27 September 2022

Archives for 2019

The 2nd Most Important Thing Every Job Seeker Must Have

Many of you have heard me talk, and have seen articles I’ve written about, the #1 thing every job seeker must have. Your chances of finding a job without having the #1 thing are pretty slim – as in “slim and none (and slim’s on vacation!).” After working with thousands of people over the past 24 years I’ve concluded your chances aren’t a whole lot better unless you have the #2 thing too. The most important thing every job seeker must have is a positive attitude; the second most important thing is great follow-up and follow through.

For example, I’ll call or email a troubled job seeker (or O’Farrell client, ugh) to see how his or her search is going. When I don’t hear back, I call and leave a message that goes something like this: “Jill, this is Dave O’Farrell. I have some good news for you; give me a call.” When Jill calls to hear the good news, I say, “Jill, the good news is that I know what’s standing between you and a new job: YOU DON’T FOLLOW U-U-U-P-P-P-P-P!!!”

Here are some other examples of things I see from time to time:

  1. I hear through the grapevine that someone has missed an interview.
  2. One of my clients forgets an appointment with me.
  3. Someone has a hot lead for someone else at JobSeekers; the other person fails to follow through. In one specific instance that I know of, the fellow had been looking for a job for over a year.

Follow-up and follow through applied.

Follow-up and follow through are vitally important not just for success in search, but in most areas of our lives. JobSeekers’ advisory board member and management consultant JB Kirk says that poor follow-up and follow through behaviors are epidemic in the executive ranks throughout corporate America. The implications for the job seeker are obvious: demonstrate good behavior in this area, and you will certainly stand out.

My first indicator of good follow up behavior (and therefore, job search success) with a new member of JobSeekers is when he or she responds to the welcome message I send to each new person. I ask them to respond to three questions. I also ask them to email a résumé. People who honor these two requests honor themselves. Their response not only helps us to help them; it also indicates the behavior that will lead to success in search, on the new job, and in many other areas of life.

Another key indicator happens on Fridays. I’ll have some advice, information or a referral (AIR) that can help someone and I’ll ask him or her to send me an email with a reminder of what I promised. Guess how many people follow through? About one in five. Amazing.

» Only one person from last Friday!

Some indicators of good follow through behavior (and therefore, job search success) with one of my clients is whether or not he or she completes the exercises that I assign before, during and after the MRMT™ workshop. I assign a lot more work than can be accomplished on the first day of the workshop, so I give clients four days (Friday through Monday) in between the first and second day to follow through on their assignments. Many times clients come in with a list of excuses of why they couldn’t devote any time to completing their assignments over the weekend. I wonder, was that an aberration, or was that a fairly typical four days of job search at your house?

A few years ago a client wrote to tell me about her new job. Julie wrote: “I had four companies interested in me all at once: a couple of contract positions near closure and one permanent position here in Atlanta that I was just waiting on the offer. Then another offer came in. It started when I received a call from the CFO. We interviewed over the phone, and then I went in for an interview (five people in five hours!). Within 48 hours I sent all five people a thank you note that was unique to the interview we had. Within two weeks they had finalized the offer. The use of the materials we developed in your workshop were critical, Dave. When the CEO called to offer me the job, he said that I did an excellent job of follow-up.”

The #2 thing’s bottom line.

Hiring managers are busy; sometimes the job goes to the one who has the best follow-up – someone who is persistent without being a pest – someone who is finding a way to make it happen instead of finding a reason why it didn’t.

The bottom line is this: to improve your job search results, improve your follow-up and follow through behaviors. The solution is simple. Make a decision to follow-up and follow through. Manage your time. Set priorities and stick to them. Here are three relevant verses:

  1. Proverbs 13:18 – He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
  2. Proverbs 24:32-33 – A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
  3. Titus 1:8 – Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.

You’ve got to be disciplined. You’ve got to follow up on every networking or job lead just like a crime scene investigator does. You never know which clue may be the one that cracks the case.

If you have an anecdote about follow-up and follow though from your job search (either a good or bad), please send it to me. I’d love to hear it. Thanks.

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we learn and apply godly self-discipline.

Copyright © 2006-2019 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Commit to the Lord All You Do

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3

What a great promise! What a simple formula! This verse appears beneath my biography on the last page of my book, “Market-Ready in Minimum Time™.” When I think about this verse I sometimes substitute “all you do” for “whatever you do.” “All you do” seems more encompassing.

Today, I ask you to pray about your own situation. Have you committed “all you do” to the Lord? I’m speaking to those of you who have been in your search for several months; I’m also speaking to those of you who are early in your search. For those of you who are just getting started out, I implore you to save yourselves some time and heartache by examining your life and making the changes God wants you to make.

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.” – 2 Corinthians 13:5-6.

Paul was writing to the church in Corinth, which was the Las Vegas or New Orleans of his day. The Corinthians wanted to have it both ways; they wanted to be both secular and spiritual.

Commit to the Lord all you do – like these guys did.

For those of you who’ve been at this for a while, examine all that you do to see if it is pleasing to God. I often ask a client or JobSeeker, “What does God want you to learn from this?” When you get the answer to that question, you’ve taken a step in the right direction – the direction of His will.

A while back I met with two troubled JobSeekers on a Saturday morning. One said he had taken some giant strides in his spiritual journey. He was learning and growing in the Lord, but only after he’d been in the midst of his job search for many agonizing months. I asked him what he’d learned. He said, “I learned God loves us so much that he won’t let us move forward until we learn what He wants us to learn.” Soon after, Phil found a great job at a large Atlanta employer.

Another time, someone came to my office in a great mood, even though he’d been looking for a job for way too long. He told me he had a renewed relationship with the Lord and he’d recently learned, as Philippians 4:13 says, that he could do all things through Christ. Jim and his wife became active in church again and led a marriage enrichment group. Jim earned a Six Sigma Black Belt and eventually landed a good job that he held for the next nine years.

Do something selfish.

Friends, do something selfish. Commit your life to the Lord – every aspect of your life. I pray that things won’t get so bad for you and your family that you have nowhere else to turn but to God, but for some of us that is what it takes. God has an abundant life in store for you. He is full of grace and mercy. And he wants you to experience his peace, power and prosperity.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, where we commit ourselves and our job searches to the Lord!

Copyright © 2004-2019 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

God is at Work in Our Careers

God is at work in our careers. This week I will share my testimony of how God was orchestrating a wonderful series of events that led to where I am today: running my own business and leading the JobSeekers ministry. Throughout it all, God was at work in my career.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Starting my search.

Someone quoted this scripture at my first JobSeekers meeting on 11 February 2000. I’d read it before, but when you have a good job, you tend to gloss over a passage like this. When your world gets turned upside down, it takes on a whole new meaning!

Actually, I missed an important word Ward Hunter, the speaker, said. What I heard was, “For know the plans I have for you …” Notice that I missed the personal pronoun “I.” This was the key to the lesson I was to learn that year: God knew his plan for me and was at work in my career, even when I couldn’t see what he was doing.

I came to JobSeekers of PTC as a participant; two months later I moved into a leadership role. When Ernie Childs announced he had to step down, the other leaders turned their heads in unison and looked at me. For several months I held the dual role of participant and facilitator – just like the guy who runs The Hair Club for Men, “I’m not just the president, I’m also a client.” Later that year (November) I won a great contract assignment that allowed me to continue in the leadership role.

A season of disappointments.

Leading the group was a great experience, but I suffered many disappointments in my own job search along the way. The first one came a few days after the NASDAQ crashed on 10 March 2000. My former boss was looking to hire me into his new company; I was to be a key player in developing a new division of a dot-com. He called me on 13 March to say they were going to have to delay my written job offer. It never came, and by the end of the year he was forced to leave this once red-hot company.

The rest of the spring and summer brought many other disappointments. One gentleman, the managing director of the Atlanta office of a well-known training and consulting company, said I was the most polished and professional person he had ever interviewed, then he gave the job to someone else! It was one test of faith after another.

JobSeekers gave me the spiritual lift I needed to face another week. No matter how bad I felt, I could count on JobSeekers to pick me up. As the facilitator of the meetings, I admit that I feigned cheerfulness and enthusiasm more than once, but by the time the meeting was over, I never left JobSeekers feeling down.

After that first disappointment six weeks into my search, I spent the rest of the time looking for what I believed was right for me: another job selling training and consulting services to HR or sales executives. What I didn’t realize – and couldn’t see – was that God was working in the background all along. I teach folks to ask God for what they want, but to be willing to take what God gives them; it will be better than what they asked for.

A gentle nudge.

In October (10/12/2000) I called a friend to do some networking. Debbie said they had a position with her company that was just what I was looking for. The only problem was that the person needed to be located in Portland or Seattle. I ditched that right away. After pausing for a few seconds, Debbie said I would be perfect for another position that was open: senior training consultant. I interviewed in Philadelphia on the day Bush and Gore tied. The interview included an “audition” for Linda Richardson, the CEO. It was, at that point, the most frightening experience of my life.

The key to Debbie recommending me for the position was the fact that she had seen me present many times at the local ASTD meetings – an association of trainers. The lesson here is to get involved in professional associations; but don’t just go – take on a leadership role!

God was at work in my career.

The key to me winning that job was the fact that I’d been leading the JobSeeker meetings for about six months. Each week, I had an audience of about 20 professionals, which happens to be the same size and level of group that Richardson works with. I didn’t realize it, but God was giving me a rehearsal each week in preparation for that audition. When Linda Richardson walked out of the conference room after my audition, the COO said, “Oh she loved you!” She went on to explain that Linda had interviewed thousands of trainers and only a handful had ever been hired. Upon reflection, I doubt I would have made it if I’d interviewed even six weeks sooner. As I led those JobSeeker meetings in the summer of 2000, God was at work in my career.

My time with Richardson made me a much stronger career coach and outplacement consultant; I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I’ve taught consultative selling skills at companies like Dell, Bank of America, Sears, GlaxoSmithKline and KPMG Consulting. I have incorporated what I learned at Richardson into my ministry and my business. As I traveled all over the country in 2001, 2002 and 2003, God was at work in my career.

The contract job was a stepping-stone to something better.

Little did I realize that working for Richardson was merely preparation for running my own business. I led a lot of role-plays at Richardson, and one thing that was sorely lacking at my previous outplacement company was rehearsals for networking and interviewing. The sales and communications skills I taught at Richardson are very easily transferred to job search. Turns out it was ideal training for me and my new business.

The job allowed me to be in town more Fridays than not. Without any effort on my part, I often found myself flying back to Atlanta on a Thursday night. The contract work also allowed me to do career coaching on an ad hoc basis. Nothing dangerous here; the majority of my income was coming from Richardson. But I was developing my own strategy, tools and skills to start my own business.

Five clear signals.

Five things happened in quick succession that proved to me beyond a reasonable doubt that God wanted me to take the plunge into my own full-time business.

  1. In the post 9/11 economy Richardson’s business changed; their instructor-led training business began to taper off. They had the class to call me and three dozen other consultants to let us know there was less work on the horizon than there was in the rear-view mirror.
  2. Dave Rottschafer, who led some devotionals at JobSeekers, asked me if I wanted to look for office space with him.
  3. My brother-in-law gave me a bunch of office furniture when his company upgraded.
  4. JB Kirk gave me the book, “Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance” by Bob Buford. The title says it all.
  5. Paul Fink gave me “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat” by John Ortberg. It’s about doing something bold; it’s about responding to the call that God places on our hearts.

With God orchestrating these five things, I had little choice but to do something bold. I rented an office and incorporated my business.

God was – and is – at work in my career. It has been the most difficult, and, by God’s grace, the most rewarding few years of my life. The reward comes when someone says I made a difference in their journey of faith, or when they say they found a job that is ideal for them, or simply that they have received hope and encouragement from the JobSeekers ministry, or when they call to say the résumé we created helped them beat the odds and land a job.

One time, for instance, a client called to tell me he had accepted a new job. Norman hired me in March 2012. We overhauled his résumé and LinkedIn profile, taught him how to purse his target companies, and developed his interviewing skills. By the way, after he got frustrated with the services of one of the world’s two largest career management firms, that’s when he decided to work with Atlanta’s most effective career management firm. 🙂 Soon after, he landed a good job at The Home Depot, and he worked there for more than a year. Later, he called to say that he’d landed a great job with Georgia-Pacific. He got a $20K raise. He laughed when he said he’d only had two interviews since he hired me; both resulted in offers.

That made me feel pretty awesome.

What a privilege it is to serve. I told some friends recently that I serve at God’s pleasure – and I hope he wants me to do this for a long time to come!

God is at work in your career.

Here are three lessons I’ve learned and want to share with you:

1. Trust God’s plan. Friends, I can assure you that God is at work in your career. He has a plan and a purpose for your life and career; plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a future with hope. I know that no matter where you are now, no matter where you think you are going, he can lead you to where he wants you to be. Whatever he has in mind for you is better than what you’ve asked for.

2. Discern God’s will. Pray for wisdom and discernment. God will speak to you through others, through assessments, during times of quite reflection, at dead ends and disappointments, or in the middle of a parade (this really happened to a member of JobSeekers in July 2004 at the PTC Independence Day parade).

3. Step out in faith. Work hard at what you believe God wants you to pursue. Ecclesiastes 9:10a says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” If you are on the wrong path, he will lead you where he wants you to go – as long as you seek him with all your heart.

See you Friday at JobSeekers – the place where we step out in faith and experience God’s abundant grace!

Copyright © 2005-2019 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

How to Make Your Job Search 20x Easier

Want to make your job search 20x easier? Then stop saying, “My accomplishment this week was applying for 20 jobs.” Here’s another one: “Dave, I don’t know what’s wrong, I’ve sent out 50 résumés and haven’t heard a thing back.” Friends, if you “want to hear something back,” you’ll need to send out about 1,950 more résumés before you do!

Ad response and direct mail produce only 4-8% of job search results!

About 23 years ago I documented the story of a client who tried the direct mail approach to no avail. This happened when I worked for a large career management firm on the north side of Atlanta. The client happened to live in Peachtree City, so we were both 50 miles from home.

Jeff had read Rites of Passage at $100,000 Plus. The author, John Lucht, basically says to wallpaper the country with résumés. Jeff believed this lie and demanded that we send his résumé and cover letter to over 2,000 companies. He said he didn’t need any of our other services because he’d read Lucht’s book. The cost to us was high – we calculated $1.25 per letter with the stamp, envelope, paper, toner and administrative time – but we agreed to do it if he wouldn’t burden our other resources.

We sent 2,000 letters and he got six responses. Six. S-i-x.

Only one resulted in a face-to-face interview; it was in Houston. He didn’t make it to the second round. When you think about it, we paid $2,500 for one interview.

You might have better luck than Jeff did, but even if you did four times better, that would still be 500 résumés. If you’ve only sent out 50 so far, you’ve got 10 times more work to do!

Make it easy on yourself. Pick up the phone and start networking.

Networking is 20 times more effective than ad response or direct mail. If you are spending more than four or five hours per week on this almost useless activity, Satan has won a victory over you.

The cosmic battle for our hearts begins in our minds. It begins with temptation, negative thoughts or harmful words. Satan’s strategy is to get us so distracted, so insecure and so hurt that our job search takes months or years longer than it should. This impacts our self-esteem, our finances and our relationships – especially our marriages. Ultimately it affects our relationship with God.

Watch out for these three ways the devil gets a foothold:

1. Temptations.

Temptation can be so subtle that we don’t even realize that we are giving in to our human nature or our sinful self. One definition of temptation is anything that keeps us from doing the good we know we ought to be doing. James 4:17 says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” It happens to me sometimes. I go on the Internet to get a company description off of a website, for instance. How long do you think that would take? I’d say three minutes or less. Guess how long I meander on the website? I’d say 30 minutes or more. As an entrepreneur, I’m a permanent job seeker. The price I paid for the meandering was one sales call; one call could be worth thousands of dollars to me, just as it could be to you.

Distractions are one of Satan’s favorite weapons. You could make your own list; here are a few things you’ve reported to me: the internet in general, Facebook specifically, TV, errands, chores and projects. And your phones! When you are wasting time, you are flirting with the devil himself.

2. Negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts invade our minds. Fear. Worry. Self doubt. We are afraid of rejection, we’re worried we won’t find a job before our money runs out; we’re filled with thoughts that we are too old, or overqualified, or in the wrong industry. Negative thoughts enter our minds and they roll off our tongues. Negative thoughts lead to negative words, tone and body language in interviews. We don’t get the job. Satan wins this battle.

One time I was speaking to a client who’d had a disappointing interview. At the end of the interview, the interviewer said he noticed my client had a negative attitude toward his last two employers. I told him that’s great news because now he knows exactly what he has to work on in order to succeed in the next interview. He sent a very appreciative thank you note to the interviewer the next day.

3. Discouraging words.

Discouraging words can send us even farther down the spiral. “We chose another candidate,” are some of the most difficult words for us to hear. However, if you look at it in a positive light, you won’t have to waste your time on that lead; you can focus on other opportunities. You can look at rejection as one step closer to your goal, or you can look at it as another reason to feel defeated and depressed. The choice is yours.

Harmful words can come from those who love us most. They don’t intend to hurt us, but they do; and the consequences can be eternal. For example, when Peter told Jesus he shouldn’t go to Jerusalem for Holy Week, Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan” (Matthew 16:21-23).

– – – – – – –

Solution: Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope. Don’t give the devil a foothold. Recognize the enemy. Submit yourselves to the Lord. Here are three behaviors you can use to make your job search faster and easier:

1. Recognize the enemy.

If you are a Christian, the best the devil may be able to do is make your life miserable – to steal the abundant life God has planned for you. Recognize these things for what they really are. They are Satan’s deceptions. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10 NKJV

2. Submit yourselves to God.

If you are not a Christian, God is saying to you that there is a better way. Listen! He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He wants you to live an abundant, joyful life. If you are a Christian, walk by faith and not by sight. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” – James 4:7-8

3. Fight back.

You want to change your luck? Fight back. Prayerfully resist temptation, negative thoughts and harmful words. Memorize and repeat 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” Recognize the enemy. Submit yourselves to God. You want to change your luck? Quit surfing the net. Get focused on high pay-off activities. Do something different. Reach out to as many people as you can and ask for help. You will improve your results by a factor of 20.

When people start coming to JobSeekers their “luck” often changes. We have a three-part, 45-second introduction where everyone tells what they are seeking, a little bit about their background, and one accomplishment for the past week. We get an informal survey of what’s working and what’s not every week. A newcomer learns that the people with the most activity and the most interviews are the ones who are doing the most networking. A wise job seeker is not only a hearer of this advice, but a doer as well.

This week we will learn and practice skills that will make you a more effective networker and job candidate. You will be on your way to making your search 40 times easier (and maybe four times faster).

See you this week at JobSeekers, where we not only hear God’s word, but act upon it as well!

Copyright © 2004-2019 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Everyone Needs a Sam

sam-frodo4


“I can carry you!” – Samwise “Sam” Gamgee,
in Lord of the Rings (Click to enlarge)

Everyone needs a Sam. Frodo needed a Sam. Six-year old children need a Sam. Job seekers need a Sam. Even Jesus sent his disciples out on a dangerous mission with a Sam.

A while back I was sitting in church behind two young ladies who were about six years old. They were sandwiched in between two pairs of parents. One of them needed to go to the potty during the sermon. She enlisted the help of her friend to go on this dangerous mission. It was dangerous because there were about 300 people in the sanctuary, and, to a six-year-old, that must seem pretty dangerous.

When they arrived back safely a few minutes later, their faces erupted with huge smiles. Their eyes were sparkling and their moms acknowledged them for their bravery. After the service I was talking to a gentleman who had been sitting near me and he said, “Oh, did you notice the smiles on those two little girls’ faces when they got back from the restroom?”

John-Winters


John Winters

Here are some examples of other people who need a Sam:

Frodo in The Lord of the Rings

The idea that “everyone needs a Sam” comes from John Winters, author of a book by the same title. The concept for Winter’s book comes from the third book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Near the end of the story the hero, Frodo, receives help from his friend Sam to accomplish a dangerous mission and save the people from Sauron, the main villain in Tolkien’s trilogy. Here’s the critical scene as told by Winters in Everyone Needs a Sam:

There is a scene near the end of the last book where the hero, Frodo, and his best friend, Sam, are trying to get inside Mount Doom. Their mission is to throw a magical ring of pure evil that Frodo has carried throughout the three-book series into the fire to destroy it and save Middle Earth.

In this scene, Frodo collapses on the mountainside, he can’t go any farther. Their long, dangerous journey has failed. Evil will take over Middle Earth.

Sam is also spent, but he refuses to give up. He looks at Frodo and says, “Come, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you … Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go.” And then Sam picks up Frodo and starts to climb Mount Doom.

Frodo needed Sam to fight against the forces of evil.

One time Winters and his wife Corby watched the Lord of the Rings movie. As it ended, he said to her, “Everyone Needs a Sam.” She said, “Write the book.” And so he did.

Jesus in Luke 10

When Jesus sent disciples ahead of him to prepare the way for his journey from Caesarea Philippi in the northern kingdom down to Jerusalem, he sent them out in pairs. This mission was too dangerous to go individually. Here’s the story from Luke 10:1-4:

After this the Lord appointed 72 others and sent them two-by-two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.”

In addition to the danger (like sheep among wolves), my Bible commentary says the pairing suggests competent testimony. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1). When the disciples returned from their mission (10:17-24), the were elated that even demons had been subject to them.

Jesus’ disciples needed a Sam. Great things can be accomplished in pairs.

Job Seekers

Job search is too dangerous to go it alone. Job seekers need Sams too.

For instance, one seeker recently had an interview scheduled with one of the top 20 executives at a Fortune 500 company whose biggest customer is Walmart; they also sell to The Home Depot. Susan met a friend at Walmart at 7:45 one Saturday morning and they investigated all of that company’s products – as well as their competitors. They went next door to Home Depot and did the same thing. The expedition was more fun and effective when she partnered with a friend. She aced the interview and was referred to executive in another division of the company.

A few years ago I was working with a client who was considering buying a franchise in the healthcare industry. John didn’t have a healthcare background; he came from the building materials industry where he served as president of a division of one of the world’s largest building material suppliers. We met for breakfast with a friend of mine who is an executive with a healthcare consulting firm.

During the meeting, John received the advice he needed to make a sound decision for himself and his family. Instead of a healthcare franchise, John chose to buy a few franchises in the consignment clothing industry in Newnan, Douglasville, and Marietta. This was the pivotal meeting that changed the course of his career transition.

Job seekers achieve better results with Sams. In both examples, the Sam helped the job seeker muster the courage to go on a dangerous mission – on the familiarization trip and the breakfast meeting.

You… and Me

Goliath 5K Mud Run 03


Take that leap of faith. Be a Sam.

I wish I’d had a Sam a  when I signed up for the Goliath Mud Challenge in Tyrone (sponsored by Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church and the Hudson Family Foundation). I’d invited the only friend I have (haha), but Ted was dealing a bad case of plantar fasciitis and was unable to participate. When I felt a hesitation about signing up and attending alone, I realized I felt like a job seeker feels when he or she has to call a friend and ask for help, meet an acquaintance for lunch, or attend a meeting like JobSeekers for the first time. In the end, I made myself go and had a grand old time. In fact, I volunteered for three hours and helped 400+ people overcome an obstacle – literally – a nine-foot wall.

One lesson I learned that day is that if you don’t have a Sam to accompany you, go anyway!

God places Sams in our lives so we can accomplish dangerous missions. Oftentimes we have to enlist their help instead of waiting for them to come to us. Even more often, God wants us to step up and be a Sam to someone else. Take that bold step of faith! Carry someone up the mountain of job search! Help them win the battle! With God’s help, we can do it!

Have you had a Sam assist you with your job search? Have you been a Sam to someone? Write to me and let me know. Thanks.

See you at JobSeekers on Friday, the place where we meet super Sams every week.

Copyright © 2013-2019 by Dave O’Farrell. All rights reserved.

Acing the Behavioral Interview

acing-panel-interview


Tell us about a time when…

Our topic this Friday is “Acing the Behavioral Interview: How to Knock Their Socks Off By Focusing on Results!” It picks up where we left off a couple of weeks ago.

Some of you are getting into the “red zone” but you’re not scoring touchdowns. One seeker recently told us he’d had 13 first interviews and zero second interviews. Maybe this week we can crack the code.

This week’s topic focuses on one of the most common types of interviews. If you don’t understand the employer’s strategy, you may not do well in the interview, even if you are a well-qualified candidate. Come tomorrow for this important topic – and for a great learning experience.

– – – – –

JobSeekers meets every Friday morning at First Baptist Church in Peachtree City from 7:30 to 10:00 am. First Baptist Church is located at 208 Willow Bend Road.

Click here for directions and agenda.

See you on Friday!

– Dave O’Farrell
Executive Recruiter, Outplacement Consultant
O’Farrell Career Management

“Atlanta’s most effective career services firm.”

# # #

The #1 Thing Every Job Seeker Must Have

What’s the #1 thing every job seeker must have?

What is the #1 thing every job seeker must have? This week I share secrets that will make your job search 40 times easier. One time when I was preparing for this topic, I had a phone call from executive who said the second-place candidate for a certain position was lacking the #1 thing every job seeker must have. Second place pays about $330 per week in Georgia. If this gentleman had the #1 thing, he’d earn a couple of thousand dollars every week.

It’s time to step back and look at what’s really important in job search.

Part One on 27 September: The Learning Zones – The Key to Breakthrough Performance

Part Two on 11 October: O’Farrell’s Pyramid of Success – How to Land Your Dream Job

Not only teach will I teach what the most important thing is, I will quickly share #2-5 as well. I will challenge you to leave our comfort zone every day and do the things that are most likely to lead to job search success.

The bottom line is this: It’s time to stop telling God how big our storm is, and to start telling the storm how big our God is. Come for a blessing this week.

– – – – –

JobSeekers meets every Friday morning at First Baptist Church in Peachtree City from 7:30 to 10:00 am. First Baptist Church is located at 208 Willow Bend Road.

Click here for directions and agenda.

See you on Friday!

– Dave O’Farrell
Executive Recruiter, Outplacement Consultant
O’Farrell Career Management

“Atlanta’s most effective career services firm.”

# # #

Stuck in Your Search? Try This Revolutionary New Strategy!

Your advisory team can help you weather the storm. This is Weyerhaeuser’s BoD in 2011. Despite the troubled U.S. housing market, the company boosted revenue 18.5% to $6.5 billion in 2010. (Look at their nice shoes!)

Stuck in your search? One of the toughest things I see in my ministry and business is someone who has been searching for several months without success. At any given time, I can name several people who have been looking for a long time – some for over a year.

If you’ve been a participant in JobSeekers, or a reader of this newsletter for a while, you can probably list the litany of challenges these folks face as well as I can. I won’t go into that today; it seems I’ve heard it all. I don’t want to focus on the problems today, and I won’t propose any solutions. What I want you to “get” today has to do with the process of identifying your obstacles and developing your own unique solution.

When I ask someone what he or she is doing to get unstuck in his or her campaign, the most common response is, “I’m doing everything I can.” What usually follows is that litany of challenges I mentioned a moment ago – with no solutions. Then I ask, in the most gentle and safe manner I can, “Have you formed an advisory team?” Everyone knows the “correct” answer, but when I ask whether or not they’ve met with 3-5 people all in one room, all at the same time, to brainstorm, the answer is “no” 98% of the time.

If you haven’t gotten a group of advisors together to brainstorm, then you are not doing everything you can.

Successful people have great teams.

King Solomon, one of the wisest and wealthiest men ever, said in Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” The more career coaching I do (25 years so far), the more important I see an advisory team as the cornerstone of an effective job campaign. People who use an advisory team get better results in less time.

Whether your search goes well or poorly, you will get the credit or the blame – just as an athlete, businessperson or politician would. Lance Armstrong is [was] the seven-time winner of the Tour de France, yet he wouldn’t have won a single race without a team of advisors behind him and a team of racers beside him every inch of the way – and maybe a team of pharmacologists! Warren Buffet is a modern-day Solomon – wise and wealthy, because he has a board of directors to help him grow his empire. The president of the United States has a cabinet of loyal advisors to help him govern; when things go wrong he’s held responsible, and when things go well he receives the accolades.

Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor.

Even Jesus had a team. The Lord of All Creation had a team to help him accomplish his mission while he was here on this earth. Come to think of it, his team helped accomplish his mission after he left the earth in human form. Like a management team in a company, he had an executive committee made up of Peter, John and James; he also had the rest of the board, which was made up of the other nine disciples. He had a group of courageous women who supported the mission. He even had “middle managers” represented by the 72 he sent out in pairs to prepare the way for his journey to Jerusalem, heal the sick, and drive out demons.

Jesus is the “Wonderful Counselor” prophesied in Isaiah 9:6. Our Wonderful Counselor often works wonders through others to accomplish his work in us while we are on this earth. The Holy Spirit puts people into our lives who can guide and direct us. The question is, “are you building and using your team, listening to their advice, and putting the plan into action?”

Stuck in your search? Try this revolutionary new strategy!

I remember speaking to someone who is stuck in his campaign a few years ago. Gary had been looking for eight months at that point. He’s a sharp guy with a good background and a very professional presence. He was networking and interviewing, but just hadn’t gotten the ball across the goal line. I recommended a brainstorming session with 3-5 folks. About two weeks later he had that meeting.

It turns out that several people had been praying for him, including his pastor. In fact, his pastor was so in tune with the Holy Spirit that he suggested a brainstorming session too. The three men that met with Gary and the pastor were people Gary had not met before. He reported that it was a very good session. For instance, said was going to broaden his scope to include more than healthcare sales, and he was going to place more emphasis on his Spanish-speaking skills.

He said, “It was uncomfortable, to be honest, but I’m getting my pride out of the way.”

Gary asked me for feedback too, and we identified one particular area where he might be getting hung up in interviews. He worked on his “exit statement” and his results began to improve. Two months later he accepted a great job that was just what he was looking for; he still holds that job today.

Schedule your brainstorming session now.

Gary said he wished he’d done this sooner. I want you to feel that sense of urgency and meet with your team now – within two weeks. No excuses. If you don’t know anyone, or don’t have anyone, get some help forming your team like Gary did.

Surround yourself with savvy, supportive, spiritual people. You need fair and balanced feedback from people who will help you map out a strategy, practice your interviews, debrief you afterwards, encourage you when the chips are down, and see the greater good that will come to you if you yield to the Holy Spirit.

Don’t go through your job search alone; don’t rely on only one person either. My job as a coach is easier when I am only one of several advisors to a client. We have advisors (bosses, peers, subordinates) when we are employed, now create a virtual team while you are searching for a job. Surround yourself with those savvy, supportive, spiritual people I just mentioned and you will get better results in less time.

One good example of an advisory team involved a gentleman who’d been looking for three years and three days when his job offer finally came in. Things started to accelerate for him in June when he got his résumé updated. In July he had a tough-love meeting with our board of directors, and in August he found a great lead by networking with a friend. That friend is now a co-worker because, praise the Lord, he’s been on the job for over a year now.

Friends, with God, all things are possible, even if you’ve been looking for three years. Our friend and advisor Jesus won’t let us down. See this success story for more evidence of God’s strength and power.

See you this week at JobSeekers, where plans succeed because of our many advisors!

Copyright © 2006-2019 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

​A Visit to Someday Isle

When I lived in Tampa many years ago, I had a Sunday school teacher who talked about ‘Someday Isle.’ Terry was vice president of Jay B Rudolph, a fine jewelry retailer that rented space in all the Maas Brothers department stores in Florida. He left them to form his own management consulting firm.

I thought about Terry and ‘Someday Isle’ as I read “Unconditional Excellence: Answering God’s Call to Be Your Professional Best.” Alan M. Ross, who is Founder and CEO of Kingdom Companies here in Atlanta, wrote the book. He’s an entrepreneur and Christian business leader.

Ross writes about the “when I … then I” life, as in: “When I finish this course, then I can spend more time with my family.” “When I close this big account, then I can take some time off.” He compares our life to a spinning top: “I watched in fascination as it began to rotate, smoothly twirling around and around, faster than the eye can follow. My toy kept doing that until it hit an inevitable bump (IB), careened out of control and fell over.”

Friends, you hit an IB when you left your job suddenly. I’ve learned that when some of us hit that bump called unemployment, our lives careen out of control – just like a top. Job loss puts stress on our relationships, our finances, our health and our walk with God. If you are careening out of control, surround yourself with savvy, supportive and spiritual advisors who will be with you, along with Christ, all the way. God never promised us it would be easy; he did promise that he’d always be with us.

If I had the time, I would…

Now back to ‘Someday Isle.’ Think back to when you were working full time and how you would have finished this sentence: “If I had the time, I would …” Now you have the time! Work hard on your job search AND make sure you take the time to do some things that you won’t have time to do when you are back in the rat race. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Spend more time with your family, with friends and with God.
  2. Take care of important, but not necessarily urgent, things life like financial planning, medical check-ups and writing or updating your will.
  3. Lose some weight, build some muscle and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
  4. Do projects around the house, spend more time on a hobby or read good books.
  5. Acquire or improve a skill (e.g., Microsoft Word and Excel); get a credential that will help your career (e.g., Six Sigma Black Belt or Project Management Professional).

The key is discipline. About 20 years ago, a fellow career consultant said a job seeker shouldn’t spend more than six hours a day working on his or her job search. I disagreed with Blanca at the time, but have come more to her way of thinking in the meantime. The caveat I’d put on it is that you have to be ready and willing to work all day and all night to prepare for an interview if necessary. Over the past 23 years, my experience has shown that six hours a day, five days every week would be a significant improvement in the amount of time most people spend looking for a job.

Someday is today! Now is the time! Don’t waste this opportunity! Invest the added time in one of the things I mentioned above – or in some other high payoff activity.

What I’ve always wanted to do is…

Another way to look at ‘Someday Isle’ is much bigger and broader. Maybe it has to do with your career. In my job search in 1992, I worked through a recruiter and received an offer for exactly the position I was looking for – same industry, no relocation, good compensation and benefits. Everything was just right, and yet my wife (now my former wife) noticed that I wasn’t excited about it. She pointed this out to me (I hadn’t really paid attention to my feelings on this), and the next day I withdrew my name. I remember that Ann McKinsey, the recruiter, took it with a lot of class, even though that call cost her about $25K in commissions.

Starting from scratch, I began another job search for the position I had been thinking about for two years. In April 1990, I decided I’d like to be a trainer and consultant after I attended a public seminar on behavioral interviewing. Dr. Robert B. Means was having a great time and I wanted to do what he was doing. About three months later (October 1992) I accepted my first position in the training and performance industry.

Please don’t read this and abandon your logical career target without advice from your board of advisors and plenty of prayerful consideration. My wife gave me some great career advice, but we paid a price for it. Finances were very tight during the three years it took me to work my way back my previous income level. That put a strain on our relationship. We had our first child during this time, and the second came a couple of months after I received a promotion and a raise to my old salary level. Although I would do some things differently in the relationship, I wouldn’t change my career decision.

As you go through your transition, think about these two dimensions of ‘Someday Isle.’ Take care of important, but not necessarily urgent, things you need to do. Think about what you’d really love to do if money were no object and you had the time to pursue your dreams. Maybe now is the time to go exploring.

Whether you change careers on not, as you target companies, evaluate opportunities and negotiate offers, make sure that you will be able to maintain some reasonable balance in your life. Failure to do so may result in attacks on your heart in the form of threats to your relationships, your health and your walk with God.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23

See you Friday at JobSeekers, where someday is today!

Copyright © 2004-2019 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Hurricane Opal Strikes the Heart of a Job Seeker

100_0716Hurricane Opal: 4 October 1995

I’ve had people asking me about how to apply for jobs at Chick-fil-A since I worked on a big project at Delta Air Lines in 1994. In 1995, I was on a big outplacement project at UPS up in Sandy Springs.

I was working with a client named Rocky H. Rocky lived with his wife and two kids in Naples, Florida, but he was conducting his search up here in the Atlanta area. He stayed in the attic apartment of his brother’s house, which was located in the Morningside area of Decatur.

One day Rocky told me he wanted to work for Chick-fil-A. I told him he needed to read “It’s Easier to Succeed Than to Fail” first. It’s a book about Truett Cathy’s journey of faith as he and his brother started and grew Chick-fil-A. They opened their first restaurant in Hapeville in 1946.

In the first paragraph of the book Cathy says, “Not even God can change the past, but He can do a lot of wonderful things about the future if we’ll let Him. Each person’s destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice. It’s determined by what we say, what we do, and whom we trust.”

Rocky took the book home and began to read it that night.

Hurricane Opal had rocked the Florida panhandle between Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach the previous night – the night of October 4, 1995. As the storm passed through Atlanta, he sat in bed reading the book until the power went out. He said, “Dave, I couldn’t put the book down. I sat in the pitch dark, with the fury of the storm all around, reading by flashlight. At 2 AM, the batteries were so weak I could no longer see the words on the page. I fell asleep empowered by the testimony in the book. About an hour later I was awakened by noise and violence like I had never experienced before. A huge tree cut through the house like a giant axe and landed in my bed – along with the roof. I was stunned, but otherwise okay. I had a bruise on one leg and a small cut on the other.”

100_0719 -- water damageRocky told me that another tree landed on the other side of the house, but still everyone was okay. When daylight broke, they could not believe the damage. As Rocky looked at the bed where he slept, he was convinced that God’s hand had protected him. The tree, the roof and other debris covered the queen-size bed where he’d slept. Only a foot of clear space remained on one edge – which is exactly where he was when the tree hit. Even though rain had poured into the house all night, the book, which was on the nightstand, suffered only slight water damage to the glossy jacket. Come to JobSeekers on Friday to see it.

Rocky continued his story, “Dave I grew up in the church, but my family and I had drifted away over the years. Now that my life has been spared, I am dedicating my life to Christ and I will lead my family to the Lord as well.” He cited the slight damage to the book as a note from God that it was a miracle – not luck – that saved him.

Friends, don’t wait for a tree to land on you before you change your life. Choose Christ today. Your destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice. Seek the Lord with all your heart, work hard every day, and trust Him to direct your paths.

In the pictures above, you will see the 100′ tall tulip poplar that cut through the house like a hot knife through butter. You will see the bed where God spared Rocky’s life, and you will see the water-damaged book.

Truett Cathy: 14 March 1921 – 8 September 2014

We lost one of God’s great servants when Mr. Cathy passed away. Truett Cathy left a legacy in all of our hearts – some more than others. Many of whom he never met.

I met him three times. One time I had the chance to tell him the story above about Rocky Hartman.

I also met his son Dan, President of Chick-fil-A. He spoke at the Newnan FUMC Job Networking meeting a few years ago. Cathy said the key to success for Chick-fil-A is simple, “We don’t get our management philosophies from Jim Collins or Peter Drucker, we look first to the inspired word of God.”

And from the Bible, the inspired word of God, they learned about service. He gave some great examples of going the extra mile to provide great service. At one store in Virginia, for instance, they serve chicken nuggets that have passed their consumption time to their customer’s dogs. Cathy said there are a number of dogs in Virginia that bark and get very excited every time they pass a Chick-fil-A restaurant!

At the conclusion of his remarks, he showed a training video that was shot at the CFA in the Kedron shopping center in north Peachtree City. I recognized Alan Murray, who runs that restaurant. The video shows people entering, dining and ordering their meals. Beside each person is a message about something they are struggling with. In one, for instance, an elderly black woman sips coffee and reads a book. The word cloud says, “Husband of 49 years passed away last month; today would have been their 50th anniversary.” Another shows a seven-year-old girl, “Mother died during childbirth. Dad blames her.”

Let’s look at one another through Jesus’ eyes as best we can. I’m not as good at it as I would like to be, but I’m trying.

At the end Cathy took questions. One was about the company logo. In 1946 years ago his dad paid a fellow $75 to design the one they still use today. When it was my turn, I asked Cathy what advice he would give to all the job seekers who were in the room that night. He said to go on the website and apply. Talk about a straight-from-the-handbook answer!

Ugh.

– – – – –

See you on Friday at JobSeekers – the place where we all experience the miracles of God!

Copyright © 2004-2019 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved