Be the Boss Over Cancer

Get the Latest! Read our Blog

Stay up-to-date on the issues affecting survivors balancing cancer and work.

Visit the Blog

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.