Aug. 8, 2010 — -- So often we have tough news to report on the job market, but today's "America's Jobs" segment is filled with recent success stories.
Five people coping with long-term unemployment after a layoff got back to work. Each can trace his or her success to a specific tip that turned it all around. Such options can be used on their own but work more successfully when done simultaneously.
When Angela Raub was abruptly laid off, instead of flooding job boards with her resume, she connected with people personally. In a little more than three months, Raub's networking paid off: One of her contacts suggested an Atlanta financial services firm.
Even though there was no job opening, she was persistent and convinced the company to create a position for her, which she holds today.
Anthony Sanchez's entire department at a New York bank was laid off because of a relocation out of state, and he was out of work for about a year. He saw a "GMA" segment on temping to get a foot in the door. He went for it, and the agency's clients loved him.
Feedback was so good that when a permanent position opened on the staff, the agency hired him. After 16 months out of work, and six months temping, Sanchez now has a job he loves and he's happy that he can help others find jobs, too.
When he was laid off from his position as a community service officer, Roger Yost began targeting employers he wanted to work for. Even when he didn't hear back or there wasn't a right fit, he kept following the companies on his target list. At first, a hotel and casino in Minnesota wasn't interested in him, but the second time worked like a charm. He kept tabs on the company and landed a security job the next time a relevant opening appeared.
Persistence was the key for Valarie Tucker of Missouri, as well. She worked for a telecom company as a supply chain manager but lost her job in a round of layoffs. She was out of work for 6 months but followed our tip to maintain good relationships with her former colleagues. Those contacts came through for her. Valarie was hired back by a former employer in a different role. Her strong connections lead to a new job.
5. Volunteer to Gain Experience
In California, Mark Judge worked for 22 years in children's publishing before he was forced to take a buyout. He decided to target the non-profit world but got no response to online ads. He realized that someone in his 50s without recent non-profit experience was a hard sell. He decided to volunteer to get the experience needed to get into his field of choice.
Judge put in 600 hours in more then seven months at an educational non-profit program. Impressed, his boss recommended Judge for an Encore fellowship, a terrific program run by Civic Ventures for older workers looking to shift gears in their careers. He was accepted and is now three months into a year-long contract as a paid fellow at a youth-science program.
Mark's making less money but is enthusiastic that his encore fellowship will help him land a leadership role at a non-profit.
City government and non-profits offer job search assistance in every city. It's best to get help in person so you can put a face to your resume. Many local libraries also have robust career support services as well.
Connecting with a small group of people to whom you will be accountable every week is often a valuable push when job-searching. Churches often host such programs, which differ from large networking events. Search online for a job club near you.
For this to work, you must do it daily. Use LinkedIn to research companies and connect with people who work or worked where you want to work -- or know someone who does. Twitter is a platform that enables you to talk directly with people in recruiting or other divisions at the employers you're targeted. Facebook has feature from Simply Hired that allows you to see the job openings at the companies of your friends, which makes it easy to ask for a referral.
Showing up in person is essential, as long as it's at the right events. Call ahead to ask who'll be attending and research the speakers or key guests before showing up. Bring business cards, but no resumes unless it's a job-search-related function. More importantly than passing out your card, which leaves you in a reactive position, ask for the cards of anyone you're really interested in reconnecting with.
If you can't find someone to hire you, consider hiring yourself. SCORE.org offers extensive free online resources and free events to help aspiring business owners get started.