Friday, January 30, 2009

So you think a recruiter can find you a job?

By Zebriod (c) 2008
(planning to find a new job)

If it has not happened to you yet, it happens more and more often, the work disappears and you need to find a new job. When this happens the first thing you need is a plan, a plan to land a new job. It is always easier to land a new job when you have a job, but you don’t have the time and that is not the situation I intend to cover here.

The plan needs to be more than finding a recruiter and sitting back. You need to be in control of your search, a recruiter can only help if they have the right client. In this market a recruiter will actually have no jobs either. You are more likely to land a job yourself.

Step 1. Ground work
Get you paperwork in order:
1a. Review your resume (See my article on writing your resume)
- Your resume is a "MARKETING DOCUMENT" not a history book!!

1b. Review all your accomplishments – write them up, no one is going to hire you because you need a job, they will only hire you if you bring something they need (See my article on accomplishments)
- You will only be hired if you solve "THEIR" problems and bring benefit!

1c. Make a personal marketing statement (see creating your elevator pitch)
- You will need to pick up the phone and call people yourself! DONT USE EMAIL! plan what you will say when you get someone on the phone, don't make it up on the phone. "One sentence to summarize your career, one major accomplishment, why you are looking" - all in 20 seconds.

1d. Get copies of transcripts – many companies require these if you have post grad education.

1e. Prepare your references – this is very important, networking can land you the job you need. Call everyone you know and ask them if they would be willing to provide you a professional reference if needed – don’t be proud.

Step 2. How to stay in control.
Make sure all recruiters have your permission directly from you prior to submitting your resume to any employer. Recruiters have a natural incentive to send your resume to as many companies as possible, just in case you get hired. Normally they can claim a fee if you go to work for any of these within a year of submitting your resume.

Create a spreadsheet of possible companies. Use the internet to research companies in your location or in your sector

Number Co Name Website Co Contact Call date Recruiter Date sent Notes--->

Only self submit through the website as a last resort. Try to place a call into the company, use you marketing pitch and attempt to get someone in the company to get you in. If you submit through the website will be joining hundreds of “chef s and chauffeurs” and as a result your resume will first be read by a machine, so make sure you have as many “key words” as possible.

Step 3. Network

USE THE PHONE!!! not email! email does not work - see 1c above, practice practice......

Most mid career job changes are a result of “networking” not recruiters, it is expensive for companies to find quality staff and as a result networking has a distinct advantage over using a recruiter. It maybe difficult to call previous colleagues and admit that you are searching for a new job, but it has to be done. Call them all, make sure you are prepared to market yourself even when you think they know you. Use an indirect approach “Do you know anyone that is hiring”, “Do you have anyone over at xyz company that I can call?”.

This is difficult, but do it. Finding the next job is a full time job.

Step 4. Be prepared

The first step is to get an interview, but an interview is not the end, just the end of the beginning. Be prepared to interview well.

Try to be nice and well mannered at all times.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vegan what is a Vegan....

Vegan, what is a Vegan....

Oh my, Vegan not me! what is a Vegan?

My daughter came home from university and declared herself a Vegan! "what on earth is a Vegan?" - the answer was simple - "no animal products - nothing" - so no meat no milk no cheese no eggs no fish no nothing!

Well that was thirteen months ago, how times change. In April I was pulled down by Transverse Myelitis! An inflammation attack on the spinal chord, which resulted in me becoming paralyised - a T4 - I lost everything below my fourth vertebra below the neck! and after six weeks in hospital my doctor translated the prognosis as "we will know how well you will do by how well you do" get that! basically "nothing' "we know nothing and we will tell you nothing"

Roll the clock forward nine months, oh how the scene has changed. I have now recovered somewhat, but what can I do to help me increase my chances to improve? to make a full recovery - w4e all know the answer - diet, exercise and a state of mind! I have a strong state of mind, I can go to therapy or the Y two, three, four times a week but what about diet?

Do we ever change our diet? I like my steak, a roast chicken, a meat lovers pizza.... love it all and most of all that full breakfast on a Sunday with eggs and bacon.

But to change your diet something has to change! out with the red meat!, isn't milk full of chemicals? so out with milk and cheese - ouch sounds like a Vegan.

Since Christmas we are very much "realistic vegans" - in with the soy milk, vegan margarine, whole wheat bread, bean chilies, green salads, NO Cheese. We have maintained some fish in our diet and will occasionally eat meat.

It is way too early to say anything positive has occurred in our health, but it feels good, we are sleeping well. But if I can change my diet any one can, and it seems to make sense - everything we knows says - less sugar, less 'fat', less chemicals, less processed stuff, less volume, more natural, more fruit and vegetables - the better... we all have to do it for ourselves. Just make the call ourselves. It is HARD! never in the history of man has so much food been available, and it is just there to be had! We have to change our thinking and our own self-control. The Vegan model really helps to apply some very good boundaries. I for one will try.

Long live the 21 bean chili!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Transverse Myelitis Two

January 13 2009

It's been nine months since I was admitted into hospital and five months since we came back from Hilton Head, much has changed some for the good and some for the bad.

I seemed to make such a great improvement in the three weeks we were in Hilton Head. At the end of July I had started to get some movement in my left leg (move a toe, move the knee cap) and by the time I had spent three weeks lying out in the pool I could comfortable get in and out of my wheelchair to the floor, clearly my stomach muscles were recovering. It felt as if I was on the way to making a full recovery, just time. The wonderful thing of being in the house at Hilton Head was the ability to have a shower. Everything was on the ground floor and I was able to put my shower chair in the shower and move from one wheel chair to the other and have a blissful wash. Back home I was once more constrained to the main floor where we have no shower. However the weather was nice and the boys would wheel me around the house down to the back where I could access the swimming pool and continued to swim or rather wallow and do my exercises in the water. Getting back up from the pool as we are on a steep hill was always much more challenging, really needed two to push the wheelchair uphill over the lawn.

As we moved into September I was still confined to my study on the main floor were I had a double bed and to the small cloakroom served as my bathroom. At therapy I was making major progress and was able to stand in the parallel bars. One Saturday I decided to try and get upstairs by moving backwards on my butt! and managed to clambered up the stairway on my bottom one step at a time. Once I reached the landing I crawled by pulling myself along the wooden floor into of bathroom and actually into the bath! My goodness I could have a bath! And I did. From then it became a daily excise and I also started to sleep in my own bed for the first time, it was wonderful.

Now that I was back upstairs I set a new routine upstairs at seven, toilet, bath then bed. This might seem simple but for me during that period it was a 2 hour ordeal. I had no recovery in the ordeal of bowel and bladder and still need to cath every 4-6 hours (cathing is inserting an eighteen red rubber tube to extract urine). But an ordeal that seems so much better in the privacy of my own bathroom rather than in family cloakroom. Plus the depth of relaxation of a deep bath was so pleasurable in a life devoid of pleasure.

It was mid October that I walked for the first time. It was our first bowling travel league outing with the kids. I run a monthly bowling league (or at least I did last year) where 20 kids from our weekly league compete against other bowling Lanes. This first match was away at the Park Lanes in Charlotte North Carolina where we arrived at 1230 but it was soon clear by the lack of handicapped car parking spaces and the age of the building I was not going to get in with my wheelchair. Suzanne parked the car next to the front door, the only option was to try and walk in. Sure at rehab I had walked down the parallel bars and my transfers from my wheelchair were greatly aided by the small movement that was returning to my legs. But if I managed to get into the bowling alley this would be my first real attempt at walking. I only had to climb two stairs and walk about a dozen strides to the nearest table but with Suzanne's shoulder it was accomplished. I had walked or as I like to describe it 'wobbled".

Therefore six months after being admitted to hospital I was now sleeping in my own bed, having the bath daily which now that I could stand changed to a shower and was able to move slowly around the house. It seemed as if my tribulations were over. I even stopped using my show chair over the toilet and celebrated by selling it on ebay!

I was sure it was now just a question of time, effort and all would be well. As October changed to November the pain started! not the vicious nerve pain that lasted 30 second when I had first come home but constant low grade pain - everywhere. In the legs it was like intense numbness while at the same time tight rubber bands compressed me. No pain medication seems to help. Doctors say nothing, I watched a youTube video of a guy who had suffered this pain for 20 years! the prognosis is a third recover, a third recover somewhat and a third don’t recover. I know I am in the third that recover somewhat and hope it does not stop here.

As January rolls into February I am trying to work somewhat. I can sit for a few hours but normally find comfort in a day bed. Very rarely wear anything other than underpants, as the touch of trousers is very aggressive pain. It is important to have the temperature just right as cold generates pain. It is odd when the dog lies across my legs and not to be able to feel anything, but an ache.