Tag Archives: finding a job

Why the best people have the hardest time finding jobs when laid off

The best people have the hardest time finding jobs when they are laid off. It is a fact. It is not for the reason you are thinking.

This is my experience.

I was the only person out of 300 that knew for sure that layoffs were coming.  I had a mole in the headquarters in Dallas.  I asked my boss, Mike, when the layoffs were going to start.  He said, “There won’t be any layoffs.” Nevertheless, he checked with Dallas and was told there would not be any layoffs.

He was wrong, and I knew it.  My source sat 50 feet from the division president who was laying plans.

So I told Mike, “If there are layoffs, I want to be in the first group you let go.”

Mike assured me that it wouldn’t be necessary.  There would be no layoffs.

I started looking for a job and started a small recruiting company.  A week before the layoffs were announced I gave my 2 weeks notice.  My company, AGI, had its first contract.  Mike acknowledged that my timing was perfect.  The only thing that could have gone better was waiting a week so I got severance pay.  The new job security was a lot better than any severance pay.

Everyone who was laid off in the first group got a job immediately.  Everyone.

There were more layoffs.  The people laid off 6  months later didn’t find as many open jobs as the first group.  Those laid off a few months after that were unemployed for a lot longer.

The funny thing is that the best employees were laid off last.  But they couldn’t find jobs.  Why?

By the time they were laid off, there was a serious business malaise.  All the local companies had staffed their urgent projects.  Now everyone was afraid to hire more people.  So the best people had the hardest time finding jobs.

Isn’t it strange that the best workers, the most loyal staff, the absolutely essential people all had a hard time finding jobs? The reason is that they were let go at the absolute worst possible time.  Every job was filled months before. They were hurt the most by their own loyalty.

Are you concerned about layoffs?  Even if you are planning to stay, start setting yourself up for a job. Start setting yourself up for a promotion. Work harder than ever.  Take over new tasks.  Figure out how to make the company more money. Write a resume and hand it to your boss.  Ask for a promotion or an award for doing so well.  Don’t worry about a raise. Worry about getting recognized for exceptional performance where you are.  Then figure out if you really should look for a new job.

Give up and go elsewhere when things are bad

I found a great job for someone and was told”

“If I leave, deliveries will stop, sales will stop, and a lot of people will be out of work. I’m going to have to turn down this job.  I owe it to my boss and coworkers to see them through these hard times.”

Is this you? What’s next?  Layoffs 3 weeks later.  Suddenly it really is self sacrifice because you are laid off.  And you may lose the house too.

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. (Greek proverb)

I am not saying to abandon ship when you are needed.  I am saying that you must be aware of what really is happening.  You finding a new job may free up enough money to save another person’s job.  The shock of your resignation may be what finally gets through to the big boys that things are going badly.  Sometimes a company is going bankrupt no matter how heroic everyone is. Reality is not always what you think it is.

When business is bad it taints your whole outlook.  You see problems everywhere.  In your distorted world, no business can be thriving.  You are wrong.  Some are growing.  Don’t be afraid to join them. I guarantee that you are replaceable. If not, the problems are so severe you should leave anyway.

There is an alternative. A while ago I was talking to an accountant at a company that was in bankruptcy.  He said, “I am earning more money than ever before.”  They REALLY couldn’t afford to lose him, so they gave him bonuses and guarantees. If you are the hero, make sure you are compensated and protected.

When business looks bad, it may be time to leave.  Don’t let the lens of self sacrifice or fear fool you.  Many times what is best for you, leaving, is also best for the company. If you really are indispensable, get paid and protected for it.  If they might fire you for asking to get paid for your risk, you are not indispensable.

Something to do today

Is business bad?  Find someone you trust who has business experience.  Talk with them about whether you should stay where you are or find a new job.  You may just need an outsider’s perspective.

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Coming up

How to ruin a phone interview

Start a new job excellently

New and better or cheaper

How everyone else sees you

The difference between fertilizer and ****

When is your resume thrown away?

We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.  (Gardner)

Hiroshima, WWII:  “I sure wish I could find rice for my family. Hey, what is that lone airplane doing above the city? Oh well, I’ve got more important things to worry about.”

Sometimes timing is everything and you are worrying about the wrong problems.  For your resume there is a timing pattern you must understand.  You have to break through the following pattern to get hired:

  1. Your resume arrives along with 100 others.  The secretary trashes 80 after a 10 second review apiece.
  2. The secretary trashes 10 more after giving them 45 seconds apiece.
  3. Her boss gets the 10 remaining resumes and trashes 2 after a 10 second review.
  4. The boss throws away 3 more viable resumes.  He just doesn=t have the time to deal with more than 5.  For the 3 trashed, something is not quite right.
  5. He calls the 5 remaining candidates, starting with the best one.

Can you see why knowing when your resume is thrown out is critical?

Every time you send out a resume and fail to get an interview you should ask, “Who threw away my resume?”

Ask the question of yourself.  Also ask your recruiter and the HR person at the company.  Beg, if you have to.  You need to find out when and why your resume is not being considered.  Also be sensitive to the recruiter and HR.  They may lie to you.  They don’t want to argue.  They want to be powerful and all-knowing.  Play on that and ask for advice as you try to find out when your resume was trashed.

Next time we’ll talk about how to get past the screenings and into an interview.  For now, try to figure out when your resume is being thrown away.

Something To Do Today

Make some calls.  Find out where your resume is being trashed.

Ask some friends, they may be able to give you some ideas too.

Am I showing up?

If they can’t see you, you aren’t there.  If they can’t take their eyes off you, there’s no competition.

 What is the difference between these scenarios? 

  1. You send out 100 resumes in an hour and get no response. 
  2. You spend two days deciding who to send resumes to, send out 3 resumes, and get no response. 
  3. You go fishing.

From a job search perspective, there isn’t much difference.  If you are getting absolutely no response from your job search efforts, change something.  Experiment.  What can it really hurt if you completely change what you are doing 10% of the time?  Can the response get any worse? 

Get creative.  Here are some things others have tried:

Make a trial resume each week.  Do severe changes or just rearrange the bullets.  Send your normal resume out to most jobs.  Send your trial resume to 5 or 10 companies.  Do you get a response? 

Call up 10 friends and ask them to critique your resume.  Send them a copy and find out what they think.  You don’t have to make the changes they suggest.  In addition to getting some good and bad help, you’ll be networking.  They’ll know exactly what you can do and be looking for an opportunity to help you.

Call half the companies you want to send a resume to, before you send it.  Ask for the person who would be your supervisor.  If you get HR (Human Resources) that’s okay.  Whoever you get, ask them what skills they are having the hardest time finding.  If you have the skills, make them the first line in your resume, in bold print.

Once a week walk down the street in a business park and ask for the owner of each business.  Whether you talk to the owner or the receptionist, tell them you are looking for a job.  Take a resume and a sincere desire to help.  It can’t hurt.  Ask everyone you meet who they know that can use you.

Add a recommendation letter to your resume.  Get your last boss or a coworker to write a letter telling how hard you work and how much you help.  Make it the first page of your resume.  It’s bragging when you say it, it’s proof when someone else says it.

Think. Earl Nightingale suggests spending an hour each day with a pencil and a pad of paper just thinking and listing ideas of how to reach your goal. Exercise your brain. You’ll throw most of the ideas away, but you’ll also come up with some gems.  Think.  What can you change that will make you stand out?  What can you do that will draw positive attention to yourself?  Is there any REAL risk?  Probably not.  So try it a few times.  See what the response is. 

Learn.  Do better each week.

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Something To Do Today

Decide what you will do different.  What will you change?  Try your experiment out 5 or 10 times and see what happens.

Job advice I just gave my 2 kids

Here’s the advice I gave my kids.  The same email.  I must admit, I am a religious guy, so I also included that   Your choice.

Here are the most important instructions for finding a job.

Fast and Pray.

Get a Priesthood Blessing.

Put your name on the prayer rolls of the temple.

Think.  Get a few sheets of paper or your journal and a pen.  Sit down for 1 hour each day and do the following in a quiet spot and time.

            Write your goal at the top of the sheet of paper

            The goal may be “Find a job” or “Make $200/week in Provo” or whatever.

            Say a prayer

            Spend the hour writing down ideas of how you can reach that goal.  Make lists.  Get sidetracked on good ideas.  Concentrate.

            If you write down 30 ideas a day and only find one good one after a week, that’s more than enough, isn’t it?