I recently reconnected with a lovely and brilliant friend from college who now lives in England. We were catching up on the last 15 years of life and come to find out, we have been both been working in similar industries. We started talking about the economy, job losses, etc and she made a comment about how tough it is when someone is made redundant.
Wait..made redundant? I'm from Texas. Talk simple. Do you mean laid off?
I may tease her about now sounding like Madonna now that they are both British, but I was struck by the simple accuracy of that word. How many of us were laid off and how many were truly made redundant?
As a job search coach, I get to work with a diverse array of professionals from folks who worked manual labor jobs to people with more initials after their name than I can count. The one commonality that most of them share is that so many of us put professional development on the backburner when we are working. Why do we only care about this when we are seeking? Doesn't seem right, does it?
And yet we do it. I'm not just blogging about it-I'm completely guilty of it. I've put off getting the certifications, training, or advanced degrees that I wanted thinking about how busy I was and if I could just wait two more quarters, I'll have more time...two more quarters roll by, and I'm still busy. What a shock! I love to learn and consider one of my greatest strengths to be my ability to say "I do not know but I will find out", but yet here I am...considering if I made myself redundant in my last job. I think I probably did.
So, knowing is half the battle...how do we fix it? Here are some ideas:
Hit the books: One of the biggest barriers to going back to school when you are unemployed is the obvious-where do I get the money? Many of the candidates that I work with in outplacement coaching have the desire to keep learning, but also have families to support. Remember that many programs exist outside of your local unemployment office to help you go back to school. Pell Grants are one such option. You can check them out online at https://www2.ed.gov/programs/fpg/index.html or go to your local university's financial aid office for more info.
Make connections: Maybe you don't qualify for a Pell Grant or don't have the time to go back to school, but you can conduct informational interviews. Informational interviews are great ways to connect to people who work in your field and ask them what makes them successful, employable, and growing. You may find that you have been targeting the wrong skills to work on. Using sites like www.linkedin.com to find and connect with professionals who excel in your field is a great place to start.
Work for free: I know this piece of advice seems like I have taken the express train to crazy town, but there is a growing trend of mid career professionals securing internships as a way to help them develop a stronger or additional set of skills. Don't believe me? Check out sites like https://internsover40.blogspot.com/p/job-seeker-peronalize-your-career.html to learn more about other professionals who are taking this time to learn new skills.
Bottom line: Don't be tempted to use your out of work time as time to get up to speed on the latest daytime dramas-use this time to shine your toolbox of skills. Get out and meet professionals, ask for advice, and get connected in the marketplace. Think outside of the box in recreating your professional skill set. You may still be unemployed at the end of that journey, but you will be better prepared for the next step. Would love to blog more, but I have to go clear my calendar-I'm going to see a counselor about starting my Masters.
Michelle currently serves as a Job Search coach helping professionals make the leap from looking to landed. In addition to her time spent coaching individuals, she delivers a variety of training sessions from Social Networking, Working with Recruiters, Online Resume Posting, and Interview Prep.
Michelle possesses over 15 years of diverse experience in functional areas such as recruiting, human resources, coaching, training, organizational development, staffing, sales, sales management, retail, and banking/finance.
Prior to working as a job search coach, Michelle made her career in the Placement industry working most recently for the 2nd largest Staffing Company in the World. For this multi-national organization, Michelle served as an Agency Recruiter, Corporate Recruiter, Senior HR Manager, and Area Vice President. During her tenure with this organization, Michelle was also tasked with various Organizational Development programs including the creation of a company wide Career Progression Program. Michelle also served on the three person team that introduced a new “Gen Y” based hiring model that included a greater emphasis on college recruiting/branding and internships. As a result of this experience, Michelle considers her greatest strengths to be talent identification/retention, talent development, and coaching for performance improvement.
In addition to these areas of expertise, Michelle is rapidly growing her knowledge base around Social Media and Web 2.0 as it relates to the work world. She writes a regular blog on job searching that can be found at: https://hireme.typepad.com/michellemorettini/. Want to connect to Michelle?
Send her an invitation on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michellemorettini.
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