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March 2, 2009

 

Networking for the Newly Unemployed

    by Gini Graham Scott (www.workwithgini.com)

 

       Now that layoffs are increasing, a new type of networking is emerging that echoes the pink slip parties held during the dot.com bust -- though now unemployment has been hitting just about every type of industry.  Besides pink slip parties, there are unemployed groups forming all over, where people can provide each other with support, job tips, help with resume writing, and more. 

 

      One such group is the Unemployed Social Network, which, with some irony I think, was started by the founder of the Future Millionaires of Santa Monica.  However, after getting little response to the Future Millionaires and a growing response to the Unemployed group, including a feature on a local news show, the founder, Jeremy Erickson, has decided to focus on building the unemployed group.  And he has found his own niche in serving the unemployed market -- by writing resumes.  He has invited meeting participants to bring their resumes, cover letters, and portfolios to work on them to make them better, and has announced his availability as a coach and mentor to help them.

       Plus he has suggested a series of rules for getting employed.  Among them: "Get off your butts...talk to people...build a great looking resume...network, network, network...and send out as many resumes as you can per day."  He also advises playing the numbers game, doing what you can to stand out to get the attention of the employer, and don't lose hope. 

 

       Besides these unemployed groups, I've discovered a growing number of business networking and entrepreneur groups which include many of the unemployed -- and often these small businesses and start-ups are a good source of jobs and opportunities, as well as being founded by the formerly employed.  And all types of groups -- from social to business groups -- are sponsoring pink slip and unemployment parties -- a sign of the times.

 

      So how do you find such groups?  Check if you have a local networking group such as MeetUp in your area.  If you do, put in some relevant search terms, such as "unemployed," "networking," "entrepreneur", and "jobs" to see what groups in that category exist in your area.  Another source of such groups is Craigs List.  Look for your area, and then check for community and other types of group in that location.

 

      Then, start going to these events.  Bring business cards, and if you don't have them yet, you can get them made up for about $45 dollars from various online business card printers like Vista Print.  Work on a resume highlighting the skills you feel are most salable, along with the jobs that are most relevant.  And be ready to adapt your resume to the job you are interviewing for, which is easy to do now on a computer.  Just rearrange and change your copy as appropriate, and keep copies of these different resumes, so you can easily print them up or e-mail them to prospective employers.  Also, be willing to lower the salary range you are looking for, so you can jump aboard some of these new start-ups that are just leaving the station.  They commonly can't afford very much to start, but many of them will grow into a powerful engine of the new economy, opening up even more opportunities in the future.

 

       And if you’re an employer, such events are a good way for start-up businesses to find well-qualified employees who are willing to start at a lower than usual salary just to be working.  I know first hand, because I've started to go to such groups myself to hire a few administrative assistants, and I've quickly gotten dozens of resumes from people eager to work again.

 

      For more ideas on how to achieve what you want, you can see some chapters from my books Want It, See It, Get It (www.wantitseeitgetit.com). 

 

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January 25, 2009

 

Yes, You Can Find or Create More Work in Today's Downturn
   by Gini Graham Scott (www.workwithgini.com)


      
Even with the new hope inspired by Obama's election, pragmatic reality is setting in as more and more banks and stores are affected by the recession, and the unemployment rate rises.  Most recently, it was up to over 9% in California, about 7% throughout the country.

       However, deep recessions can prove to be a land of opportunity, since many people who can't find work are looking for other ways to make money.  Thus, this can be a better time than ever to think about your skills, what people need today, and find a fit between what you offer and these needs.   For example, hundreds of new entrepreneurs went to Obama's inaugural with products with slogans and images of Obama and racked up big sales.  And so far the marketing of the Obama brand, as marketers refer to this phenomenon is continuing.

       So what might you do to appeal to today's market?  Think of start-up possibilities you might launch yourself -- or look into direct sales programs you might represent with products or services people might need and want.  Though be cautious of scammers promising riches through pyramid schemes.  Look for companies with solid products or services that people really do want to buy, aside from any money making opportunities.   Since so many people are out of work now, this is an especially good time for starting a new business with talented people you can employ at lower than usual starting wages. 

        In short, if you can't find work for yourself right now, consider creating your own company and work opportunity for others.  As Charles Dickens once said --  "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."  Well, this is all of these things right now, but if you choose, you can make it the best of times, the season of Light, and the spring of hope."

        So take some time to ask yourself some questions to decide what you want to do to choose the best, the light, and the hope:

        - What kind of skills and talents do I have?  List your strongest ones and prioritize by ranking them from 1 (highest) to 5 (lowest) which you would most like to use now?

        - What do people especially need now that they aren't getting from other companies or individuals?

        - How can I apply my skills and talents to providing products or services to help others fulfill their needs and wants?  Do this for each of your top skills and talents first; then go on to the next highly ranked group for still more ideas.

        - What steps can I take to develop, promote, and provide these products and services?  Create a list of steps to take.

        - What do I need to put these steps into action, such as employees, materials, and contacts with other companies or individuals?

        - Finally, put these steps into action.  Start now by taking the first step.

       

For more ideas on how to achieve what you want, you can see some chapters from my books Want It, See It, Get It (www.wantitseeitgetit.com).  And to help you have fun doing this, see Enjoy: 101 Little Ways to Add Fun to Your Work Everyday (www.enjoythebook.com).  Or you can order the book here.

 

 

December 29, 2008

 

How to Thrive In Today's Tough Times

  by Gini Graham Scott (www.workwithgini.com)

 

       Today, as the financial upheaval ripples through the economy, more and more employees are affected, and for those still on the job, there is increasing stress.   Employees and managers alike are asking themselves if they'll be the next to go, just as company owners are asking the same question of their companies.   So there is more of a survival of the fittest game going on than ever, as employees and managers struggle to stay in place and not be ousted.  So what can you do to not merely survive but even thrive in these tough times?   Here are some thoughts that come immediately to mind, so you feel less stress whatever happens and are more likely to come out ahead.

        - Do some relaxation exercises, so you feel less tense and anxious, which will enable you to better cope with everyday activities and perform at your best.

        - Notice where the points of tension are at work and think about what you might do to smooth things over, whether that involves talking to someone or taking on extra responsibilities.   Then go do it.

        - Be willing to work harder and take on extra responsibilities even if you are not being paid more -- or are even being paid less.   When things improve again, people will remember and you will reap the rewards accordingly.

         - Remind yourself that other people are even more badly affected by the financial meltdown than you, and consider volunteering to help those who are; you'll feel much better for being of service to others.

         - Create a wish list and imagine you have achieved your wishes.  Then, imagine what you might do to achieve them.   Just thinking this way will help you not only feel better but put you on the path to getting what you want.

         - Think of what you can do to brighten up your day and others' day at work with some little fun activities.  Then, seek to put these in action.  You'll help in dispelling the mood of doom and gloom that pervades many workplaces to day, and your initiative can help you not only stay on the job but get ahead at work when the good times come back.

         For more ideas on how to achieve these ends, you can see some chapters from my books Want It, See It, Get It (www.wantitseeitgetit.com) or Enjoy: 101 Little Ways to Add Fun to Your Work Everyday (www.enjoythebook.com).   Or you can order the book here.