Written By Susan Lamphiear
“Hope is being able to see that there is a light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu , Nobel Prize winner/ Human Rights Activist
During this Pandemic, people worldwide seek hope and light at the end of the tunnel. But facing this tunnel of darkness AND simultaneously facing the challenge of a job hunt or job transition can seem equally overwhelming.
Keynote speaker Jessica Pierce, CEO/Founder of Career Connectors, was on hand to offer hope and words of encouragement, sharing on her own story, along with specific action tips for navigating the job search as 2021 approaches, even as the worldwide Pandemic continues.
Enter the recession of 2009. Jessica describes her family as “significantly impacted by that recession.” With three children, including an infant, a two-year-old, and a ten-year-old, Jessica’s staffing company took a hit and husband Mark Pierce saw three layoffs to his recruiting career within six months.
Jessica and Mark acted swiftly, arranged a short sell of their house, and moved into a rental. A knock on the door. That fateful day in December, right before Christmas. The rental company stopped by to do a repair, and it was when Jessica opened the front door she saw a foreclosure notice posted on the door. Falling to her knees, shaking, she visualized her entire family homeless. The notice announced they had 14 days to move out of their house.
However, in a short time, a home became available–for their “under $1100” per month request–$999 to be exact. A four-bedroom house in Gilbert. “If you don’t call that a miracle…” Jessica said. This rental they found was a wreck, but they went to work cleaning it up, and a painter using paint left over from another job did the whole project for $500. Then within the first three months of 2010, Jessica landed a contract which pulled them out of the recession.
Jessica shares her story to let her audience know there is hope. “You’re here at Career Connectors in December. A lot of people give up in December!”
“It’ll be a great day. I’m going to give you action steps to take.”
Jessica reminds her online Zoom audience a lot of people job hunting don’t realize they need to get into the brain of decision makers. What are they looking for? And how many resumes cross their desks on any given day? “Our goal at Career Connectors is to get you in front of people.”
She recently received 150 applications for one job. The people she interviewed first were people she knew. One hiring manager recently hired a woman who didn’t meet all the criteria or expectations, but she smiled!!!
Job hunters or people in job transition need to keep in mind the jobs you’re looking for may not even show up on the job boards. That’s right. A whopping 70 percent of jobs never show up on the job boards. However, you might be introduced to somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody. That’s the power of connections.
LinkedIn is a must for job seekers. A full 94% of employers use LinkedIn but a mere 34 % of job seekers are active on LinkedIn.
In 2009 Jessica jumped on LinkedIn, or Career Connectors today would look very different. She uses LinkedIn for many reasons, including to find new speakers and hiring companies for Career Connectors’ events.
Tips from Jessica as you navigate the job search in 2021
- Use job boards to see what jobs and companies are out there. BUT use LinkedIn for your actual search and to make connections.
- Use Facebook for branding. But rely on LinkedIn for the search.
- When using social media, including Facebook, and others like Instagram, keep in mind divisive topics can hurt you. So can iffy pictures. Carefully consider what image you present of yourself throughout social media. Hiring companies use social media to vet candidates, or worse, to eliminate them before they even meet. Fifty-five percent of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate because of their social media, with 61% of those “reconsiderations” due to negative social media.
- Your best bet for getting in front of potential employers is to use LinkedIn to connect with recruiters and hiring managers and other contacts. If you’re interested in a particular job, try to meet people on LinkedIn. Especially in this era of the Pandemic, no one is going to fault you for looking for a job!
- Be confident in talking about your job search status. Let people know you are looking. Don’t ask everyone for a job, but put it out there that you are searching.
- Ask friends and relatives to share how they perceive your strengths.
- Face-to-face meetings are difficult right now due to the Pandemic. So pick up the phone! Connect on social media.
- Before you do a virtual interview, test your technology equipment. Also, to make up for lack of in-person meetings, recreate eye contact by looking into the camera. Smile. And wear a FULL outfit, including pants! You never know if you’ll need to get up to quiet the dog or get up for some other reason!! Even if it’s a virtual interview, be a couple of minutes early. Not fifteen. But a couple of minutes.
- Consider if you’re a culture match for a company. Character, Chemistry and Competence are all part of a match. Do your research. Jessica gives an example of a friend who was in a hurry, accepting a job she ultimately left in six months. Her friend admitted she should never have accepted the job–and the job hurt her. She literally had to seek counseling to counter the negative impact the job had on her psyche. Had she researched the job, she admitted, she’d have never taken it in the first place.
- If you fit 80% of the job description, go for it. She recently talked to a man who felt a particular job required a college degree. But in the final analysis, people out there with no degree can still have attained professionalism and decision making skills, two areas he thought meant a degree.
- Jessica hired Sheila Coulam as Director of Operations for Career Connectors because even though her current position doesn’t require her engineering degree, Sheila continually uses her transferable skills of thinking through processes and being detailed-oriented, plus Jessica knew Sheila’s character and strengths because she was a volunteer!
- Follow up an interview with a thank you via an email or a LinkedIn message.
- Don’t underestimate showcasing your skills via volunteering and social media. Do a blog, post presentations or articles, or participate in virtual speaking events. Be active in professional associations. Be engaged on LinkedIn by joining groups, posting or writing articles.
- If there are skills you need, these days lots of training is available online and there’s even funding available for some of it.
- Take the DISC assessment free via the Career Connectors’ website.
“Talent will get you in the door, but character will keep you in the room.” Jessica reminds the participants that character has become a really big part of the hiring process. Companies want to hire a cultural match. People want to work with people they like. By taking the DISC assessment you can rediscover action words to use on your resume, or in interviews, that will help inform potential employers of your strengths.
When you finally get in front of that employer, make sure you’ve done your research, including what you’ve said on your own resume! Also, a favorite question employers love to ask is, “What do you know about us?” You do NOT want to get caught not being able to answer this question!
- What does the organization do?
- What are the missions, goals, and values?
- Is the organization mentioned in recent news?
- What is the company culture like?
- Who are you interviewing with?
Keep in mind companies are still hiring. Keep the faith and stay connected including with Career Connectors. Do your homework and find that dream job in 2021.
Mia Papa, Talent Acquisition Consultant
HotFoot, founded in 2009, provides superior staffing solutions.
HotFoot tailors their interview process depending on the position. Their clients include manufacturers of protective equipment, call centers, plus engineering and administrative and professional services.
HotFoot’s goal from the start has been to focus on people. They like to keep clients posted and updated about status during the interview process and not keep them guessing. As a recruiter, if Mia doesn’t have an appropriate job available for you, she will reach out to other colleagues at HotFoot.
Current open positions include the following: Contract to Hire: General production roles Valley wide at $14-$17 per hour; customer service (financial services) including remote data entry, $18 per hour; industrial sewers/sewists, Tempe AZ, $14 per hour; Data entry, remote two-week contract position; Direct Hire: Customer service in Tempe, AZ and also Waterloo IA and Janesville WI; inside sales in San Antonio TX; and Warehouse supervisors and managers in CA, MD, and MO.
Mia also hires for Grainger, a well-known industrial supply company, known for their warm, inclusive culture, who plans to hire hundreds in 2021 at $17 per hour with full benefits.
Grainger has arranged for all 600 call center employees to work from home during Covid. For those workers on site, Grainger follows all CDC guidelines. Onsite, Grainger has installed barriers in offices, and follows sanitation guidelines because they want the workplace to be safe. Also, Grainger conducts many virtual interviews.
Please visit their website for more job listings or to apply.
Ashley Hilscher, Talent Acquisition Specialist
PennyMac Financial Services and Investment Firm prides itself on closing loans on time and on hiring employees from diverse and experienced backgrounds.
Accountable, reliable, and ethical describe their values. Founded in 2008, today they are among the top three lenders in the U.S. Its unique business model allows the company to thrive in both the up and down markets, unlike any other lender. Their loan officers are licensed and 100% remote, with the company providing supplies and office set up. A lead generator creates warm leads which is particularly attractive to some people.
As an online lender, PennyMac specializes only in home loans including FHA, VA, and investment property loans. The company continues servicing the loans, so they won’t be selling your loan.
To search for positions or to apply, visit the career section of their website.
Jason Wiseman, Senior Marketing Director
WealthWave, as a financial company, strives to educate families so families can dream again and thrive financially. Jason was not headed in this direction when he started his career. But based on his own financial experiences, he wondered how big a player you had to be to get some help. So a chain of events led Jason to start part time with WealthWave. He firmly believes Middle America has been left behind financially, confirmed when two weeks into the Pandemic, 33% of Americans didn’t make their mortgages.
It may be a cliché that Jason wants to bring Wallstreet to Main Street, but it’s true. That’s what WealthWave wants to do. In fact, they were ahead of the Pandemic five years ago when they offered online finance classes and now also offer the classes in Spanish.
Not just anyone can work for WealthWave because you need to be licensed. Benefits include the following: It’s turnkey, you have ownership, you have the option of starting part time, there are no layoffs–they actually have grown during the Pandemic.
Educating people is very rewarding because most people haven’t developed a Plan B for their finances.
For more information or to contact the company about joining WealthWave as a career, visit their website.
Resources and Closing
Sheila Coulam, Director of Operations for Career Connectors, thanked everyone including attendees and volunteers, and then reminded everyone of resources available via Career Connectors, including the DISC assessment, business portraits, and career advice.
The next Career Connectors’ online event is scheduled for Thursday, January 14, 2021, featuring keynote speaker Bridgett McGowen. Sheila urges everyone to attend, especially if you’ve never heard Bridgett because she’s excellent. Go to the Career Connectors’ website to register and find the Zoom link for that event, and to find details for other upcoming events, including Tempe Virtual Job Fair, being held Tuesday, January 26, 2021. Be sure you’re registered for e-updates–the next one scheduled for January 5, 2021. Also, don’t miss Career Chat episodes with Jessica Pierce.