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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
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The Play: “I’ve Lost My Job”

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We also advise our students that networking is best accomplished well before anyone actually needs anything. Earned “networking capital” by helping others can be the key to a shorter job search. People who have helped others tend to be in a better position to request assistance.

Spread the word that you are looking for a new opportunity. Never underestimate the value of your network to be able to assist you. It is very important to avoid looking desperate. You may really need to find employment quickly, but desperation makes one look less desirable, not more.

Touro-052413-MazeJoining a job search group can be a great way to keep yourself motivated and to find the kind of warmth and support that can assist you both with advice and empathy as you search. Continuing (or enhancing) your tzeddakah and volunteer work is another great way to imbue your days with meaning. They are also a great way to expand your network and demonstrate your capabilities to a larger group of people.

Mass resume e-mail blasts on the odd chance that someone you barely even know may find it are a poor choice. Why? Have you responded to a mass e-mail resume from someone in the community? Chances are you probably have not, and those same chances apply to your attempt as well

Begging and pleading for that shot or constantly posting on social media sites and shul e-mail lists can create an impression that you are not easily employable. That impression can have a devastating impact on a job search.

Make sure that you create a winning LinkedIn profile that highlights your skills. We have addressed the primary components of a LinkedIn profile in a previous column, but to reiterate: to avoid appearing desperate, never place the “job seeker” badge on your LinkedIn profile and never use “in transition” or “seeking new opportunities” as your status or headline.

LinkedIn allows you to create a link to your profile highlighting your name, for example linkedin.com/in/firstnamelastname. Include that link with all of your regular e-mails. That way, anyone who is interested has an easy way to find out more about you. A personal website is also a great way to spread the word. The typical format for such a website is FirstnameLastname.com.

Keep track of the resumes and applications you’ve sent so that you can follow-up as appropriate. This will also help you prevent applying for the same position multiple times. It is also advisable to target the jobs you apply for within a single company. A company’s Human Resources department generally tracks multiple applications, and you don’t want to be known as the person who indiscriminately applies for everything.

Let’s add an important note to the spouses (or parents) of the recently unemployed. Monetary issues can be an enormous source of stress in our lives. The income lost may be absolutely vital for your family, but familial support can go a long way in making a difficult job search easier. Hardworking people know that they need to find new employment as soon as they can, and constant reminders or complaints about inadequate effort tend to work against most job seekers. Chances are your spouse (or child) understands that his or her job is essential for the family. It’s also quite likely that he or she wants to get a job much more than you do. A job search is challenging enough without the added shalom bayis dimension. Your support and encouragement will go a lot further than your threats or insults ever could. To put it another way, your goal is to try and reduce the job search burden, not to increase it.

Scene Four – The Conclusion

Even the most secure looking jobs may not always remain so. Unexpected job loss can happen to anyone. Even while you are gainfully employed, make sure to keep an updated resume and LinkedIn profile and create as much “networking capital” as you can. Help others in their job search, if and when you can, either with leads or simple support. That capital can be essential if you find yourself looking in the future.

This is also a time to ask for spiritual assistance. Not to ask the Almighty for a high-level position at Goldman Sachs, but for the type of employment that will work best for you and your family – wherever and whatever that may be.

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