Debra J. Johnson lost two jobs in as many years — and she’s still unemployed.
The first job loss was in 2007, when the distributor where she had worked as an event manager for 15 years laid off 50 employees. Two years later, the nonprofit that she was working for eliminated her position as a senior events manager when federal funding dried up.
“At the time, I felt like my left arm was cut off,’’ said Johnson, 48. “And now it was happening again. I felt like I must have done something really bad in a former life.’’
At first, Johnson took her new joblessness in stride, getting additional training and being optimistic about her search for work as a project or events manager. But now, after spending the better part of the past year and half unemployed — she had one temporary, part-time job during that period — the Halifax resident is beginning to get discouraged. So, she applied for a Boston Globe Career Makeover.
When she met with Mark Newall, senior vice president at Keystone Associates, a Boston area career management consulting firm, Johnson said she had been applying for at least 10 jobs a week, networking with “anyone who will speak to me,’’ and using LinkedIn and Facebook to reach out to former employees and co-workers. But she had only landed six interviews.
“Nothing seems to be working in getting my resume and experience in front of hiring managers,’’ she said.
“Networking is a learned technique,’’ said Ne wall, who recommended phone calls and in-person meetings — not e-mails — as the communication tools to uncover the hidden job market. “Reluctant networkers need to step out of their comfort zone and have the important conversations that differentiate you from the competition. You’re selling yourself: the most important thing you’ve ever sold.’’
DEBRA J. JOHNSON
Goal: Find a job in events or project management that uses her experience in events and corporate strategy and planning.
Problem: “Events management’’ title is pigeonholing her in a narrow field, but her leadership skills are applicable to any project management position.
Recommendations from career adviser Mark Newall
■ Networking is a learned skill and, in addition to e-mail correspondence, requires in-person meetings or phone calls to help sell skills.
■ Forget the artificial sales pitch — successful networkers establish trust and confidence by developing personal relationships that win people over and make them want to assist in a job search.
■ Don’t be afraid to bring up compensation, since information is power while job-hunting and employers might be making assumptions about salary.
■ Keep LinkedIn profile current by including photo and crucial keywords that can help recruiters find your profile.
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