Written by Gary Matsuda
No doubt about it, losing a job is emotional. But now you are out of work and automatically, magically you’re supposed to switch focus from whatever job you had been doing to something we rarely have to think about – job hunting. Unfortunately, we are not used to doing that because few of us are experts in searching for a new employer. The good news is that you are not alone in your experience and there many options for finding assistance.
Kevin Dumcum from Arizona@Work Maricopa County lays out 10 lessons for taking action.
Kevin Dumcum, Kickstart Your Job Search
Kevin feels your pain. He has had his share of career setbacks and successes including layoffs during the last great recession to now where his career is helping others get their job search kickstarted. To get us going quickly, here’s Kevin’s whirlwind of 10 quick tips and advice:
Lesson I. Recognize job loss is traumatic. It’s hard to accept that your employer no longer needs you. It can be as agonizing as losing a loved one since our identities are often closely tied to our occupation. Your feelings are valid but don’t let them guide you. Recognize them for what they are and let it help you through the grief process.
Lesson II. On the logical side, job loss is the company’s loss too. But as much as business tries to put value on employees, they must be a functioning organization and make a profit in order to provide jobs. Positions can be eliminated due to no fault of your own so it’s best you take control of your own career.
Lesson III. Be responsible for your own set of skills and take advantage of any coursework, training, classes, reading available. There are more opportunities than ever to get training, so be prepared and go for it.
It is great if companies try to meet your professional growth needs, but if they can’t provide the resources you need then be ready to fill in any skills gaps on your own time and initiative. The next job might not be your last and the job search might start again, so always look to improve skills.
Lesson IV. Take care of yourself. How can a full-time job search effort be sustained without burning out? Your spouse might be working from home, kids need help while distance learning, you can’t see friends or relatives which can all be distracting and stressful so it’s essential to find ways to take care of yourself.
Whether you’re in a full house with multiple generations or just on your own, get connected with someone trustworthy and supportive. Talk to someone who is a good listener, share thoughts and feelings.
Many of us are getting things done around the home too. Doing physical work around the home/garden gets us some exercise while feeling productive and can give our minds respite and recovery. The job search can be a long slog so stay fit by maintaining health and keeping a good frame of mind.
Lesson V. Decide what you really want. While taking care of yourself during those much needed breaks, deeply held values may come to mind and you might get a chance to reevaluate your purpose and mission. Take this time to find out if your values, skills and experience match with what you could be doing.
To find out what you were put on earth to do, go read the mother of all books on career advice, the classic ‘What Color is Your Parachute?’. Updated with annual revisions, this can’t be passed up no matter where you are in your career.
Especially check out the self-discovery exercises where you’ll do an evaluation on your interests, skills and where they can be best applied.
To find out how you are wired, a few of the most well-known tools are: DISC, StrengthFinders and Myers-Briggs.
DISC is a behavioral assessment tool that measures your balance among four personality traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Find how interests and skills align so you can have more effective working relationships in any career. Plus, through Career Connectors the DISC assessment is free!
StrengthFinders. For $15 on their website it will identify your top innate strengths (not skills which can be learned/change). If you know your strengths you can capitalize on them to find success. Don’t use them and you’re more likely to find frustration. There’s also a book but it’s easiest to go to website for the test to get immediate results.
You might as well be doing something you enjoy so that’s where Myers Briggs comes in. It’s a proctored assessment so there can be a fee associated with this test. It measures for preferences but not traits, ability or character. The scored personality type can also identify possible occupations and career and training paths. However, it can’t specify exactly what career is best for you, for that you’ll have to analyze the results (best done with a professionally trained coach).
Onetonline.org lets you enter a target job through its occupational quick search and list related or trade adjacent occupations to give ideas on what jobs to consider. It also gives an outlook for local area employment outlook 6 to 8 years out. Their short 15 minute quiz identifies strengths and suggests occupations that align with those strengths.
For the Phoenix area there is the ‘Book of Lists’ on Bizjournals.com/phoenix or at your local library. While it doesn’t describe what the listed businesses do, it does include number of clients, employees, total income and it’s a great way to get a list of the largest companies in the local market.
BestcompaniesAZ.com profiles top companies and ranks them by customer satisfaction scores. It’s a good basic overview of verified major companies in Arizona.
Then there’s always Google. But go a little further and research news about companies by going to the 2nd page.
Lesson VI. Get help. The job search is different than what it used to be 5 to 10 years ago so don’t fret about now knowing how to find a job, it’s not something we practice every day, so it can be intimidating to anyone.
Arizona@Work meets regularly with employers to find out hiring needs and provides services and resources for job seekers. The Public Workforce Development program for the State of Arizona does resume reviews, interview workshops, career exploration, assessments, Linkedin profile set up and connects you with employers. But because of Covid, try reaching out to them online first.
Help doesn’t have to be from the obvious places. Goodwill AZ of Central and Northern Arizona is not just a thrift store but a career resource! Let them help you with resume writing, training services and career prep.
Don’t neglect your local Public Library, which may have good (and expensive) resources. It’s quiet, friendly and free!
Lesson VII. Let’s get to work finding work! Most job seekers start with the well-known job boards like Indeed, Localwork.com, Glassdoor, and Google Jobs but here are a couple often overlooked:
AZjobconnection.gov At this time there are 65,000 jobs and 12,000 posted resumes. With a 5 to 1 job openings to resumes ratio, this looks encouraging!
Linkedin Jobs –Optimize your profile. The jobs link on LinkedIn will tell you how closely you match job postings on Linkedin.
On social media, follow the companies you are interested in and get a sense of their culture and direction they’re headed. (Be sure to limit your time to online networking because you know how social media can be a potential time sink.)
Hiring events have moved to virtual and can be industry specific or general purpose events. Sign up for the Arizona@Work email newsletter to get alerts of upcoming hiring events and the most recent 5000 local job postings.
The Hidden Job Market
Most jobs are posted online but it’s estimated almost half of all open or potential open jobs are not publicly advertised. That’s because it can take some time to go through the process of writing, approving, uploading, and updating a formal job description. But increasing your chances of landing the right job will require networking. That means meeting new people and maintaining old contacts, which is something you should be doing whether looking for work or not so you won’t have to start from scratch every time you need to find a new position. As a book said, ‘Dig the Well Before You’re Thirsty.’
But be specific when asking for help so that others will have a better understanding of what you are looking for and how you are helpful. Be reciprocal in relationships both personal and professional so that it’s not all about you.
Networking Phoenix, Eventbrite, BestCompaniesAZ and of course Career Connectors are a few networking organizations built around connecting the right people together. Pay attention to the make-up of the hiring companies or attendees to make sure you’re making the most your time by getting exposure to the type of people you would like to meet. If you’re asked to volunteer, go for it! To be stationed at the registration table is one of the best places to work. You’ll be visible to everyone coming in and there’s connection opportunity with every attendee.
Don’t overlook social groups where participation centers around personal or social interests. Get to know people just to make connections over shared interests. You never know who you’ll meet or who knows someone who has a job opportunity. At least there’s the benefit of personal enrichment as well.
Lesson VIII. Surrender and give yourself away at volunteer opportunities.
Everyone needs a little help, so don’t forget there are those who are in need of basic skills or necessities where you can make a difference by putting your experience or skills to use.
Volunteering counts as experience even if you are unemployed. Not only can it give you additional skills, it can show others what you can do with what you have. Do something different, get out to meet people, lend your expertise, and gain new skills, experiences and connections. Check these organizations out and you may find your calling:
It’s a great way to fill gaps on resume and good for the soul too.
Lesson IX. Expect Rejection. No matter how much work you put in you’re going to get rejected. Keep moving forward as each rejection is just one step closer to that first “Yes”.
Rocky Balboa says, “…it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
Lesson X. Success breeds success. And just one yes is needed to make all the difference in your confidence!
“You don’t have to be great to start. But you have to start to be great” – Zig Ziglar
Windsor, Charles Villafranca, Executive Director
Windsor does all they can for residents. To accomplish that, they help employees get the training they need. Windsor has several Senior living, Senior healthcare, behavior health and dementia care facilities in Arizona and 30 locations in California. If you’re looking for a career change they have training programs including OTJT for CNA. If you want to advance from CNA to nursing there are scholarships (and experience) available. Fill out an application and get an immediate interview!
Lifewell, Wendy Flynn, Recruiting Coordinator
As the name implies, Lifewell is here to help enable their clients lives to the fullest. And that includes you the employee. Lifewell provides treatment services and support for low income individuals diagnosed with serious mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders. From assistants to director levels they are hiring. Employees are offered learning and development opportunities in anything to do with healthcare at several locations in Phoenix and Mesa.
Apply at lifewell.us/careers.
TTEC, Erika Flanders and Stephanie Thomas
At TTEC you have more than just a job, you’ll become more like family. The bridge between technology and human connection is here through their expertise in customer service and sales. Together TTEC creates a positive experience for the client, the caller and you. You’ll be empowered to lead everyday, to seek first to understand and do the right thing.
Now hiring for an Inbound Customer Service Rep supporting Blue Shield of CA.
To apply or for more info, go to TTECjobs.com to apply for other temp and FT positions, or text ‘TTEC’ to 97211.
Joe Bourcier, the Health Insurance Pro, US Health Advisors
Offers help with the best match between health, dental, vision insurance for you, your family or business. They’ve received multiple awards for business excellence, so they’ve got to be good!
Career Connectors partners with BestCompaniesAZ. Altogether in one place you can find VERIFIED, trusted companies who have tens of thousands of jobs open now. Check them out here if any listed hiring companies match your values. Visit https://bestcompaniesaz.com/covid-19-resources/.
Free DISC Assessment
We all like free, so at no cost to you find your behavior traits (which may help point to your values) and what kind of job will likely fit you through our online DISC assessment at: https://careerconnectors.org/DISC/.
For details about upcoming Career Connectors events, click here to visit the events section on the website for times, dates, and details about hiring companies and keynote topics!