Get a Life

Get a Life.

                    Get a Clue.

                                     Get a Plan!

                                                                   Get a Job!

Simplicity is on their face, but complexity is buried within these 4 lines.
Terrific power lies within the details of application.

There is great danger in the failure to harness their power.

It is truly a mantra that can serve all job seekers.

As I unpack those 4 lines, remember that you may occasionally need to loop back. Your straight line to a job is most often a very different geometry.

Get a Life.

This is not a putdown. 

This is the foundation of your entire existence. 

One may think of your job as supporting your life — not truly so — they mutually support each other.  Without having one’s life in order logistically, psychologically, and emotionally, you have impediments to success.  When job hunting, negative diversion damages the focus needed. So, fix any other issues early. Fix them well!
Come to terms with the reality of the lost job. Also, remember your household must undergo this same transformation.
Anger, fear, dismay, disbelief, “why me”, grief, depression, loss of purpose, and loss of direction, and occasionally relief are all natural, but logic, understanding, acceptance, and communication can be used to transform these feelings to manageable history.  

Who wants to hire a basket case? Anxiety driven by your life could appear as interview or job related — definitely a negative.

Wearing your troubles is never a good look.
A major key to a positive attitude is to become someone to be worth knowing.
Fill your life with value, commitment, and activity — become too busy to be miserable!
Arrange your world so that you can and will smile.

Get a Clue.

A clue to what?
A clue to who you are, what you want, where you will go, how you will get there, when to start, and who can help.

As sung by George Harrison, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there”.      True, but on the other hand, that is not a useful state of being!
Much better results are achieved when you select a destination.
Jetison your excess baggage — especially self created junk — you can travel faster.

Your clue needs to be multifaceted. 

Although containing universality, your clue is uniquely yours.

Review your “what if’s”,  “must haves”, “good enoughs”, and “stretch goals” so you can define your own reality.
Transform your job loss into the opportunity to redesign your little corner of the world. 

Get a Plan!

Disorganization is the first step on the road to failure. 

Organization gets you much further than “Winging it”.
Random movements get you nowhere.
Most of the people seen achieving things in life are those who chart their course well. To do this, they work within a structure in their plan to maximize results for the time they spend. 

Send yourself for an upgrade. Training — PSGCNJ’s ACT training, skills building, and certification courses.
Build your brand. 

Build your tool kit.
Make the most of free resources.
Draw from as many people, places and things needed to get an effective set of useful information.
Set up an accountability buddy. 

Connect with new and old contacts.
Be very public  —  you want to be found!

This is where your clue becomes your plan which you will sell to everyone!

Time is a limited fixed commodity and should be spent in a wise manner. 

Modify the plan  as required —  adjust  —  do not blindly “settle”  —  unless financial realities dictate taking a bridge job — but keep trying to bridge to your destination.

It is your journey  —  you need to be the navigator  —  you need to be the driver  — so drive already!

Get a Job!

Follow your plan but also be opportunistic.  Be ready to react if something good “falls into your lap”. 
Be relentless in implementation. 

Use every trick in your book  — every resource — your entire network.  

Crank everything you learn back into your plan (it is never done).

Repeat. Keep repeating! Try again. etc.

The final achievement — success —  “Whoopie! Got a job”

But the devil is still in the details. Define what does “Got a Job”mean?
Received a verbal offer? A written offer? Finished negotiating? Accepted a final offer? Your first minute on the job? The end of your first week?  

It is when both you and the employer are comfortable with the status quo.
Then you really have a job!

Now one more thing.  

On a level of less urgency, expect to return to lines 1 through 3 for total re-edit because statistically in 3 to 5 years you will have to start over  — sorry! Never stop working on “Get a Plan”.

 

Here are links to our resources:

PSGCNJ Homepage: http://www.psgcnj.biz/FTP1/index.html
Join PSGCNJ Now!

http://www.psgcnj.biz/FTP1/members.html PSGCNJ New Member Form

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSchht4C_4RCbr8P83YtzmYA1Dw4n20PE2mgAQ0zrpGaRgD5zQ/viewform

For PSGCNJ Members Only  — ACCELERATED CAREER TRAINING (ACT)
http://www.psgcnj.biz/FTP1/training_curriculum.html

 

Posted in Uncategorized

PSGCNJ Member Spotlight: Meet Anna Marie D’Elia

Anna Marie D'EliaPSGCNJ sat down with Anna Marie D’Elia, a senior-level executive with strategic brand, marketing, and product management expertise. Anna Marie combines data analytics and insights with the right mix of digital and traditional marketing tactics to engage consumers with some of the top brands in health care. Get to know Anna better by reading the following transcript of an interview taken by Marla Fishman, a member of the PSGCNJ Training Committee.

MF: Hi Anna Marie. We’re happy to have you here with us today.

When I look at your background and experience, I see a lot in areas of communications and marketing. So clearly this is your passion, this is your area of expertise. What was your path to becoming a branding marketing specialist?

AMD: I’ve been very fortunate to have spent my 15 plus years working in brand and product marketing in an industry I am passionate about, which is health care.

I’ve researched, designed, developed, and implemented countless digital and traditional marketing campaigns where brand positioning and marketing had a direct impact on simplifying the complex and high cost of care for patients, payers, and physicians. As a product marketer for Medco Health Solutions, I launched an online prescription savings portal that in three years kept health plan clients’ drug spend below the national average and helped plan members save 31% annually on their daily medication costs.

When Express Scripts merged with Medco, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the new brand strategy team, which was tasked with developing a unified brand for two companies coming together as a top Fortune 20 pharmacy benefit manager that was going to be the largest in the US.

MF: I can imagine that was an interesting transition to be a part of.

AMD: It was great because now I was going to get a different perspective than what I got in product marketing. I was going to see how a brand was built from the ground up. And it was a great time because of these two companies coming together, to see it firsthand and be part of that collaborative team.

Principles of corporate branding

MF: I’m wondering if you can define branding for us. It’s a term that gets used a lot, and I think it would help to get everyone on the same page in terms of what it is, what is its purpose, its importance?

AMD: As a corporate branding specialist, a brand is important because it helps a company distinguish itself from its competitors. It clarifies to their customers why their products and services are better than their competitors. When executed properly, with consistency, clarity, continuity, and good storytelling, a brand makes a lasting, memorable impression. It allows clients and customers to know exactly what to expect every time they have an interaction with them.

Brand is ownership. It’s recognition and it’s equity value. So, think of a company’s stock, price, or annual company revenue, and you’ll see why companies invest time and money following a process to get it right. And that process usually starts first with an investment in research. That is, taking a look at where your brand stands today.

Internally, it’s talking with your employees and management, even customers and prospective customers. You also want to look at the state of the industry and your competition to kind of position yourself where you fit in and maybe where you’re unique. From that point on, you develop a value proposition and key driving statements.  That is, what does the company bring to the market that others don’t, and what can customers expect from their branded interactions with that company? And then companies also formulate something called Mission, Vision, Values in alignment with the brand to help employees become brand champions for that brand.

But probably most important is when you bring that brand to life and out into the marketplace. You want to make it most memorable. And those elements that do that are the brand persona. So, what is the brand’s personality, its voice, and its tone? Is it friendly, formal? Is it a caretaker or a companion? Oftentimes it’s summed up in a tag line or maybe even a jingle that’s memorable and unique. And then there’s the visual end of your brand, which lots of people signify with, and that’s the company logo, its color palette, its font, and its standards for communications. This is where it really becomes instantly recognizable.

So, think of some of today’s most iconic brands. We quickly identify them with these elements. You have Apple, its unique logo, and its ability to deliver innovative products and services. And then for Nike, you have its iconic swoosh, and then you also have that memorable tagline: Just do it.

Build Brand Loyalty with Brand Personality: Companies make their brands memorable and help customers signify and identify with that brand by creating a brand personality that successfully incorporates several elements, including voice, tone, and look. This is key to building brand loyalty.

MF: I didn’t realize there was that kind of internal assessment with the employees for corporate branding.

AMD: Your employees are the front line! This is where most of the interaction with customers is going on, so having your employees become brand ambassadors is critical – from salespeople to customer service, right up to management.

MF: You mentioned the idea of brand personality. On the consumer end, you get a certain feel when you see a brand – a logo or color or phrase – that has been successful. So, that means the brand has been successful in conveying the personality it wants you to experience – is that right?

AMD: Yes, absolutely right. And, it really helps you signify and identify with that brand when it has that personality. In fact, it is the key to building brand loyalty.

Applying principles of corporate branding to personal branding

MF: And I am sure some of these principles can be applied to personal branding, is it true?

AMD: Absolutely!

When it comes to personal branding, think of it as how others see you and how you want to be perceived by others. It’s your story. It’s your career path. It’s the story about the goals and the milestones you set for yourself along the way, the progress you’ve made along those goals, and how your job experiences and accomplishments have shaped you today.

You want to tell your story in a way that captures who you are. That’s your personality, what you do, and how what you do makes yourself uniquely you.

Just like in corporate branding, the best place to start is with a personal assessment or research. I used a self-assessment, and then I used a marketing plan template document that took me through the process of looking at myself from an internal perspective, as well as externally in the marketplace.

One key thing is the professional objective. It helps you look at where you are currently in your career, and then where you want to set goals for yourself at that point in time. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? And, how do you want to do it?

Other sections in the marketing plan help you take stock of your core competencies, such as your hard and soft skills, and a listing of your career accomplishments. Those career accomplishments will be the basis for formulating your resume. And then your Challenge, Action, Result – your C.A.R. stories. Then, you just list education, accolades, associations.

But really, one key part is that it has you look externally. It has you define your target industries, companies, and the types of positions you’re looking for. I strongly recommend when you’re doing that, just like companies, you want to align that with your mission, your vision, and the value you have for yourself. This way, it’s a good fit for you and the company – you’re both shopping. You’re also aligning with the recruiters, the hiring managers, and anyone you network with during your job search.

Personal Branding – Internal and External Assessment: Identify your personal brand by conducting a self-assessment of your skills, accomplishments, values, and goals, and an external assessment of target companies, industries, and job roles.

Some key resources I think can be helpful for skills assessment are Clifton StrengthsFinder (https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/home.aspx) and the Birkman (http://www.pathinsight.com/resources/birkman) career assessment tests. They help you explore, discover, and confirm your talents and strengths. You can also ask colleagues, past and current. And then, you can look at your annual reviews, which help with resumes and cover letters. And then many people, because this is a challenging process, will seek the help of a professional career coach.

MF: How can people access StrengthsFinder and the Birkman career assessment tests?

AMD: You can access both online. There is a cost associated with both. When I took the Birkman assessment, it pretty much lined up with what I thought of myself. So that was kind of good. I was in tune and connected. Most people will find that – they’re pretty much in tune with themselves. But it also actually helps shape, too, if you want to pivot and go a completely different direction. Those assessments are great for that.

MF: That was interesting what you said about not just doing the self-assessment, but also doing the assessment of industries and companies – it sounds like that creates a win-win situation because your values are aligned.

AMD: Yes, I find that’s always the case. It’s really important. Think again about brand champions and what I mentioned about how people in the company can be brand champions. You certainly want to go into someplace where it’s a good fit for you and vice versa for the company.

How to stand out from the competition

MF: So you’ve done this assessment of yourself, of your target industries and companies. But how does someone make their brand unique? How do you make yourself stand out from the competition?

AMD: Excellent questions!

They tie into the next step of the process, which is developing a brand statement, and a statement is brief and concise. Corporations do this also. I had mentioned Mission, Vision, and Value and that value proposition. It’s usually about one-to-two sentences about yourself. And it should be simple, which means keeping jargon and acronyms out of it. You want to think of that target audience – your recruiters, hiring managers, and network connections – that may not be familiar with those kinds of terms. You want to make it memorable, something repeatable, or something that’s easy for someone to summarize about you.

So, there are some questions you can use to help write such a statement:

  • What do you do?
  • What values do you provide? And you want to think of that in terms of problems that you helped solve. Clients, and in this case, recruiters and companies, have pain points – identifying those pain points and how you solve them.
  • And then, how do you do it uniquely in your approach when you solve them?
  • And then, who do you do it for (i.e. your target audience)?

Marketing your personal brand

MF: Those are great questions to help uncover your brand statement. So, you develop your brand statement, and you have your brand. How do you go about marketing it?

AMD: You want to integrate your brand into what I call my baseline foundational documents. And it’s critical to keep your statement and messaging very consistent across all of these documents. And you’re using storytelling, so you’re bringing your brand to life in these documents.

People remember stories better than statistics, and you’ll use both. A good story is one way to help people remember quickly.

  • Business Card. It’s pretty straightforward – your name, phone number, and contact information.
  • 30- and 60-second Commercials. You get a little bit more leeway. But it still must be tight and concise. I even did a 15-second commercial.
  • Resume. I have a stylized version of a resume and an ATS version. These are one-to-two pages. This is more of a fact sheet. It’s brief, concise, and simple, quick little bullets and snippets about you.
  • Cover Letter. I’ve developed a template for a T-bar version where you list the company’s requirements and how your skills and qualifications align with those requirements.
  • Executive Profile. I look at this as a sell sheet or a leave behind that a salesperson uses when they go and meet face-to-face with a client. It’s a one-pager that summarizes who you are and what you do, your key accomplishments. It also includes the target industries, companies, and job titles. And, it’s a nice little leave behind for networking and referral.
  • LinkedIn Profile. You also have your LinkedIn profile, which is more personalized storytelling.
  • C.A.R. Stories. Your Challenge, Action, Result (C.A.R.) stories align pretty much with your resume. It’s a great spot to bring your story to life.

Bring Your Brand to Life with Foundational Documents: Use multiple foundational documents to market your brand, and ensure consistency in your brand statement and messaging throughout.

MF: Can you explain how the ATS version of the resume is different from the stylized version?

AMD: Yes, the ATS version is for those Applicant Tracking Systems, which wants something clean and not heavily formatted. So, it’s a pretty straightforward document. So, I strip out some of that stylizing that’s in the stylized resume I hand out in person. And don’t forget that both the stylized and ATS version of the resume are updated for each job. So, you’re optimizing keywords to match up to the keywords in the job description.

MF: So, you have this arsenal of documents that market your brand. Can you go into more detail on how you use them?

AMD: Yes. So, networking, as we all know, is key, and we must do plenty of it. Your LinkedIn connections are one target for networking. People in companies you’re targeting, you certainly want to connect with them on LinkedIn. Past colleagues, family, friends, and referrals. You also want to connect with people at networking events, which can include trade association events that align with your industry.

I have also done a lot of volunteer work with organizations where I’m using my services and my skill sets to keep using my skills.

These documents are key during these networking situations. You want to think of them as your marketing tools. So, in those networking situations, you’re using your business card, the 30- and 60-second commercial. That Executive Profile comes into play for one-on-one networking informational meetings. You’re using it as a guideline for that discussion and a leave behind follow-up document. People I’ve networked with use my Executive Profile to do warm introductions to referrals. It warms up my conversation with the person when I’m speaking with them, so it’s not so cold of an introduction.

MF: And, you prefer using the Executive Profile to the resume for those networking conversations?

AMD: Yes, I reserve using that resume for when you’re submitting a job application. The stylized resume and cover letter are what I would use in an in-person interview, and I have used that to send an email to a recruiter or hiring manager for a job application. But any time I’m going through an applicant tracking system, I’m using that ATS version customized for that position with a cover letter.

And then in interviewing those C.A.R. stories come into play. And to me, this is where the fun is in interviewing, because you’re sitting face-to-face, and you’re telling those stories that back up the accomplishments in your resume. This is your chance to shine and sell. You’re bringing your personality, you’re bringing those skills, hard and soft, and you’re telling that story that backs up those accomplishments and things you’ve listed on your resume.

And then there are value-added things and bonuses that are above and beyond the foundational documents. These include using social media, in addition to LinkedIn, such as Instagram and Twitter.

You can also create a personal website, which I see as being very good for those who are graphic designers, writers, freelancers, maybe someone who is going into consulting, or anyone who wants to showcase a portfolio or body of work.

Also, if you really have the gumption and you’re comfortable to byline your own articles and your own blogs to market your brand. A lot of people are also doing career-themed videos.

Final thoughts

MF: If someone wants to learn more about personal branding, what do you recommend they read, or what resources do you recommend?

AMD: Through my networking, which, as we said is really important, I heard about Pat Romboletti. She has a book called, Bulletproofing Your Career, she’s done some TED Talks, and she does some mini-workshops about bulletproofing your career in what today everybody is calling a gig economy. The average job tenure now is about 3-to-5 years. For some people who are in a job search who are older –well, it’s changed. She talks about never stopping building and maintaining a network and branding yourself because you must be prepared for this new market and constantly have your brand ready and at hand.

There are also some great LinkedIn learning tools I have come across, like the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). I took one on “Your personal brand” a Job Hunters’ Networking Masterclass from a company called Careercake. It was a series of videos that had very good content and a good cadence. Best of all, it had transcripts, which I found helpful to refer to.

MF: As a last thought, let’s say you run into someone in passing and you have to quickly give them your best branding tip. What would it be?

AMD: My best tip on branding would be, don’t wait for a career transition to develop your personal brand and to start networking to get your story out. You should be doing that constantly, building networks, and making contacts. Keep your brand out there and stay top of mind, just like companies do. They’re continually making that effort. You don’t just stop.

Branding is a Lifelong Process – You Never Stop: With the current gig economy and a 3-to-5-year average job tenure, we must continually network, brand ourselves, and tell our story to stay top of mind.

MF:  That is a great piece of advice. A great tip to end with. There are so many gems you shared. Thank you very much, Anna Marie. It was a pleasure talking with you.

Marla Fishman, SAFe® SA, SSM, POPM

About the author: Marla Fishman is a member of the PSGCNJ Training Committee. Marla has over 13 years of proposal and project management experience. She helps companies meet tight deadlines and ensure compliance with requirements by building strong relationships with cross-functional team members and collaborating with them to achieve quality, accuracy, and completeness. Marla has nonprofit and corporate experience and lean agile certifications. Marla is passionate about collaborating with others to achieve a common goal.

 

Posted in PSGCNJ Member Spotlight

Recruiters Explained

Meet Ed Han, a Job Seeker Ally!

In this blog post, I want to introduce Ed Han, an experienced recruiter and a veteran of PSG (Professional Services Group) movement, who also formerly led PSG Mercer County. We met in March 2020, right before the coronavirus crisis went full-blown in NJ, to discuss the mystery around recruiters’ types, processes, and systems.

 

NL Ed, thank you for finding the time to meet with me and to answer the questions many of our members keep asking.

I have the impression that many professionals at PSGCNJ have heard your name, have even met you, and are glad to know that I am going to do an interview with you.

Why do you think you are so popular in our circles?

EH Sure, Natalie.

There are many career coaches that visit PSG meetings, but I’m not one of them.

I call myself a Job Seeker Ally because I’m knowledgeable about the job search process, and I want to help job seekers. Usually, when I do my elevator speech, I talk about how I am passionate about helping job seekers return to the workforce. This is the thing that really motivates me.

In addition, I have formerly led PSG Mercer County.

For the last eight years, I’ve been a recruiter, which gives me a great deal of insight into the job search process, and I like to share what knowledge and insight I have with others.

What Types of Recruiters Are There?

NL and that is awesome because our members are interested to learn about the job search process from the recruiter’s perspective.

Here are some of the questions they wanted me to ask you:

  • What types of recruiters are there?
  • Why am I often contacted by multiple recruiters, for the same position?
  • Why are they asking for my identification? Is it a scam?
  • What are their processes?

EH Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of recruiters:

  • There are internal recruiters, also called corporate recruiters. Usually, they’re affiliated with the human resources department of an employer.
  • The other type is known as an external recruiter, AKA an agency recruiter, or a headhunter.

(I have previously been an external one, now I am an internal recruiter.)

It is important to understand the difference because the internal recruiters and external recruiters are motivated in very different ways.

1. The internal recruiter is an employee of the brand that is doing the hiring. So for example, Johnson&Johnson has corporate (internal) recruiters. They are Johnson&Johnson employees who bring in the talent to help J&J grow their team.

2. By contrast, external recruiters are employed by a recruiting firm or a recruiting agency, and they have clients like Johnson&Johnson or other, often quite large, brands.

More about External Recruiters

Most often, agency recruiters are motivated by making a placement and then receiving a commission from that placement.

So, if an agency recruiter gets a placement for a full-time employee, they get a percentage of that person’s salary. If the placement is for a project or hourly work, they get a percentage of the hourly fee that is paid to the new hire.

NL And how do these types interact with each other? Do internal recruiters reach out to external recruiters?

EH It depends.

Typically, agency recruiters will have a contract in place with the employer.

But there are other ones who do not have such an agreement with the employer. Those are vendors to these contracted agency recruiters. This is exactly what happens when people – like PSGCNJ members – receive a dozen emails and calls from different recruiters all within a couple of hours for the same position.

Multiple Layers Between You And The Employer

NL Vendors?

EH  Yes, vendors.

Typically large employers manage their project-based staffing needs through software called a Vendor Management System (VMS) an example of which can be found at https://www.hcmworks.com/blog/what-is-a-vendor-management-system-vms. It is an internal system, that is usually managed by a specific agency or firm on behalf of the employer.

When the new requirement goes live in the VMS, it’s communicated immediately to all the approved vendors that have an agreement in place with the employer.

NL And vendors being what, recruiting agencies?

EH  Yes, recruiting agencies.

It is very difficult to become an approved vendor for one of these brands, it usually takes a year or more.

But there are also firms that are vendors to THESE firms as well, who are not on the approved vendor list.

NL Sub-recruiters?

EH  Exactly!

VMS

VMS – Vendor Management Systems

You see – this is why you will see requirements for a job that should pay $80, $90, $100 an hour, and actually only pays 50 or $60 now, because these sub-vendors will take their margin, out of what should be yours.

How Do I Know Who Is Contacting Me?

NL Okay, then probably the next logical question would be, how do I know who is contacting me? Is he or she a direct vendor/agency or a sub-vendor?

EH That’s a really difficult question. The best way to answer this question, I think, is to ask them how many layers are between you and the brand.

NL Is it okay to ask that question?

EH Absolutely. It’s the only way you will know.

Typically, you will be contacted by a company you’ve never heard of before. And so, as the job seeker, you should push back and ask: “Okay, how many layers are between you and the brand?”

Typically, one layer between you and the brand is an acceptable level, that is as good as it’s going to be, that would be the contracted agency working directly with the employer. If it’s two, then you know that someone is taking out a piece of the pie, so that’s obviously not great for you.

Why do they ask for my SSN?

NL At which point are you, as a job seeker, supposed to reveal your identity information like your social security number to recruiters? And why do they need it?

EH That is a really great question, I’m glad that you asked it.

On some level, this is very much a personal decision. Some people are very conscious of the risk of security. We keep reading these stories about breaches on a seemingly daily basis, and as a recruiter, I’m very sensitive to this.

There are two occasions in which a recruiter will ask you for your SSN:

  1. Creating your record in a VMS (or finding one if it already exists), and
  2. Preparing your record for hiring.

In the agency world, particularly for project work, an approved recruitment vendor (or a sub-vendor, if you choose to work with one) is going to ask you this, in order to submit you to the client. The reason for this is that the VMS tracks your information by your name, sometimes your email, and also the last four digits of your social security number.

An internal recruiter should not ask you for your full Social Security number unless they are about to hire. A reputable external recruiter should never ask you for your full Social Security number.

NL So if the recruiter asks you for the last four last digits of your Social Security number, it’s just for them to identify you in the system?

EH Right, it is entirely safe. You don’t need to provide the rest of the social security number, just the last four digits.

NL But providing the full Social Security may only be relevant for background checks or something else near the point of hiring, right?

EH That should be the case! There are exceptions when employers would require your full SSN for the record to be entered into their VMS, but they are rare.

Being “Let Go” Soon After Hire

NL I have heard that sometimes a recruiter will send a candidate for an interview and that person passes all the interviews and is approved for hire by the company only to be let go almost immediately after starting their job. Do you know why this happens?

EH There are several reasons that this could happen.

One such reason – let’s call it “Switching candidates” – can be described by the following scenario: an agency provides an employer with a relevant candidate who does a phone screen, comes in to do an interview (including any technical interviews), meets with all the stakeholders, and is approved for hire. But then, when the new hire is supposed to start, a different person arrives on-site! Once the employer realizes the this is not the individual that they “hired,” they may, of course, be let go – particularly in case they are in fact not a good fit for the position.

Such quite unethical behavior of some recruiters, although it can have some understandable explanations behind it, hurts both the candidates and the companies. Make sure you have written confirmation of your hire and start date from the company itself.  Do not allow the agency to make any changes to the situation unless and until you are certain of all of the circumstances involved in accepting the position.

Another reason for someone being let go right after the hire is that most employers, particularly the large ones, will require an employment background check, especially in regulated industries. If a person is hired through an agency and a background check has not been completed before the start date, if it eventually comes back negative, the person may be let go very soon after hire. Remember, if you are unable to pass a background check, you will have a great deal of difficulty finding work in that profession or that industry.

There may be other reasons that could be happening. These are just two examples. It’s ultimately driven by a particular situation, so it’s difficult to speak in generalities.

The Secret of Successful Hiring

NL So, what would be your advice for the candidate, besides being able to pass background checks, to being successfully hired? What’s the secret, in two words?

EH In two words – relevant experience! If you have it, you’re in. If you don’t have it, you’re wasting your time.


About the author: Natalie Lihacova is a member of PSGCNJ Marketing & Events committee; she is also a co-founder and CEO of Teammate.Exec and Mr. Simon. Natalie has over two decades of experience leading people and running businesses; before switching her career to Information Technology and Business Management, she used to be a musician – a singer and a choir director. She is passionate about helping people discover their true potential as professionals.

Posted in Recruiters

PSGCNJ Services in Times of Coronavirus Crisis

By Natalie Lihacova, member of PSGCNJ Marketing committee

Since our last blog article, which was posted a month ago, our lives have been disrupted by the “invisible enemy”, as our President calls this devastating pandemic disease – COVID-19. We are finding ourselves in the midst of a health crisis, economic crisis, job market crash, social freeze, and all our regular life and work processes in general.

This disruption has also changed how PSGCNJ provides services to our members in these times that we can’t meet face-to-face.

The good news, however, is that we live in the age of the Internet, and it allows us to meet online!

Which means that we can keep networking, learning, staying positive and focused, supporting each other and grow in our careers thanks to the services that PSGCNJ provides to our members.

Some of our services, that you may be aware of:

  • General Monday meeting;
  • Keeping our members’ skills sharp by working on one of our committees;
  • Leadership roles in the organization;
  • Training.

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

General Monday meeting

We meet every Monday at 10:30 am, at Zoom (contact us for the meeting details); the meeting room opens at 10:00 am, but everyone is invited to come early and network with other members before the meeting starts! Read this  Zoom Support Center resource to learn how you can use the Zoom platform with features such as microphone, speakers, chat, background and more. Don’t be afraid, Zoom is very user-friendly and intuitive.

Everyone is welcome!

As you may know, PSGCNJ is a non-profit organization whose membership is made up of volunteers. These volunteers are running the departments of our organization which we call committees. Each committee has its own set of responsibilities, as any department would in a for-profit company. During the current situation, committees meet either virtually (via Zoom or similar services) or via phone conference.

Everyone is welcome to join any of our committees, there are no prerequisites!

Each committee has its own structure and has certain responsibilities which the members of that committee work on. By working on a committee and participating, you can list this “job” on your resume and get a recommendation for the next job. Here are some of the benefits you get by participating on a committee:

  • Quality networking. By doing things together with other members you will be able to know them better, and even more importantly – they will get to know your professional strengths not only based on what you say about yourself but by working with you side by side. Whenever they receive any job lead from their own circles that may be a fit for you, they will be able to recommend you with confidence;
  • Confidence and sense of achievement. While being out of job for a while, you may start losing confidence in yourself. Participation in a committee will involve some work effort and results achieved, which is a great way to boost your self-confidence.
  • New skills. You can significantly improve and update both your hard and soft skills by being an active member of a committee. And then, why not include those in your LinkedIn profile or resume?
  • LinkedIn profile and resume. When your resume is reviewed, it may show a job gap, to help you avoid that and get that interview, you can add your PSGCNJ job to your resume to close that window. As mentioned above, you can include this work experience, responsibilities and skills in your LinkedIn profile and your resume.
  • Recommendations. By proving yourself as a person capable of taking on responsibility, being reliable and providing results, you will let us know you better and we will be able to recommend you on LinkedIn or any other channel suitable for your next job opportunity.

Let me tell you about each committee in more detail.

Marketing and Events Committee

This committee, led by Peter Barrett, keeps all of us together! They are responsible for the organization of General Monday meetings, other company events, like nights out and other membership events. Having diverse speakers at our Monday events (thanks for the great job, Mary Anne!), posting updates on social media platforms (thanks, Tom Hickey!), writing blog articles, and organizing other events like our December holiday party.

This committee is also actively engaged in developing content for our new website – an ongoing project that involves a lot of effort from multiple committees.

Opportunity Committee

This committee is responsible for finding and distributing job leads (vacancies) among our members, for communicating updates about career events and other kinds of announcements related to job search market.

Another workstream on this committee is outreach to recruiters and maintaining relationships with them in order to let them have access to our pool of awesome professionals that gives our members a leg up in the job market!

Finance and Membership Committee

This committee, currently led by Michael Calabria, is responsible for everything that has to do with numbers: collecting and keeping our member database records, running membership and financial reports, keeping the finances organized and transparent, filing taxes.

Fundraising Committee

Even being a non-profit, volunteer organization, we still have some expenses, like the subscription to a Zoom account for virtual meetings at this time, hosting our website, supplies for training and marketing events, and insurance payments for the on-premise space we use to meet face-to-face. We anticipate these sessions to be continuing as soon as we get back to normal.

Our fundraising efforts aim to mitigate our financial issues by raising funds to support the services PSGCNJ brings our members as well as the future growth of the company.

Technology Committee

This committee provides ongoing support and maintenance for our systems like website hosting and updates, software licenses. The Technology committee is also actively engaged in our new website project – they configure and customize WordPress according to the needs of our organization, and it is an interesting, although quite a time-consuming effort. Kudos to our heroes Lisa Hallman and Bill McGuinnis who keep this project going!

Project Management Office

This is not a formal committee, but a unit that helps our committees to achieve their goals in implementing change initiatives agreed upon by the committee and approved by the Executive Director.

The current projects include helping the Technology committee with new website development, the Membership committee with database cleanup, and the Training committee with the Job Boards project.

Any PSGCNJ member who considers themselves project or program managers, or wants to practice these skills, are welcome to join the PMO.

Training Committee

And finally, definitely check out the awesome package of services offered by our Training committee, which is led by Larry Maglin and all the fantastic value it brings to our members!

The Training Committee curriculum consists of these types of content:

  1. Accelerated Career Training (ACT) which is a series of 5 career/job search workshops given over a 2 ½ day period each month.  All new members (and even those who may have taken the course years ago) are strongly encouraged to participate.  A full description of the ACT courses can be found on the PSGCNJ website under “Training Curriculum.”
  2. Advanced Classes are offered to everyone who has completed the 5 ACT classes.  These consist of Advanced Marketing/Goals, Advanced CARs (Challenge, Action, Results), Advanced Resume, and Advanced Interview Prep.  These classes are also offered each month and their dates and times are listed on the monthly PSGCNJ calendar.
  3. Once in a while, we offer an “Improv” workshop – a very engaging and entertaining class that allows practicing job interviewing skills.

Executive Leadership

Heads of committees meet bi-weekly and receive their direction in the executive committee meetings led by our executive director Charles Ahr. The executive committee meeting is usually held prior to the Monday general meeting, with all committee directors, CFO and some project management people invited if the agenda calls for it.

Summary

I hope now you have an idea of our services in general, and how we run them in a remote environment. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, and you are most welcome to become our member, or just join our General Monday meeting and enjoy the opportunities it has for you!


About the author: Natalie Lihacova is a member of PSGCNJ Marketing & Events committee; she is also a co-founder and CEO of Teammate.Exec and Mr. Simon. Natalie has over two decades of experience leading people and running businesses; before switching her career to Information Technology and Business Management, she used to be a musician – a singer and a choir director. She is passionate about helping people discover their true potential as professionals.

Posted in Announcement, PSGCNJ Events

How to Use Your Time Wisely During Career Transition

We are happy to present the 2nd part of the interview with Anthony Dondarski taken by Natalie Lihacova; part 1 was published on February 13, 2020.

Here, Anthony is sharing his advice on the importance of setting goals, of working to improve your skills, finding your passions, and on how you can learn all this, and beyond, in PSGCNJ!

Find Your Passion

NL: Anthony, I met you in PSGCNJ where most people are between their past and their future. How do you define your professional goals for the next year and in the longer term?

AD: I’m actively looking for my next opportunity in corporate America. I feel that’s where my passion is; I love coaching people and leading organizations. I love working in large organizations where there are a lot of things going on and you can make an impact and make things better for them. Innovation can sometimes bring chaos, and here is what I mean: you want people to be creative, but that can lead to having five people doing five different things and running in five different directions. Someone needs to pull them together and maybe take pieces of each so that it is optimized and benefits the entire organization. So, I’m looking for that next opportunity for a senior leadership position, Vice President, CIO or similar.

Update Your Skill Set and Credentials

NL: What steps are you taking to move towards your goals?

AD: I am trying to fill some skill gaps and taking some online classes e.g. Udemy, SCRUMstudy, Scrum.org to name a few. In my last job at ADP, I led our organization in our Agile movement but did not have any Agile certification except working with McKinsey and our ADP Agile Center of Excellence to help learn agile and train our organization.

I took this time while in transition to take classes to become a Certified Scrum Master, Scrum Fundamentals Certified, and currently working on Scrum Product Owner Certification.  I have put a lot of process improvements in place but never followed Lean.  I have now completed my Lean Six Sigma White Belt Certification.

For many years I have led the Project Management Office for our organization and I kept up-to-date with Project Management Institute where I had 3 project managers who worked hard and obtained their PMP. They would attend seminars and training and we would discuss what they learned and instill those learnings into our organization. I have a Project Management Certificate that I obtained many years ago. I have joined PMI recently and will possibly look at getting PMP certified.

How PSGCNJ Can Help

NL: In what ways does PSGCNJ help you move towards your goals?

AD: PSGCNJ has helped me to network and the training provided in our Accelerated Career Training (ACT), as well as our Advanced Classes, has been a great learning experience for me as I did not have any outplacement service since I retired. I love this organization for what it offers to people from different industries.

NL: When you became a PSGCNJ member, you could join any of the committees including the Technology Committee, but you chose Training. Why?

AD: I decided to join the Training Committee because I knew they needed help; they were short-staffed. I felt with Training I can make the most impact, quickly. I love doing presentations; I love standing up in front of people. Once I learn the material, presenting is an easy thing for me.

Dream Big!

NL: If you had to choose your career over again, or you could learn new skills, what would those be?

AD: I had a great career at ADP, rose up all the way from the file clerk to the executive role at such a big organization. I loved my career there! But if I had to choose something different, it would be coaching. I love to coach, whether children, students, athletes, or technology professionals.

I’m a passionate coach. So maybe sometime, when I retire, I will become a Career Coach, to help people in that regard.

Stay Positive

NL: I see on LinkedIn you often post motivational quotes. What motivates you personally?

AD: I used to enjoy listening to Ed Foreman; his messages are always positive. I am a fan of keeping things positive, in every situation. Most of the time we work hard to provide for our families, so let’s have fun while we are doing it! Positivity inspires people to do a better job. We control our destiny for the most part; our mindset has a great impact on our lives. If you’re going to be negative about things, negative things are going to happen. Be positive, look at the positive side of things, and positive things are going to happen to you.

About the author: Natalie Lihacova is a COO of PSGCNJ; she is also a co-founder and CEO of Teammate.Exec and Mr. Simon. Natalie has over two decades of experience leading people and running businesses; before switching her career to Information Technology and Business Management, she used to be a musician – a singer and a choir director. She is passionate about helping people discover their true potential as professionals.

Posted in Interview Insights, PSGCNJ Member Spotlight

PSGCNJ Member Spotlight: Meet Anthony Dondarski

PSGCNJ is happy to present a Senior IT Leader and Assistant Director of the Training Committee Anthony Dondarski.

Get to know Anthony better by reading the following transcript of the interview with Anthony, taken by our COO Natalie Lihacova.

Start of Career and the Importance of Marketing

NL: Thank you, Anthony for agreeing to meet with me. I hope this interview will be helpful for our members at PSGCNJ and will give us all a chance to know you better.

I checked your LinkedIn profile, and I saw that you started your career with education that combines both business management and computer systems. That sounds interesting, as my son also graduated with the same major. So, how did your education prepare you for your further career?

AD: On the computer science piece of it, I learned a lot about technology, how it changes the world and fits into almost every aspect of modern business.

From the business aspect of it, I learned to look at things that need to get done to run a business from a “business management” standpoint, the management side of running a business, and how to build an organization. This includes marketing, and marketing is a huge piece of the business.

NL: Right, I remember how my son was excited about his marketing class. Even being a technology guy himself, he was excited to learn some aspects of marketing.

AD: Oh yes, marketing is a key part! Whether for yourself or for a business, marketing is a skill you need in every context. As a business, you need marketing to gain clientele and create a brand, but as an individual you need to market yourself to show to a potential employer that you can do the job.

Marketing

It is no different than the marketing class that we teach at PSGCNJ, where it ties into knowing your value, knowing your skill set, and how to sell those to the employer, because the employer wants to know: “What can you do for me?”

And that is your opportunity to say: “OK, here’s what I can do for your organization, here’s how I can either increase the bottom line for you, or decrease costs, etc.”

So, it’s a matter of packaging yourself and marketing yourself to that company, to land that next job. The same exact principles apply, whether you’re selling a product or selling yourself.

Corporate Career: Key Takeaways

NL: That’s a great insight, indeed!

And so, after you graduated, you entered a long career at Automatic Data Processing (ADP). I wonder – through those years at ADP, can you name a few key things that you learned from there?

AD: I actually didn’t graduate college until 1990. I started working at ADP in 1982, then went back to school in 1984 to continue my education. I was working during the day and taking my classes at night at a local college and graduated from there.

Best bossOne thing ADP taught me is respect. You should respect everyone in the organization, be it the security person that you see entering the building, the person that’s changing the lights for you, or the administrative staff. Everyone is looking to do a good job and deserves respect, so that they know that they’re valued just as much as the CEO or any senior level person in the organization.

Another thing I learned was that it is important to be open to opportunities. ADP is a gigantic organization with many opportunities, many doors that can open, and you never know where your next opportunity is going to be. I started off as a filing clerk, then worked my way up into a client-facing technical consultant role where I was asked to go out and to save client relationships whenever there were issues, to find solutions and keep them happy ADP clients. I then moved to a manager position in 1987 and to the corporate office in 1992 to a leadership position within the IT department.

A Very “People-Oriented” Person

NL: Sounds like you are a very people-oriented person, is that a fair statement?

Jersey ShoreAD: That’s correct. I don’t consider myself a “techie” tech. What I mean by that is, there’s a lot more people that are smarter than me in a room, a lot more people that are up-to-date with the latest technology. I keep up-to-date, but not deep to the roots all the time. I like to work with my tech leads, my architects and other organizations to figure out what’s the right thing to do for our situation and for our organization. I pull the people together, build the strategy, and then make sure we execute on the strategy.  Once in place I like to put measurements in place to track our progress. I like to consider myself an authentic leader with high emotional intelligence who builds trust and loyalty throughout my interactions with people.  I make it a point to meet with every member of my organization, to get their opinion on things, to empower them.  I want them to know that their opinion counts and that they are valued.

Approach to Process Improvement

NL: Speaking of strategy, you seem to be very knowledgeable and experienced in process improvement. Do you follow some specific methodology or approach?

AD: I was involved with business process re-engineering back in 1992. There was no Agile or Lean at the time; our approach was based on CMMI, the Capability Maturity Model that SCI[1] followed. We achieved SCI Level 3, which means that you have a good repeatable process.

Right now, I am learning about Lean and just completed my Lean Six Sigma White Belt certification.

So overall, my general approach is you put a repeatable process in place wherever you can, try to automate all mundane tasks, and let people spend their time on things like learning new stuff. This gives them the opportunity to add another tool in their toolbelt to help the organization and make themselves more marketable.  People are the biggest asset a company has and when they grow, so does the organization.

Speaking of which, let me emphasize something important here:  Sometimes you can hear that people are resistant to change. I have found that’s not necessarily true! When there is open communication and people understand where they’re going, they get a chance to buy into the changes, they take charge and move forward with it.

NL: You touched on the subject of Agile. I wonder, how can Agile be used for Process Improvement? With Agile, nothing is repeatable, everything is unknown.

Agile

AD: Well, not everything. The initial requirements are known, but the process is iterative and pretty much repeatable: you have an initial prioritized backlog (requirements), do development, review the product with your stakeholders, then go back to your backlog and start over again. If the product is not quite right the product owner will create new user stories (requirements/changes) that get prioritized against the remaining backlog for the next iteration. Agile is both a methodology and a mindset, but the overall process is still repeatable and can be followed: working with stakeholders of the business, with the product owners, and ensuring that the backlog is always full to ensure your development team always has things to work on.

NL: Do you happen to remember the time when you first encountered this methodology? What did it take to adjust to this new mindset?

NA project teamAD: I do remember. I was asked to take on the lead role of moving our organization from a Waterfall to an Agile development methodology. Our AutoPay organization was a 300+ man organization distributed across India and the US. The average age of the US folks was probably 52, with the average tenure in the organization about 25 years. We had a very good, well-oiled Waterfall methodology at that time, a lot of tools and processes and our work products were delivered with quality. When we were asked to go to Agile, it took us a while to get there. The journey was 18 months. We did our first pilot in six months, but then we kept tweaking it again and again, to make sure that we had the right things in place, the right team chemistry in place, everything is streamlined, and mindsets are changed. It wasn’t until 18 months that we finally got to where we needed to be.

Giving Back to the Community

NL: I also see that you’re involved extensively in volunteer activities. What motivates you?

Football coachAD: I love giving back to the community. I coached my children, my daughter’s softball team and basketball team, my two boys’ football, basketball and baseball teams. It’s important to give back to the community. I grew up in a small town in Belleville, New Jersey. We were outside all day playing, doing pickup games. You don’t have that today. Sports is more organized, which can push kids a little too hard. I love sharing with them the spirit of our old pickup games; it’s so much fun.

At ADP I would pull teams together for Habitat for Humanity where we worked on building houses in Paterson, to give back to the communities. Every year on Thanksgiving we would do a food bank; I used my office as a collection site where people would drop off turkeys and non-perishable foods and we would then deliver it to the Montclair Salvation Army. We would also go down to Newark and paint on the walls in schools and on the sidewalks.

There is no better feeling when you do something good for someone, and it just makes you feel good.

To Be Continued…

NL: Thank you, Anthony, for sharing with me and our readers your background and your values. Next time we will talk about your advice on how to set and achieve goals.

AD: Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today, Natalie.

[1] US Department of Defense Software Engineering Institute located at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA

About the author: Natalie Lihacova is a COO of PSGCNJ; she is also a co-founder and CEO of Teammate.Exec and Mr. Simon. Natalie has over two decades of experience leading people and running businesses; before switching her career to Information Technology and Business Management, she used to be a musician – a singer and a choir director. She is passionate about helping people discover their true potential as professionals.

Posted in PSGCNJ Member Spotlight

The Value Older Workers bring to the Market Place

This week AARP Bulletin’s cover article is “Ageism in the Workplace, it’s time to end the last acceptable bias.”1 They report statistics from a 2018 EEOC report on age discrimination that include high percentages indeed. Dislocated older workers now number in the hundreds of thousands if not a million or more. This many affected workers could unite and start a movement that might swing the pendulum the other way.

Another way to look at this can be seen in a recently published Harvard Business Review article, “The Case for Hiring Older Workers.”2 This report speaks to the increased diversity, wisdom and stability older workers can bring to teams. It states knowledge and expertise increase after age 30. The story also offers solutions that companies can use to enable older workers. Fortunately, there are companies that are already doing this; SafeStreets USA, H&M and Wegmans to name a few.

To be fair there are realities companies need to deal with. For one, healthcare costs for older workers are much higher than younger workers. Not even Obamacare is cost effective at age 60. Another very important point is the digital age is redefining work and the workplace daily. New jobs that never existed before are embraced by younger more tech savvy workers because they are born into this age. It is tough to compete with that when decades of experience do not correlate with something brand new. Still a diverse mix should include older workers for a truly balanced team.

For me the job search is longer than I would like it to be, but I remain optimistic. Perhaps the gig economy is the right place to be. I’m taking online training to update my skills and have contacts to sell my expertise to. In the not too distant future maybe Baby Boomers and Gen X will see a rebalance in the system. To be sure there is much more discussion and action to come on this issue.

  1. From AARP Bulletin, January/February 2020
  2. From Harvard Business Review online, Generational Issues | The Case For Hiring Older Workers
Posted in Uncategorized

Happy Holidays and Happy Networking!

If you’re in job hunting mode around the holidays you’ll hear that the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is dead time – no hiring is happening, no one is around. Hearing that, you may think “I may as well take the holidays off and get ready to restart my search January 1”. Understandable, but if you take this approach, you may miss out on some of the best networking opportunities you’ll get all year long!

Because the holidays tend to be a slower time at many companies it can give folks the chance to catch up with their emails and phone calls. Which gives you the chance to reach out to those you haven’t connected with in a while. If you catch people when they are less frenzied at work and perhaps in a festive, charitable frame of mind you may have some great conversations—and get some great information or great leads. So, ask for that lunch or coffee date!

A recent article from dice.com offers some great specific tips as to how to set your holiday networking goals for maximum effect. Here are a few:

Make a List of People You’d Like to Meet

Any endeavor is more successful when you take a strategic approach—and that applies to networking, too. Start by making a list of the 10 people you’d like to meet in person over the holidays. Then, increase your chances of connecting by figuring out where they like to hang out.

Take full advantage of seasonal events by calling to introduce yourself to the people on your networking list. See if they will be attending some of the same parties and events, and let them know that you will see them there.

Here’s another tip: When you are trying to build your network, never turn down an invite to a holiday party. No invite? No problem. See if you can tag along with a friend or someone from your network.

Turn Acquaintances into Connections

Use the holiday season to turn the influential people you met this year into stronger connections and allies in the job-hunting process. How? Send each one a holiday card with a personal note that not only expresses good wishes but one or two of your key achievements, and how you hope to expand on those in the coming year.

You’ll not only stand out; it’s the perfect opportunity to ask if they want to grab lunch or coffee and catch up. Even if they want to hold off on getting together, try to schedule a time to meet after the first of the year, and you will be further along in the networking cycle.

Expand Your Circle of Influence

Most people think of networking only in traditional venues and business-oriented gatherings, but that’s not using the power of networking to its fullest, stated Dr. Ivan Miner, founder of BNI.

Leverage the holidays to meet people outside your industry or specialty by attending events that you don’t normally attend. Frankly, non-traditional networking settings offer the most bang for your buck, he added.  

For instance, many businesses host appreciation events for clients, vendors and even prospective hires. Charity events, alumni parties and fundraisers are other great places to rub elbows with key influencers around the holiday season.

Prepare a Teaser Topic

If you happen to connect with someone near the end of the year, have an idea ready that describes how you can improve the industry or increase profits and performance. Use that idea as a springboard to set-up a face-to-face meeting.

For more tips and insights check out the entire article:https://insights.dice.com/2019/11/25/networking-strategies-holidays-technology/

Happy Holidays, Happy Networking and Good Luck!

Posted in Uncategorized

Getting Ready for the New Year

The winter holiday season is a perfect time to get ready for job opportunities in the new year. Fortunately for New Jersey’s workers in transition, job creation is also a focus of many local groups. As Chief Business Relationship Officer at the NJ Business and Industry Association, Wayne Staub knows a great deal about the opportunities and challenges involved in promoting sustainable economic growth in the Garden State. For example, although NJ already has a clean energy law and expects to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050, Wayne realizes that “energy costs for NJ businesses are some of the highest in the country.” To uncover other industry trends, pain points, and opportunities, or prepare for interviews at specific companies, the association’s news outlet, New Jersey Business Magazine, can be accessed online at https://njbmagazine.com.

For mature workers, his office has run seminars on multigenerational staffing for businesses, and he conscientiously promotes the PSG websites. Browse career openings on the association’s home page, https://www.njbia.org.

Interview by Debby Freeman

Posted in Uncategorized

Life’s Virtues for Job Seekers

What if transition had a positive side? What if it enabled you to learn positive life skills? The following is a reflection by one of our members, the kind and calm Mary Anne Usher.

As a job seeker I’ve been asked by many individuals, “What is your secret in keeping your sanity during your job search?” When being asked this question, the “Four P’s of Life” come to my mind: Practice, Patience, Perseverance and Positivity.

When I was an undergraduate college student, a statistics professor taught this valuable lesson. Early one morning a new mathematical concept was being introduced in class. Both the students and professor were frustrated as not one student was comprehending the new concept. In the middle of the lesson, the professor stopped and noted a few things we all need to do with our studies and when we encounter some difficult life challenges. He said, “Think of the Four P’s and you will never go wrong.”

1) Practice. When children learn to tie their shoelaces, at first, they become frustrated as they are not able to see immediate results. However due to children’s natural curiosity and determination, they will practice, eventually becoming agile with the routine. As job seekers, we need to practice our elevator pitches and perfect our interview skills. This will pay off in the long run. Your confidence level will improve and hiring managers will give feedback. Remember practice makes perfect!

2) Patience. Patience is also part of the equation; it is a virtue every person on Earth needs to possess. As a job seeker you had a great interview and sent the well-crafted thank you note to those who interviewed you. Then there is the long pause, waiting for the result. That long pause feels like an eternity. You start to wonder what you could have done or said differently.

Fate was my best friend several years ago, as I was at my “ropes’ end” one day with no prospects for interviews. Just like the play, Six Degrees of Separation, I had a networking associate, Phil, call me one day. Phil had another networking associate, Bill, contact him about a role he needed to fill with his company, Racal. I was at the right spot at the right time and landed the job at Racal. Patience played a big part with my success in landing the position.

3) Perseverance. This is the toughest virtue. I have heard many job seekers say that they can land a job in three weeks. As we all are aware, life happens—when we are making other plans. Family issues or health issues may supersede your search.

Learn to take the criticisms in stride and roll with the punches. The “Great Recession” of 2008 taught all job seekers how to persevere and be humble. During that period, I learned to knit. The benefit was tremendous. I learned a new craft, joined a knitting circle and thus expanded my network. My confidence in my abilities soared.

4) Positivity. This is so true. I had many interviews where there was no feedback. Lately I have taken things in stride and learned to say, “Next!” I look at each rejection as one step closer to where I want to be.

Living in the enigma of life is an art. Life—and the job search—does not need to be a veil of constant tears and struggles. We can rise above our tribulations by following the “Four P’s,” live a life of happiness, and find the job we want.

Mary Anne Usher

linkedin.com/in/mau128

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged ,