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Between the Trapezes

Hidden Gifts

Thanksgiving 2008



Welcome to Between the Trapezes! Often the changes in our lives feel precarious as we are in that space between two certainties. But taking that chance is what brings success.

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Unemployed: A Curse or a Gift?

Thank You Letters

Speaking of Giving Thanks...

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Unemployed: A Curse or a Gift?

Question markSometimes we don't know the real meaning of a negative event in our lives. Sure, being laid off, especially when you don't expect it, is a shock and a financial hardship. Or being in a job where you can't really blossom fully, can be a frustrating hurdle.

But there may be reasons that become clearer later. A client I'll call Bob was taking longer than he would have liked to land a job after selling his business. Summer became fall, fall become winter, and it was looking like spring, and despite interviews and good networking, nothing had clicked.

Then his daughter was suddenly stricken gravely ill. He and his wife were spending many hours each day with her in the hospital. He spent time talking with doctors and other medical professionals, and being with concerned family and friends. If Bob had been working, even a generous family leave provision would not have been enough to have had the time to be with his daughter. Fortunately, she recovered and ultimately went home, and that was when Bob made a great connection with a super company, and landed their COO position. He was grateful to have the time with his family when he needed it.

Another client, Dara, was laid off and thought she'd use the time to catch up with her doctors' appointments. One routine test caused concern among her doctors, and further testing showed cancer, fortunately very treatable because it was caught early. "You know", she said to me this week, "Maybe it's good I am not working, because I would not have had that doctor's appointment, and who knows what would have happened to me?"

Sometimes the reason isn't known until years later, and you find yourself looking back and saying something you never thought you'd say: "At the time, that was tough, a real curse, but now I see that it was a gift."

So although the screaming headlines make everything seem like the sky is falling, stay focused on your "job" right now -- either getting a good job again, or getting a better one than the one you have. And particularly at this time of year, enjoy what you do have, especially if you are blessed with that thing that's usually so hard to get: time.

Thank You Letters

Man reading rptSaying "thank you" is just plain good manners. In job search, it can make the difference between you and another candidate being chosen for the job. Back in the 80s, Business Week reported a story about a large corporation in New York who interviewed six candidates for CEO. The selection committee decided that any of the candidates would have been fantastic. But they sat back and waited to see if anyone wrote a thank-you note. Only one candidate did. He got the job offer.

A thank you for an interview should be in the form of a business letter. Some say you should send a handwritten note. However, that format does not allow you to say what you need to say so send a letter that says:
1. Thank you for your time.
2. Meeting with you has made me even more excited about the company/organization, and the position.
3. One more reason I'm right for the job is: (then tell them something you didn't tell them in the interview).
4. Offer to meet with them again, and confirm what the next step is.

Should you email this or send it via US mail? The case for using US mail is positive again, because so few people use it today, that you'd stand out. But it will take a few days to get into the interviewers' hands. So if it's a company where things move fast and email is how they do all their correspondence, use email.

While you're at it, be sure to thank network contacts for the connections they've helped you make. And your references, who may be contacted over and over again in this volatile job market: let them know you appreciate their ongoing support -- take them to lunch! Don't forget your family who are cheering you on.

In the spirit of the season, don't stop there. Why not thank a mentor from earlier in your career, or a teacher who believed in you, or a positive friend you've fallen out of touch with? A note -- and a handwritten one for these is fine -- will make their day, week, year!

Speaking of Giving Thanks...

Thank you to all my clients, in Minnesota, Massachusetts, and everywhere else; you teach me something new every day. Thank you to those who send me family members and friends, the ultimate in trust. And to colleagues in my field who generously offer their wisdom and share their ideas.

And to my family, thank you for cheering me on to do the work I'm on this earth to do.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Tip of the Month


Joanne Meehl

Thought of the Day:

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.

-- African proverb

Tip of the Month:
Key Words in Your Resume Today, it's all about databases: your resume is a mini-database that goes into the hiring company's resume database, for that job. It must match as close as possible what the hiring company is looking for. Where does one find key words? In the job posting, in the company web site, in publications about your field. Use these key words, and you'll increase your percentage of matches -- and that will get your resume read by an actual human being. _________________________

We are proud members of:

  • Association of Career Professionals Int'l
  • Career Management Alliance
  • Chapman Private Practice Alliance
  • Business Networking International

Called "The Resume Queen" years ago by a career counselor colleague, Joanne Meehl decided to have fun with the nickname (which we've officially trademarked). But she also takes it seriously by keeping her career management skills on the leading edge, through research and ongoing dialog with hiring managers.

You're now seeing us use "The Job Search Queen", which better reflects the breadth of our services. The trademark is pending. We use both "queen" nicknames in our materials.

Joanne is also the author of The Resume Queen's Job Search Thesaurus and Career Guide for Professionals.


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