Top Ten Best Tips For Landing a Good Job After a Life Disaster
You read so many articles/blogs out there that are full of motivational wording and phrases, but If
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Top Ten Best Tips For Landing a Good Job After a Life Disaster
you’re like me when I was hit by a car a couple of years back, you’re depressed, anxious, tired, frustrated, and ready to give up. It’s easy to say ‘get out there,’ ‘spruce up your resume,’ and ‘don’t give up,’ but how exactly do you do that when your entire life has fallen apart? When your chosen career is no longer an option? Let’s be real here, it’s very different for people who have been in the job market already. The most those people have to do is make their resume look more attractive, apply a few interview tips and do some leg work. Before they know it, they’re in another position. From personal experience, I know that the world isn’t so clean and clear cut when you literally have to start from Zero. I was an International Dance Instructor for about 15 years until that fateful day when some guy thought it was cool to turn the corner at full speed and not care who was crossing. The perpetrator was never arrested because he apparently had family, or strong ties in the local precinct. The supposed video of the accident, witness accounts, anything that could help my case conveniently disappeared, and I was left at a complete loss. I tried everything I could from calling local media, writing emails to newspapers, to asking people to help me attend neighborhood board meetings, and nothing worked. The only media person willing to help me out was Simone Weichselbaum from the Daily News who wrote an article about my plight to raise awareness. You can find that here: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...ticle-1.988374
. I was very upset when I read the article because when interviewed, the police outright lied and said I refused to provide them with information. I left my whole life an open book, and even made my personal and confidential medical records available to the police, so I have no idea what else they could have wanted from me.
The Television stations gave me the run around saying they did not want to ruin their relationship with local police, and those board meetings were a complete waste of time. The Police Chief only kept replying that the police only do their jobs according to their policies and standards and that “not everyone is happy with the outcome.” To make matters worse, I was permanently injured and had no hope of returning to my Dance career. The only thing I could do was sue and hope that something would come out of it. I was at one of the lowest points in my life. With no health insurance, bills piling up, eviction around the corner, depression setting in deeper every day, and a destructive relationship with someone who was no support at all; I needed to do something to change the game or else my dog and I were going to end up homeless.
Based on everything that happened to me, I was able to put this list of 10 things to get your life back after a disaster. I hope this can help all who read it to realize that there are people who have been there and survived. If I could do it after a permanent injury and 3 years out of work, then so can you.
1) Change starts from the inside out.
Start listening to/ watching inspirational videos on www.youtube.com like Anthony Robbins, Maysoon Zayid, Brian Tracy, Robert Kiyosaki, Marianne Williamson, just to name a few. You need to eat, sleep, and breathe in positive words, methods and thoughts. Believe it or not, new studies have shown that people who study before sleeping/napping more easily consolidate and process new information. According to Dr. William Klemm, “ At least two processes seem to be at work: 1) sleep protects new memories from disruption by the interfering experiences that are inevitable during wakefulness, and 2) sleep consolidates memories according to their relative importance and the learner's expectations for remembering.” Listen to a seminar or video before you sleep or nap. As you do this more and more, your brain will start to switch from negative to positive thinking. Of course you have to firmly make up your mind to change as well. Begin to visualize yourself in the place you want to be. Whether it’s a new job you need, recovery from an accident, recovering from the loss of a loved one, or money problems. As they say, you can take the horse to the river, but you can’t force him to drink. You need to make the decision change your life, and stick to it.
2) Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
Pride needs to go out the window right now. You’ll be surprised the people who you know that are ready and willing to help. I for example, had virtually no help from my ex-boyfriend. It was so bad that my dog learned to help me up by himself just so I could get to the bathroom because my ex was never there. I felt terrible for my pup, he was so good to me and all I could do to reward him was lock him up in an apartment and snuggle with my hurt, depressed self. I reluctantly called up a fellow dog owner so she could take my boy out, and then the word of my accident spread like butter on toast. I had a myriad of dog people from the neighborhood coming almost every day to take my pup on walks, bring me some food, or just visit with me and help me clean up a bit. I remember one lady bless her soul, was also an Acupuncturist. She did me the awesome favor of coming a few times and giving me free acupuncture sessions to help relieve my pain. This all came from me asking ONE PERSON for help. I was so grateful and overwhelmed with the help I got from people who just saw me randomly at the dog park. Seeing how appreciated I was gave me the inspiration to keep going, no matter how bad it got. Seeing my pup come home happy, wiggling and excited after each walk gave me the motivation to get better and do something about my situation not just for me but for him too. I started to visualize myself walking through that door with my boy and seeing him that happy with me. I repeat myself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Even if you don’t know anyone in the neighborhood, look on the internet and contact local churches, government agencies, and volunteering centers. Even local hospitals always have volunteers that are willing to lend a helping hand. Don’t have internet access? Every building or home gets delivered the white and yellow pages. No phone books? Call 411 and 311. They can direct your call to local government help offices, hospitals, shelters, and various listed services in the area. See? Even in the worst of situations there is always a way to reach out for help.
3) Eliminate, or as I say, ‘Take out the garbage.’
Too often, we allow negative people in our lives who we constantly make excuses for. How many times have you found yourself saying “oh you don’t really know him/her that’s why you see them that way,” or “He/she is just stressed out, that’s why he/she treated me badly.” Let’s get things straight here NO ONE is supposed to treat you badly for any reason whatsoever no matter how hurt, unemployed, depressed or crippled you are. There is no excuse. You need to ask yourself (and honestly, no matter how much it hurts), are there people in my life who are making it worse? Could it be a boyfriend/girlfriend? Could it be a family member? Maybe it’s that negative ‘best’ friend? NOW is the time to cut those people out of the picture. I know it hurts especially when you are at your most vulnerable and you feel SO alone, but that is THE POINT. You ARE vulnerable, so all that negativity can and will get to you, bringing you further down than you already are. You don’t need those type of people in your life, PERIOD. Even if it’s a close family member like you mom or dad, in Spanish there is a saying, ‘de lejitos no mas,’ which basically means ‘we are ok but from far away.’ Taking out the personal garbage can be anything from completely cutting a person off if you so decide they are detrimental to your life, or it could also be just setting up a personal boundary which that person/people cannot cross. Even if you ‘depend’ on this particular person or persons for something, there is ALWAYS a way out and somewhere to turn to as you have already learned from step 2.
4) Figure out what you need FIRST.
You have already reached out to people for help, you are feeling better, and you have eliminated the negative people bringing you down, so go ahead and take the next step. What is your particular situation like? What do you need to do FIRST to get yourself out in the job market again? Do you need medical assistance? Do you need legal assistance? Do you need to apply for public assistance? Do you need to go back to school and develop new skills? Do you need a loan? Do you need a better resume? Evaluate your situation and see who to call/ go to first. If you are on government help or disability, did you know that there is a program called “B2W” (back to work) which sets you up with government recruiters and help you get a job ASAP no matter what your condition? Did you know that when dealing with personal injury lawyers they ALWAYS have lenders they work with personally to bail you out of debt based on the worth of your case? Yep, that’s right. You won’t be homeless waiting for your case to settle and find a job. You also DON’T have to stay with an abusive spouse just because they pay the rent. You can do it on your own!
Did you know that you can be working and still qualify for government help? People are under the misconception that because they are working they do not qualify for help even if they need it. WRONG! Eligibility is based on income and expenses. If you don’t have money to feed yourself after all your necessary bills like light, heat, and rent, and you can prove it, you DO qualify for benefits.
Did you know that when starting up school again, you can tack on to your school loan extra study expenses? I remember when I started school again I desperately needed some money as I transitioned jobs and got on my feet when I moved back from Scandinavia. They granted me like $3,500.00 which I used to buy a new laptop, paid off a couple of credit cards that were killing me, paid my rent, and got to save a little money for the rainy days. Of course you have to pay back your school loans eventually, but it’s a solution for struggling students trying to find a job. This whole process may start to look scary because it’s a lot to do, but it’s a big step in getting you on your feet and ready to go out to find a new job. See which game plan is going to work for you, write it all down, soak it in, and mentally get ready to start the process of getting your life back.
5) Train Yourself
It’s a bit terrifying to go out there, speak to strangers and make a good first impression, so let’s go back to the super kindergarten basics: “Practice makes perfect!” Since you don’t have an interview tomorrow per se, you can take your time training your mind and body to handle itself under the pressure of interviews. It’s hard being put on the spot like that all the time, so stand in front of the mirror and press record. You read right, find a recorder and use It. Most phones come with a record option or have access to free apps that can be installed to act as recorders. Sitting in front of the mirror gives you the illusion of someone sitting across from you, and the recorder will provide that simulated ‘pressure’ to get a great recording. Pretend you are sitting in front of a potential employer, make eye contact with yourself and imagine the questions they may ask you. Have no clue? Go online and look up phrases like, ‘questions I may get asked on an interview’ or ‘popular job interview questions.’ Use those as your examples, and practice until you’re satisfied you are ready. Next, try to step away from the generic questions, and try coming up with questions directly relating to your work experience. For example, one of the main questions I was asked when entering the work force again was about the gap in my work experience. As we all know from this article, I was hit by a car. Now remember, employers are not interested in sob stories and novelas. Make it short, factual, to the point and end on a positive note. I have always said something along the lines of this: ‘well, sadly I was hit by a car in 2011 and had a lot of recovering to do. It was hard, and I went through a lot. But, I’m glad I’m alive, got through it all, and now I’m healed up and ready to get out there again.” Make sure as you tell your short story your head is up, your arms and hands are relaxed, and that you’re sitting straight. Body language is a strong tool that can be used to your advantage. Employers like to hear and see that you have overcome the past and are ready to head into the future. If you give them a huge drawn out story, are constantly looking at the floor, and twiddling your thumbs, not only does it look like you lack confidence, it gives off the impression that you are still dwelling on the situation and have not truly recovered. Employers see this as a weakness and are hesitant to hire people who look like they may take a lot of time off, or will quit. Remember that recovery is not just physical, it’s mental, and emotional as well. As you do these exercises in front of the mirror you are forced to face yourself, helping you get over your traumas, so your confidence level will inevitably go up. Employers want people who are genuine, humble, and show leadership qualities. If it helps, write your explanation sentence down and edit it until you feel it’s what you want to convey. Practice saying it a few different ways so you don’t get choked up and nervous if the question is asked a bit differently, or even if you are asked more questions on the subject. Just remember to not overdo it either. As Jenny Foss wrote, “When you have too many memorized answers packed in your brain, you’re more likely to spend the interview trying to remember each scripted answer, rather than engaging in the conversation. The back-and-forth will seem unnatural and forced, and you’ll likely come across as insincere.” Jenny recommends you “Think about what you’re most proud of, what you struggled with, what you learned from the struggles, where you developed management skills, how you got to be so good at problem solving, and so on,” she explains. “When you’re confident with the specifics of your story, you’ll have a much easier time drawing from your experiences and articulating your worth, no matter what you’re asked.” I couldn’t have put it better myself honeslty.
If you have a friend or loved one nearby, ask them to help you out! Pretend like you are arriving for an interview with an entrance and all the works. Dress up, go out the door and do the entire skit. I know this sounds silly, but if I have anything its performance experience. As a professional dancer, I was on stages all over the world and had to dance and speak in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people. ANYTHING, and I mean anything can throw off your performance from your new costume, to strong lights, and everything in between. That’s why we dancers practice like animals and put ourselves in all sorts of situations. Our brains need to be prepared to perform at their best no matter what the environmental factors. So, if you have been practicing in your jammies the whole time, you need to change it up. You never know if it’ll be the snug new suit that’ll throw off your concentration, or the tight dress shoes, or even the cologne/perfume you are wearing. Think of it like this, if dancers can have dress rehearsals, why not you?
6) Look The Part
I know money is super tight, but you have to look the part to get the right job. You will have to invest in at least 1-2 suits/outfits that you can wear to those interviews. You can be the most skilled individual on the planet, but if you look like you belong anywhere else but that interview, you are less likely to get the job you are aiming for. I know what you are thinking right now, “Where the hell am I going to come up with $100.00 to spend on a suit.” Trust me, I have the perfect solution. When I was broke, I hit up a few different Thrift Stores to see what I could find. You wouldn’t believe the quality suits and outfits people throw out or donate! I once got 3 beautiful blazers that were great brand names. One was H&M, the other Calvin Klein, and the third was Banana Republic all for $30.00. You read correctly, $30.00 for ALL 3 BLAZERS. Those are rather expensive brands and good quality blazers. At another thrift store, I bought 3 pairs of pants that matched my blazers 1 Anne Klein for $5.00, and the other 2 Express for $10.00 each. At the end of the day, I only spent $55.00 ON 3 ENTIRE SUITS. A male friend of mine struck gold and found a Gucci blazer for $15 at a thrift shop. That sounds like a much better deal doesn’t it? Remember not to limit yourself to one or two thrift stores. Don’t just go to The Salvation Army thrift stores because they can still be a bit expensive when it comes to these things. I suggest looking around for the little independently owned places. It will take a little leg work, but the outcome is well worth it.
7) Snazz up that Resume
Your confidence is up, and you got the looks and skills down pact. Now, do you have a decent resume? If you don’t, take some time looking on the internet and check out the top 3-5 resumes that come up in your field of work. This is a simple S.E.O trick. The top 5 search results are the ones which are ranked having the best and most sought after key words and phrases out there. If it’s good enough for Google, it has to look great for a potential employer in your field. Use those resumes as a template for key phrases and skill related descriptions your resume must have, and there you go. Still need some help? Microsoft word has a page where you can download the resume format of your choosing! Some of them are even labeled by field of work so you will be able to choose easily and wisely. If you still feel like it’s just not good enough, everyone has that braniac friend or family member right? Ask that person, or a couple of other people you trust to look over your resume and suggest any changes that should be made. If you are SUPER paranoid, the next step would be to hire a professional. There are many websites out there like mine www.personalassistantonthefly.com, which offer online resume services that range from simple editing, to full on creation of a resume from scratch. Frankly, it’s up to you. If you have the cash to spend on it, go for it. If not, these are a few good steps to help you create your own amazing resume.
8) Find The Right Agencies For You
There are amazing recruiting agencies out there for just about every industry from cleaning staff, to construction, administrative and more. Go online, do a search and make list of at least ten agencies that catch your eye. If you don’t have internet access from your home, head to your local library. They have computers there you can use to do your search. Go to at least one agency every day in the next 2 weeks and I guarantee you will get results. This is plain statistics. Out of the 7- 10 places you go to, at least 2 of those will call you back with either temporary or permanent positions. Remember to not close those doors when using agencies. There are SO many temp jobs that turn into permanent placements just because they like you so much; and well money is good no matter what.
Once your resume is on point and you have a game plan just get out there. I know every company or recruiter website you go to has a link to ‘submit your resume.’ You can go ahead and do that too, but remember that you and how many hundreds and thousands of people are doing the EXACT same thing? Honestly, too many to count. You can send your resume out 30 -60 times via email in one day and NEVER get a response. I learned this lesson the hard way doing the 30 email minimum per day. Let me tell you, I got A LOT of phishing attempts. Yes, we now live in the digital era where everything seems to be ‘apply online,’ but TRUST ME, nothing beats that old fashion go getter attitude that seeps off you when you enter a recruitment office determined, strong, dressed up, and ready to get a job. TRUE STORY, I walked into a recruiting office at 9AM sharp, resume in hand and dressed in my best black suit. It said clearly on the website to submit my resume online, but I of course didn’t listen. I approached the receptionist and said, “Good morning, I was just stopping by to submit my resume and see if I could possibly sit down with a recruiter today.” I handed her my resume (without her asking by the way), when she started to say “Well we don’t take paper resumes, if you could submit it online……” AND THEN her voice trailed off when she saw my resume. “You know what, hold on, I will be right back” said the receptionist. Needless to say, I sat down with a recruiter about 15 minutes later. BUT check out what a difference that attitude, plus my suit and the professional resume did. Another young man, I’d say we were about the same age walked in with a dress jacket, a button down shirt, jeans and casual shoes. He said more or less the same thing but didn’t hand her his resume. The receptionist took one look at the way he was dressed and turned him away with a card, advising him to apply online.
Make sure to keep an open line of communication with your recruiters and advise them of other agencies you have visited, or plan to visit. Recruiters appreciate honesty and will work at their best to get you placed if they know exactly what’s going on with you and what you are capable of. Keep your phone on high ringer 24/7 and check in with them every couple of days using their preferred method of communication. Remember recruiters have a lot of other people to place as well, but if you are truly there, ready, and willing at any time, you will be at the front of their minds when they get that call. I was a super pest and called/emailed my 3 favorite recruiters every day, but guess what? I had a temp job at least 1-3 days a week EVERY WEEK until I found permanent placement. A little paycheck is better than no paycheck.
9) Don’t Take It Personal
Let’s face it. It’s a cruel world out there and you will bump into people who are complete *%#holes. There may even be situations where you are almost hired then let go, or even passed over for a position. IT HAPPENS. Don’t let one disappointment put you down and out. These agencies still exist and run because there ARE jobs out there to be filled, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find the right fit. I have a crazy true story, however this company and the person who did this will remain nameless because I am a professional, I believe in Karma, and that all things happen for a good reason. I was hired by this company and was trained for a week receiving a super low salary for what I was really doing, and contracted under another title, I’m assuming to justify the low salary. I admit I was kind of desperate for a job, so I settled for this position in the hopes that I could pay my dues and climb up in the company to get a higher salary. As fate, destiny and the forces of the universe so work, I ended up getting very sick that weekend, and was in the hospital until about that Thursday. To make a long story short, I was assured my job would be safe and that they couldn’t fire me because I got sick, but the person who hired me ended up firing me the day before I was released because I was transferred from one hospital to another, and could not get a hold of me for a WHOLE half a day. Meanwhile I had loved ones, and the hospital calling them every day to update them on my progress as I was in no condition to be glued to a phone. Irrational isn’t it? From a business standpoint, I understood them. They needed someone there to work and I was in the hospital, but at the same time it was very unprofessionally done. I was not even allowed the chance to get my personal effects and show my medical paperwork to justify my absence. They Fed Ex shipped my things! Who does that!? Regardless, I always kept my composure and was professional to the very end because it is who I am. You know what? It was probably the best thing that could have happened to me because a couple of weeks later, I was placed in a great company that values my talents, worth, and pays me an awesome salary. Moral of the story is, don’t sell yourself short, keep your head up, always be professional, and don’t take anything personal. You never know what great new opportunity is waiting for you just around the corner.
10) Blow Them Away
Last but not least, do beyond your best at EVERY temp job you get. You are a reflection of the quality at that agency and you always want to portray yourself as a true professional. The more great recommendations you get, the more likely your recruiter will be to consider you for a permanent position. Follow all these steps and I guarantee that before you know it, you will be on your feet and may one day be motivated to write a blog like this one to inspire people that may be were you once were.
Most important of all, don’t EVER get discouraged!!! Remember you have literally been through worse and survived.