast forward 45 years or so. Instead of ‘Two Girls for Every Boy,‘ now we have “Six Seekers For Every Job.”

A recent editorial by Paul Krugman of The New York Times included the statistic that we are now seeing six job seekers pursuing every one available job.  That doesn’t sound near as much fun as Two Girls for Every Boy. This level of competition for work looks like it is going to be with us awhile. It may become part of our culture…

If you are stuck in a job you don’t like, or you are out of work, that culture thought might be depressing.  Don’t let it bring you down!  Three out of five 50-something laid off people I know have recently found jobs! Collectively, they were competing against hundreds of other job seekers. But, they managed to land something despite the long odds.   

But the numbers are still the numbers. We are probably stuck in a “hot mess” with regard to optimal employment for at least the forseeable future. So what do you do?

A short answer is similar to what you may have heard already. If your line of work is clogged with too many competitors for too few jobs, you may need to reinvent yourself. This topic is addressed in many, many good books out there so I won’t go into detail. The short version is this:

  • Take what you know better than anyone else, repackage it, remold it, add a new, big dash of passion to it,  get someone smarter than you to review your efforts, and give it a whirl. 
  • Maybe you now can become a consultant to your former industry, or to a niche you have followed for a long time? Maybe you can boldly approach your former employer with a new “value-add” proposition or TwitterVator Speech? Maybe the time is finally getting close where you can turn your hobby into a small business?

I won’t expand much here, but instead invite readers to comment. Free job coaching by this blog’s participants may be helpful if you are struggling with how to reinvent yourself. But you have to be willing to ask for the help…

Let this group help to conquer your career crisis as you work to catch that perfect career wave and land your surfboard on an ideal beach of a job! 

Maybe comments by this blog’s readers will lead to Two Jobs for Every Boy (and Girl)!

Surf’s Up!

America’s Job Coach