Attitude key to surviving job hunt

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Experts offer free advice to unemployed

By Vicky Gits

Anyone who has recently been laid off would do well to have a conversation with Jennifer Pearson, a psychologist in private practice.

“How you think affects how you feel. And how you feel affects how you perform,” Pearson said. “You have a lot of thoughts that are hopeless, lethargic and not very motivated. When you get laid off, you think, ‘I’m not good at being an employee, which means I’m not a good parent,’ and so forth.

“The more you let negative thoughts dominate your job-hunt lifestyle, the less likely you will be able to find a job.”

Pearson spoke Thursday, Nov. 20, at the Evergreen Public Library at a free seminar for job seekers hosted by the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce and the Jefferson County Workforce Center.

About 50 people attended, and about 40 had to be turned away for lack of seats, said Kris Kinzli, business services consultant with the Workforce Center. Kinzli said the demand for career advice is burgeoning amid the economic downturn.

Pearson advised taking time to do things that make you feel good.

“What else floats your boat? Do more of that instead of less,” she said. “Do you grieve excessively over loss of identity? Discourage yourself from looking there and make a list of things you have control over. This is the time to utilize your support system.”

Think about what would be a realistic future and what you want to happen, she said.

“You can create that,” Pearson said.

Instead of indulging in negative coping mechanisms like eating too much, drinking too much and forgeting to shower, Pearson advised creating a healthy mind-set to help get the right job and building healthy activities into every day one at a time, if not all at once.

“If you are always angry about the injustice you went through and you have a lot of racing thoughts, write down all the questions in your mind and dump your head. Try to dwell on the things you can do,” Pearson said.

Linda Sollars, a training coordinator with the Jeffco Workforce Center, focused on the importance of a values statement. “Understanding your values and what’s important to you is the key to what you want to do,” Sollars said.

She advised coming up with a summary organized around three or four key words and practicing them on everyone in sight. Call your own answering machine and talk to yourself, so you can listen to it, she said.

After being laid off twice, Sollars, 61, said that approach helped her change careers, leave the corporate world and find a job that suited her in government. She counsels job seekers and gives seminars on networking and interviewing skills.

She got her government job by going on an informational interview and meeting with someone recommended by someone else who was standing in line at King Soopers. That person sent her to another, which eventually led to the Jefferson County Workforce Center.

The center, which serves Gilpin and Clear Creek counties as well, has a main office in the Laramie Building, 3500 Illinois St. in Golden. For information, visit www.jeffcoworkforce.org. To sign up for workshops, call 303-271-4701 or visit the center. Participants must be registered with the Colorado Workforce System, www.connectingcolorado.com.

More job hunt tips from Linda Sollars

• Don’t put your address on your resume, because some people will rule you out on a geographic basis.

• Don’t put parentheses around the area code on your phone number because that’s something only people over 40 do.

• Don’t list your home AND cell phone. People under 40 only have cell phones.

• Sending your resume to monster.com is like sending it into “the nebulous underworld.” 85 percent of jobs are found by networking.

• Check out the Workforce Investment Act of 1976 for grant money to train for jobs and change careers.

• linkedin.com is a great resource for people looking for jobs in business.

• Craigs List, www.denver.craigslist.org, has a lot of jobs that aren’t posted anywhere else.

• Prjobslist.com is a great job list created by Denver PR exec Andrew Hudson. Many of the jobs are not PR related.

• A great list for nonprofit jobs is at www.coloradononprofits.org.

• For city, county, state and federal jobs, visit www.jeffcoworkforce.org/seekInternet.php.

• Make one appointment per week for an informational interview and schedule a Thursday or Friday when things are quieter. Offer to bring coffee or doughnuts.