“You know, it’s very difficult when you lose your job and you don’t know where to go or what to do,” says Mona Williams, a former controller for a major healthcare company. Seeking out guidance in her job search, Mona had heard about The Five O’Clock Club and went to the Club’s website to become a member. An administrator recognized her name — the Club had been trying to reach her regarding the outplacement services her former employer was providing, but had outdated contact information — and let her know that her former employer had already paid for the Club’s services for her. Mona was thrilled. In what was still a challenging job market, she was now going to have the help that she needed to find her next position.
“The most important thing to a job seeker,” says Mona, “is having support.” In working with her career coach, and attending the weekly small-group meetings, Mona was introduced to new techniques and strategies that she hadn’t used before in searching for a job. Networking, for instance, was mostly foreign to her, but would become critical in helping her land her next position. “Networking was nothing that was high on Mona’s list,” she says with a laugh. “I wasn’t good at that. I didn’t know how I was going to do that.” But, without realizing it, even by participating in the weekly group meetings at the Club, she was already building up a network of contacts and learning key networking techniques.
At The Five O’Clock Club, the coach gets to know you personally and helps you to overcome obstacles—both personal and professional.
Working with her coach, Chip Conlin, Mona came up with a job search plan that would help keep her on track in her search and completed an assessment to help her also focus on her long-term goals. “Mona had the vision to know that she had a long-term dream of getting into healthcare,” her coach, Chip, notes, “and she started to take some graduate courses to move her in that direction.”
“The most important thing to a job seeker is having support and guidance.”
The Five O’Clock Club’s strategies for writing an effective résumé were also very helpful to Mona. “Studies show that the average résumé is looked at for only 10 seconds,” Kate Wendleton writes in Packaging Yourself: The Targeted Résumé. “You want a résumé that’s scannable so the reader quickly gets your message. And you not only want a résumé that people look at, you want them to find it so compelling that they look forward to meeting you.”
One of Mona’s biggest challenges was having to entirely re-think her résumé. Most résumés highlight job functions and responsibilities. Working with her coach, Mona learned to focus instead on her accomplishments and successes and to emphasize the unique skill set that she could bring to a potential employer. She also crafted a targeted summary statement for her résumé. She realized that Human Resources managers often wanted to be able to sum up a job applicant in a single paragraph, and by doing that herself on her résumé she could control how she was presenting herself. “That helped me so much when I was sending out my résumé,” she says. “They didn’t ask a lot of questions because I had everything there.”
A résumé is not enough.
Mona now has a plan for achieving her long-term goals.
These were just some of the tools that Mona was able to utilize in her job search by joining The Five O’Clock Club. And in only a few months she found a wonderful new position as a financial manager at a major public library.
Mona’s success came in the face of a lot of adversity in her personal life during the period of her job search, even having to undergo major surgery at one point. But she attributes her motivation not to give up to the ongoing support she received from her Five O’Clock Club coach and the members of her small group. “I had many challenges besides looking for a job that I had to deal with,” Mona notes. “My small group, all through it, encouraged me not to quit.”
Coming to the group meetings gave Mona the support and guidance she needed to overcome the challenges she faced.
Chip Conlin recollects the time when Mona had come to one of the weekly branch meetings and was sharing with her group how difficult her situation at home had become. Eventually, things had gotten so bad that she had to conduct her job search from the front stoop of her building. Concerned, her colleagues in the small group pushed her to find someplace quiet where she could work on her job search. “And guess where she went?” asks Chip, with a wry smile. “A library.”
“I had many challenges to deal with besides looking for a job.”
Re-employed in her career in accounting, and now working in a high-level position at a prestigious library, Mona is thankful for the help she received at The Five O’Clock Club, and now also has a plan for achieving her long-term goals. “I’m so grateful that my former employer enrolled me in The Five O’Clock Club’s outplacement services,” says Mona, “because you really do need support in this market to find a job.”