Bouncing Back after Your LayOff

Confidence

It’s natural to sit back and think that others have it easy in their career. A free pass to a cushy career. A continuous flow of promotions, status, influence and money. But what I’ve learned as a leading Career Coach is that nobody has a free pass. Nobody. Everyone has breakdowns, meltdowns and throwdowns. But I love the quote by Zig Ziglar, “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.”

So how can you bounce after you’ve just been laid off? My last article in Huffington Post, 2016 Best Career Apps and Websites to Land Your Dream Job, helped many of you find your dream job. Now let’s focus on the next step which is how to land your dream job, even after you’ve been laid off.

Here are 3 tips from my book, “The Bounce Back“ -

1. You are the storyteller of your own career.

The way you think is everything. Getting your next job heavily depends on your mindset and how you frame your career story. If you’re sending the message that you’ve been short-changed, passed over or stepped on in your career, then hiring managers are sure to see you as someone who gets short-changed, passed over and stepped on. But if you send a strong, clear message that you’re a key contributor with some big successes under your belt, then hiring managers and Sr. leaders will take notice.

Write down 2-3 of your biggest achievements over the past three years. Now, practice saying out loud in a sentence or two how you contributed to those successes and what the impact was to the organization. For example, “I was the technical lead for a new internal tool that was launched on the SAP platform. The tool is now saving the organization $500,000 a year.” Or, “I was on the creative marketing campaign for the XYZ product which gained 3% more market share and generated one million dollars in new revenue.”

Quantify your results in terms of dollars, numbers and percentages. The key to getting more job offers, leads and opportunities is talking about your results and accomplishments. Nobody will hire you unless they know what you can do.

2. Network strategically.

You may feel like crawling under the covers, but now is the time to get out and start talking with others. Eighty percent of jobs are going to those job candidates who have a referral within the organization. That means, you need to know someone inside the company who can put their stamp of approval on you. Who do you know who could recommend you to the hiring manager?

Start by re-connecting with past managers, colleagues and customers. Networking isn’t one-sided. It’s two-sided. It’s about having a professional relationship that is mutually supportive of each other’s career. Ask how you can support them. Offer to send those in your network information that might be helpful in their job, write a recommendation for them on LinkedIn, or connect them to someone in your network who could potentially become a new client.

I understand that you had a setback, but that was just one experience with a small handful of people. Connect with others you have worked with who know the value and impact you bring to an organization. Ask if they would write a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile, or send a letter of recommendation to a hiring manger. Ask if they know of any job leads they could give you. Building a strong network of supporters will pave the way to landing your next job.

3. Framing your story after a setback.

Earlier in my career I was laid off at a small advertising agency, and within a few months bounced back as the new Regional Marketing Manager for a Fortune 100 finance company. I believe that a large part of the reason I was hired was because of the way I told my career story to the Vice President.

During the interview, the VP asked why I left my last company. I talked about how it was a great company and how much I loved my role and responsibilities. Then, I addressed the reason for my layoff which was, “I didn’t realize when I took the position that I was expected to fill the shoes of two employees. Even though I had some big results and was good at my job, I just simply couldn’t fill both of their shoes.” That was it. Enough said. Calm, confident and succinct. The VP didn’t ask any follow-up questions about my previous situation. Two days later he hired me.

It’s not the setback that holds you back, but how you internalize the setback that is pivotal to bouncing back. Everyone has setbacks in their career. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. Don’t let a negative experience stop you from moving your career forward. The key is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, tap your network, and frame your career story with confidence.

Your next career opportunity is out there – now go get it! :)

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Leading Career Coach Sherri ThomasSherri Thomas is a Career Strategist. She teaches others how to think differently and more proactively in their career. Her book, “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback” was named “Best Career Book” by the Indie Book Awards. Her first book, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a powerful personal brand” has been #3 on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. As the Founder/President of Career Coaching 360, Sherri teaches training professionals, managers and executives how to change, reinvent or advance their career. Sign up for her new 3-part free video training series “15 Clever Ways to Get More Job Offers” at CareerCoaching360.com

Hottest Jobs, Highest Paying Companies and Fastest Growing Industries in 2016

Wow, I’m so thrilled!  I just received some really exciting news!  Arriana Huffington sent me a personal note inviting me to be a Huffington Post career columnist so I’m writing to share with you my recently published article, “Hottest Jobs, Highest Paying Companies and Fastest Growing Industries of 2016.”

Career Coach Sherri Thomas

Daydreaming of a new job? With the unemployment rate hovering at 5 percent, and companies hiring an average of 284,000 employees per month over the past 3 months (the best 3-month pace in a year) there couldn’t be a better time to shoot for the moon and land your dream job.

But what if you’re not certain what that dream job is? For a little help, check out US News & Money’s 100 Best Jobs list based on employment opportunity, salary, work/life balance and job security, and Forbes list of 10 Toughest Jobs to Fill for 2016 for jobs that are in high-demand and have have less competition, higher salaries and more market demand. If your niche is banking or finance, then you may want to check out Wall Street’s 10 Most In-Demand Jobs for 2016 published by Bloomberg Business.

Which jobs are trending in 2016? I love Glassdoor’s current trends web page which allows you to view hot trends by location, industry and job title. Also, this special report by US News & Money, 5 Trends for Job Seekers in 2016 provides some excellent tips to help you get your foot in the door including how to best leverage a talent community in your niche.

Want a beefier paycheck? Then check out 30 Highest Paying Jobs in America by Business Insider which features data compiled by the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates survey. Ka-ching!

Click here to read my full article on Huffington Post…

 

 

Become the Rainmaker in Your Own Career

If you want more options, more choices or even a completely different career, there is one surefire way to get it – become your own rainmaker.

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Earlier in my career, I was laid off three times in twelve months (I refer to it as the “3-bang lay-off” in my book, “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback.”) I realized that the universe was trying to tell me something BIG and what I needed to do was take control over my career. I needed to stop being so reactive and become more proactive.

Back then, I applied for every job opening I heard about within a 100-mile radius and if someone wanted to hire me, I’d go work for him. Or if my manager said, “Go lead that team”, I would go lead that team. But being complacent and compliant wasn’t getting me anywhere.

Fast forward to today where I’m working full time at a Fortune 100 company (14 years and counting…) leading management and career training, as well as having a side gig as a leading career coach and award-winning author.

How did it happen? I became my own rainmaker. In other words, I found and created my own career opportunities by following these three simple strategies –

  1. Taking my career into my own hands.

    I no longer feel “safe” working inside a company. I love the challenge, but with all of the downsizing, mergers and re-orgs going on I was in a constant state of worrying about “what if’s.” So I decided to follow my heart, my passion and my intuition and mitigated my full-time job by starting my own side gig – as a career coach.

    I never dreamed of being an entrepreneur, but I did have a strong desire to be the master of my own career domain. So I decided to write, speak and coach others on something I knew about – career rebranding. Since I had successfully worked in several industries including radio, television, finance and high-tech, as well as various job roles such as DJ, advertising producer and marketing manager, I invested three months to write my first book called, “Career Smart – Five Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand.”

    When I took my career into my own hands – doors started opening. The book led to media interviews, consulting contracts and a few clients. What that experience taught me is that the universe will provide us with opportunities when we 1) move in the right direction, and 2) step up. The point is to share your expertise. When you start teaching, mentoring and leading others on a topic you are passionate about – opportunities will chase you down. J

  2. Finding my balance.

    When you do work that you enjoy – it fills you with energy. When you work on things you dislike, it drains you. I’m now able to do more of the work that I love by having rich, meaningful conversations with my manager about what I enjoy, and where I can add the most value to the department. It didn’t happen overnight but once I was able to articulate what I enjoyed doing, my manager was able to re-assign some of my less fulfilling work and give me more of those projects and assignments that infuse me with energy.

    I’m also able to pick and choose the opportunities from my side gig that energize me. If a client seems particularly picky or fussy, then I don’t take them on. If a speaking opportunity isn’t worth taking a vacation day for, then I decline it. If there’s work I don’t enjoy doing (website maintenance, email communications, etc.) then I contract it out.

    When my full-time day job gets demanding, then I put my side gig activities on hold. What I know for sure is that I’m the architect of finding my own balance. Every day, we make decisions regarding when and how we spend our time. It’s been a learning process (and still is), but I’m now able to identify and prioritize the kind of work that fulfills and energizes me.

  3. Creating a pipeline of opportunities.

I’ve had a full-time training job and my own side gig for the past five years, and I’ve realized that some of things I do (coaching, training, speaking, etc.) create opportunities for me; however, I never know exactly which activities will create those opportunities. For example, after I speak at some events I’ll receive an invitation to speak at a bigger, higher paying event. But I never know which events will bring me those lucrative opportunities.

What I’ve learned is to follow what I love doing. For me that includes coaching, training and speaking. When I’m doing any of those activities I’m fully present, passionate and excited to be helping others find their best career. I don’t do them because they bring me opportunities – I do them because they energize and fulfill me, and as a result, some bring opportunities. My desire outweighs any expectations.

Some opportunities I decline, and some I accept. But no matter what I’ve found that the more opportunities I have, the more empowered I feel. It’s empowering to know that I have choices and that I am the driver in my own career. Whether you want to make one small change or a complete overhaul in your career, start today to make it happen. Become the rainmaker in your own career so that you can do meaningful, purposeful work and feel valued, appreciated and energized. I’m here to cheer you on and say that you really can create a career that you love – you just have to get in the driver’s seat and make it happen! :)

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Leading Career Coach Sherri ThomasSherri Thomas is a Career Strategist. She teaches others how to think differently and more proactively in their career. Her book, “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback” was named “Best Career Book” by the Indie Book Awards. Her first book, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a powerful personal brand” has been #3 on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. As the Founder/President of Career Coaching 360, Sherri teaches training professionals, managers and executives how to change, reinvent or advance their career. Sign up for her new 3-part free video training series “15 Clever Ways to Get More Job Offers” at CareerCoaching360.com

Power Up Your "Career Confidence"

You are the “story teller” of your own career.

Every day, people are creating perceptions and making assumptions about you based on what you're telling them. If you're sending the message that you've been short-changed, passed over or stepped on in your career, then people will see you as someone who doesn't have much value in the workplace.

BUT(!) if you're send a strong, clear message that you're a key contributor with some big successes under your belt, then managers, hiring managers and Sr. leaders will be more likely to give you job leads, job offers and bigger career opportunities.

Here are a few tips to help you frame your “career story”…

  1. Stop being so humble.

Being humble is a career stifller. Yes, it’s a nice quality to have, but if you never talk about some of the successes you’ve had in the workplace, then your career is sure to sit on a shelf for the next 10 years.

I had lunch yesterday with one of my best friends from college, Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils! :)) who became an Emmy winning TV news reporter for NBC-TV in Phoenix.  Now, at 50-years old, he has his own company AZ Freelance TV advising Corporate leaders as a Media Strategist. He told me that he’s ready to expand his business, but “I'm not the type of person to brag about myself.”  This is a man who has interviewed three (3) U.S. Presidents (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.)

Seriously? How would anyone ever know to hire him if he didn't talk about his successes?

Talking about your accomplishments builds your credibility. It lets people know what you’re good at, what you can handle and what you can accomplish. It makes you stand out from the crowd. If you want to get noticed, then you’ll need to learn how to talk about your achievements, not in an arrogant kind of way, but more in an “I’m a key contributor who gets big results” kind of way.

Write down 2-3 of your biggest achievements over the past three years. Now, practice saying out loud in a sentence or two how you contributed to those successes and what the impact was to the organization. For example, “I was the technical lead for a new internal tool that was launched on the SAP platform. The tool is now saving the group $100,000 a year.” Or, “I was on the creative marketing campaign for the xyz product which helped the company gain 3% more market share.”

The key to getting more job offers, leads and opportunities is leaning how to talk about your successes. Nobody will know what you’ve accomplished unless you tell them.

2. Frame your story in a positive way.

One of my favorite chapters in my new book, “The Bounce Back” gives strategies on how to frame your story to hiring managers after you’ve been laid off or experienced a career setback. Managers, Sr. leaders, customers, and hiring managers create their perception of you based on what you tell them. If you talk about your career in a positive, confident way – then they are going to think of you as a positive and confident employee.

Earlier in my career I was laid off at a small advertising agency.  A few months later, I bounced back and was hired as the Regional Marketing Manager for a Fortune 100 company. I believe that a large part of the reason I was hired was because of the way I told my career story to the Vice President. During the interview, I talked about how the company that laid me off was a great company and how much I loved my role and responsibilities. I truly believed in what I was saying and so my tone was very genuine. Then, I addressed the reason for my layoff which was, “I didn’t realize when I took the position that I was expected to fill the shoes of two employees. Even though I had some big results and was good at my job, I just simply couldn’t fill both of their shoes.” The VP called me the next day to tell me I was hired.

Everybody has setbacks in their career.  E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y.  It's not the setback that holds you back, but how you internalize the setback. The key is to frame your career story in the most positive, honest and confident way possible.

3. Don’t take yourself out of the game because you fumbled.

I had a TV interview a few months ago and the reporter asked about my book. I froze up. I got nervous, said “umm” and garbled out a few lame sentences. Man-oh-man, I wish I could have a do-over.

It happens to all of us. Whether it’s a job interview, a big presentation or the perfect networking opportunity – sometimes, we just freeze up. It happens, and it happens to everyone. The key is not to beat yourself up. And don’t shy away from future opportunities to give a big presentation or go on job interviews. The lesson is to learn from the situation and then do better next time.

Keep looking for opportunities to step into the spotlight and tell your story again and again. If you fumbled a presentation, then go ask the team leader if you can present it again with some new data that you just received. If you fumbled a job interview, then send an e-mail to the interviewer providing a little more clarity on your experience or area of expertise. For me, I wrote to the TV reporter and tee'd up a few more tips out of my book to share with her viewers, and then had a follow-up interview.

Sometimes a do-over isn’t possible, and if that’s the case, then just get on with looking for your next opportunity and be ready to strut your stuff. Don’t let a negative experience stop you from moving your career forward. Get out there, find your voice and share your career story with confidence. Your next career opportunity is out there – you just have to go find it! ;)

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist. She teaches others how to think differently and more proactively in their career. Her book, ”The Bounce Back” is the 2013 winner of “Best Career Book” by Indie Book Awards for independent book authors. Her first book is on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a powerful personal brand.” As the Founder/President of Career Coaching 360.   Sherri specializes in providing one-on-one coaching to professionals and executives who want to change, reinvent or advance their career.

For a limited time, you can download the three FREE chapters of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

Sherri offers personal one-on-one career coaching to professionals who want to change their career.  Learn more: www.CareerCoaching360.com 

The Bounce Back by Sherri Thomas             

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3 Clever Ways to Create More Career Opportunities

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Who is really responsible for your career? 

Who is the decision maker?

Who is the driver? 

You are. 

If you’re in a career that fills you with small-ness, resentment, anger, boredom, regret or frustration, then it’s time to ask yourself two questions… “How much longer will I accept this situation?”  And, “What can I do to change it?”

Well, I can’t help you answer the first question, but I can give you some ideas and suggestions for the second question.  :-D

I believe that we are all the architect of our own career and we each have the ability to create a career that gives us meaning, purpose and joy.  In order to do that, you must become a rainmaker for yourself.  In other words, you must master the art of creating and identifying career opportunities. 

There are three kinds of opportunities you’ll need to master –

1.  Banked opportunities. 

These are opportunities that land in your lap and you say, “Yes, please!”   These are gifts that you willingly accept and cash in such as a new job, promotion, higher paycheck, or an opportunity to lead a bigger, higher profile or more exciting projects and teams. These are the opportunities you’ve worked so hard for, and then one day, they plop down in your lap.  These are the most popular and eeeeeasiest kinds of opportunities to receive. 

2.  Deflected opportunities. 

These are opportunities that land in your lap and you say, “Nope.”  An opportunity comes knocking and without blinking an eye, you’ve all-too-quickly assessed that you’re too busy, too inexperienced, or too unworthy… or that the assignment is too big, too intimidating or too off-your-radar to accept it. 

Twice I turned down a promotion when I was a disc jockey at a radio station in Monterey, California to become morning show host because it terrified me and I didn’t think I was good enough.  I made a deal with my mentor that if the General Manager asked me a third time, I would take the promotion. Fortunately, he did.  And fortunately, I did.  What a wonderful, beautiful, awesome experience it was. 

Three times I foolishly turned down a volunteer position on the national council of the American Marketing Association because I didn’t think I had time.  I finally accepted, and that amazing position turned out to give me the leadership skills and marketing expertise I needed to land my 6-figure job at a high tech Fortune 100 company.

Stop selling yourself short and wasting your opportunities by saying “no” because they don’t fit in your ridiculously tight career box.  Open up the top of your box. Give yourself breathing room to stretch, grow and learn.  Maybe the universe does have a better plan for you.  Maybe the universe is your biggest cheerleader and trying to give you opportunities to advance.  Stop saying “no”, and re-train yourself to say “yes.”
     

3.  Hidden opportunities. 

These are opportunities that are there for you – but you must go find or create them.  These are the most missed opportunities of all.

Today, I’ve been working at a Fortune 100 company for 13 years and recently my department went through a grueling re-org.  My boss left the company, her boss left the company and many of my peers left.  My world was crumbling. I found myself in quicksand and sinking fast.  The only way I could find another internal job and get the recommendations I would need in order to stay with the company, would be to reach out to my internal network and ask for help.  It felt embarrassing to send out a note asking for help.  But after I did, within 48 hours I received 2 job offers, 3 leads, and 2 letters of recommendation.  I wouldn’t have received anything if I hadn’t reached out and asked for help. 

In my recent book, “The Bounce Back”, Cindy Hoyme talks about how she reached out to her network when she needed a new job.  Within 3 weeks she had 4 job offers. Would she have had those job offers if she hadn’t asked her contacts for help?  No.  She possibly, may have found other job leads, but without the recommendations from her network, it’s highly unlikely she would have been hired.

Vid Vidyasagara talks about how he went from being a stagnated, under-challenged project manager to becoming a Sr. manager by asking if he could join two high-profile programs.  Would he have received a promotion had he not volunteered for bigger, higher profile projects?  No.

A client of mine, John, created and sold his vision of a new career path for him and his team to Sr. leaders where he works, and now he’s on his way to more promotions, advancement and a higher paycheck.  Would this have happened had he not met with Sr. leaders?  No.  

Hidden opportunities are around us all the time.  ALL THE TIME.  They just require a little extra work.  They require that you to do a little hunting and digging to seek them out. If you’re looking for a job have you reached out to your network to ask for job leads and recommendations?   If you want a promotion have you stepped up to take on more responsibilities and lead higher profile projects?  If you’ve reached the top of your career path inside an organization have you tried negotiating with Sr. managers to create a new or extended career path?  

Never let your career stall. Instead, step up and take control.  Go find your hidden gems.  Go collect all those opportunities that are yours to find and keep. Get your BOLD on, and start mastering the art of banked, deflected and hidden opportunities.  Once you do, your cup will runneth over 8-)

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of the award winning book “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” – which is on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. She is also President and Founder of Career Coaching 360 which provides resume help, interviewing support, and personal career coaching packages for executives and professionals who want to change their career.

For a limited time, you can download the three FREE chapters of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com 

The Bounce Back by Sherri Thomas

 
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Would you leave your safe, miserable job for the chance at something better?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In doing research for my newly published book, “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback”, I interviewed over a hundred professionals who bounced back successfully and discovered that each one was successful because of the decision to take action.

There’s a great story in the book about an NBC-TV emmy award winning Sr. News Reporter.  

He loved his job but after 20 years in the same job role, he wanted to advance into a news anchor position. When his boss told him it wasn’t going to happen, he took action.  He walked away from his successful job and paycheck, and started a very successful media communications and coaching business, AZFreelanceTV.com

Another story came from a single mother who had been successful in the healthcare industry for 10+ years. 

She had a good job and a good paycheck, but she wanted more challenge and a bigger paycheck.  So she set her sights on a new job role and enrolled to go back to school and get an advanced degree. 

She talks about how her boss was completely unsupportive and wouldn’t accommodate her schedule so that she could take a night class on Wednesday nights. He tried to demoralize her by saying things like, “Stop bragging about going back to school.  You’re no better than the rest of us.” So instead of allowing an unsupportive manager squish her dreams, she took action. She quit her full-time job to take a part-time job so that she could get her degree. Today she’s living her dream.

Would you leave your safe, miserable job for the chance at something better?

Just because you get hired in a job, doesn’t mean that you have to stay there forever. Your drive and passion can change over time, and with that, may come the need to change your career. Career changes are hard, but a key lesson from the bounce back achievers is that YOU need to drive your career.  Decide what you really want in your career and then go after it!  Don’t let someone else determine what you can and cannot do.  It’s your career – own it! 8-)

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of “The Bounce Back” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand. “ Get more tips and strategies on how you can bounce back from a layoff, re-org, bad manager or other career threatening setback in my new book, “The Bounce Back” now available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.  You can download the three FREE chapters of THE BOUNCE BACK at http://www.MyBounceBack.com 

The Bounce Back by Sherri Thomas