Yesterday was the first business day of the year for me. When I arrived in the morning, I went through the usual process of turning on the computer and immediately opened up my email account. As it happens, there was one email from a client I selected from the small list of emails to read first. It was the very best part of the entire day, brought a smile to my face, and I thought to myself, “I hope this is a good omen for 2016!”
What was so funny? Well, after I opened it, there in an extremely large navy blue font were the words, “I got a job!”
In those four words, I could read the relief, the ecstasy, the joy, the release of stress; the sheer happiness of going from unemployed in 2015 to employed in 2016. Why wouldn’t I be happy for her? This email made my day as I say because it got my day off to such a positive start. I was – and am – so happy for her and happy to have helped her make this change.
This news only got better later when she called me midday to speak with me directly. Now I could hear the enthusiasm in her voice. The news got even better when she told me that another client of mine whom she had met and got along with in a job search group I had run was similarly hired and they would be working together.
You see in the first two weeks of December I facilitated this job searching group for unemployed people on social assistance. These are people you understand who receive financial help with their food and rent money; a safety net for some of our most vulnerable people. While some in our society view social assistance recipients negatively, I must say there are many such as these two women who just needed some help marketing themselves, reframing their approaches to employment.
If you regularly read my blog, you’ll perhaps recall that I wrote in December that many job seekers would pack it in and hibernate until the new year; hibernate believing that employers don’t hire so close to Christmas. Here then is your proof that in fact employers hire year round. It was in these December days that she applied, interviewed and was hired, with a start date of January 11, 2016.
Can you imagine the change in perspective a long-term unemployed person would feel moving from unemployed during the holiday season to being hired before the end of the year with a start date so early the next? What a weight off the old shoulders! I’m very happy to share that this isn’t a minimum wage job either; the two individuals will within two months be independent of the social assistance system and self-supporting. That’s good for the economy and good for their own mental health, their self-esteem, and how they are viewed by their families and friends.
Now I contrast this great news with a comment I just read from someone yesterday responding to a piece I recently wrote. She said, “Employers don’t want to hire unemployed people.” Well apparently they do and here’s the proof. I was so impressed with a few things in particular that this woman did in securing her new job that I want to share them with you.
First, the woman looked up the LinkedIn profile of the CEO of the company and learned that she had made a career change in the past. Nearing the end of the job interview, she brought this having once wanted to pursue the earlier career herself. She asked why the CEO had changed direction. What a great move. The CEO was happy to talk of this, and was impressed she had done some homework. I was impressed too, as the client of mine had put into action a suggestion I had made to the whole group during the 2 week job search workshop.
The second thing that impressed me was how this woman overcame her biggest fear; trying to get a job with a personal barrier to employment: a driving conviction. As the interview concluded, she brought it up herself, stating in advance of a criminal record check that this blemish existed. She explained the circumstances and the CEO thanked her for her honesty. By raising the issue herself, she certainly risked an offer of employment, but by raising it, she also increased her own credibility and seized the chance to explain the circumstances. As it turns out, this approach obviously succeeded and she was offered employment.
Here then you can see the advantage being coached in how to deal with adversity; how to overcome a job search barrier and how to best market herself during an interview. Oh and the two women who went from unemployed to employed during December are both in their 50’s, and neither in retail as some readers might have presumed. These are two good jobs, both permanent full-time with benefits.
What to take from this piece is the good advice to seek out some free help from an Employment Counsellor if you, like them, have very limited funds to spend on such professional help. You can locate such help with local social service organizations in your area. Now is a great time to change your job search approach and change your outcomes. All the best!