At the risk of being redundant, I am compelled to address an issue that many people have been concerned with. The other day, I had a conversation with a client and a good friend. We had not spoken in a few months, so I gave her a call to catch up. She sounded aloof and down, which is not her normal ‘spit fire’ disposition. ‘What’s going on, my friend, you do not sound like your normal ball of energy self’, I inquired. She responded with a big, heavy heart sigh, and then shared with me that she is really struggling to stay motivated, and this is effecting her ability to keep her team motivated and positive. She then shared that within the last month they had a reduction of force and she had to lay off 40 employees. ‘Perhaps you should start searching for a new position for me’, she said.
‘Nonsense’, I said. ‘You are a loyal, tenured employee that has true passion for both your job and the company’. And to quote how Cher so eloquently stated in Moonstruck, ‘Snap out of it!’ She laughed and brightened up, and replied, ‘What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger.’
I realize that these are hard times. Are they tumultuous times, I think not. Are they uncertain, when aren’t they. I spoke with a candidate a few weeks ago, a stellar guy that for years has been my ‘go to’ person for when I am seeking referrals. He told me that his company just laid off 108 employees, and he was one of them. We have all been in this playing field before, either a survivor of a layoff, or a product of reduction of force.
Being laid off is everyone’s fear. You can not let it run your life! I had a friend laid off and I went to check in on her. She was still in my pajamas at 4 in the afternoon. ‘What in the h#@% are you doing?’ I asked. She just shrugged it off. ‘If I were you I would take this time to ramp yourself up, sharpen your mind, recreate yourself.’ After I left, she thought about it long and hard. I got off the pity pot, and went to work. She started exercising 4 hours a day, she pulled out her paints and canvas, and joined a book club. Most importantly, she made a business plan. She treated unemployment like a full time job, and created a structure for herself. Not long afterward, she embraced ‘outside the box’ thinking, and had several interviews set up in industries she would not have thought compatible with her experience. A direction that inevitably lead her to her dream job. This was all due to the miracle of positive thinking.
With that said, and to repeat again, we have all been on one side of the fence or the other at one time. A survivor of layoffs, or a product of reduction of force.
One day I would like to share my journey of ‘out of the box’ thinking that brought me to where I am today.
Thanks for reading!
As a recruiter, we have to do many “awkward” things. Such as; sending cold emails. We do still do the “cold calling” but with the world hiding behind screens nowadays….it is easier to follow the trend.
Anyone looking to make connections in their career or life should take advantage of cold emailing, a largely untapped resource that can help you find direction and even a fulfilling career. Here are just a few tips to help you shake off the nerves and send a cold email that’s sure to impress any recipient.
WHY SEND A COLD EMAIL
If you’re looking to connect with a potential client, network in a new city, or even make friends with someone in your industry, sending a cold email can be a great way to get the ball rolling. Setting up informational interviews or casual coffee meetings with someone you want to learn more from can be super beneficial to your personal and professional life.
Reaching out to someone that you want to get to know is flattering for them, so don’t let your worries about getting in contact with a stranger deter you from sending a cold email. You just have to make sure that you send the right message to the right person. If you’re thinking of applying for a new job at a public relations firm, email someone in the same or a similar position that you’re applying for. If you want to increase your blog quality and engagement, find a blogger in a similar genre to what you’re looking to create.
CRAFTING YOUR MESSAGE
When crafting your cold email, keep things concise, professional and easy. The goal is to reach your goal with as little back-and-forth as possible. You don’t want to waste any of their limited time since they’re already giving you some of it by opening your email.
What you write depends on what you want. Be direct about your intentions.
Before you sit down to write, you should start by asking yourself these questions:
- What do I hope to gain from this interaction?
What you write depends on what you want. Maybe you’re looking to change industries and want to meet up with someone to see what the work is really like. Or you’re looking to get involved with an organization in your community, but would like to know more first. Be direct about your intentions.
- What do I have in common with this person?
Did you both attend the same university for undergrad? Do you have a friend or a previous employer in common? Mention it in your email. The person you’re reaching out to will be more likely to help you out if you share common interests or experiences.
Once you figure out who you want to email and what you need from them, format your email like this:
- Start by introducing yourself, telling the person what you do
- Note your common acquaintance(s) or shared interest
- Clearly outline how you think they can help you
- Include a direct ask, specifically a call-to-action. Do you just want to send them some questions about their job? Do you want to meet up and and potentially gain a new mentor? Include the specifics so they know how to respond
- If you’re looking to schedule a time to talk to them, make sure to include your availability so booking a meeting requires as few emails as possibleOnce you’ve sent your email, it’s time to be patient and wait it out. Don’t hound the person until they respond to you. Give them a two-week window to respond before you follow up. If you haven’t heard from them in that span of time, follow up in a reply to your previous email so that they see both messages in the same thread. If they don’t respond after your follow-up, you may want to move on to someone in a similar position and see if they’d be interested in helping you out.FOLLOW THROUGH AND FOLLOW UP
- If the person agrees to meet up with you or answer some questions via email, be courteous, punctual, and respectful of their time. There’s no shame in getting right down to business when you finally meet. You should treat it the same as you would a job interview, whether the purpose of the conversation is personal or professional. And be sure to follow up within 24 hours to thank them for taking the time to make your career journey a little easier.
- If you do meet with them to talk about their employer or industry, don’t show up expecting to hear that it’s an amazing place to work or thinking that this meeting is going to get you a job. Be honest with them and yourself about your expectations. If you really want to get the inside scoop on PR and marketing for a non-profit, then show up only expecting to have a conversation and learn something. If anything more comes out of it, that’ll just be a bonus.
- KEEP YOUR EXPECTATIONS REALISTIC
Finding a new job is an exciting time! Re-doing your resume, researching companies you believe are the “right fit” for you. As a reward, you finally got that expected phone call booking an interview at your favorite company. Congratulations!
However, even though you have constantly dreamed about it, it is completely understandable if fear invades you just after you hung up. Interviews can be very unsettling as you have no idea of what they will ask you. Who will be interviewing you? What questions will they ask? Don’t overthink!
Preparation is the key in these situations. These are a couple questions that are a bit tricky. Good luck!
1 – Have you ever had a bad experience with a previous job?
Here what really matters is how you dealt with the situation. Of course, you won’t tell anything that could disqualify you, such as being suspended. But be honest about what happened and make sure that you explain in detail how you manage to turn the experience into a good lesson.
2 – Why have you been out of work for so long?
This is a very tricky one, especially if you have been out of work for something that few companies might still see as a problem, such as depression. If this is the case, try to be as vague as possible and move the conversation to how you have managed to keep your skills updated and your network shining. When the reason is something like a sabbatical, prove to them how your experiences have made you an even better professional.
3 – What is your biggest weakness?
The most famous tricky question of them all is certainly this one. As a favorite of any interviewer, you should be prepared to answer it in a positive way. And all that you have to do is to talk about something that is considered as a weakness but that has a positive outcome – some of the best options available are to say that you get impatient when you can’t meet your goals, or that you are a perfectionist, because you want your work to be flawless.
4 – What you dislike the most about a corporative environment?
Another one hard to be answered directly. What your interviewer might be looking for is to identify bad team workers. So find a way to show that there isn’t anything that you dislike in a corporative environment in general, but maybe how some companies might go wrong about it.
5 – Tell about a day when you messed up at work
Don’t even try to lie here and say that you have never messed up. Not being able to admit failure is a fast way not to get the job. What you need to prove instead is that you have learned from your mistakes and that you will not do it again.
6 – How would you deliver bad news to a colleague?
Answering this question will show how capable you are to deal with stressful situations, especially those that involve emotion. Plus, you will be able to show off your diplomatic and communicational skills at the highest level.
7 – Will you be out to take my job?
Sure you will, but you wouldn’t say that, would you? The best way to answer this question is saying that you are happy with the position offered at the moment and try to deal with it as a joke if possible.
8 – How will I know that you aren’t going to change careers again?
If you have changed careers is very likely that you will hear this question. So be prepared to say that you have made up your mind about what you want professionally from now on. Also, let they know the bright side of the story and how your previous career can add value to their company.
9 – Why did you left your last job?
With this question, they want to know if you just angrily stormed out. Ensure that you explain the circumstances but also how you broke the news to your previous employers, if you helped them to find a replacement and how you supported the transitional process.
10 – You have been fired from your last job. How did it make you feel?
The point here is to show that you aren’t short-tempered and that you didn’t keep any grudge from your previous
Interviews should be a fun challenge! This is your time to shine as an employee. Don’t overthink an interview. Be prepared and research before. Look the part! You got this!