Is one of your New Years resolutions to get a better job, or any job at all?
This story is about Mandy, and she’s agreed to let me share her story. A while back, Mandy contacted me, asking for help organizing her thoughts. Not her stuff, her email, her finances, or her papers, even though we do all of that at HeartWork Organizing.
She was jobless at the time, but had a good education and professional experience in a well-paying industry. Even with her background, she had not worked in two years, and she felt defeated.
OK, stop right there. She has no job, no money, and she reaches out to a professional organizer? Is this what you would do?
Organize the Job Search
But Mandy knew that if she could tame her stuff and get her thoughts in order, if she could develop a daily routine and accountability to someone else, then she could move forward. In fact, the first thing that she did was agree to a payment and appointment schedule, and commit to sending me daily email updates on her progress with her homework. The first bit of homework she accomplished was to buy and start using a daily planner. She hadn’t had this much structure in quite a while.
We worked together to evaluate here current job goal to find employment overseas, and she decided that it wasn’t realistic, even though she speaks French. What she really wanted to do was stay in her field but make a big change, and work in a certain specialty of her field for which she had no real qualifications.
Don’t “Network”, Interview!
One of the most important- and effective– things she did is to conduct informational interviews. She researched companies she wanted to know more about and people she wanted to meet within those companies. She invited those people to have lunch or coffee with her, and she asked them, “How did you get to be so successful at what you do, and how can I do the same thing?”
Mandy sought out temporary jobs to improve her cash flow, which was good, because she was picking up more lunch tabs and she was meeting with more and more influential people, conducting more of these informational interviews.
In fact, she got so good at calling people she didn’t know and asking for advice, that she made the audacious call to a conference organizer to sponsor her to go to professional conferences so that she could meet even more successful people.
And here’s where it gets interesting…
I gave her an assignment to write a 500 word article on the first conference that she attended so that she could stay focused and get the most out of the conference. She posted the article to her LinkedIn profile, one thing led to another, and she received offers from journals in her industry who wanted her to write regular articles for their publication.
Her visibility improved on the Internet. She always had interesting conversation material because she was meeting with influential people in the region (no longer just in her field), and her confidence improved.
Put Yourself Out There
She went on an interview. She created a professional online profile on www.About.me, a free site. She went on another interview. She continued to write articles for the publications in her field. She started to have requests to connect on social media from people like university professors in her field who now regarded her as an expert in the field where she was not yet employed full time!
Throughout the months, Mandy continued to pick up supports like a job search group, a negotiating coach, even a professional photographer to help with her online profile, additional advice from her family, and all of her new networking contacts. She landed a couple of very attractive temp jobs, which gave her some wiggle room on her cash flow. Even without a new job, she began to exude that confidence that people have when they are busy, useful, and working on some exciting project. Her exciting project was, that’s right, her job hunt.
I’m leaving out a lot of interesting facts about Mandy’s job search, but the bottom line is that she started her new position last month, for a very well paying job in her chosen specialty. There are a lot of people who are proud of Mandy right now, but none more than herself.
It’s still the new year. It’s America Saves Week. And it’s the month to show the most important person in your life (you!) some love. Take a cue from Mandy, and focus in on the next right thing to change your life this year. You have my best wishes, and my help if you need it.
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