18 October 2017

Archives for June 2017

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Oftentimes, things aren’t always what they seem. A few years ago Marcia Gibson told us her accomplishment for the week was getting turned down twice. The way she phrased it was, “I was blessed this week when two companies told me I could keep searching for a new position. God got them out of my way so I could move more freely toward the job He has in store for me.”

We all fell out laughing, but I think everyone could hear the certainty in her voice and see the conviction in her heart – she actually believed what she was saying!

Marcia was red hot after that and accepted one of two offers a few weeks later.

Her story reminded me of a JobSeeker and OCM client from several years ago who was counting his blessings a year after he was turned down by two companies. Notice that he was counting his blessings a year later – not when he got the news.

Phil interviewed for a promising position on 20 May 2003. He rushed from that interview to another company and another promising position. And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, for the rest of the story:

The first company was BioLab in Conyers. They made the national news 369 days after Phil’s interview when a massive fire tore through their plant. Phil said, “I turned on the TV this morning to see the billowing smoke soar skyward from their massive facility; I thanked God for His divine guidance away from that situation.” As you may have guessed by now, he didn’t get the job at the second interview that day either. Even though Phil and the hiring manager had an immediate rapport (turns out they were acquainted) that job wasn’t a good fit for Phil. The manager called Phil several months later to say that he was about to leave because the company could no longer compete in their niche market.

Phil got a good job not long after that. He kept the faith. Whenever I spoke to him there was always something good just around the corner. It turns out he was right. He concluded an email with this: “I hope this finds you well. I am doing fantabulous. God does look out for us! Dave, thank you for all you have done to help me. I am a richer man today for meeting you and I consider you a friend.”

Friends, don’t give up. God has a plan and a purpose for your life and career (Jeremiah 29:11). He is working for your good (Romans 8:28). Trust God. Sometimes when we think things aren’t going well, he says, “Trust me with all your heart, for I have better things planned for you.” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Things aren’t always what they seem.

The following story illustrates this point. 

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Two traveling angels spent the night in the home of a wealthy family.

The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room. Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it.

When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, “Things aren’t what they always seem.”

The next night the pair of angels came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night’s rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.

The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, and you helped him. The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die!”

“Things aren’t what they always seem,” replied older angel. “When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn’t find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead.”

Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things don’t turn out the way we want. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You just might not know until sometime later.

There have been times in my life when I’ve faced loss and disappointment only to find out later that God’s hand was on my shoulder the entire time, that his love was surrounding me completely, and that his plan and purpose for my life were unfolding before me.

One more verse from Proverbs 18:13 before I close: “He who answers a matter before he hears the facts – it is folly and shame to him.” Things aren’t always what they seem. Oftentimes, they are much better than we can conceive or imagine.

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we trust God – especially when things don’t seem to be going well.

Copyright © 2004-2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Seven Job Search Strategies

job search strategies


Where are you investing your time?

Seven Job Search Strategies and Their Relative Effectiveness

Delighted to report that several clients have landed jobs in the past couple of weeks! What I’m teaching at JobSeekers this Friday is fundamental to the process we use here at O’Farrell Career Management. It’s part of the process that these clients used to earn their offers.

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Tired of beating your head against the wall? Our topic this week, “Seven Job Search Strategies and Their Relative Effectiveness” might help end your frustration and pain.

Vacations are almost over. School is gearing back up. It’s time to get off the sidelines and back in the game! It seems many people are experiencing some serious inertia this week. Come to JS this Friday and get your mojo back!

I’ll teach you what works (and why) and what doesn’t (and why not). I will share something that I’ve never seen on another career website, or seen in another book, or heard from another career coach. If you embrace this concept, prepare yourself thoroughly, and maintain a positive attitude you can and will land a job.

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JobSeekers meets every Friday morning at First Baptist Church in Peachtree City from 7:30 to 10:00 am. First Baptist Church is located at 208 Willow Bend Road.

Click here for more information about the meetings and agenda.

See you on Friday!

– Dave O’Farrell
Executive Recruiter, Outplacement Consultant
O’Farrell Career Management

“Atlanta’s most effective career services firm.”

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An Unholy Trinity

Job search is hard. When we reach a crisis point in our lives, the unholy trinity combines forces to make the battle even tougher. Job search isn’t just about finding a job; it’s part of a cosmic battle for our hearts. Along with divorce, job search is one of the toughest attacks on your ego that you will ever face. To be sure, there are things in life that are tougher, such as the death of a loved one, a life-threatening illness or injury, and maybe a prison sentence.

I’m constantly reminded of the fact that, in search, we are called upon to be at our professional best right after someone told us we weren’t worth having around anymore. That’s enough to get you down right there! But there may be other, more negative forces working on you than meets the eye.

John Eldredge writes in Wild at Heart, “Whatever specific terrain you are called to – at home, at work … you will always encounter three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. They make up sort of an unholy trinity.” Job search is one of the toughest spiritual battles you will every face. Here’s a glimpse into what’s going on:

1. The world attacks our hearts.

The world rejects us. Your former employer said, “Get lost.” Your target company said, “We don’t want you.” Your networking contact said, “I’m too busy.” All this rejection can wear us down.

The world tells us to change our attitude. “Friend, you’ve got to change your attitude. You’ve got to pull yourself up by the bootstraps.” Sometimes I think those of us with good intentions and good attitudes lay a guilt trip on those who don’t share our positive outlook on life. The person with the bad attitude often thinks, “What’s wrong with me that I can’t snap my fingers and suddenly be in a good mood?” To the encouragers of the world, including myself, I encourage you to help people pull themselves up when they are unable to do it themselves.

2. The flesh attacks our hearts.

The flesh betrays us. Did you notice on the previous point that part of it was about the world sending the seeker a message, but the response came from within the mind of the seeker? Our self-talk is one of the most destructive forces to our psyche. Everyone has negative thoughts; we handle those thoughts differently. One affirmation I use is: “I think positive. I deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel out any negative thought that comes to mind concerning my personal powers. I have formed the habit of positive thinking.”

Pride is another destructive force. I’ve seen a lot of people derail their job search because of pride. Friends, humble yourselves and ask for help. Ask friends for help. Listen to their counsel. Ask for professional help; it may pay dividends far beyond your job search. Ask God for help; he is standing at your door and knocking.

And speaking of the flesh, poor health – whether it’s a disease, illness or injury – can play a big role in a job search. Do everything you can to maintain good health, and if that isn’t enough – if your health is still a factor – use your advisory team to develop a realistic, achievable goal for your career.

3. The devil attacks our hearts.

The devil deceives us. Sometimes that self-doubt isn’t just from you. Jesus called the devil “the father of lies.” He was speaking to the Pharisees when he said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

The father of lies may be speaking to you. Satan may be placing negative thoughts in your head and fear in your heart. He just loves it when we are at a crisis point in our lives because we are so vulnerable. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Eldredge writes in Captivating, “All the Enemy has to do to destroy people is to get them isolated, [like] a lamb separated from the flock.” Satan wants to separate you from your employer, your target companies, your network, your advisory team, your family – and, most of all – your spouse. Don’t let the enemy win! Fight back with the power of the Holy Trinity.

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I used to work in an office that was right beside some railroad tracks. Every now and then I’d see a 100-car train loaded with coal start from a complete standstill. It took four engines working at maximum power to get it rolling. At first it moved very slowly, but before it was out of sight, it would be moving at 45 miles per hour.

Which way is your train headed?

Maybe those four engines – your negative attitude, combined with the world, the flesh and the devil – have you headed south. They’re building momentum, and you’re headed in the wrong direction. Stop the engines. Change your course. Pray for a willing spirit. Derail the forces of evil working against you. Hook up the powerful engines of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Get your train rolling toward True North.

See you Friday at JobSeekers, where we claim the power of the Holy Trinity.

Copyright © 2006-2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

 

Building Your Own Brand

This week’s topic about personal brandingpersonal branding, “Building Your Own Brand: How to put what you’re selling into one clear concise and powerful message,” is vitally important to every job seeker.

Have you ever thought of yourself as a brand? Yes, we all have our own personal brand whether we devote any thought or energy to it or not. As job seekers, we can scarcely ignore this important dimension of our campaigns.

There are many elements that make up a strong brand, and we teach these elements throughout the six-month curriculum. This week we will tie all this together as we create our own advertising slogan and business cards. You can use your new material as you are out and about during the summer and Independence Day holiday.

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JobSeekers meets every Friday morning at First Baptist Church in Peachtree City from 7:30 to 10:00 am. First Baptist Church is located at 208 Willow Bend Road.

Click here for more information about the meetings and agenda.

See you on Friday!

– Dave O’Farrell
Executive Recruiter, Outplacement Consultant
O’Farrell Career Management

“Atlanta’s most effective career services firm.”

 

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A Bias for Action

bias for action


How much does your job search
cost you each day?

Our topic a few weeks ago was “How to Make $15K Real Fast.” Some people who couldn’t make it wrote and asked me how to make $15K real fast. I’m shocked and surprised that all of you who couldn’t make it didn’t write to me! Some of you don’t have a bias for action.

The answer is: look for a job during the summer. Look for a job every day, all day during the summer. I arrived at this figure by using the figures you have reported to us when you came to your first meeting. The average member of JobSeekers of PTC earns about $180 per day, 365 days a year. Multiply that amount by the 73 days of summer in the Fayette County school system and you have $13,140.

If you had to write a $15K check in order to take the summer off, would you do it?

If you haven’t been working on your job search this week because you want to relax during your kids’ first month of summer, write a check for $5400. Yes, Memorial Day is a work day for a job seeker. Father’s Day is a work day for a job seeker. Every day is a work day (an opportunity) for a job seeker.

If you’ve taken the summer off so far, you are not showing a bias for action.

– – – – –

“If you could attempt anything in your job search today and you knew beforehand you were going to be successful at it, what would you do?”

Two or three times a year I ask the audience at JobSeekers this question. Most of the responses have to do with networking and using the phone. “I’d call the company I interviewed with three weeks ago and tell them I want the job.” “I’d call the VP of operations at such-and-such a company and ask for an informational meeting.”

If you knew you were going to be successful – and you actually did it – you’d have a bias for action.

What’s holding you back?

Next I ask what’s holding them back. Fear and pride come up every time. Other responses include not knowing anyone to call, not wanting to interrupt, and not having the necessary skills. “I just don’t know what I’m supposed to say.”

Many times a year (every week?) we emphasize that networking is by far the number one way people find jobs. Most people do it, but they do far too little of it. One time I took a survey at a JobSeeker meeting. The question was, “When was the last time you contacted someone you’d never spoken to before and asked for help with your job search?” The average was 7.21 days. Everyone knows networking is the best way to find a job, but they only talk to one new person per week!

When I think about this critical issue, these two bible verses pop into my head:

1. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

2. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

Only six verses separate these two passages. They are both found in the fourth chapter of James. What’s the connection between these passages and someone seeking employment? I believe I am writing to a great many of you who need to hear this message – people who need to act decisively upon this advice.

Humility pays off.

The first passage about being humble is clear. I know from personal experience that it takes a great deal of humility to tell someone you are out of work and need some help. I did better at this in my own search in 2000 than I did in 1992. I know this is hard; I have tons of empathy for you.

One member of the Ship’s Crew saw a gentleman at church almost every week for eight months before the gentlemen mentioned that he was in career transition. Pride and inaction may have cost that job seeker tens of thousands of dollars.

Swallowing your pride and asking for help could shorten your search by months, which would increase your income substantially. For example, if you earn $72K per year and shorten your search by two months, your gross income increases by $12K. You may get back on a corporate medical plan two months sooner and won’t have to pay COBRA fees. So I urge you, brothers and sisters, to humble yourself before the Lord – and before your family, friends and neighbors – and they will lift you up!

We had several people in the past year that had been out of work for almost a year. They humbled themselves, asked us for help, invested in some training, and found great jobs as a result. They had a bias for action and it paid big dividends.

Action pays off.

In Search of ExcellenceThe second passage about “doing what you know you ought to do” is a verse I’ve struggled with. I’ve asked myself, “Is it a sin to spend 70% of your time on ‘Monster’ and other job boards when you know that the best way to find a job is through networking?” I’ll let you and God work that one out, but I do have an analogy for what I see many of you doing:

Think of a pilot trying to get a plane airborne: the plane has to achieve a certain speed in order to take off. In the worst case, it will crash into whatever is at the end of the runway, possibly killing all aboard.

I’ve met many of you who think you are going fast enough to get airborne. You’re burning lots of fuel and going 90 miles an hour, but you’re not going fast enough to get airborne. It breaks my heart and frustrates the heck out of me to see you plodding down the runway.

In their best selling business book, In Search of Excellence, Peters and Waterman say one of the eight principles of a well-run, focused company is “a bias for action.”

Friends, some of you are not in action! You think you are, but you aren’t. You’re working hard, but not smart. You’re on the internet when you should be on the phone. You’re out in left field when you should be out in the community.

You’re not letting me down; you’re letting yourself and your family down.

Friends, some of you are not in action! You don’t see the consequence of taking the afternoon, or the day, or the week, or the summer off. I mentioned financial consequences, but there are other possible consequences as well, like explaining why your job search is taking so long. Time is money. Behave as if you believe this.

What are you going to do?

By golly, if you know the good you ought to do, by all means, do it! I don’t know if it’s a sin – or evil – or not, but I do know that it is a disservice to you, to your family and to the Kingdom of God. Paul scolded the church members in Thessalonica (2 Thessalonians, chapter 3) for laziness in their work; now I am challenging you and your bias for action.

I am asking you to reflect on what you are doing – on what’s working and what you need to change. I’m sure that all of us – including our alumni, our network, and me – can find some area of our lives that we are not doing the things we know we ought to do. So I am challenging each and every one of you to take one decisive step to ramp up your job search, your career, or your business – to the glory of God.

Are you on board? What are you going to do?

See you Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we have a bias for action!

Copyright © 2004-2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Jeff Sheehan on Social Selling and LinkedIn

jeff-sheehan-picture

Jeff Sheehan

Come this Friday to learn from Jeff Sheehan, a widely-recognized expert on social selling and LinkedIn.

Jeff Sheehan is an IBM Influencer / Futurist and writer who advises and writes on various trends involving customer engagement, predictive analytics, and IBM Watson. He is also the founder of Sheehan Marketing, a marketing and sales solution provider. His background includes 30+ years of global high technology marketing and sales working with some of the world’s largest companies including Intel, Apple, HP, IBM, AT&T, and Cisco , to name a few. During his corporate career, he and the teams he led were responsible for cumulative sales of over $500 million.

Jeff is a well-known speaker nationally and in the Atlanta area on the use of Social Selling, LinkedIn, Personal Branding, Social Media, and Marketing. Jeff is also a Toastmaster (CC), and volunteers extensively for multiple charities.

Additionally, he is the co-author of “HIRED! Paths to Employment in the Social Media Era,” a book that deals with an integrated approach to the entire job search process that was based on his work as the Volunteer Director of the Holy Spirit Career Ministry in Atlanta, as well as the numerous discussions with job seekers over the last 7+ years.

With over 330,000 followers on Twitter, he has been repeatedly recognized as one of the top people to follow on Twitter in the world for social media, marketing, and sales. He is also among the Top 50 People Most Retweeted in the World by Mid-Size Marketers and has been honored as one of the Global Top 50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50.

Jeff holds a BBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an MS in Finance from Bentley University, and an MS in Marketing from Georgia State University with additional training at Northwestern University and the University of Virginia.

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JobSeekers meets every Friday morning at First Baptist Church in Peachtree City from 7:30 to 10:00 am. First Baptist Church is located at 208 Willow Bend Road.

Click here for more information about the meetings and agenda.

See you on Friday!

– Dave O’Farrell
Executive Recruiter, Outplacement Consultant
O’Farrell Career Management

“Atlanta’s most effective career services firm.”

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The Divine Improvisation

Wynton Marsalis


Wynton Marsalis

God’s will is dynamic! We see examples of the divine improvisation all the time if we keep our eyes open to the gentle whisper of the Lord.

In the middle of recent meeting at JobSeekers, someone’s cell phone went off. The incident reminded me of a sermon I once heard; the key illustration was about Wynton Marsalis, arguably the greatest jazz musician of his generation – and one of the finest classical musicians as well. Marsalis has won Grammy awards in both categories.

The story took place on a Tuesday evening in late August 2001 in Greenwich Village at a jazz club called the Village Vanguard. This excerpt is from Faith Today:

Marsalis began an unaccompanied solo of the heartrending 1930′s ballad, “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You.” Hajdu [a journalist covering the performance] records that the audience became rapt as Marsalis’s trumpet virtually wept in despair, almost gasping at times with the pain in the music.

Stretching the mood taut, Marsalis came to the final phrase, with each note coming slower and slower, with longer and longer pauses between each one: “I … don’t … stand … a … ghost … of … a … chance … ”

And then someone’s cell phone went off.

It began to chirp an absurd little tune. The audience broke up into titters, the man with the phone jumped up and fled into the hallway to take his call, and the spell was broken. “MAGIC – RUINED,” the journalist scratched into his notepad.

But then Marsalis played the cell phone melody note for note. He played it again, with different accents. He began to play with it, spinning out a rhapsody on the silly little tune, changing keys several times. The audience settled down, slowly realizing they were hearing something altogether extraordinary. Around and around Marsalis played for several minutes, weaving glory out of goofiness.

Finally, in a masterstroke, he wound his cadenza down seamlessly to the last two notes of his previous song: “… with … you.” The audience exploded with applause.

God was at work in that club. That same versatile, resourceful God is at work in your life and mine.

That same brilliantly adaptable God is at work throughout this sin-sick world, bringing beauty out of baseness, heroism out of holocaust, love out of loss – even salvation out of sacrifice. He calls us to believe, and then do the same.

In the sermon, Chuck Hodges (Senior Pastor at Athens First UMC) said God works for our good every day; His will is dynamic. Keith Moore (Senior Pastor at Dogwood Church) preaches the same thing; God’s dynamic will takes over when sin spoils His plan. In other words, we are subject to the consequences of our will and our decisions – as well as the will and decisions of others – and stuff happens. Like losing a job. Or coming in second on an interview. Or missing a mortgage payment. Or getting a divorce.

Let God do something amazing in your life. This adversity is an opportunity to experience what God can do – an opportunity to experience His grace. Submit to His will and trust him with all your heart. He can take whatever mess you are in right now and weave glory out of goofiness. He will divinely improvise to (re)create a joyful and abundant life for you. If there is never a burden, how will we discover what great things God can do?

Here are two versions of Proverbs 3:5-6:

1) Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (NKJV)

2) Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. (The Message)

See you Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we experience God’s divine improvisations!

Copyright © 2004-2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Interviewing Skills: Resolving Objections

Resolving Objections


“You’re over qualified.”

Another interviewing skills topic this week: “Resolving Objections and Concerns About Your Candidacy.”

Have you been passed over for a position because you were too old or too inexperienced – or for something else? This week’s topic is one of the most important ones I teach. We will learn and practice skills to resolve concerns about age, experience and many other things. Before the meeting, think about concerns employers have had that have prevented you from getting a job. Think about what you will do differently the next time you find yourself in that situation.

Here are a few you may have heard:

  1. You’re over qualified.
  2. You don’t have enough [industry] experience.
  3. How long have you been out of work? / You’ve been out of work too long.
  4. The job pays 70% of what you used to make; is that an issue? / We don’t think you’ll stay.
  5. When did you get your degree?
  6. You don’t have a degree.
  7. You’re too old.

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JobSeekers meets every Friday morning at First Baptist Church in Peachtree City from 7:30 to 10:00 am. First Baptist Church is located at 208 Willow Bend Road.

Click here for more information about the meetings and agenda.

See you on Friday!

– Dave O’Farrell
Executive Recruiter, Outplacement Consultant
O’Farrell Career Management

“Atlanta’s most effective career services firm.”

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