Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships


Motivational Counseling As An Essential Tool in Job Search Process

By: Stephen Colella

Having operated the job club here in Rhode Island since the Fall of 2009, the average person participating in the program has been unemployed an average of 77 weeks. During this period of unemployment many challenges and hardships have arisen.

When an individual is out of work for an extended period of time they begin to lose confidence in their skills and abilities, they lose dignity, respect, self worth, inability to pay bills and feed their families. As a result they become despondent and lack motivation and desire to believe the job search process can work for them. They feel as if they have lost their role in society, to be productive and work. They send out resumes and job applications with little or in most cases no response from prospective employers. They begin to believe they have no skills and abilities and nothing to offer. Many of the individuals are doing job search individually with no support or encouragement from friends or even family members and eventually this leads to a decrease in motivation and desire to seek employment.


For these exact reasons I initiate resume development early in the job club process (week 2). It is essential for job club participants to realize and understand that for the most part they have good work skills and experience which have  been documented over the years. It is essential to see those skills and abilities professionally summarized on a resume. Through no fault of their own they are unemployed either through layoffs, downsizing of companies or relocation.


Combining motivational counseling in a group setting individuals soon learn they are not alone in the quest to seek employment. They are not alone in their inability to find a job or in feeling a lack of self respect or believing they have nothing to offer. Group support, encouragement and motivational counseling are essential in assisting an individual to believe the job search process can be successful. In a tight job market, attitude, confidence and the ability to articulate skills and abilities to a prospective employer often is the difference in the hiring process.




Step Away from the Ledge

By Jennifer Oliver O’Connell

With over two years of unemployment, partial employment and contract work, I have been forced to become quite skilled at keeping up with the latest trends in the job market; for my own self-preservation, as well as for the group of career transitioners and job seekers that I facilitate.  As luck would have it, I am now sought out by other online and face-to-face groups to speak or to act as a subject-matter expert on this.  Jeeze--who would have thought what I was looking for in my former career in legal IT, I would find through helping others?  I'm a rock star, without the spandex and loud music.

So I diligently keep up on the latest and greatest regarding this recession, the job market and maintaining your skills in order to move back into the workforce, market yourself more precisely, or to build your own business.

I often watch with a jaundiced eye as the news media blows smoke up our collective you-know-whats to try to prop up a meme that is clearly in a deteriorative state.  Then the next day, they come up with a different set of reasons and numbers that belie what they said yesterday.  One week politicians and experts are crowing over the economy improving and jobless claims going down.  Then another week passes, and those in the know are shocked, SHOCKED that jobless claims are up again.  It's enough to make you want to take a dive off Mount Wilson--or your balcony, which is probably closer.  So, who do you believe? More importantly, What do you believe?

I encourage my Tuesdays with Transitioners ( members and other job seekers I encounter to keep their wits about them, keep putting themselves out there, and most essential: Know your worth.  Unless you are able to maintain confidence and your own viability and marketability, and be able to convince employers of this, you’re basically toast.

Take note of the market signs around you, but don’t necessarily believe what is being reported.  I recommend paying attention to what others in the workforce are seeing/experiencing, and what is going on with the companies or industries where you would like to find employment.  They have websites, Twitter and Facebook pages—bookmark, and start to follow them.  Companies, both small and large are what will make or break this economy, and the media and experts are often behind the curve on what is truly happening.

Many of the Tuesdays members are starting to get more calls, and a few have even landed the elusive golden goose: A full-time job.  Sometimes this has taken one interview, sometimes several.  There is light at the end of the tunnel, and you are being paid attention to; you just may not be aware of by whom, or to what degree.  I recently received a call from a legal recruiter who saw my resume on Yahoo! HotJobs, but held on to my information until the market started to pick up.  Once she recognized signs of life and had some viable openings, she chose to make contact.  So, it pays to become aware, to market yourself, and recognize how that marketing can pay off.

How long you have been out of work is also not a factor--it's a Jedi mind trick of the media and certain companies that want to make you think this holds significant weight.  What matters is whether you and your skills are a fit with a company and how much they need your particular expertise.  From what I hear from my recruiter contacts, there is no rhyme or reason to WHY they hire one over the other (even though they may claim that there is). What is true is that employers are looking for, and hiring good quality candidates.  However, they are increasingly doing it through alternative means: volunteer staff who become permanent staff, new media marketing, employee referrals, and networking through support groups like People Between Jobs, Pink Slip Mixers, and Tuesdays with Transitioners.  These alternative means are becoming the norm, and the savvy job seeker should be paying attention.

The signs of the market in terms of viable industries, who are the hiring managers, and your own marketability are what you pay attention to; not the latest trends, numbers or smoke-and-mirrors blathering.  It will help to keep you off of the ledge.


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