Say what now? Yes it can happen just like that. You walk into the office happy as a Junebug in July and the next thing you know, right before it's time to leave for what you thought would be a fun and relaxing weekend instead turns out to be a don't call me and we ain't never gonna call you situation.
Yeah that's how they do you boo boo. You would think the real awkwardness begins when you're handed a banker box and you're only too aware that your five pairs of shoes, six grandma sweaters and that extra pair of leggings you bought to protect yourself from being overexposed once you realized a whole bus and train ride later that you'd actually been rockin' tights, is not all going to fit into that one box so you sheepishly ask for another. The reaction you receive is a combination of shock and horror in equal parts.
After witnessing your struggle for ten whole minutes, I mean these boxes don't put themselves together am I right? Your co-worker, trusted confidant and occasional tequila lunch buddy has suddenly been promoted or demoted depending on your sensibilities, to office max enforcer. Taking his new role exceptionally seriously, he issues a quiet yet stern warning that he'd like to make the 6:30 evening train. Within minutes he's forced to concede at the rate you're going it's unlikely he'll make it to the table at 7:30 just as his Stepford wife places pot roast on the table as she does every Friday since their blessed union. You manage to mumble with an economy of acid I must say, to kindly pardon your inability to puzzle out the directions or pictures (is there no video?) while your life is in tatters and your financial growth (generous description of your pesos I will admit) has been abruptly halted.
Finally you decide you're not equipped to deal with the pressure and toss half of your precious items into the trash and cram the remainder into the box held together by a wing and a prayer. It is precisely at this point you realize you've thrown away all of the items you actually prefer and and are shipping the trash back home. Bloody hell. When life gives you lemons throw them at someone. Wait, what? I digress. You use the packing tape as liberally as possible determined that your treasured trash will find its way home and every pull of the packing tape akin to the rip of a formula 1 tearing down the autobahn. Dasvidaniya pookie. The watchman throws up his hands and stalks back to his desk muttering something about his grumbling belly. You roll your eyes and fashion your lips into a yeah right smirk. Honestly, as if he could hear anything over the tape! You drop the tape after another minute, put your neck on a swivel and covertly stick your USB into the port. Damned if you're gonna loose all your favorites after years of careful research and compilation. Simultaneously you delete all personal files, pictures and your Christmas guest list. There's only one USB port forcing you to make an executive decision.
After a final trip to the bathroom a few co-workers hurry nervously past you mumbling quick goodbyes and good luck as if you're contagious and lingering too long will also infect them with pink slip pestilence. You smile like a brave liver transplant candidate being prepped for surgery and nod as if you're sure everything's going to be just fine. Dontcha worry. You make your way down the elevator and through the lobby, juggling your parceled finery like Amelia Bedelia and drawing sympathetic eyes at every turn. Simply because you're walking around with a banker box and laden like a victim of night-time eviction does not necessarily lend to the appearance of the newly unemployed. That one time in March of 87' you did manage to mix up the address on your Amazon order subsequently fetching your items from office to home. I mean it happens.
Finally you drop off the box at Fedex and manage to catch the last express bus home. You smile and nod at a few people you know on board prior to selecting a seat in the back. On the way home you calculate bills to be paid, what's left in your bank account and the two checks that you still have coming. You approximate two months of breathing room before things start to get uncomfortable. You're a New York Hustler and vow that's never gonna happen. You plan to adapt a Kramer verses Kramer attitude and pound the pavement as soon as you can gather your wits. Shortly thereafter your eyes probe the happy crowd through the window searching for anyone wearing the look that you're feeling as your mind arranges appropriate words and sentences to recount the series of unfortunate events when you arrive home. Now that the work is done and you have a loose plan in mind you replay the scene in your head and instantly it's lost all trace of humor. Malaise seeps in and disperses like liquid weight throughout your body. You've a solid 40 minutes of travel ahead. Despondent and weary you wilt further into your seat and close your eyes.
Now you might think that it's all downhill from this point forward but I'm here to reassure you that it is not. Now is the time to engage all of your faculties and prove your mettle. Come on toots, you're a New Yorker! This isn't a tragedy, it's a Friday and we are going to get through this together. Allow me to share my personal step by step process that will allow you to get through and overcome this frightening period of self doubt, rejection and genuine terror of being broke and homeless.
Step 1: Drop to your knees and say a prayer. I get down with the savior of my soul Jesus. Whoever you pray to and however you pray is inconsequential. The important thing is that you pray. Bear your soul like Liz Taylor's tell all book and color it with emotion so vivid Tammy Faye's eyelids would be jealous.
Speak about all of your fears and genuine thoughts no matter how absurd they may seem. Example: Hi Jesus, obviously you know what happened. I got fired and I gotta tell you I'm scared, scared that I'm not going to be able to get another job now that I'm older, worried that I may not have the necessary skill set, nervous that I won't be able to command the salary that I've grown accustomed to. And I'm terrified all of this will culminate finally into being broke and homeless. I'm begging you to please help me, guide me and give me the ability to trust that as long as I do the work you will handle the rest. In Jesus's name I pray. Amen.
Now dust yourself off, eat your Wheaties and drink your ginseng cause it's time to get to work.
Step 2: Get your calendar out because we're going to plan your days. I did my planning on Sunday. I spent Saturday still in a bit of a daze, trying to come to terms with the situation and basically taking it easy. Sunday I didn't overburden myself with anything except planning my process. There are five days in a work week and guess what? The same five days exist on the unemployment line. Now the devil on your shoulder right about now is working overtime trying to convince you to take it easy. He's assuring you there's plenty of time before you have to start panicking. The thought of catching up on Judge Judy, Ellen, The Real Housewives of - well damn everywhere but Queens, warm in your jammies popping some bonbons is starting to seduce you. But let me ask you this: when has the devil ever done something good for you? Honey he is not your father.
Do not be seduced into couch potato land viewing those Hollywood Housewives lunching on Rodeo Drive discussing why they should not be discussing whatever happened between this one that one and the other one. They are actually getting paid to do just that. Fine gig if you can get it but if that's not an option honey boo boo then we'll move on to planning and utilizing the 9-5 hours because let me tell you baby doll trying to land a gig IS a full time gig.
Let me preface all of this by stating IF your finances are already precarious then what you need to do is far more pressing and simple. Dust off your resume, revamp it, snap a professional photo for your LinkedIn, which you will also update and turn on the LinkedIn button that tells recruiters you are actively seeking a job. Wait two days for responses. If nothing happens reach out to every recruiter on your LinkedIn as well as Google recruiters that specialize in your profession. I'm an executive administrative assistant so of course I searched recruitment firms that specialize in that field. Make as many appointments with recruiters as you can. Scroll below to check out recruiter etiquette, facts you should know and how you should prep prior to interview. You can almost start work immediately by temping or looking for temp to perm positions. Reading the rest of this article will still help you acquire a position so please keep reading.
These are your primary goals for the entire work week, every week with the exception of C. Task C will be completed as time allows. I was able to complete task C in two weeks. Tasks, Time and circumstances vary individually. Bear in mind my process is time sensitive. The goal is to obtain employment as quickly as possible and not drain your finances dry.
a) Keep my mind engaged, occupied and from straying over to the dark side of panic and insecurity
b) Utilizing exercise to condition mind and body from becoming sloppy and sluggish and enjoying the endorphins produced by activity to increase security and happiness
c) Cleaning and clearing out the clutter in my home therefore in my mind
d) Set some consistent time aside for sharpening skills and building upon them by learning others
These are your secondary goals for the first and second work week. You can complete each applicable task in any order that you see fit attempting to complete everything within 14 days.
a) Pay all necessary bills and rent for one month, hoard the rest of your capital
b) Get your hair did - if your hair color is fifty shades of frigged up and you've been tending to the ends for the past three years like its a DIY project then it's time to visit the salon. You don't have to get all fancy, save it for when you've landed the gig and determined the office culture can handle a little swank. For now get it cut and colored into a professional style that makes you look and feel your best bearing in mind your budget. Ask around, do some research on the internet as many beauty schools and barber shops offer very discounted rates for this service.
c) Dust off your funeral/interview suit. If it doesn't make you look professional and attractive, shelve it. You can't skimp on this step. If you have a great suit that fits then utilize it otherwise invest some $ in this department. In today's market women can wear a skirt, dress or pants suit. Your selection criteria are two in number - 1. Classic color, cut and design - stick to black, navy or grey
2. You look amazing - the fit has got to be just right not tight not too slack and flatters your body type best. If you look better in pants purchase the pants suit, etc., etc. You get the drift.
If you need a suit and you can't beg, borrow or steal one then put it on your Macy's card or whatever card you have. Sometimes you have to invest if you want a return. Trust me, this is a necessity.
d) Pair your suit with a classic white shirt or white blouse. I bought two. Don't sweat it because you can pay the minimum on your card until you get a job. This will be soon. Have Faith and do the Work.
e) Classic pair of black pumps, short heel. Again this is an investment. If you don't have a pair buy one.
f) Purchase a few pairs of nude or off black stockings if you chose a skirt or dress suit.
g) Once you get your hair done throw on a collared shirt, put on your best light makeup look and have someone take a mid-waist up picture against a white sheet backdrop to use for your LinkedIn profile picture. If you already have a great professional looking profile picture skip this step.
h) Revamp your Resume and update your LinkedIn. Make sure that you select the On switch on your profile to let recruiters know that you are looking for a position. If a recruiter has ever messaged you in the past send them a message now letting them know that you are currently on the market looking for a new role.
i) Make sure you have Three Professional References then call them up and let them know that you are looking for a new position and they may receive a phone call for a reference check. Make it easy for each reference to answer questions such as your role, their relationship to you, dates you held the position. Email or text them all of the relevant information so that they can easily refer to it during a phone call. This is important and can make or break a job. Don't be lazy. Give your references the correct information so they can have your back without having to dig around for your information, though they should always verify it for the record.
j) The last thing on your list will be to Research Recruiters for the position you are looking to fill. For example if you're an administrative assistant use LinkedIn or Google to search for administrative assistant recruiters. Make a list of about 20 recruiters that give you a good vibe and have good reviews. Contact the first ten via telephone, email or LinkedIn with a short, professional introduction and inquiry. For Example: Hello, my name is Amanda Sohan and I'm currently on the market for an administrative assistant role. Here is my LinkedIn profile (insert the link here) and if you'd like to share your email I would love to send you my resume. I look forward to hearing from you. Amanda
k) At this point you should be utilizing steps A, B and D every day throughout the process, meaning that everything above was completed in two weeks or 14 days.
l) Within a few days if not immediately you will receive messages from recruiters. They will initially send your their email and ask that you forward your resume. If they like what they read they will most probably call or message you in order to schedule an interview. NOTE: If a Recruiter or Company calls you and you're half asleep, in transit or in the middle of anything that will prevent you from sounding Alert and Pleasant DO NOT take the call. Decline the call and allow your voicemail to record the message. You can call them back at your earliest convenience. If you can't call them back within 30 minutes send them an email after 5-10 minutes explaining that you're on an appointment and will call them back as soon as you are able. Does it matter that you were asleep, in the shower, at the bakery or grocery shopping at the time of the call? No. What matters is that you leave any caller that will help you become gainfully employed with the impression that you're always awake, alert and busy being productive. Nine times out of ten you will receive an email detailing the reason for their call.
IF AFTER THREE DAYS YOU RECEIVE NO RESPONSE FROM ANY RECRUITER, SCRUTINIZE AND RE-WORK YOUR RESUME, CHECK TO MAKE SURE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION WAS LISTED CORRECTLY.
Here are some questions you should prepare to answer before speaking with a recruiter:
1. Your salary requirements. Give a range from least to highest - for example "I would be happy with the 75-85K range.
2. Explain a typical day for you in your last role. - Be ready to talk about your typical day in your last role as if you were having a conversation rather than an interview. If you're not comfortable speaking to people than practice. Write your answers down then read and memorize. Once you've committed your answers to memory try inflecting warmth in your tone. Having the ability to be well spoken and warm wins more roles than skill set.
3. Why did you leave your current position? Be ready to answer that question for every position on your resume. It's very important. If you left any position on bad terms omit that position from your resume entirely.
4. What kind of role are you looking for currently? Answer as truthfully as possible. If there's a position on your resume that was a great work experience then refer to it as your answer. For example: "I really loved my role as Office Manager working at NGN Capital. Working alongside the partners and admin assistants, contributing to completion of projects as well as taking care of the office helped me to learn the inner workings of the company. I'd like to be able to have that again if possible. However I'm flexible and interested in any admin assistant position that would be a good fit for my skills." You want to give the recruiters an accurate perception of your ideal role yet not limit their search for other good opportunities that are in your wheelhouse.
Notes concerning recruiters processes:
Almost Always a recruiter will try to schedule an interview with you whether they have positions available or not. Sometimes this can feel like a waste of your time leaving you feeling disheartened by the process. Shake it off. This is a Numbers Game. The more recruiters you have working on getting you a job the better chance you will have of landing a great position in a timely fashion. Interviews with recruiters typically range from ten to thirty minutes. Some agencies ask you to register online so that if you accept a temp or temp to perm assignment they already have all of your information including payroll. If a recruiter asks you to register on their site, do it. It's one less task to complete when you arrive at the recruiter's office. Now that your recruiter has all of your pertinent information stored in their database they can submit you for roles instantly, maximizing your chances of success.
Preparation for an interview with a recruiter is the same as if you were interviewing for a company. This means you want to impress them with your professional look, your well mannered speech and your thoughtful preparation. Always keep at least 10 copies of your resume in your bag. Always carry your ID (usually driver's license.) Make sure your hair is neat and professional in appearance, your nails are short and polished with a faint color, your makeup is light and flattering. If you wear jewelry, small diamond or tiny pearl ear studs are essential, wedding rings are acceptable provided they're not large and in charge as though you are Liberace.
It's also Advisable to ornament your right hand with a delicate ring and if you have an elegant timepiece, wear it. They notice everything. Make sure they look at you twice, one for notation the other for admiration. Having great style in a professional suit compliments your skill set. You want to be regarded as a Perfect Package.
It's grueling but try and schedule 3 Recruiter Interviews on the same day. Your goal is to try ten, and only if necessary move on to ten more. The last thing you want to do is use a Metrocard everyday for one interview per day. You need to conserve your Money and Sanity.
It will get redundant and tiring repeating the same thing over and over again. Ignore the rising irritation and be like Nike - JUST DO IT. It will pay off in spades sooner rather than later.
Maintain a great Attitude that people can see in person and hear over the phone. That's the kind of person people want to work with.
If you're sent a job spec that you don't like gently respond to the recruiter with something like "While this seems like an interesting opportunity I don't think it's a good fit for me because I only want to be considered for admin assistant roles not personal assistant roles. Thank you for thinking of me and I hope to hear more about admin roles as they come in. Amanda"
If you don't have a reason that you can share with the recruiter but still want to turn down the role this could be a bit tricky. Some roles may be too much work for too little money even though the role is paying in the range of your salary requirements. I make it a general rule not to turn down roles unless I absolutely have a good reason that I can share without the reason creating a negative image to the recruiter. If that's not the case than you're better off agreeing to the interview. Interviewing with a company is never a waste of time. They help you practice your interview answers and we all know if you practice something you just get better at it. Sometimes the company really likes you and submits you for a role they feel you are better suited for that they haven't yet advertised. That's not uncommon and has happened to me a few times. Agreeing to an interview even if you don't want the position also solidifies a good relationship between You and Your Recruiter. Make sure that you enter Every interview with an Attitude to win the role whether you really want the position or not. Remember if you are offered the role you can always turn it down for any number of reasons and your recruiter will recognize that you're an Ace who impresses companies and wins roles. They in turn will send you to their best opportunities.
m) Utilizing your Calendar for appointments, company research and directions. Everyone has their own method for recording, organizing, and maintaining appointments. My personal recommendation is to utilize the calendar on your smartphone. I have an iPhone 8 and my information will denote from that particular device but I'm quite sure the process is similar across the board.
IF you are unfamiliar with utilizing the Calendar App on your phone then read below otherwise you can quickly skim or skip altogether.
Let's say you have an interview scheduled for Monday, April 30th, 2018 at 2:30pm. In your calendar find the date then use the + sign on the top right to add the Title and Location. An Example for TITLE: "Interview with GreenKey Capital @ 10am." Directly below TITLE is LOCATION. Type the company name, "GreenKey Capital" and look below to see if your phone will automatically pull up the address. If you see the address simply click on it and your phone will automatically place it in your LOCATION bar. Make sure you set the start and end time for the appointment located in fields below LOCATION. In our Example the interview begins at 10am and will most likely end at 11am. Scroll further down to NOTES and use this portion of the invite to place pertinent information such as the name of the person you are going to interview with, your recruiter's name and telephone number in case some unforeseen event takes place and you're running late. That should NEVER happen but in the event that it does contact your recruiter right away to let them know you're running late. They will in turn contact the client and relay the information. To complete this calendar appointment click on ADD, in the upper right hand corner.
NOTE: To be late to any interview is almost a guarantee that you will NOT get the job. That being said there are situations where perhaps the entire subway system shuts down, etc. Events like that will be plastered all over the news and you will be in the Clear if you left early and are still delayed beyond a reasonable limit.
I don't use the TRAVEL TIME part of the calendar because it utilizes the "MAPS" App standard to the iPhone and I prefer to use Google Maps to calculate travel as I find it much more accurate. This is a personal preference. If you find the TRAVEL TIME works accurately for you, then by all means utilize it.
The Second Step after the appointment is correctly placed into your Calendar and you haven't utilized TRAVEL TIME, is to open your GOOGLE MAPS App. On the top bar, place the address for Greenkey Capital. For our Example this will be: 682 6th Avenue, NYC. On the bottom of the screen tap on DIRECTIONS.
Your location should be on the top, directly below should be Greenkey's address. Below the address you will see travel time in minutes and pictures symbolizing mode of transportation such as car, walking, public transportation. Pick the mode of transportation that you will utilize for travel to your appointment.
Below that you will see "DEPART" and across "OPTIONS" Below this you will see several options for travel. First click on DEPART. You can choose from four options: NOW DEPART ARRIVE LAST. I choose ARRIVE.
Choose the date of your appointment as well as the time you need to arrive. (MON Apr 30 9:45am)
I usually change the arrive time to about 15 minutes earlier than the appointment in case I run into any subway issues.
Click DONE. Below you will see travel options. Tap the option you like best.
Scroll down and tap "ADD TO CALENDAR" then tap "ADD TO THE CALENDAR APP"
Once you do, you will note that it now reads "ADDED TO THE CALENDAR APP" as you can see in the picture below.
Tap the HOME button as your Travel has been added to your calendar.
Go to the Date April 30 and this is what you should see:
I am huge on preparation which can also be translated as idiot proofing,
either way it saves you time and focuses your energy on the necessary rather than the unnecessary. I also place a "Time To Leave Home" appointment on my calendar.
I realize at this point you believe you're done. Actually that was the easy part. You still have to do Research about the company that you're having the interview with. This appears to be a daunting task but it isn't that bad. All you have to do is Google the company, check out their website and make some notes. The best location for those notes is on your phone. I usually place them right in the "NOTES" section of my interview appointment.
Taking notes on the company requires that you learn a little bit about the company, what it is they do, especially the division that you are interviewing for. You should also Google or use LinkedIn to get a little background on the person interviewing you. Take a look at the company's website. Get an idea of their company culture, what is it that they focus on? What seems most important to them? Record these facts into your notes and memorize this information. Do your research the day before and use that time to go over the facts as thoroughly as possible. You can also go over it again in the morning while you're in transit.
Here is an example of the type of information I record in my notes:
Now you're getting the hang of this! I use this 3 step process for each interview.
On the appointed date:
1. Company title, time of interview/Location. Under Notes place company research.
2. Use Google Maps to include travel information.
3. Place Time To Leave Home
All you have to do now is set your alarm and get moving!
I interviewed for about 3 weeks to a month for only direct hire, permanent positions. I lost my job on March 9th. I followed all of the steps above diligently. My first interview with recruiters was on March 22nd. My first company phone interview was April 2nd. My first in person company interview was on April 5th. I interviewed relentlessly for a month, cramming two to three interviews per day. I learned to travel quickly, smile on cue, shake hands like I was closing deals left and right. I utilized Barnes and Noble in midtown like it was my personal office. I'd have an interview at 11am and one at 5pm. I hung out at the cafe in Barnes and Noble in between that space of time, making phone calls, scheduling other interviews, checking emails and discovering new books to place on my Nook Wish List.
I was under the impression that since I was "home," there would be some downtime, a chimera to be certain. Trying to acquire a job was a full time job. A typical day consisted of one or two interviews, followup calls and emails with recruiters, running home to quickly cook something for my hubby and I, tidy up the apartment and then break for dinner. After about an hour for dinner (if I was lucky) I had to steam my suit, hand wash or steam my white blouse, polish my shoes and then sit down in front of the computer to do company research and plug into my phone all of my interviews for the following day. It was grueling to say the least. My last permanent job interview was on May 3rd and when I found out that I didn't get the role, I switched my strategy . That night I drafted emails to every single recruiter that I'd been working with and let them know that I was now on the market for temp to perm positions. I set my alarm for 9am and sent all of the draft emails out at that time.
On May 7th a recruiter called me to talk about a temp to perm position that sounded good to me. I was hoping for a little more money but she talked about the great benefits and the fact that the firm not only provided breakfast but lunch as well. I was intrigued, heaven knows I'm ruled by my stomach! She scheduled the interview for Tuesday, May 8th @2:30pm. I steamed my suit and blouse the night before and did some research on the company as well as the two women who were going to interview me. The interview ended after about 45 minutes and left me with a good feeling. I didn't want to get my hopes up as I had been down this road several times before. I called the recruiter less than ten minutes after the interview. She asked me a few questions centering on my thoughts about the company as well as the two women who interviewed me. Of course I let her know I thought they were awesome and that I liked what I heard. The next thing I knew, she told me that the company already called her, told her that they loved me and I start on Monday! I couldn't fully estimate the relief quickly followed up by the joy that washed over me. It was nothing short of miraculous.
Perhaps in the grand scheme of things two months for this entire process isn't really that lengthy. However when you're pounding the pavement trying to acquire a position while watching your bank account dwindle, its bound to feel like an eternity.
In Closing my experience has been to pray, do your utmost to maintain a positive mind and strong spirit connection while doing the work consistently, every day. Treat each interview as if it is THE interview. Yes it's hard. Yes it will take time. If it takes too much time for your liking you may have to switch up your strategy and look for a temp to perm position. If that isn't working fast enough, settle for a temp position while simultaneoulsy looking for a temp to perm or perm position. There is no guaranteed formula that will estimate the timeline between unemployed and employed however it has Always been my experience that praying while doing the hard work required will result in success eventually. Don't lose heart. We're in this together. If you have any questions or need a prayer, words of encouragement or additional information please contact me. I'm happy to pass that along or help in any way that I can.