Regular readers of my blog will recall that from time to time I’m called on to facilitate a two-week intensive job search group. All the participants are unemployed social assistance recipients, and one week ago, such a class ended. I’ve got some promising and exciting news to share.
Although only 1 of the 9 I supported was employed at the end of the two weeks, I kept telling this group that many would be working in a short time – and they are proving me right. After just 4 days since the end (since today is the 5th day and it’s only 5 a.m.) there have been many interviews and several job offers produced.
One of these people I want to highlight for this blog because she experienced the joy of not just one interview yesterday but two, and came home to find a message on her machine that spoke of a job offer. But I get ahead of myself. If you are unemployed, I encourage you to read this and take some hope from her experience.
This lady first attended an initial mandatory presentation for those starting to receive social assistance. She arrived late that morning, something that did not endear her to me at the time, but she came up and apologized at the first break and said, “You don’t know me, but I’m not like that”. I respected her for that and I was impressed by the end because she listened, asked questions and was tuned in.
We then met next at a resume workshop where I was helping another facilitator, and I was directed to give her some 1:1 help. She and I had no other commitments for the day, so instead of leaving after a couple of hours like everyone else, she and I worked together for 4.5 hours. Do you know how much you can get out of that time if you really want it? I only offered extended help because she demonstrated a thirst for as much as I could give her.
Based on the two experiences above, I called her and invited her personally to join this intensive two-week job search group. She was so grateful, but concerned because she was just about to get her employment insurance, and that would mean a closure of her file, making her ineligible to attend. But because of her attitude, she was included as the funds weren’t in pay yet, and I advocated with her Caseworker to keep her file open until the end of the class which she did.
So during the two weeks, she soaked things up like a sponge, but more importantly, applied the ideas and suggestions presented. To give her credit – for credit it is – she worked hard at trying things that didn’t come naturally, and even when she questioned some advice, she nonetheless overcame her own objections and did what she was challenged with. So for example, she contacted a previous reference to confirm the person was still willing to vouch for her. You see she hadn’t thought this necessary as she had a written reference letter from the person but it was outdated by some 4 years. She called him though, and got the affirmation of support which in turn boosted her own confidence.
So with a solid resume and cover letter, she was applying for employment in earnest, and benefitted from the support of not only me, but her fellow participants who all challenged and supported each other respectfully. From this group she even obtained and distributed a contact list of those who willingly gave their confidential information to their fellow classmates; something by the way I cannot do for them for that very reason. So she initiated a support group for when the group dispersed after the two weeks.
But to the present. Two interviews yesterday and initially one of them wanted to see her at the same time she had another interview, so she told them up front about the prior interview and got one later in the day. After two solid interviews, one of which was a 3 person panel interview, she arrived home. And playing her messages, the first interview left a message informing her that pending a good reference check, they were offering her a job. Instead of calling them back right away, she called me. Why? To share her good news of course, and I suspect if truth be told, because she knows how much I was emotionally invested in her success and that of the whole group. How thoughtful!
Ah but as an Employment Counsellor, I soon was counselling again and asking about the 2nd interview, and asking if she had a preference for working at one or the other, and what the compensation was for each etc. I even suggested she might want to call the other employer back and alert them as a courtesy that another job offer has been made, and this in turn could possibly prompt them to present a competing job offer.
Today I’m meeting her first thing to get the details as she teased me with an email saying she has more great news to share.
For you who may be unemployed, take inspiration from her story. Apply yourself and create success with a great attitude and get support. And me? I’ll take her story as the perfect thing to blog about for my own milestone – blog number 500.