20 August 2017

Archives for August 2017

O’Farrell Misses the Boat

Networking is by far the number one way people find jobs. One client of mine compared networking to sowing seeds. Ken said, “I’m convinced that networking is like planting seeds. Some will germinate, but it may take a while. The seeds need ongoing attention to help them grow.”

Friends, listen to me: network even when it seems like networking is not working.

To illustrate the consequences of doing the right and wrong things, I think back to August 1985 and a scuba trip to West Palm Beach. Some friends and I dove on a Greek yacht named the Mizpah. It was a night dive in 85 feet of water, two miles off the coast. We were warned of the dangers of the Gulf Stream currents; they could sweep you miles away from the dive boat in the middle of the night.

My scuba buddy, Ron Bennett, and I were selected by the dive master to lead a group of 20 people down to the Mizpah. I wasn’t terrified of the pitch-black water. I wasn’t terrified of the nocturnal creatures that prowl the seas. I wasn’t terrified of being swept away by the Gulf Stream currents.

I was terrified of the wrath of the other 18 people if we missed the boat.

O’Farrell Misses the Boat

To understand my high anxiety, I will take you back three weeks prior. Ron and I and some of the same people were in Fort Lauderdale to dive on the Mercedes, a freighter that had been sunk in 97 feet of water one mile off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. Ron had dived on the ship once before; I was in Atlanta for Independence Day. He said it had been a fantastic dive; they could see the freighter as soon as they jumped in the water.

On this particular dive we ignored the dive master’s navigation instructions and simply started swimming down; visibility was poor and we couldn’t see the ship. We swam against the current in what we thought was the right direction, but still no ship. When we reached a depth of 75 feet, we finally saw something. Sand. Nothing but sand.

We missed the boat.

Ron and I had an underwater argument about whether we should swim around on the bottom looking for a 195 foot long ship or go back to the surface and asking for help. We were rookie scuba divers and had been warned about doing a “pop up,” which is exactly what we were about to do.

The boat captain and the deck hand let us have it. They dragged us over to the drop site again while we hung on to the dive platform for dear life. We used up most of our air during this exhausting experience. We found the boat on the second try, but were only able to spend seven minutes exploring the Mercedes. The other divers teased unmercifully for the rest of the weekend (and for years to come).

So on this night Ron and I are on the platform about to jump into the dark and eerie waters while all these thoughts are racing through my head. Then I remembered our training; I remembered what the instructors had said about reaching our goal: “Swim hard, swim south and don’t take your eyes off your compass.” We swam due south, directly against the current. We did what we knew was right even though we couldn’t see the target. I looked up just before we hit the bow of the boat.

It was a wonderful dive. We went into one room and pushed our flashlights into the sand so they didn’t cast any light. It was cool to see hundreds of bio-luminescent creatures glowing in the darkness of the deep.

Listen to the Experts

Friends, listen to the experts. Do what we say works. Don’t take your eyes off your compass. Your target will be right ahead of you if you don’t let yourself get distracted, if you don’t wander off on one tangent after another. If you do, you could end up miles away from your target and looking at nothing but sand.

Network! Chances are as high as 80% that you will find your next job through a personal contact. Why not shorten the time by doing more networking? Bring up your job search in almost every conversation you have, especially with new people. You may not see your next job up ahead, but it’s out there. You have to do the right things to find it.

– Dave O’Farrell

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

Declaring Your Position Objective

wave-of-the-sea-3Our topic this Friday is “Declaring Your Position Objective.” I like this quote from James: “Don’t be like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” This quote from Stephen Covey also applies: “begin with the end in mind.”

Oftentimes when I do the diagnosis on why someone has been looking for a job for six months or more, the absence of this essential element is one of the top three reasons for the lack of success. With it, you see new possibilities and open doors every day. Without it, the seeker struggles to tread water in the hostile seas of unemployment.

The Position Objective Statement (POS) is used in networking communications. For some, this is one of the most difficult things they have to do in their job search — decide what they want to do next. Without an objective you are like a wave of the sea — blown and tossed by the wind. With it, you have a sharp focus that helps you sift through all the clutter and work toward a specific goal.

Come JS on Friday to develop and practice your POS.

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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 directions and agenda.

See you on Friday!

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

“South Atlanta’s best career services firm.”

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Changing Careers

Changing Careers


Where are you headed?

Has an employer ever told you, “We’re going to hire someone with more experience?” Our topic for this Friday is “Changing Careers: How to Break into a New Function or Industry.” I personally changed careers many years ago, and since then, have been blessed to help 1000+ other people change careers too. I will share the four secrets to making a successful career change.

My informal polls reveal that two-thirds of all job seekers are thinking of changing fields or industries (or both). We will discuss strategies to be more effective in making the shift. It will be good advice for all job seekers, but particularly for those who are changing careers. To be better prepared for the meeting, do these three things:

  • Develop your story about why you have a burning desire to break into this new career.
  • Think of (or find) a person who is already in your target field and industry that can coach you on how to break into your new career.
  • Find at least one association that represents your projected function or industry.

BTW, be sure to read Even Jesus Changed Careers.

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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 directions 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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Feeling Stressed? Take Dr. Rahe’s Test


Richard H. Rahe, M.D.

Feeling stressed? Today you will have the opportunity to take Dr. Rahe’s test while you are in the midst of a life-changing event.

You can estimate your risk of having a stress-related illness or accident using a calculator developed by Richard H. Rahe, M.D., a world-renowned expert on stress-related illness. The test assigns a measurement called a Life Change Unit (LCU) to events – positive and negative – that cause stress. The higher your LCU total, the greater your risk of a stress-related illness or accident within the coming year.

Here are the top 10 (out of 55) life change events:

  1. Death of a child
  2. Death of a spouse
  3. Death of parent or sibling
  4. Divorce
  5. Separation from spouse due to marital difficulties or work
  6. Being held in jail
  7. Loss of your job
  8. An illness or injury that was very serious
  9. Death of a close friend
  10. Pregnancy

Notice that four of the 10 have to do with the death of a loved one or friend; as difficult as they are, they don’t reflect on who you are as a person. One (pregnancy) is good news, and one (jail) probably hasn’t happened to most of the people who read this newsletter. Of the top 10 life change events, divorce and job loss represent the two biggest attacks on a person’s ego.

In Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs tells the story of two friends who battled cancer and won. Both men soon found themselves unemployed. One said, “I was never depressed when dealing with cancer and possibly dying, but when I left my work, which was my identity, I went into a depression that was like nothing I had ever experienced before.” Are there things worse than job loss? Absolutely; but being unemployed is one of the toughest spiritual battles you will ever face.

If you are looking for a job you may feel you’ve had your ego attacked by your former employer, by prospective employers who’ve chosen someone else over you, and by potential networking partners who’ve refused to help you. You may be experiencing financial difficulties, you may have lost contact with close friends you used to work with, you may have lost the structure in your day and your week and don’t know what to do, and you may be facing the prospect of moving to a distant city in order to find a meaningful position. Your LCU score may be very high.

Who can relate to what I’m talking about here?

You’ve gone through a lot. You may go through more. When it rains, it pours. Problems compound. It seems there is no hope. Now your health is on the decline. Doctors have long recognized that stress can trigger a range of illnesses, from backache and headache to gastrointestinal problems, a weak immune system and heart attacks.

How much stress are you under? To access the test, click here. Go to “Products” and choose “A Recent Life Changes Stress Test.” They charge $5; it used to be $1. No joke. I can show you my credit card bill! If you just want to read more, click here for an article about a similar study that involved Rahe and another psychiatrist.

Over a one-year period, a life change score of 450 or higher means not only that several life changes have occurred, but also that some of these changes had very high stress values. This high recent life change stress load is called a “life crisis.” Two out of three people experiencing a life crisis will develop one or more illnesses, or have an accident, during the following year.

In January 2004, my score was 558. During the preceding six months I’d gotten divorced, bought a condo, lost my primary source of income, and started a business. You may have guessed that I also experienced financial difficulties. I also suffered a broken or dislocated rib when I slid head first into third base during a softball game; I got divorced in the morning (12 years ago last month) and broke my rib the same evening. Since I was more than 100 points above 450, Dr. Rahe would say that I had a 75% chance of illness or injury in 2004. Praise the Lord I made it through in one piece; I did have a bike wreck that December, but was unhurt. My current life change score is more than 500 points lower.

By the way, life change events are not the only things that put stress on our minds, bodies and spirits. We need to take steps to guard our hearts from persistent, long-term stressors as well. I’ll address this topic in two weeks.

You can learn three things from my experience:

1. You are in temporary state.

As it was for me, the good news is that most people do not remain in a life crisis for more than a year or two. That’s because subsequent illnesses and accidents demand your attention and you begin to cultivate important stress management and lifestyle coping capabilities. There is a purpose in your suffering. I am reminded of James’ words, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4

2. You have choices; be proactive.

To decrease the length and severity of your temporary state, you must do something! Get out of bed and come to JobSeekers; I did in 2004 – and I was the leader! I came to bless others, and I received a blessing myself. Being proactive gives you a sense of control. Even more important than JobSeekers is the decision you make about the spiritual perspective you will have on your job search and your journey through life. Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

3. You matter to God.

No matter what happens to you in life, no matter what you do or what you’ve done in life, your heart matters to God. He loves you and he wants the best for you. He can take the shattered crystal and broken glass in your life and turn it into a beautiful stained glass window. God promises to work for the good of those who love him: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Later in the same chapter Paul says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:35-39

In a devotional at JobSeekers a few years ago, John Hobbs, Pastor of Care Counseling at Crossroads Church in Newnan, used Habakkuk 3:17-18: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Friends, God loves us even when the rain falls. God loves us even when the floods start rising. God loves us even when the storms come. In fact, we are washed by His cleansing water during the most difficult days of our lives. (Adapted from the lyrics of “Washed by the Water” by NEEDTOBREATHE.)

How are you going to respond to God’s call during this significant life change event?

See you Friday at JobSeekers, where we are more than conquerors through him who loved us!

Copyright © 2005-2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

What it Means to be World-Class

I remember watching the 2012 Olympics in London and thinking about what it means to be world-class. Michael Phelps won the 19th medal of his Olympic career. It’s a staggering number. The U.S. women’s gymnastics team won their first gold medal since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In an interview with NBC’s Bob Costas, all five women, who ranged in age from 15 to 17, said they decided they would compete in the Olympics during the 2004 Games in Athens. Kyla Ross was only seven at the time.

They dedicated eight years of their lives to winning the gold. Yes, half their lifetime. One young lady, McKayla Maroney, had developed a special talent for the vault. Even among the world’s very best vaulters, she soared two feet higher than any other competitor. One night she was perfection and grace and beauty in motion – so much so that one judge’s mouth dropped wide open. The analysts were shocked when she did not receive a perfect score.

My Peachtree Road Race experience.

I never aspired to be a world-class athlete, but I thought I was a pretty fast runner. In fact, in my junior year of high school, I was the fastest cross country runner in a school with 2000+ students. In my first Peachtree Road Race I placed 193rd. If you are wondering how I did so well in the world’s largest 10 kilometer race, you should probably know there were only 1159 participants that year. Now there are 60,000.

The next year I ran my best time, 39:40. That’s a six-and-a-half minute mile. Six of ‘em in a row.

This was so long ago that the race finished in downtown Atlanta at Central City Park. I remember standing at the base of the Trust Company Bank building, hunched over, hands on knees, sucking air as fast as I could, and feeling elated about my excellent time. I looked up and saw Chase Van Valkenburg casually standing nearby with his hands on his hips. Chase was the fastest cross country runner in DeKalb County. In fact he holds some Georgia high school records to this day. By the way, can you be a runner and have a better name than “Chase Van Valkenburg?”

“Hey Chase, Dave O’Farrell, Southwest DeKalb. How’d you do?” I ask while gasping for air.

“Not so good. How’d you do?” He asks.

“Fantastic; 39:40!” I say.

“Oh, I ran 34:20.” He replies.

Ouch. Crashed and burned. In a six-mile race, Van Valkenburg beat me by a mile. But the fastest guy in the state finished a mile behind Don Kardong, whose winning time was 29:14. Now that’s world class.

Come to think of it, I lost that six-mile race by two miles. Can you say, “embarrassing?”

The course record was established in Atlanta’s 1996 Olympic year, by Joseph Kimani of Kenya at 27:01. Amazing.

Your job search experience.

In job search, the number of competitors for a single job may be 1159 people. You don’t want to come in 193rd. This week one of our clients said he beat out 45 other candidates for a job. That’s pretty good. Even better when you consider this gentleman had a stroke about a year ago. Al beat the odds with his faith, his hard work, and his preparation. He didn’t have a pity party. He didn’t make excuses. He went all out and won the one job he needed to provide for his family. Congratulations Al!

Be like Al. Have faith. Work hard. Prepare yourself. Beat the odds. Win the job.

Gene Griessman interviewed some of the most successful people of the 20th century and recorded those conversations in his book, “The Achievement Factors.” He started his chapter on competence with Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus said, “I don’t think talent is as important as the work and dedication necessary to become competent. A lot of guys out there are more talented than I am, and through the years we’ve passed them all by.”

Chase Van Valkenburg might have been more talented that I was, but I would have passed him by if he had not put in the hard work and dedication necessary to be the best in the county.

I still enjoy running. In fact, I ran three miles before sitting down to write this article. I have chosen not to dedicate myself to being the best runner in my age group. In fact, when I go running with my best friend from high school and cross country teammate, Ted Wansley, these days, we start off nice and slow – and then we taper off from there.

My passion now is helping people win jobs. I’ve dedicated the past 24 years to perfecting my craft. Nicklaus told Griessman that, even after winning multiple major championships, he was still trying to perfect his game. I look at résumés I wrote 10 years ago and say, “Who wrote this junk?” After all, I’d only been writing résumés for 14 years at the time.

Think about all the seven-year-old gymnasts who decided in 2004 they are going to compete in the Olympics one day. How did Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber win the gold when tens of thousands of other girls didn’t even make it to the games?

Do what they did: work at the craft of finding a job, perfect your skills, overcome your weaknesses and fears, play to your strengths – and then leave the results confidently to God.

See you Friday at JobSeekers, where we are becoming world-class job seekers every week!

Copyright © 2012-2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Acing the Interview

Acing the Interview


Those who shoot from the hip usually
shoot themselves in the foot.

Our topic this week is, “Acing the Interview: How to put your best foot forward.” To be better prepared for the meeting, bring a “good fit” job lead and three copies of your resume with you. Hopefully, your lead will be for a job interview you have next week. If you don’t have an interview scheduled, bring a job lead and your preparation for a position you’d like to interview for.

My concern is that we work hard to win interviews, and then don’t do the preparation it takes to capitalize on the opportunities when they finally come along. Tomorrow, we’ll get some practice in so you can “ace” your next interview.

Two Quick Success Stories About Acing the Interview

When we taught this topic in August 2009, Sandra Barnes volunteered to be the interviewee in a role play at table #12. She brought a job lead for her #1 job at her #1 target company. She landed the job days later.

One example of “acing the interview” occurred several months ago after a client hired O’Farrell Career Management to do her résumé. Not too long after that she hired us again to help her with ace the interview. At JobSeekers she reported that the company reviewed “several hundred” applications. They phone-screened 110 candidates, interviewed 10 face-to-face, and made one offer. Very proud of Lisa for doing what it took to win the job.

Come to JS this Friday for a rewarding and enriching experience.

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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 directions 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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