Be the Boss Over Cancer

You’ve gotten through your treatment.  You're finally in recovery.  And it’s time to focus on finding a new job. But now the media is harping about the tough economic times we are experiencing. What will this mean for you and your chances of finding a good job?

While it’s true that there are specific industries that are laying off employees, there are just as many that are hiring new employees. Here are five guidelines to help you get yourself in shape so that you can confidently get out into the job market and uncover those openings that will interest you.

Know who you are and what matters to you

There is no doubt that your experience with cancer has caused you to be very introspective about yourself and your life.   It’s so important that you are able to answer these questions about yourself.

 

  • Who are you? 
  • What do you feel passionate about?
  • What was missing in previous work situations?
  • Instead of thinking of yourself as the job titles you’ve held in the past, can you describe how you can make a difference for an employer?
  • Are you a specialist and an expert or more of a generalist?
  • Can you describe your core strengths which are a combination of transferable skills, interests, values and personality traits?

Learn something new

Identify a need you have to learn something and go back to school, take an on-line course, self-study a subject, read books and magazines, observe others or earn a certification. Doing this will increase your confidence and make you that much more marketable.

Keep up with technology

It’s not optional to resist learning about and understanding technology. You certainly don’t need to know how to write HTML code but you do need to know about LinkedIn, blogging, building a website to support your personal brand and virtual resumes. One of my clients admitted to me that she has no idea how to use Word™. That just won’t cut it, even during the best of economic times.

Create a job search plan that is flexible

Your plan should encompass several tracks or options. Many people who are unemployed are creating their own entrepreneurial opportunities even if they’d rather work for someone.

Be open to doing two or three different things for money and benefits and gratification.

Stop thinking only in terms of traditional jobs such as teacher, marketing associate, social worker and customer service rep. The Futurist magazine regularly identifies interesting new jobs such as a business etiquette advisor, life balance consultant, a staffing strategist or a horticulturist therapist.

Create meaningful relationships

Network broadly and deeply. Be relentless in your efforts to meet people of all kinds and always begin any communication by offering the other person something such as an idea, a resource, or an introduction to someone else.

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable aspects of job search like networking, introducing yourself, asking for help and advice and follow-through.

Use a multitude of communication vehicles to network…face-to-face, voicemail, e-mail, postcards, send articles, letters, etc.

If you embrace these five guidelines, your chances of finding a great new employment situation will be high, despite the challenging economic times.

 

5 Comments

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  • Carolyn M.

    Carolyn M. on Mar 4, 2009

    Great article. I like that the advice is applicable to any field or career path. Question: I will be interviewing for RN positions in the next few months and I wanted to know if there are specfic departments / areas I should steer clear off because I am on hormone therapy.

  • Anonymous U.

    Anonymous U. on Apr 29, 2009

    Great article. I am a breast cancer survivor (Yah!), and have been out of work for a year and a half. I need some help re-doing my resume to pull out "transferrable" skills and to cover the gap. I am a professional with plenty of college background but am considering a career change. Do you know of a trustworthy skilled resume writing service? Thanks!

  • Anonymous U.

    Anonymous U. on Apr 29, 2009

    Great article. I am a breast cancer survivor (Yah!), and have been out of work for a year and a half. I need some help re-doing my resume to pull out "transferrable" skills and to cover the gap. I am a professional with plenty of college background but am considering a career change. Do you know of a trustworthy skilled resume writing service? Thanks!

  • Julie Jansen

    Julie Jansen on May 27, 2009

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi,

    Congratulations on being a breast cancer survivor! Double Yah!

    Here are some reputable resume writing services:

    www.resumepower.com - they designed a very creative resume for a client of mine who had been out of work because of cancer.

    www.indeed.com and www.ladders.com both have very good resume writers on staff.

    Your Best Impression - Louise Kursmark

    lk@yourbestimpression.com or 888-792-0030

    Advantage Resume & Career Strategies

    Vivian VanLier

    vivianvanlier@aol.com or 818-994-6655

    Also, if you go onto www.guru.com you will find resume writers for very reasonable fees.

    Hope this helps!

    Take care,

    Julie

  • Kathy P.

    Kathy P. on May 27, 2009

    I was diagnosed in 2004. I've had about three jobs that have not lasted 3 months. Two of the jobs were in Customer Service. My training was intense and I was required to learn different computer programs in 1 month. I am not computer literate, and I just know the basics. I was let go because I couldn't learn all program, or I was just too slow. One of my supervisors told me that he did not train me right and it was his fault, but that did not stop him from terminating me. Also I always got the (Your a nice person, but) your just not a good fit for this job. So, what do I do I've did customer service all my life. I told because of technology, your required to know much more than just answering the phone. One of the jobs I ended up walking out because I could not take it anymore, and I had just completed the Community Health Worker certifcate and this is the job that I was doing at the time. I love working with people, and I want to be a advocate, but the people who I worked for taged-teamed me, and basically bullied me. Know I just fight being depressed. I have a job coach (the 3rd one), but none of them seem to be able to help me even though I'm looking everyday. Many, Many times I want to give up becaue it seems like no body wants to give me a chance. Maybe I should just retire. I guess I'm just not markable anymore!

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