I hope it’s never happened to you. I hope you are one of those rare people who have been fortunate enough to keep your job despite the frequent occurrence of firing or downsizing. It’s quite an accomplishment today to say you’ve never been involved in a massive job cut or experienced the anxiety of wondering if you will be next as the company clips off department after division.
Downsizing is all the rage in this world of big multinational corporations where human beings are a factor of production and stock holders’ profitable returns are priority.
This article will especially be helpful if you’re a 50+ adult who has already lost your job…or if you’re in jeopardy of losing it. But if you’re HAVEN’T reached that point in your life yet, this system will STILL work for you…but ONLY if you’re willing to do what it takes to land your dream job…
YOUR LAST DAY
I’ve worked with adults for over twenty years, helping them find better ways to get the job they want by doing what most employees never do: Have a back-up plan.
In America today, there’s a widespread and very unproductive belief: “I just never thought it would happen to me.” A backup plan is what you NEED to have in place when you sense that your job could be history. This backup plan is especially important if you consider yourself to be a person who does not handle risk very well.
I want you to use this article as a “how-to action plan” to keep your self respect intact, build and maintain your self confidence and as a result, have two employers bidding for you in the end.
Sound impossible? Not if you follow this “how-to action guide”.
Before beginning, it’s important for you to realize that you need self-confidence to follow this action guide properly. If you feel that your confidence needs a boost, you can get it by reading my book, Softhearted Woman Hard World. This book will really help you build up your confidence as it has for so many others.
THE “INVISIBLE” AGE OBSTACLE
Yes, there is NO age prejudice in America today because it is, quote “against the law”.
That is the official position, but as you might already know…age prejudice is very hard to prove. Interviewers protect themselves and their employers from “older job candidates” to avoid a potential law suit.
It is important for you to know that the people who will interview you have FEARS. Now, you may not be able to see them shaking behind their desks with fear, but they DO have fears. These fears are about hiring someone over 50 and even 40 in some places. You should be aware of what those interviewer’s fears are:
- You’ll run up their group health insurance premiums
- You’ll have health problems and take too much time off work
- You won’t have the energy to keep up with younger people
- Younger people will not relate to you
- The job will be beneath you and you’ll get tired of it
- You will have a bad attitude because you’re over 50
(This goes for younger people with little experience also, but the fears are different.)
For younger candidates with little experience, interviewers’ fears are:
- You’ll require training that can be costly or time consuming
- You won’t like the job and you’ll quit
- You’ll make them look bad because you’re inexperienced
- They are afraid they’ll have to fire you because you’re lacking the skills for the job
- You won’t be emotionally mature enough for the job (you won’t fit in, or have the “chemistry” for the job)
- You won’t be reliable enough
Age prejudice in America is definitely working against you, but there IS a way for you to fight back because:
If you’re over 40…
You’re not too old – you’re wise
You’re not too old – you’re street smart
You’re not too old – you’re insightful
You’re not too old – you’re knowledgeable
And if you’re under 30 (and have little experience)…
You’re not too young – you’re ambitious
You’re not too young – you’re energetic
You’re not too young – you’re sharp and focused
You’re not too young – you’re eager to get the job done
YOU’LL GET THE JOB BY DOING WHAT NO ONE ELSE WILL DO
This action plan is based on the fact that everyone looks for jobs in very predictable ways.
- They look for companies who advertise job openings
- They send a resume and fill out a job application
- They go to a job interview and put on their best face
- They hide their weaknesses and unattractive job history
These are the conventional methods people use to search for a job and because every one uses them, YOU have the opportunity to STAND OUT from the pack.
With the action plan offered in this article, you will stand out, be remembered and talked about after you leave the building. Employers will seek YOU out instead of you seeking out THEM. They won’t be able to resist you….and your age will have nothing to do with it.
YOUR 5 STEP ACTION PLAN TO GETTING ANY JOB YOU REALLY WANT
STEP 1: RESEARCH
In this step, you’ll identify ALL the companies in the location you would actually consider working. The reason “all” is capitalized is because you MUST have at least 7 companies for this plan to work. Your research will consist of how far you’ll have to drive, how good their reputation is, how successful the business is, how employee-oriented they are and perhaps how slow they are to fire or hire.
There are many ways to find this out, but the best way is to talk with people who work there. Remember this: it is NOT important that the company be hiring. In fact, it is best if they are NOT hiring. Here’s why. In every department of every company, there are certain people under the “watchful eye” of a manger or team leader.
In the vast majority of situations, those people can be described as “on the bubble” which is about to burst. This means that if Harry or Harriett is not performing well, the manager would rather not deal with firing them and hiring another person for the job. For this reason, the manager keeps the under performing person to avoid the fuss of the hiring/firing process.
THIS is your opportunity. Let’s say you met and impressed Henry/Harriett’s manager when you were “NOT looking for a job”. That is exactly what would make you attractive to the manager. Managers dream of the right person being dropped in their lap without the hassle of interviewing and running ads. You would be their dream come true!
When your 7 companies are identified, you need to call each one of them. Your calls will sound like this:
The secretary/receptionist answers the phone.
You ask: “Who would I need to talk with to learn some general information on your company. I was hoping to get a brochure or overview before I visit for a job interview. Would you be able to send that to me?”
You’ll be passed off to the person who handles public relations in larger companies, the human resources department in smaller companies or the owner’s secretary in the smallest companies.
STEP 2: STUDY
Through the literature you receive from step 1 as well as your library/Internet searches about these companies, you will have an idea of what the company does to make money, as well as why they are different or better than their competitor. You will be using this information in the following steps.
STEP 3: SET THE INFORMATION APPOINTMENT
Call one of your target companies and say to the person answering the phone, “I’m looking for specific information in (name your area of interest, public relations, marketing, finance, manufacturing, etc) and was hoping I could talk to the person in charge of that area.”
The receptionist might respond: “Are you looking for a job?”
You: “No, I’m looking to talk to someone in the manufacturing area because someday, I hope to work there and I would like to learn more about the kinds of people the company is looking for.”
The receptionist has never heard this request before, so in order to get off the phone, she passes you on to manufacturing saying, “Just a moment, I’ll give you the manufacturing manager.”
The phone rings again: “Manufacturing, Judy speaking.”
You begin again. “Hello Judy, my name is Joan Smith (always give your name) and I am looking to meet with the person who heads up the manufacturing area.”
Naturally, Judy asks something like “May I ask who’s calling?” or “Are you looking for a job?”
You: “No, I’m looking to talk with someone in the manufacturing area, because someday I hope to work there and I would like to learn more about the kinds of people the company is looking for.”
Because Judy has never heard this before, she passes you on to someone else. “Well, you can probably talk to Doug Richter.” she might say.
You then say: “Could you tell him that Joan Smith is calling and I would just like a minute and a half of his time.” Few people are courteous enough to give a time limit to an inquiry call. This shows you are intelligent, considerate and a person to be respected.
Doug answers: “Hello, Doug Richter speaking”
You: “Yes, Mr. Richter, this is Joan Smith. I’m looking for specific information about the kinds of people your company looks for because someday, I hope to work there and I would like to be prepared before I apply at that time. I was hoping to meet with you for 15 to 18 minutes so you could give me this insight. Would Thursday morning be good for you, or is Friday afternoon better?”
Doug has never had such a request. He doesn’t really know what to do. He finds it very curious and asks as if he didn’t hear you “Are you looking for a job?” he might ask.
You: “No Doug, not right now. Instead, I was just hoping that you would meet with me so I can get your opinions and insight about the kinds of people you usually hire and some overviews about your department and your management methods. I was hoping you’d do this as a kind of community service.”
Because you were intelligent, courteous, and mentioned the phrase “community service” Doug grants you a meeting of 15 to 18 minutes. A very specific time that shows you are disciplined.
STEP 4: YOU CONDUCT THE INTERVIEW
You wear a sport coat, dress slacks and a collar shirt if you’re a man (wear a tie if you work in management) and a business suit if you are a woman. You open with: “Thank you very much for allowing me to meet with you Doug. I’ll be sure to watch the time.
(Glance at your watch as you say this)
Remembering the information you learned from the research step, make an opening statement that sounds something like this example statement: “I understand that your company specializes in the rubber covered roll market, supplying flexography printers with replacement rolls. In fact, you have two patents on some unique features that allow you to occupy a special niche in the flexography market. Is that accurate?”
Doug is surprised. He has never head anyone come into the company from the outside and know such specific information. It shows you are intelligent and respectful. He is impressed and answers with more information. You are prepared to take notes and you write as he talks.
You then ask question number 2: “What would you have to see in a person before you would seriously consider hiring them. In other words, if you put a criteria list together for a really good employee in the manufacturing area, what would you put on the list?” While Doug answers, you take notes.
At this time, start to wrap it up with your final questions: “Doug, I have just a couple of final quick questions.
(Q3) Do you look for people who understand the importance of being a self starter?” Doug answers.
(Q4) “Do you look for people who understand the importance of telling the truth?” Doug answers again.
(Q5) “Do you look for people who know how to work with others as a team?” He answers. Then you break this line of questions and close your meeting.
“Doug, my resume is much like other resumes. It won’t help a great deal in considering me if I should apply here someday, but I have something that will. I come with a guarantee. My guarantee is that I will do and be everything on this list. If I don’t do any one of these, you can fire me for my failure to perform what I said I would do.”
As you say this, hand him your guarantee. Close your notes and get up from the chair. As you do this, look at your watch and say “This has been very helpful Doug. Thanks so much for your time and I do believe I will apply here in the future.” NEVER stay around and talk. It is far better if Doug calls you later on.
You then shake hands and leave the office. You have just made a fantastic impression in 18 minutes. Your interviewer is amazed that you were only concerned about the company and his opinion. Notice that you didn’t TELL him anything about you.
Your interviewer will study your simple guarantee and talk to other managers referring to you as “the person with the guarantee”. No job candidate has ever come with a guarantee except you. In many cases, you will be called back because Harry and Harriet need to be moving on and you suddenly look like an excellent replacement. Good people like you are hard to find.
Do this same process with the rest of your companies in the space of 4 weeks. Don’t let the 7 meetings take place outside of a four week window. The goal is to have two companies bidding for you which will allow you to start at a higher salary. Follow these instructions and you won’t need any luck in your job search at all. You’re determining YOUR OWN DESTINY.
Here’s an example of what your employment guarantee might look like…
(Joe Smith’s) EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE
At the top, put your name, address, phone and email. (The wording of your guarantee must match your own philosophies, but these are the issues to write about)
1. My Philosophy about being a SELF STARTER: I believe my employer wants motivated people on the work team. I’ll work to stay mentally motivated and take initiative in my job to be both dependable and productive.
2. My Philosophy about TAKING CHARGE OF MY AREA AND SEEING THINGS THROUGH: Nothing motivates me more than the pride I feel when my work is accepted because of its quality. In order to accomplish this, I enjoy being responsible for my part of a project, along with meeting necessary deadlines.
3. My Philosophy about BEING ORGANIZED: I have found that being neat and organized helps me get more done in less time each day. As I become more personally organized, other people are more willing to rely on me. I make a daily effort toward improving in the area of organization.
4. My Philosophy about GETTING WORK DONE ON TIME: As part of a working team, I know the importance of delivering my work either to the end customer, or to the “internal customer” within the time agreed. I believe that missed deadlines tend to reflect poorly on my customer’s perception of my work.
5. My Philosophy about MY HEALTH: In order to stay productive, I need energy. To do this I maintain balance in eating, sleeping and exercise habits, while I avoid all the various “bad” habits of cigarettes, alcohol, etc.
6. My Philosophy about GETTING ALONG WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE: I have found that people who are negative in the work place, often have some other problem not directly related to work. I try to ask non-threatening questions in order to find out the actual cause of their problem and hopefully bring something positive to the relationship.
7. My Philosophy about TELLING THE TRUTH: I always like to be truthful about things because lying takes too much energy to remember the “made up truth”. The truth is easier and earns more respect from others.
8. My Philosophy about WORK TIME VS. FAMILY/SOCIAL TIME: I believe if I am gong to set myself apart from others, I need to improve my skills. I spend time outside of work improving myself but I also believe in having fun, so I set time aside to build friendships outside of work.
9. My Philosophy about MY CAREER AND THE FUTURE: If I work hard learning â€˜on the job’ skills from people with experience, when I combine this knowledge with outside study, I will eventually raise my standard of living. I do this rather than expecting raises just because I show up for work.
10. My Philosophy about WORKING WITH OTHERS AS A TEAM: I work well within the structure of a team. In an effective working team, I have the opportunity to compliment other peoples’ skills and stand out in special situations where going the extra mile is a critical ingredient.
So there you have it. Put this action plan to use and you’ll be sure to land any job you want. I’ve effectively used this system with people for over 20 years…and it works EVERY TIME. The only factor that may stop you from getting the job is if you are lacking the confidence to do these steps.
So once again, if you need a confidence booster, you can read Softhearted Woman Hard World, and I guarantee you’ll have a whole different perspective on your self image and on your purpose in life. Just give this action plan a try…even if you are not sure it will work for you.
You’ll never know unless you give it a try.
All the best,
P.S. If you DO decide to give this step-by-step action plan, I’d LOVE to hear your results! Feel free to post them on this blog for everyone to see!