19 July 2018

Archives for July 2018

A Sharp Focus is Key

sharp focus


Keep a sharp focus.

Have you ever used a magnifying glass to set a leaf on fire? Looking for a job is a lot like catching a leaf on fire. In both, a sharp focus is key. I’ve noticed that some of you have a magnifying glass, but you don’t know which leaf you want to focus on. Others know which leaf you want, but you aren’t focusing the light properly. Still others focus the light, but you switch to another leaf just before the flame starts.

I looked up “focus” on BibleGateway.com and was surprised to find that the word does not appear even once in the NIV. The Message paraphrase Bible uses the word “focus” 29 times. I selected this one for you, Philippians 3:15:

“So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision – you’ll see it yet!”

When discussing focus with a group of my clients, one pointed out a verse from Proverbs that has to do with focus; here are two versions of Proverbs 17:24:

“A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” (NIV) and “Anyone with wisdom knows what makes good sense, but fools can never make up their minds.” (Contemporary English Version)

With this in mind, here at three things you must do to improve your results:

1. Make up you mind about what you want to do.

The leaves could represent different functions or industries. There may be several that would make sense for you to choose. In order for you to set the leaf on fire (win a job), you must choose one to focus your energy on. Someone sent me a resume a while back that said something like, “Seeking a management position in sales, marketing, operations, administration, human resources or finance.” Gee whiz, pick one to focus on or you won’t get hired!

2. Build a short list of target companies, organizations or agencies.

Now that you’ve chosen your leaf, decide exactly where you are going to focus the sun’s rays. Don’t swirl the light beam around thinking that you will start a bigger fire. You won’t. If someone woke you up from a deep sleep and asked what companies you’re targeting, you should be focused enough to say, “I’m targeting third-party logistics companies like Exel, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, and Eagle Global Logistics.”

3. Work tirelessly and single-mindedly to accomplish your goal.

At first, it will seem like nothing is happening. Be patient. Be steady and strong. Have faith. Remember your past success catching a leaf on fire, or listen to the wise counsel of others who have. Don’t let a failure or rejection deter you. Don’t let the contrary opinion of one or two people sway you. Don’t drop out of the race a few feet from the finish line.

Lewis Carroll, in his classic Alice in Wonderland, says Alice came to a fork in the road and saw the Cheshire Cat in a tree. “‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.’”

In job search, it does matter!

If you are blown and tossed by the wind, you may not reach your full potential – and the job God has in store for you. It may be that you would have a longer job search, earn less income, perform a less desirable job, work in a hostile environment, make a long commute, or be forced to relocate. Get focused and get results.

Paul of Tarsus was the embodiment of focus. He knew exactly what he was called to do (preach the good news and start the Christian church). He knew exactly who his audience was (first the Jew, then the Gentile), and he was totally focused on his ministry and mission (and he wouldn’t let things like the emperor of Rome, the Jewish leaders, or persecutions stop him). Paul accomplished his mission. You can too.

See you on Friday at JobSeekers; the place where a sharp focus comes into view!

Copyright © 2004-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Who’s on Your A-Team?

a-team

“I pity the fool who doesn’t have an A-Team”

Our topic this Friday is “Who’s on Your A-Team? How to knock down one obstacle at a time to achieve job search success.”

King Solomon, one of the wisest men ever, said, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed (Proverbs 15:22).” The more career coaching I do, the more important I see this as the cornerstone of an effective job campaign. People who have advisory teams get better results in less time. Come Friday and find out why.

“Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice (Proverbs 13:10).”

BTW, the person with the highest hippo score in January last year accepted a job the following week. The person with the second highest hippo score accepted a job the following week. Coincidence? I don’t think so!

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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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Looking for Hippos

Hippos #3Been looking for hippos lately? If not, I recommend you come to JobSeekers on Friday. You’ll learn to look for hippos, and then to execute them.

Hippos are one of the key elements that determine how soon and how successful you are in your job search. Hippos are also critical to sales people, sales managers, executives and entrepreneurs. Come tomorrow and learn how to find and execute “hippos.”

Hippos, by the way, are “high payoff activities.” In 24 years in the career management business, I’ve met only of handful of people who truly live by the concepts I will teach on Friday.

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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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It’s Not Who You Are, It’s Whose You Are

 Father's Love Letter


Father’s Love Letter

Some of you have not only forgotten who you are, but whose you are.

A few years ago I was working with Debra, a recently departed quality technician from a local manufacturing company. We were working on her 45-second oral introduction (I am … My background includes … One accomplishment I’m proud of is …) when she said, “I’m not just a quality technician, so I don’t want to say that.” I explained that we are different things to different people. If you are stuck in a traffic jam on Highway 54 because of a 50-foot deep sinkhole, someone from 11-Alive might point a camera at you and stick a microphone in your car window and ask how long you’ve been sitting in the backup. When you see yourself on the news that night the caption on your picture might say, “Fred Flintstone, frustrated motorist.”

Some of you are defining yourself as, “Jerry JobSeeker, unemployed.”

Friends, don’t let a former employer define who you are. Don’t let a particular person at a former employer define who you are. Don’t let the last company who failed to hire you define who you are – or the overworked HR person who hasn’t called you on the expected date. Don’t let the unseen “monsters” in cyberspace define who you are. And don’t let 11-Alive define who you are either.

None of that matters!

With that in mind, I asked Debra to write down some other “I am” statements. I don’t remember them all, but it went something like this: “I am a … quality technician, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, VBS director, Sunday school teacher, college student, program director, office technology specialist, and, I am a child of God.” When she finished she said, “I guess I should have put ‘child of God’ first.”

Notice that she didn’t write, “I am unemployed.”

Sometimes we let our current circumstances dictate our self-image. Man, if you go into a job interview or networking meeting with a poor self-image, you self-image is likely to be worse when you finish because the company isn’t going to hire you and the friend isn’t going to recommend you to anyone else.

With God’s help, you can break the cycle! Here’s how:

1. Remember whose you are – you are a child of God.

First and foremost you are a child of God. You are made in God’s image. As a father loves his children, God loves you and wants to bless you. He wants you to find joy in your life – no matter what your circumstances. He doesn’t want you to be unemployed, at least not for long. He wants you to use the gifts and abilities he has given you to bless His kingdom and to support your family. He wants you to find joy in your career.

2. Remember the good times – look expectantly toward your new job.

Remember times in your career when you were in your sweet spot. Look expectantly toward being in your sweet spot again. When I was in my first job search in 1992, I noticed a huge difference in the way people reacted to me compared to other job seekers. My attitude was, “I’m energized because I am working every day toward a worthy goal, and when I get there, man, it’s going to be great!”

3. Slow down and listen for the gentle whisper of God.

Now that you’ve stepped out of the hectic corporate world for a time, slow down and recharge your mind, body and spirit. Arm yourself for battle by drawing near to God. Pray and read the Bible. Join a Bible study class. Vocalize your feelings to God. Ask Him for the strength and confidence to overcome those terrifying feelings of self-doubt. Find scriptures that encourage you. When you do this, you will begin to hear the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit.

After I read “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale a few years ago, I created 20 Biblically-based affirmations and used them frequently in my job search in 2000. These affirmations, along with the three points above, strengthened me for the battle I fought. The first affirmation is, “I picture success. I have formulated and stamped indelibly on my mind a picture of myself succeeding. I always picture success, now matter how badly things are going at the moment.” To see the whole list, click here.

Father’s Love Letter

I found this out in cyberspace; it’s called “Father’s Love Letter.” Maybe it will help to strengthen you. It is a compilation of bible verses from both the Old and New Testaments that are presented in the form of a love letter from God to the world. Here are the first seven lines:

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. – Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. – Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. – Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. – Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. – Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being. – Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. – Acts 17:28

Click here to see and hear the entire letter.

BTW, I got the idea for the title from my very first JobSeekers meeting. I came as a participant on 11 February 2000. See you on Friday at JobSeekers, where we remember whose we are, look expectantly to the brighter days ahead, and listen for the gentle voice of God.

* Excerpt from “Father’s Love Letter” used by permission, Father Heart Communications. Copyright 1999.

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

No Meeting This Week

Declaration of Independence


4 July 1776

No meeting this week! See you at our next meeting on Friday 13 July.

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JobSeekers meets every Friday morning at First Baptist Church in Peachtree City from 7:30 to 10:00 am. Meetings are not held on the Fridays closest to Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. 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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Discouraged Workers Are Always Welcome

Discouraged workers, downcast people and depressed souls are always welcome at JobSeekers.

As I talk to job seekers over the days, weeks and years, I learn about people who are going through a period of depression. The depressed people aren’t telling me; it’s someone else who tells me about them. Oftentimes, the most depressed people don’t attend our JobSeekers meetings.

This concerns me for two reasons: first, if you are staying home on Friday mornings because you’re down, you’re making the problem worse. I’ll say more about this in a minute. Second, I’m concerned because the meetings are so upbeat, you may feel out of place.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 4:4–7

Friends, discouraged workers, downcast people and depressed souls are always welcome at JobSeekers! I can tell you with 100% certainty that every job seeker in that room on Friday mornings has battled negative thoughts and feelings if they have been looking for a job for 30 days or more. The only difference between you and them is that they may be at a peak while you are in a valley. When you are in the valley looking up, it seems everyone is better off than you. Come to JobSeekers and we will lift you up.

Mood swings come with the territory. Job search is an emotional roller coaster. If you are down, find someone else at the bottom of his or her curve and lift him or her up. I spoke to a job seeker a few days ago who took another job seeker to lunch; both were in a funk before, and now both are in better spirits. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” The best way to lift your own spirits is to pick someone else up.

If you get down and stay down, get help. God doesn’t want you there; at least not for long. He will provide resources – including other people – to help you out of the dark hole you are in. Look at what you might be doing to make the problem worse. Examine yourself mentally, physically, socially and spiritually:

1. Mentally.

Read uplifting books. Listen to motivational audios. Seek wise counsel, even professional help, if necessary. Limit your time on the computer. And, when you work on the following three areas, mental health usually takes care of itself.

2. Physically.

Optimize your diet and nutrition, rest and sleep, and exercise and activity. They form the three-legged stool of good health. Depressed people often make the problem worse by changing their habits in these areas for the worse. Eat healthier foods, drink more water, get the proper amount of rest, and exercise more often. You’ve got the time!

3. Socially.

Get out and about. Help someone else. You are making depression worse if you are staying home on Friday mornings – and every other day of the week. Lethargy sets in and depression becomes more and more difficult to overcome.

4. Spiritually.

Admit it. Confess it. Write about it. Pray about it. You’re in good company. David wrote more psalms of lament than anything else. Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet.” Old Job had more trouble than any of us will ever see. Yes, you are in good company; the person sitting next to you has been there too.

Depression is not the problem; it’s a symptom of the problem. You’ve got to figure out what the root cause is. Some say they are having a run of bad luck. You can do a lot to change your luck; it starts by laying your problems at the foot of the cross. Trust in the Lord and work wholeheartedly as God directs you.

Chuck Hodges, pastor at Athens First United Methodist, emphasizes that there’s a difference between joy and happiness. As Christians we are called to be joyful all the time (see the “Rejoice in the Lord always” passage above). We are called to be joyful, but we don’t necessarily have to happy. In fact, if you were happy about being out of work, we may need to talk!

When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he instructed them to rejoice in the Lord always; I know from personal experience that “always rejoicing” is tough to do when you are looking for a job. Friends, it is okay to be depressed while you are looking for a job; it is not okay to accept it as your fate. Decide today that, with God’s help, you will not dwell on your present circumstances; you will hope for – search for – the abundant life God has planned for you.

That’s what we do every week at JobSeekers. We rejoice. Always.

I’ve included three pictures from our meeting on 2 November 2012. Mark Hutto came to shares his good news after he landed a great job. He had been through some extremely difficult times in addition to his job search. Tiffany Lust volunteered to help me demonstrate the difference between knowledge and skill. She easily learned the steps to juggle, but couldn’t actually do it. We all fell out laughing. When Marcus Smith introduced himself, he said he wasn’t leaving until he got a good networking referral; he succeeded in seconds when devotional speaker Glen Gould  gave him one.

Dwelling on the abundant life he has in store for you – now that’s something you can be joyful about, even when times are tough! My prayer for all of you is that when you hit the bottom of the joy curve, you will claim this verse – and all of God’s promises – for yourself.

Come to JobSeekers on Friday – especially if you are weary and heavy-laden – and He will lift you up! You will find rest for your souls, hope for your heart, and strength for the week ahead.

Copyright © 2004-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved