I said I would keep you updated on how things are going along the layoff process at work. This also helps me organize my thoughts and the information I receive, so I appreciate your time.

Notification was sent around that those who made it to April 30th would receive a severance of 4 weeks (which would be taxed at the "gift rate" which is around 35-40%) as a lump sum check. Also, we found out this week that our annual reviews were finished and raises were given, most all of the people I spoke to got the most they had ever received from the company. These raises will get us through for the last 4 paychecks and final severance and of course will help if unemployment benefits is in the future.

The company has been doing a good job of trying not to leave us dangling but to be prepared. Last week they brought in HR people who spoke with who ever was interested in moving to other cities within the company. Some places have bonuses if you go to them, some do not and the bonuses appear to be available in those places where the turnover rate is highest and pay lowest.

Next week the company will be have a state representative come in and give a 2 hour meeting on the state's unemployment benefits and how the process works. Since I have never used unemployment, I signed up for that meeting right away.

This week they brought in a subsidiary company of Manpower, called Right Management and have paid them for two months of help for each employee that signs up with them. Right Management had a 90 minute meeting with us to go over what they do - They aren't a job placement company but instead help people tweak their resumes and interview skills so that they stand out among the crowd.

I know I need help with my interview skills and I'm not a young chicken any longer, I have years of clucking experience so I want to make sure I am appealling to whomever I peck at. :)

Really quickly here are some comments that stood out from the meeting:
- 4 out of 10 interviewees respond with a thank you card or email after the interview is over
- 80% percent of resumes don't include the person's accomplishments 
- Most interviewees have no focused answer to the statement, "tell me about yourself" 
- If you are fired from a job, always tell the truth and practice what you want to say
- If you are laid off from a job, give the business reasons, don't get personal

The biggest part of the meeting was just getting comfortable with talking about our accomplishments. We had to go around the room and give our name and title and then talk about something we are proud of and where we want to go into the future. We are trained (especially woman) to not talk about ourselves, to be humble and just do our job. When we were asked to look over our professional life or personal life it is hard to think of something we are proud of. I noticed most of the men in the room thought of something professional, and most of the women thought of something personal. Just interesting, that's all.

One of the items the speaker mentioned about finding out what our accomplishments was to think about all the times we have been challenged and those are our accomplishments. Those times we have saved the day or simply made someone happy.
Challenge + Action +Results = Accomplishments

And in answer to that statement, "Tell me about yourself", we want to answer with a 30-60 second 'commercial' about ourselves.
Most recently (background)....
I am best known (accomplishments)...
My next step is (future goals with company)...

This isn't going to be something that is done for us, from here on out we have to go over our yearly reviews and keep our eyes open to challenges that will help jog our memory so we can get a list of accomplishments on the ready. The speaker suggested we keep a notepad handy to jot these situations down or save a word file. Recently I saw that Lifehacker put out a post on Setting Up a Praise Folder to Track Successes for Performance Reviews, Resume Boosts, so I made sure to tag that post for reference.

I think the best part about the meeting with Right Management was that it gave me hope, there are improvements that I can make which will market my product (me) better. Of course whether that is working for someone else or someday working for myself, what I learn through this will certainly help in the future.

Billboard courtesy of Adam UXB Smith


  1. Hollis Colquhoun // Monday, March 01, 2010 10:12:00 AM  

    Best of luck with your personal "branding" and job-seeking. I went through the same thing several years ago and had to really contemplate what I had done and what I wanted to do. It turns out, I really enjoy writing and helping people become financially educated, especially women and young adults, so I became licensed (again), wrote a book and helped form a nonprofit to financially empower women.

  2. Dawn // Monday, March 01, 2010 10:38:00 AM  

    Thanks for the advise and hope... hadn't thought of a nonprofit.
    Looks like you have a good site and book there as well. :D

  3. Hollis Colquhoun // Tuesday, March 02, 2010 9:01:00 AM  

    If you are interested in a nonprofit job, Philanthropy News Digest has job listings by state. The website is FoundationCenter.org/pnd/jobs

  4. Kathryn // Tuesday, March 02, 2010 11:22:00 AM  

    Thanks for the from Lifehacker top set up a praise folder - I had never heard of it before.

    I am currently actively seeking employment as the company I had worked 5 years at closed in October and I have been job hunting since then.

    Where I live unemployment is around 10% and because there are several hundred applicants for every job and it seems like every company does a pre-screening interview, 30-60 second answer to sell yourself is going to be an essential tool.

    One thing to ask your employer about if they have not already spelled it out is if you will get any unvested portion in your 401k.

    I try to stay positive and keep plugging away and applying for anything I am qualified for but it is frightening as nearly everyone I know is unemployed, many that were let go earlier where I had work have been looking for a job for more than year.

    One thing a job counselor stated is try to find something you can bring to a potential employer that other candidates can't to set you apart from them and spark interest. One article I read was one where they guy wrote in long hand on lined paper and said he had a Dutch was and it scored him an interview just because it was something different. I guess I am desperate enough yet not ready to tell write in a cover letter that I won last place and Miss Congeniality in an Ugly Contest in college (all the other contestants were guys dressed up as girls) but I may feel differently in 6 months if I don't find something.

  5. Dawn // Tuesday, March 02, 2010 2:39:00 PM  

    Thank you for the advice and I had to smile about your idea to jot down something that makes me stand out.