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The Chameleon – What Your Recruiter Hopes You Don’t Do During Your Next Interview

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 11, 2014 in Interviewing Skills, Lessons Learned

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Weird Tales from Behind the Recruiting Desk:  Chameleon

The jungle can be a tough place to find shelter, or in this jungle, a job, so let’s take a key piece of advice from our friend the chameleon – it can be in your best interest to blend in order to get ahead in the market. This thought came to light recently, as my last few months recruiting at the Merito Group has allowed me to uncover some of the more unique inhabitants of the jungle. Sticking out can be a great asset in an interview, but in these cases not so much.

In this blog series I will be examining a few candidates that were special cases – some facts may be exaggerated, skewed and twisted! These are meant to be lessons learned, not exposes of my stellar candidates, so please enjoy:

Be aware of your surroundings. The chameleon has an advantage above the rest of the jungle. They can slide under the radar of those trying to hunt them, but they still must be on guard! (It is, after all, a jungle out there.) Many companies in this day and age offer the flexibility of webcam interviews for those candidates who are still currently employed, but looking to make a move. Here at Merito Group we try to make the process as easy as possible for our candidates as well as our clients. I have had a few occurrences, though, that have made me wonder at the lack of professionalism exposed with this media.

Candidates who use their computer screen, phone, and other varying technologies as a security blanket: beware! Employers and recruiters will want to see you and meet you “in-person” so you must still present yourself professionally, even if it is from the comfort of your own home in a webcam or phone interview. Your interviewer will understand that your home is your place of comfort and exudes personality, but your cats, dogs, children, spouses, and cuckoo clocks are not a welcome distraction in an interview no matter where you are. Use a room where you have solitude from such distractions.

Technology is changing every day and to keep up with the times, we sometimes must use interfaces we are not used to. Please test your webcam, the platform, and your phone reception before calling in/showing up to an interview that is not “in person.” The most annoying thing our clients have to put up with on phone or webcam interviews is that the candidate doesn’t have great call quality or internet speed. Use a land line or go to a library, if necessary! Sometimes a webcam can freeze due to bandwidth limits, weather, or even user error. Please be aware that both sides may not always freeze at the same time: do not assume your interviewer cannot see you! Maintain your professional persona until after your interview is complete. Many technological issues can be avoided with the proper preparation.

Remember: You can’t re-do a first impression! More on that in my next post…

This guest post was contributed by Emily Craig of Merito Group. If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Tiger – Bounding Over The Interview Questions

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jul 3, 2014 in Interviewing Skills

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Interviewing Questions Series: 7-8 of 29 Tiger2

Answers to popular (and sometimes tricky) questions you might hear in your next interview. Suggestions and requests are welcome in the comments. If you are currently a job seeker, a great way to help you prepare for the interview is to prepare a brief answer to all of the questions here. Download all of the questions here: Interview Prep Guide.

Would you be prepared to move?

When you are interviewing for a job that requires relocation, say “yes.”

If you applied to the position knowing that relocation would be required, it will usually be discussed in detail after the offer. Despite the fact that there are a lot of steps that will need to be accomplished for that to occur, the interview is not the time to discuss them – save that for after you have received the offer. Bombarding the interviewer with too much detail about all the things you will need to do to get moved and settled may actually be a deciding factor on who they choose, so when asked this up front, just say you will be able to relocate and leave the planning and discussion until after you have accepted the offer.

What is your anticipated salary?”

Start with a discussion of the cash you have received in your last position. Many discussions about stock options get complicated and the first or second interview is not the time to get into those details. Options are only as good as the cash you can or have received for them so make sure you know what your grants were and what that immediate or near term value is. Preparing a spreadsheet is a good idea in case you need it.

No matter what the total compensation is that you are looking for, let them know you are open their best offer. All companies have different pay and incentive pay plans that are pretty consistent across the board and the larger the company, the more consistency they strive to achieve. You could unwittingly under- or overprice yourself by bundling your base and bonuses together in a lump number so make sure you break that out so they have a firm understanding of the components of your previous pay.

Another thing to consider: Health insurance paid on your behalf is not generally used to negotiate more cash up front. Just because you don’t need the plan now doesn’t mean you might not need it later. While it may seem like a good idea to ask for $2k more per year since you won’t be using the benefits up front, it won’t usually work. If you need to initiate the plan later, they most likely would not reduce your pay so it’s best to just leave it on the table.

Never lie about your previous compensations. It will be verified.

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The Monkey – Swinging Through The Interview Questions

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 27, 2014 in Interviewing Skills

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Interviewing Questions Series: 5-6 of 29 Monkey2

Answers to popular (and sometimes tricky) questions you might hear in your next interview. Suggestions and requests are welcome in the comments. If you are currently a job seeker, a great way to help you prepare for the interview is to prepare a brief answer to all of the questions here. Download all of the questions here: Interview Prep Guide.

What led you to leave your current job?

If you are currently employed and a recruiter calls you, you don’t necessarily have to find something glaringly wrong with your current employer or work scenario to consider the position(s) they describe. You can actually focus on the positives of why this new company/role is of great interest to you. Perhaps it offers you something new to learn or an innovative way to apply your talents to the benefit of the new organization. Surrounding yourself with new people you can learn from is also considered a positive reason for seeking a job change.

If you are discontent or unhappy at your current employer, do your best to avoid speaking poorly about your boss, the company, the business strategy, the work environment, or politics that may be at play causing your to seek a new position. You never know who knows whom, so keep it light. You could be walking into the office of the spouse of someone you work with. People gravitate toward positive energy, so focus on the good rather than looking for negative reasons to leave your current job.

If you are no longer employed, you will need to be comfortable discussing why you left; especially if it wasn’t by choice. Being let go or transitioned out of a job is a very difficult emotional experience, particularly when you didn’t see it coming. Take some time to reflect on what you could have done differently and what will be important to you going forward so that you can find a positive reason for the separation. Even if it is only in your mind, this will make it easier to discuss in an interview. If you really did make a grievous error and were let go for cause, it’s ok. As long as you can admit to your mistake, know what you need to do to avoid that mistake in the future and be comfortable discussing it factually rather than emotionally, you can get past it.

“When would you be able to start?”

“Within 2 week of acceptance of an offer” is a good place to start when you are still at the interview stage. If you know you need to give 3 weeks at your current employer, then tell the recruiter. What you don’t want to do is get into particulars about your summer vacation plans, your prepaid cruise trip, holiday trips with your family that you always go on and couldn’t possibly miss, or that you will need 2 weeks off for you wedding or your kids’ wedding at a certain point. These are all topics that can be broached AFTER you start. It’s normal for people to have life plans; everyone does. Be aware that you may have to take some of that time off without pay if you haven’t accrued enough personal paid time off.

Plans like this are not something you bring up until you have a written offer in hand and a better understanding of the job cycles and how they correlate with your vacation plans. Many cruises can be rebooked for another date if they coincide with a major deliverable or a beach house deposit can often be moved to another week should need be.

 

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The Bird – Soaring Through The Interview Questions

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 19, 2014 in Interviewing Skills

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Interviewing Questions Series: 3-4 of 29 Bird2

Answers to popular (and sometimes tricky) questions you might hear in your next interview. Suggestions and requests are welcome in the comments. If you are currently a job seeker, a great way to help you prepare for the interview is to prepare a brief answer to all of the questions here. Download all of the questions here: Interview Prep Guide.

“Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?”

Generally, we start off with what someone wants to hear, but in this case let’s discuss what they DON’T want to hear. The three main landmines to avoid are:

1)    You want to start your own company

It sounds like common sense, but if you are interviewing for a paying job at a company, you should not divulge any personal plans or dreams you may have of entrepreneurship down the road.  Companies want to hire someone who wants to be there, so try to focus on a logical career path that this position might offer rather than exposing personal goals that have nothing to do with working there. While you might see an advantage to having worked there that you can capitalize on as an entrepreneur down the road, the interview is not the time to discuss that.

2)     You want to go back to school

Even if the company touts its support of continuing education as a benefit, you should not discuss how you want to use that in the interview.  Focus instead on how you would like to have responsibility and possibly take on a role that requires more leadership rather than how you will use the program to obtain your MBA, CPA or another advanced degree or credential.

3)    You want their job

Telling someone you want their job is often just offensive; they don’t think it’s funny and it doesn’t express drive and enthusiasm for success like you might think that comment would. A better strategy for success is discussing a logical career path that isn’t focused on a particular job title, but rather a career oriented position in the same field, having assumed more responsibility and contributing to the overall goals of the organization at a higher level.

“Why does this job interest you?”

This answer should focus on what you will be doing in the position as well as the corporate culture, but not all one or the other. Choose 2-3 areas of the actual work they need to have done in the position that you enjoy; perhaps something that really makes use of one of your particular strengths. Also, choose 1 or 2 items about the company’s culture, values, or other environment focused areas that you particularly align with. You will need to have done your research on the company’s website prior to the interview to prepare this question. In non-profit organizations, they want to hear that you are committed to their cause. At a for-profit company they want to know that you will easily assimilate into their corporate culture.

At this point, don’t talk about benefits, commute, money, or other areas that are technically specific to you. Those are all great reasons to happily accept a role that you find challenging, but all of those things can all change, so stay focused on the work duties.

 

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The Bird’s Nest – Building Your Professional Bio

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on May 22, 2014 in Self Improvement

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Tips to write an effective, professional bio.Nest2

As a talent acquisition and search services firm, we have the frequent opportunity and pleasure to neaten and expand resumes and professional profiles. This helps our clients to better see the experience of a candidate and also helps our candidates land the perfect job. You can find many articles in this blog about tips to write the perfect resume.

This week I had the occasion to help one of my longtime friends write their professional bio. Unlike a resume, cover letter, or profile, a bio should highlight your current company, your immediate related professional background, and also include a bit of your personality in a few short paragraphs. Your alma mater, interests, major projects, and accomplishments should be a couple of sentences and, if applicable, media mentions or notable clients can be included. Incorporate as many numbers as you can and mention if you are involved in any outside activities and member organizations.

All of these points are the “eggs” that need a home outside of your resume. The nest of your professional bio can be used on company websites, requests for proposals, and many other areas. Your nest can only hold a few eggs at a time, so as your career changes and grows, be sure to swap out your accomplishments. It is good to update your bio once a year along with your resume so you aren’t scrambling for it at the last minute.

Below is an example:

 

BEFORE

Harry Miles is the Field Operations Director for Interior Design Company Inc. He has over 25 years of healthcare planning, activation, and patient move planning experience.  He has developed proprietary tools to accurately budget and plan complete facility activations.  Most recently he planned a 300,000 sf in patient facility located in Guam: equipment delivery and installation, activation, training, transition planning, patient move planning and relocation of reuse all completed forty five days. The project was a huge success and finished on time and within budget.  In his career he has planned and executed over 200 projects with an emphasis on patient care and staff safety, budget and schedule.  He has a great deal of experience organizing, training and motivating people toward a common goal.

 

AFTER

Harry Miles, PMP, is the Director Field Operations for Interior Design Company Inc.

Harry attended the University of Notre Dame on a full football scholarship where he played as a linebacker for 4 years while he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

Harry brings 20+ years of healthcare operations, logistics and planning experience to his role at Interior Design Company Inc. This boutique Alaskan and Native American Minority Business Enterprise is equally adept at meeting the needs of clients in the contiguous 48 states and all US Territories.

He recently delivered a 300,000 sf inpatient facility project located in Guam on schedule – 45 days from receipt of equipment.  This comprehensive, complex start to finish project included design, equipment procurement, delivery, installation, activation, training, transition planning, patient move planning and relocation.

He has a great deal of experience organizing, training and motivating people toward a common goal.  He has developed proprietary budgeting and scheduling tools that have uniquely allowed him to successfully execute over 200 projects with an emphasis on patient care and staff safety both domestically and internationally.

Harry and his family live in the Washington, DC area. He grew up in South Bend, IN and is an expert in University of Notre Dame sports trivia.  He was a high school State Champion in Tennis, speaks Zulu, the bush language of South Africa, and has a unique passion for large scale implementation and delivery projects.

For more information on Harry and Interior Design Company Inc. services visit his website or email him at Harry’s_email@email.com

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If you need help reworking or creating your professional bio, email Lindsay at lindsay@meritogroup.com with your resume and to inquire about pricing.

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The Prey – Don’t Become Prey to Your Next Job Interview

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 27, 2014 in Interviewing Skills

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As if the job search jungle wasn’t hard enough to manoeuvre through, once you’ve found that ideal position it’s time to overcome the dreaded job interview. Make sure you don’t fall victim to the common tests and trials that you’ll be put through. If you go prepared, you’ll ensure your best chance of demonstrating suitably for the role.

Do your research

There’s no quicker turn-off for an interviewer than discovering an applicant actually knows nothing about the company. It shows a lack of interest and, frankly, professionalism. Be sure to do your research into the business with which you’re applying, even if they would not be your first point of call. We know the marketplace is hugely completive and the next job you land might not be with your dream employer… but show an enthusiasm for every organisation you apply for.

Things to consider as you research include current products and services offered and recent developments or news (good and bad).

Be inquisitive

It is common for an applicant to mistake ‘asking questions’ as a sign of weakness, but in fact showing that you are inquisitive can only be favourable. Make sure you have some questions prepared to ask at the end of your interview just in case none naturally arise as the meeting takes place. The questions you ask could be based on your recent research – perhaps you’re unsure of the future vision of the company, or maybe you’d like to know more practical formalities about the job on offer?

Think about your past

While you may be looking to the future as you apply for a new role, don’t forget to think about how your previous work experiences may apply to this new opportunity. It is common for companies to ask you about your last position and how the responsibilities you had there will have been useful to the job you are applying for.

Don’t be surprised if you are asked hypothetical questions that require you to draw on past business experience. You might be asked to talk through a previous job failing and how you handed it, or to describe what you would do to overcome an issue their company is currently facing in your department.

Educate yourself

Aside from industry relevant qualifications, IT is becoming a crucial skillset in every sector. Do you have what it takes to make it in today’s tech savvy marketplace? If you feel your lacking when it comes to keyboard skills and spreadsheet formulas, maybe it’s time to get trained. Click here for some more information on relevant IT courses that can help you expand your knowledge.

Be flexible and focussed

Perhaps the hardest part of a job interview is being ready to think on your feet. It’s not easy to predict the sort of things you might be asked, so don’t get hung up on planning the answer to everything in advance. Instead be prepared to take a flexible attitude. Relax and embrace the unknown! Listen carefully and answer honestly for your best shot at coming over confidently.

This guest post was contributed by Victoria. If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

 

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The Squirrel – Bargain Hunting in the Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 21, 2012 in Career Path, Executive Coaching

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Squirrel2As the holiday shopping rush starts, it has dawned on many that the New Year is now just a few short weeks away. It’s that time of the year to grab a moment and simply take stock of what you’ve done well this year, what you want to improve upon for next year, and set goals. Most importantly, it’s resume update time!

Many people don’t take the time to update their resumes annually which creates a monumental chore when you suddenly need it (job change, promotion, bio, etc.). As we all rush through the malls and stores on Black Friday trying to get in the bulk of our Holiday shopping, think about another way you will be able to save during this season. Instead of wracking your memory for accomplishments from the previous 5 or ten years and taking days or weeks to pull your polished resume together when it is needed, make updating your resume a part of your holiday list. It is so much easier to keep things in perspective and keep track of what you have contributed year over year if you have an annually designated time to update. This year’s accomplishments might not be as significant as next year’s but it can become more difficult to remember details of projects as your work evolves. Making note of these things every year will save you time and worry. Time is money, so save yourself both by being prepared.

Just as squirrels collect and store nuts so they’ll have food to last through winter, you can stockpile your accomplishments in your resume every winter. TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME is a convenient source for you to download from Amazon.com with real life examples of how to organize your resume in order to find the PERFECT JOB.  A good job description with your specific accomplishments listed under each role showing what you have made, saved or achieved will give future readers of your document a great picture of not only what you have done but what you can do for them if they hired you.  Use numbers, specifics, percentages, etc. to quantify your contributions. Definitely note any special awards or accolades you may have received.

Try answering these questions:

  • What change occurred in my company this year and how was I involved in that?
  • How has my department and/or role evolved this year?
  • What were the major projects I worked on and how did they affect the division/ company’s performance?

Year end is also time to make sure you have completed your necessary CPE (continuing professional education). If you have earned licenses, keep your continuing education current so you aren’t scrambling to find classes that will meet your needs at the last minute.

The squirrels who have gathered the most nuts will be prepared for any kind of winter, so follow their example and you won’t have to go nuts to catch up!

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The Stars – Helpful Apps For Your Job Search

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 24, 2012 in Job Search

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With the economy the way it is at present, job searching is getting tougher all the time. As jobs are fewer, competition becomes stronger and you need all the help and advice you can get. Well, there are ways of job searching without having to leave your own home and at times to suit you. One way of doing so is by using apps. Climb the highest tree for the best reception and settle down to view these app stars to help you navigate to a great career.

  • Job Compass: This app can tell you what jobs are available within a specific radius and is an ideal way of keeping tabs on any jobs that happen to become available close to where you want to look. This app is perfect if you live in a remote area where jobs aren’t exactly flowing or you aren’t able to commute very far. Another great thing about this app is you can use it when on vacation or traveling; perhaps you like a certain place you visited and like the idea of settling down and getting a job there? A quick check of this app will give you a better idea as to whether it’s viable or not!
  • LinkedIn: Now having well over 175 million users, having this great networking tool at your fingertips is a great way to meet people in your field or at the companies where you want to be. Already have a job? Then this app is great for staying ahead when more suitable positions become available in your industry. By connecting with people within your preferred profession, you have a better chance of finding the job to suit you. You can put your entire resume up there and people can read it at leisure and contact you should something come up.
  • Resume Tips: This app does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s essentially a guide to completing your resume professionally to the best standard so that it stands out from the crowd when you apply for positions. It gives advice on formatting your resume, as well as targeting it towards individual jobs that you are applying for. Thinking of posting your resume on a job site or sending it to a possible employer? Then this app will help get it looking great before going any further. (editor’s note: For more resume tips, check out Ten Easy Steps to A Perfect Resume.)
  • Monster Job Search: This already famous online job hunting site now has an app for both iOS and Android. You can do everything from save your resume on the site to look for jobs around where you live and within a certain radius of where you live. You can be notified as soon as a position comes available and there is a function that helps you edit cover letters.

 

As the twinkling stars helped to guide many on the right path, these glowing apps are all great additions to your job search. Utilizing these apps may give you a far greater chance of finding the right job, before someone else snaps it up.

This guest post was contributed by Kerry Butters. Kerry contributes this article on behalf of Broadband Genie.

For more job search tips, check out Ten Steps to Finding the Perfect Job.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Extinction – Employment Advertising

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 12, 2012 in Job Search

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Things change.  Flowers bloom, technology advances, leaves fall, consumer needs and buying habits evolve. Even the way we do business is changing largely due to the emergence of social media which is also threatening conventional job search methods. This may not be a species to save and there are gads of ways to tap in to these emerging trends before the extinction of the traditional wanted ad.

I know we have said this many times on this blog. So, if you’re a job seeker, I’m sure you’ve seen the statistic that 80% of jobs are obtained through personal networking.

It never fails that when a friend of mine is faced with job change, I am one of their first calls no matter what their field of expertise.  While this makes sense – I have thousands of contacts and am happy to help them – the first thing I ask is what they are doing to look for a new job. They express how frustrated they are that when they reply to ads that they get no response but that is the only thing they have been doing. Here are a few avenues you can search to gain control over your job hunt so you won’t have to rely on blind luck; which is what you are doing if you are only selectively responding to ads.

In my book TEN STEPS TO FINDING THE PERFECT JOB one of the first points made is that it is fiscally impossible for companies to professionally advertise and post every job they have open. They would go broke!  It’s expensive to advertise on even the most common job seeker sites. If an employer is looking for hard-to-find people (programmers, DBA’s, tax, audit, etc.), many times the right people aren’t responding so the companies stop advertising and look to referral methods.

To tap into that network of unadvertised jobs you have to do some research.  Who would have needs for you and your skill sets? Classified employment advertising is a great place to get leads even if the job advertised isn’t perfect for you.  For example, if you are a Hyperion System Administrator, looking for companies that post other positions requiring Hyperion skills on their websites or on job boards would make that company a target of yours. Why? Because they, at some point, will need a person like you and the employees there who use Hyperion know other former employers and co-workers they can refer you to as well.

Remember, finding a job is all about timing so expanding your network when the timing is right can be tricky.  Adopting a constant approach to networking is a better plan than waiting until you are desperate.  People find it easier to help you when there isn’t a crucial deadline to be met.  Setting a goal of reaching out to a new person every day, as an example, that you have something in common with on LinkedIn is a great way to expand your on line presence and profile. To expand your sphere of personal influence, you have to network online, professionally and personally.

Your LinkedIn profile should be peppered with appropriate keywords indicating the work you would like to be contacted about.  Professional networking via industry conferences, association meetings ,and other business groups organized around geography (like the chamber of commerce) are great places to meet people that can help you uncover unadvertised opportunities.

People ask me all the time about Twitter.  If you look for #jobs you will see thousands of jobs popping up every day that you can link to on Twitter.  If you Tweet, make sure your profile, again, has all the keywords you want to be found for in it.

Be mindful of the companionship you keep on line. This past week someone was recommended to me as a person who was influential via social media but when I looked at this person’s profile I saw something different.  The posts from their “friends” and “followers” were littered with profanity, slang and were generally unprofessional.  We can’t control what others are posting but we can monitor it and remove it so, if you are looking for a job, you want to make sure you look as professional on line as you are for an interview.

Embrase the extinction with these new ways of job searching.

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The Fire Aftermath – Emerging From the Ashes of Getting Fired

Posted by admin on Feb 14, 2011 in Interviewing Skills, Job Search, Thinking Positive

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Wildfires are unexpected and devastating to the forest but recovery is never impossible. Twice in the past week two people I know very well were fired from their jobs. In both cases, they were told it was for cause and due to performance, or lack thereof. However, neither person was on a “work plan” or hadn’t been given any sort of formal warning. Both are now left nursing unexpectedly shattered egos and holding a bag of bills to be paid.

For them, and for the other readers out there who were recently fired, I thought I would jot a few pointers on how to take some of the burn out of getting fired:

1 ) Give yourself a day to grieve. Let’s face it, this is a shock and you’re mad about it. It’s not fair and you were treated poorly. Once your day of grieving is over, it’s over, and you are moving forward. You and only you can take charge of your destiny. It’s easy to get sucked into negativity so make a conscious effort to not wallow in your misery. Focusing on what you liked about your work and what you are looking for in your new job is a great way to overlook the negative aspects of what just happened.

2 ) Ask yourself what you could have done differently. You have all heard me say this a million times, but the root of all conflict is unmet expectations. What expectation of your former employer were you not meeting? And be honest! There are two sides to every story and if you were fired for cause there is something you did (or didn’t do) that didn’t meet their expectations. Figure out what you could have done differently so that you don’t make the same mistake twice. But don’t beat yourself up about it. Just recognize that might be an area of personal growth and work on it so the same situation doesn’t happen again.

3 ) Get your resume together and show that you are available for work immediately. As unemployment continues to drop, contract and temporary opportunities are on the rise so make sure people know you can start a project or full time job right away. If you need help with your resume, grab a copy of TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME from Amazon. It will really make the process a lot easier for you.

4 ) Find someone to be a reference for you from your previous job. A lot of people get fired and find out it was a blessing in disguise since they end up moving on to much better positions. The best reference is always a former supervisor and when you’re asked to leave, a former supervisor who has also left is a great person to use as a reference. You can also reach out selectively to people with whom you had good working relationships and ask if they are willing to serve as a personal reference. Many companies have a firm “no reference” policy if you can’t identify an ally who is willing to verify your talents, skills, and employment in your list of former co-workers. How about a vendor you worked with or supplier that you serviced?

5 ) Post your resume on line and make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with a status update stating you are looking for work. When you are working with recruiters, it’s important that you don’t displace your personal pressure onto them to perform miracles for you. Maintaining a positive story with as little drama mixed in will make your recruiters work harder for you in the long run. They don’t want to hear another sob story so focus on your strengths and what you want to do so they can really help you out.

6 ) Make a list of companies that you are interested in working for that hire people with your skill sets. A little Googling goes a long way here. Search skill sets, certifications, and industry experience in addition to job titles. This will open up a whole new list of companies you wouldn’t have discovered if you only search for job titles. This and other tips are discussed in TEN STEPS TO FINDING THE PERFECT JOB.

7 ) Start networking. Go through the companies on your list. Know your two sentence description of who you are and what you are looking for so you can let anyone who will listen or read know what your abilities are. 80% of jobs are obtained through networking so get out of your comfort zone and meet people. LinkedIn is an amazing tool that you can reach out to people through. Ask politely for selected professional referrals. Don’t connect with people you are about to interview with or have just interviewed with – that can be uncomfortable for them. Still look them up and see what you might have in common with them so you can discuss it when you meet.

8 ) Prepare for your interview by practicing your answer to why you left your last job first. No one wants to come out and say, “I was fired.” How about, “Unfortunately, my role had evolved and my former employers’ needs changed from when I started so my skill sets were no longer a match. I was sad to leave but I’m glad that it opened a door for me to be able to meet with you today about new opportunities.” It’s imperative that you turn the negative situation into a positive step into the future. It’s ok to admit you have things you are working on to improve and the self realization in and of itself is a step in the right direction.

9 ) Set a schedule to keep yourself busy. Don’t change your routine drastically because you lost your job. Just replace those hours you would have been working with your job search. Keep up your gym schedule, kids schedule, etc. as much as your finances will allow. Use every opportunity you can to network with people asking professionally for referrals.

Listen, many of us have been in this position, so know that you’re not alone. Apply for unemployment and create an executable job search strategy. I know you feel you’ve been treated unfairly but think twice (or three times…) before considering legal action against your former employer. Most states are at will and the only person who gains from suing your old employer is your attorney. Unless you have the financial ability to front 50K in legal fees, just move on because the employee rarely wins.

And one last thing…what goes around comes around. The people that let you go will likely get let go themselves someday and probably be unemployed a lot longer than you now that you’ve laid the groundwork for your success!

Check out these links for more useful tips:

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/salary/a/fired.htm
http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Job-After-You’ve-Been-Fired

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