Post by Maureen Fischer, MaureenInk Communications, Twitter: @ MaureenFischer, www.MaureenInk.com
Note: Social Media Consultant Maureen Fischer contributed hundreds of hours of her time to Amicus in launching this blog and integrating it with our other social media. Thanks Maureen! You’ve made “Inside Change” something we can all be proud of. You’re always an Amicus in our eyes!
According to state-by-state August numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota’s unemployment rate hovers at 7%, 2.6% lower than the national average of 9.6%.
That’s small comfort to the scores of ex-offenders who walk through Amicus’ doors daily to use computers and voicemail in their job search. Employer brush offs and vague rejections are common, and yet success stories exist. Those most determined and those with some support on their side, can prevail. (Watch for a future post on two ex-offenders whose searches ended in recent success.)
For now, we offer tips from Martin Yate’s Knock ’em Dead, the Ultimate Job Search Guide 2010. Though he doesn’t include a chapter on job searching for ex-offenders, many of his techniques pertain regardless. Yate writes on how to parlay three frequent objections into an interview:
1) “Why don’t you send me a résumé?”
Here the employer may be genuinely interested or politely trying to get rid of you. The best steps are agreement, a demonstration of understanding and a question to further the conversation (i.e. to confirm an opening actually exists).
Then Yate suggests being gutsy:
“Of course, Mr. Grant. But assuming my résumé matches your needs, and we’re both confident it will, could we pencil in a date and time for an interview next week? I’m available Thursday and Friday . . .”
2) “I really wanted someone with a degree.”
Yate proposes: “Mr. Smith, I appreciate your viewpoint. It was necessary that I start earning a living early in life. If we meet, I’m certain you would recognize the value of my additional practical experience.”
Then too, if you’re currently enrolled in courses to pursue that degree, mention it and add– “I’ll be interviewing at the end of next week and I know you will find the time to meet, well spent. Is there a day and time that might be best for you?”
3) “I don’t need anyone like you right now.”
Here the chances of an interview are slim. Yate suggests you maneuver the person into giving you a personal introduction to someone else in need of your talents.
“When do you anticipate new needs in your area?”
“May I send you my résumé and perhaps keep in touch for when the situation changes?”
“Who else in the company might have a need for someone with my background and skills?”
“Can you think of associates at other companies who might have a need for someone with my background?”
Follow up: the Key Ingredient
Resumes and e-mails sent cold or as a result of a phone call can sit in slush piles for months, but a follow-up call puts you on an employer’s radar. After a few weeks, Yate recommends a follow-up call on the original follow-up. In the last chapter of Knock ’em Dead 2010, he cites 30 fast growing occupations. Number one is veterinary assistant.
For the latest in tactics and encouragement, check out the free job search newsletter, The Gladiator, billed as “Survival Tactics for Those in Job or Career Transition.” Yate contributes articles. A headline splashed across a recent issue reads “Getting over Discouragement and Getting Back to Work.”
Admittedly, few job searches pose more challenges than that of an ex-offender. Amicus offers the following:
- Access to a computer
- Reduced rate bus passes and free tokens to get to an interview
- Help setting up an email account
- Voicemail for phone contact
- Assistance with resume writing
- Training in emailing resumes and cover letters
- An office, moral support and friends at Amicus while job searching
Best of luck!