He called me with panic in his voice, looking for support in finding his next job. While he made it through this round of cuts with minor bruising (a pay cut), Tim knows his company is on a downward spiral and his job is on the line.


While he doesn’t live in Florida, where the unemployment rate is skyrocketing, he is working in an industry that is taking a big hit right now. Every time his cell phone rings, he looks at it with nervous anticipation, wondering… “Might it my boss calling to request an urgent meeting so that she can let me go or cut my pay once again?”


He thought that since he is the only one in his office who understands the software needed to run an important program, he was safe. Now, the next round of layoffs are lurking and he’s concerned they may decide his expertise is no longer needed.


Since there is no time to waste, we got to work immediately on what Tim needs to do to ensure he’s safe regardless of what happens to his company. The following are the steps Tim is focused on:


Step One – Take Note: Tim created a list of the following; what skills do you most enjoy using, what experiences have you enjoyed most and what companies/organizations do you most want to contribute to (i.e. work for)?


Step Two – Utilize and Expand Your Network: While it was natural for Tim to send a resume or ask his friends to help him get a job, the idea of simply reconnecting was foreign. The majority of people are calling on their network to “help them,” which is why Tim (and you) is approaching his network differently. (Want more information on this? Email me: MBurmeister@InspirionInc.com).


Step Three – Target: Tim could easily name 3 companies he highly respected/admired, so targeting isn’t so difficult. He knows these 3 companies very well and is currently targeting his cover letter and resume to these companies. Most people shoot as many darts off as possible, with absolutely no focus and pray something will land. Want better odds? Pick 3 and focus getting to know the ins and outs of the organizations – figure out what value you could add to their bottom line.


Step Four – Resume and Cover Letters: Tim’s resume and cover letter were not unique – he needed to do something different that would have him stand out. First and foremost, he needed to gear each cover letter to the company he was applying. Most people create one generic cover letter and hope someone will see value = mistake! Pretend you are the one employer looking at the cover letter and resume – wouldn’t you want to know what this job candidate could do to make your life easier? Of course you would! So, use your cover letter and resume as a tool to explain how you can help them with something they need.


Step Five – Informational Interviews: Tim is currently making phone calls and sending emails to the HR department and specialized positions within the companies he likes and is requesting an informational interview. He knows it is very important he stick to the interview questions and learn about the people, rather than simply hoping to get a job. His plan is to begin developing a relationship with these people – if he lands a job in the process, great!


Step Six – Focus: Several times throughout the day, Tim found himself engaged in “the sky is falling” conversations with coworkers. Those kind of water cooler conversations are a huge waste of time. If the conversation isn’t serving you, don’t serve the conversation. In other words, if the conversation isn’t adding positive value to your life, disengage and refocus on your job and steps 1-4.

If you are in a position similar to Tim’s and you begin taking the steps I outlined above, you will be just fine. If you wish (regardless of generation) to ensure you never have to worry about your job again, stay tuned for Part II of this series.


Rock on!


Misti Burmeister