Posts tagged ‘COBRA’

Job-Seekers’ Top-10 Lists and New Year’s Resolutions

Every year around December, people in the media seem to feel compelled to wrap up each outgoing year with various Top-10 Lists – usually featuring news events, movies, songs, TV shows, books, etc. Each December since I started Recruiter Musings back in 2009 (our visitor count recently surpassed 1 Million hits and we’re still going strong!) I’ve been posting a couple of my own “Top-10 Lists” for Job-Seekers, as well as a list of suggested New Year’s Resolutions for Job-Seekers. In reviewing those prior lists, I found that they are mostly still very relevant and timely! Oh sure, a lot has changed in the world during the last few years. But in terms of my view of the most annoying and the most helpful things for job-seekers … well, my opinions and suggestions have aged well! I’m still very annoyed by people who don’t return phone calls, and I still think Twitter is a huge waste of time! And I’m still a firm believer in the power of Networking as the number one job-seeking methodology with the best chances for success. Likewise, my suggested New Year’s Resolutions from the last few years are still the same ones I’d advise today’s job-seekers to aspire to for the coming year.

Rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, I simply went back and re-edited the past year’s postings to make sure they were still accurate and up-to-date so that I could simply refer back to them. (By referring back to those newly edited original posts instead of re-posting them as new, the readers’ comments at the bottom of each of those articles have also been preserved.) SO … here are the links:

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 Top 10 Most Annoying Things for Job-Seekers

 Top 10 Most Helpful Things for Job-Seekers

 New Year’s Resolutions for Job-Seekers

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December 1, 2014 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

Top 10 Most Helpful Things for Job-Seekers

[Updated, December 2015 …]

Recently I allowed myself to vent when I published my list of “Top 10 Most Annoying Things for Job-Seekers.” I’m usually a much more positive and optimistic “glass half full” kind of person, so I made the promise to return to a more uplifting tone in future blog postings. The most obvious way I could think of to do that is to flip around that last list and to publish my list of “Top 10 Most Helpful Things for Job-Seekers!”

Now I realize that being unemployed is, by its very nature, an unpleasant state – to say the least! However, there are obviously many things that can be of great help to a job-seeker. Some of them are relatively new and innovative tools and technologies, and others are tried and true things that have been around seemingly forever. Once again, I’m sure I’m missing some important things here … but without further adieu, here’s my list in no particular order …

TOP 10 MOST HELPFUL THINGS FOR JOB-SEEKERS:

10. The Internet (Free Info, Job Search Resources, Company Websites, etc.)
It’s so easy to forget how relatively new the internet is. (The internet was still in its infancy as recently as the 1990’s.) Today, the amount of information that is free and available at the touch of a button is mind boggling! Resources for job-seekers that would have taken weeks or months and a lot of legwork to track down in the past are now right there on your screen at home! Job postings, résumé writing help, interviewing tips, detailed information about companies and the people who work there, salary surveys, career advice, relevant blogs … the list is seemingly endless and truly remarkable.

9. LinkedIn and other Social Media Networking Sites
While technically a subset of #10, the recent mainstream popularity of online Social Networking Sites – and in particular the more business-oriented LinkedIn – has radically changed the way jobs-seekers connect with potential employers, recruiters find candidates, and companies search for and uncover details about potential employees. Creating an effective online profile on LinkedIn is one of the most important things a job-seeker can do right now. It has certainly revolutionized the methodology of networking as a job-seeking activity. And it’s hard to believe that it’s still free! In addition to LinkedIn, there are dozens of other lesser-known Social Networking sites that are also changing the way business gets done and people communicate in the “Web 2.0” age. To see an extensive list of nearly 300 Social Media sites, just click on the “Share” button to the right of this blog, on the side-bar.

8. Public Library Database Access
This one never ceases to amaze me … and so many people are still unaware of it. Almost every public library now provides free online access to dozens of professional business databases like Dun & Bradstreet’s Million Dollar Database Premier, ReferenceUSA Business, and many others. This gives you access to full information on millions of companies, including every business in the U.S. and the leading businesses in Canada. You can research companies for job searches, lead generation, marketing and simple company look-ups using multiple search criteria, including geography, industry, size, and specialty fields. Information includes contact information, decision-maker names, executive biographies, and more. Staffing Firms use to pay thousands of dollars to get access to these resources. Now anyone can log into these databases from any home computer with nothing more than a public library card number! Ask your local librarian for help if you don’t know how to do this. It’s your tax dollars at work!

7. Email
The use of email is possibly the most significant change in the way people in the business world communicate with each other over the last 15-20 years. Most professionals respond much more favorably to an email approach than a cold phone call. Executives, company representatives, HR people and hiring managers rarely answer their phones anymore. Emails are much more likely to get through to the person you are trying to reach if it is targeted properly, and written well. That certainly doesn’t guarantee a response … and I am certainly not suggesting that email communication should replace phone calls or in-person meetings. In the end, direct live communication with actual people is the ONLY way business gets done, decisions get made, and people get hired. However, a well-written email can still be the most effective way to get your “foot in the door” – and it’s free and easy!

6. Cell Phones / Smart Phones
We all tend to take cell phones for granted these days, and it’s so easy to forget how recent it is that we’ve become so dependent on them! All you have to do is watch reruns of popular TV sitcoms from just a few years ago on TV Land or Nick at Nite to be reminded of how relatively new they are. (Does anyone still remember “Car Phones?” How about Public Phone Booths?!) The pervasiveness of simple cell phones has totally changed the way business gets done in today’s fast-paced and mobile world. It really wasn’t that long ago that we were all tethered to our desk phones at work, or our home phones. If you got a call back from a prospect that you left a message for, and you happened to not be by your phone – you were out of luck! Now, our phones follow us everywhere … and it’s rare for a person who is expecting a call to miss it due to being away. And, of course, those people who are lucky (and affluent) enough to have a “smart phone” (iPhone, Droid, etc.) can combine all of the above mentioned things (#10 through #6) — literally half of this entire list — in one device held in the palm of their hands! It’s starting to look like Star Trek had it right!

5. COBRA
Losing your job is a huge problem … but losing your employer-related health insurance can be much worse. In fact, it can be a matter of life and death! In 1986, congress passed the “Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act” (COBRA) which entitles anyone who was involuntarily terminated from a job at a company with at least 20 employees or more to extend their company’s group Health Insurance Benefits for a period of up to 18 months. Of course, anyone using COBRA must pay the full cost of those benefits. Extending your former employer’s group health insurance coverage at full cost with COBRA can be prohibitively expensive for many people. However, in most cases that cost would be even higher if you tried to get the equivalent coverage with private health insurance — although with the advent of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) that may or may not still be true for everyone. The jury is still out on that one! [For more detailed information on COBRA, go to this website from the Department of Labor: “FAQs for Employees About COBRA Continuation Health Coverage.”]

4. Job-Seeker Networking Groups
Not to be confused with those mass “Networking Events” held at hotels or bars when everyone mills around trading business cards, Job-Seeker Networking Groups (sometimes called “Job Clubs”) are popping up all over the country. They range from small, industry-specific groups to larger community-based groups. Often meeting in churches or community centers, these groups are almost all free and offer all sorts of advice and help, résumé reviews, interview tips, guest speakers, private websites with job leads and discussions, and best of all – support from your peers! It’s an excellent way for job-seekers to navigate through the often confusing steps needed to conduct an effective search, and it’s also a great way to meet helpful and supportive people – many of whom are in the same boat as you. [As a starting point, check out his state-by-state list of job-seeker support groups: “Directory of Networking and Job Search Support Groups by State.”]

3. Industry Associations
My advice to job-seekers has always been to focus on a target list of companies, and to try to limit networking activities to meeting with people specific to their industry niche who can connect them with actual decision-makers in their target companies. [See “Looking for Networking in All the Wrong Places.”] Joining an Industry Association that is specific to your particular specialty niche is one of the best ways to meet such people. There are often regular local chapter meetings featuring guest speakers on topics of interest to that industry. There is almost always a time at those meetings to mingle and “network.” Membership fees can sometimes be quite costly … but I’ve found that many of those professional associations will either greatly reduce or even totally waive the membership fees for people who are “in transition” (there’s that lovely euphemism again!) If you don’t see a reduced fee advertised on their website, it never hurts to contact someone in their membership area and simply ask!

2. Networking Connections
This is the lifeblood of modern job searching in today’s challenging market. [Read “How to Network: A Step-by-Step Guide for Job Searching” for details on how to network your way to a job.] The main goal of every job-seeker should be to cultivate and maintain a strong network of industry-specific people who are in positions to help you. They can give you very targeted advice, alert you to opportunities in your specific niche industry, and they can introduce you to other key people to expand your own network with. I’ve found my networking contacts to be incredibly helpful and supportive. I often get emails or calls with tips on positions at other companies that have not been advertised or posted anywhere. I’ve also received numerous high-level referrals to other decision-makers through my networking contacts. These people are gold … staying in touch with them is critical. And make sure you give back as much as possible – networking should always be a 2-way street! [See “The Art of Giving: the Key to Effective Networking.”]

1. Support from Family and Friends
Never underestimate the power of a strong network of family and friends. Staying positive through a period of unemployment can be extremely challenging. Having the support of your spouse or significant other, parents, children, siblings, friends, and community members is huge, and will go a long way toward keeping that positive energy necessary to succeed. [See “The Power of a Positive Attitude.”] They may not be able to provide you with useful job leads or referrals … but they can give you something even harder to find: friendship, unconditional love and support!

December 11, 2009 at 12:05 am 16 comments


Michael Spiro

About the Author:

Michael Spiro has been a 3rd-Party Recruiter and Account Executive for nearly 20 years. He is currently the Director of Recruiting / NE Ohio Region for Experis Finance, a dedicated business unit of ManpowerGroup. Other recent positions include President of Midas Recruiting, a boutique head-hunting firm, Director of Talent at Patina Solutions, and Executive Recruiting positions with two of the largest search firms in North America. Before his career in the staffing industry, Michael was a manager in a large non-profit social-services organization. And in a former life, Michael was active in the entertainment industry, with extensive road-warrior experience as a touring performer (singer-songwriter / guitarist / comedian) and as a recording artist, producer and booking agent.  [More...]

Index (by Topic):

Résumés & Cover Letters:
 The "T" Cover Letter - The
         Only Type Worth Sending

 The Brutal Truth on How
         Résumés Get Eliminated

 Explaining Short Job Stints
         and Employment Gaps

 The Résumé Test &
         Checklist: Does Yours
         Pass?

 Beating the Résumé-
         Elimination Game: Where
         Do Recruiters' Eyes Go?

 The Truth About Lying on
         Résumés

 "Why Did You Leave Your
         Last Job?"

Networking:
 How to Network: A
         Step-by-Step Guide for
         Job Searching

 Looking for Networking in
         All the Wrong Places

 Targeted Networking: How
         to Effectively Reach Out

 The Art of Giving: the Key to
         Effective Networking

Interviewing:
 Face-to-Face Interviews:
         Secrets, Tricks and Tips

 Phone Interviews: Secrets,
         Tricks and Tips

 Skype Interview Tips ...
         Welcome to the Future!

 Nuggets: A Secret
         Interviewing Technique

 Answering the Dreaded
         Salary Question

 20 Surefire Ways to Blow
         an Interview

 "So, Do You Have Any
         Questions?" Nailing the
         Interview Closer

 Cool InfoGraphic: "What
         You Wish You'd Known
         Before Your Job
         Interview"

Age Discrimination:
 Age Discrimination: Secret
         Conversations Revealed

 Age Discrimination:
         Exposing Inconvenient
         Truths

 Are You "Overqualified?"
         Handling the Age Issue

 Baby Boomers to the
         Rescue! An Idea Whose
         Time Has Come ...

 Overcoming Job-Search
         Obstacles and
         Redefining Your Career
         After 50

 Advice for Recent Grads
         and Career-Changers

Switching Jobs:
 The Proper Way to
         Quit a Job

 Counteroffers: Just Say No!

General Job-Seeking Info:
 The Real Truth About
         Working with Recruiters

 Contract/Consulting Jobs
         Explained ... Available in
         3 Different Flavors

►  What Recruiters Say
         vs. What Job-Seekers
         Hear

►  The Dirty Truth About
         Misleading Unemployment
         Statistics

►  Let the Jobs Find You:
         Making Yourself More
         "Searchable"

 "Help ... I Need a Job!" A
         9-Step Guide for Newly
         Minted Job-Seekers

 Avoiding the "Black Hole
         of HR"

 Is Your Elevator Pitch
         Taking You UP
         or DOWN?

 Time Management: Recipe          for a Well-Balanced Job          Search
 Getting Un-Stuck from your
         Rut!

 The Double-Whammy of
         Rejection and Isolation

 "Unemployed Need Not
         Apply" - Working Around
         This Scary Message

 Using Social Media to
         Enhance Job-Searching

 Warning: That Rant You
         Posted Just Went Viral!

 The Golden Rule for
         Business: Never Burn
         Bridges

 The Power of a Positive
         Attitude

 Why Job Hunting is a
         Consultative Sales
         Position

 Top 10 Most Helpful Things
         for Job Seekers

 Top 10 Most Annoying
         Things for Job Seekers

 New Year's Resolutions for
         Unemployed Job-
         Seekers

Job-Seeking Humor:
 Comic Relief: Volume 1
 Comic Relief: Volume 2
 Comic Relief: Volume 3
 Comic Relief: Volume 4
 Comic Relief: Volume 5
 Comic Relief: Volume 6
 "In Transition" and Other
         Awkward Euphemisms

 Candidates Gone Wild:
         Recruiter Horror Stories

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