Homeless youth

Homeless youth
People we don't see.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Job search 101

I hope that anyone reading this will never be laid off or lose their job. I hope that you will only look for a job when you are ready, and that you have a job while looking for your next job. I think that is the best scenario.

This post is for those who for whatever reason are unemployed and are on a search for a job.

I have written some suggestions for actions while unemployed, actions that I myself have taken in the 19 days I have been unemployed. I though that with this blog post I would write about simple actions one can take that will benefit them during the search. A lot of these ideas came from friends of mine in the first day or so of being laid off.

To bring you up to date with my job search, I am currently considering an unofficial job offer. It will be official when I receive the offer letter which I have been told will come later this week. I have two more interviews coming up. I have sent out 19 resumes to date.

Here are some of my suggestions:

Create a list of friends and colleagues who can help get the word out about your job search.  Email them as a group frequently to keep them posted on your search.

Create a "job search" file on your computer or on a disc. In this file keep your resume, a sample of a cover letter you love, a salary history and a list of references.

On my list of references I have seven people, their addresses, phone number and email. As I send a resume package I choose which three would be best for the position I am applying for.

Send your resume as a PDF. A dear friend taught me this, and she also professionally edited my resume. What I do now is create one document that includes everything the employer has asked for, make it a PDF and then send that one PDF document to them. Most folks attach several documents that the employer has to print out which can become quite a task. Having to print just one makes it a lot easier.

Keep tweaking your cover letter. Some of the basics can be kept in each one you send out but make sure every cover letter that you send is very specific to the agency to which you are applying. Give them very clear details as to why you are the one, details that may not be covered in your resume. Remember that they are most likely reading a ton of cover letters. Yours needs to stick out!

Network Network Network. I have been happily surprised by all of the support, ideas and encouragement that I have received from people I am connected with on LinkedIn. Networking with all of these folks has definitely helped me in my search. I have learned a lot from them and been able to pass along ideas to get feedback. If you are not on LinkedIn get on now. If you are on LinkedIn, make sure your profile is up to date and that anything on LinkedIn matches what is on your resume.

Unemployment benefits. I applied for unemployment about 15 minutes after being laid off. I had already researched how to do it as the feeling was in the air that I might be laid off. It takes ten minutes to do and that starts the process. I bring this up because yesterday I was approved, day 19 of being unemployed. So it takes time.

Because of that, have some cash in savings. We all hear, and hear it often. Have an emergency savings account. It will make a HUGE difference when hearing the words that you are being lad off. Having a little cash aside makes the job search a whole lot less stressful. Even just putting in $25 a pay period will make a difference over time.

Stay positive. Grab coffee with people who adore you. Accept the lunch or dinner invite. Keep your inner circle posted and love on yourself.

More to come. Thank you for reading!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Trudging the road of unemployment

I finally honored a boundary I set this past weekend and did no job searching on Saturday! Very proud of myself. And Sunday I did just a little. For the most part, my weekend was spent with my family and friends, a great racquetball game and a wonderful bike ride.

One thing I did do around being unemployed on Sunday was to re-apply for unemployment benefits. In Colorado this has to happen every two weeks. You basically report to the state that you have applied for at least five jobs, are currently able to work, have not taken on a job and could start immediately if hired. It's all online and all rather simple.

The benefit itself has not yet come my way. It takes a while and could take all the way into February until I receive my first payment. I have done everything on my end, and now paperwork has to go to my past employer who will confirm my story and then my account gets approved and I can receive the benefit.

The moral of this story is to do as so many financial gurus say: have some cash in an emergency savings account.

I could write a whole blog post series on that, including everything that has benefited me once laid off that I had done prior to being laid off. No one ever thinks that day will come, but for tens of thousands the day has come, and it can be taken a little easier if you have prepared a little.

Today is day 18 of being unemployed and I have a second interview. The tomorrow and the next day I have an interview each day. It seems that week one was kind of slow as I began getting resumes out and settling into the process of a job search. Now I feel that things are happening and the main thing for me is to stay on my game.

Staying on my game means thank you notes to those who have helped in any way or those who have interviewed me, keeping my connections throughout social media updated on how the search is going, continually checking the several job posting websites I use for any potential job that seems interesting to me and most importantly, taking care of myself. That means working out, time with family, time with friends and long walks with my dogs. It means staying centered and positive, keeping in mind that all is going to be well.

If you have a friend or family member that has recently lost their job, reach out to them. Invite them to coffee or lunch. If you know something about resumes or cover letters, offer to edit their resume or send them a copy of a cover letter you have used. If on Linked In, recommend them. Support from family and friends has made this new journey for me so much better, and in some ways even fun!

Meanwhile the national unemployment rate is 7.8%. The Labor Department recently said that unemployment rates fell in 22 states in December and rose in 16. They were unchanged in 12.

Thank you for reading!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Were you just laid off?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a pro on what to do when you leave the office or meeting room you were called into to get the news that you no longer have a job. I just experienced this for the first time a couple of weeks ago. When I was laid off I had an amazing network of friends and colleagues ready to help and support, and a lot of what I did (and am doing) came from their suggestions.

No matter how much good you know will come from this later, it is not a good feeling when it is happening, especially, like many who will be reading this, if you totally rocked it at your job and were the most loyal employee ever.

First things first. Create a personal email address. You most likely will already have one and perhaps you can use that, but not if the address is something like IloveBlackSabbath@hotmail.com. No, this address has to be a little more professional as it will be the address you use to let professional colleagues and friends know that you have just been laid off. It's also the address you will use to send out resumes. I created a gmail account.

Next, create address books within the account. I have one personal and one professional. I also have one for my "inner circle" of professional contacts, those who I have a wonderful relationship with and I know will support me with a lot of energy in finding a new job.  Once you have an inner circle address book go ahead and create a short email to them letting them know that you were just laid off and that you would appreciate it if they could keep an eye out for any positions they think you my enjoy. If you know exactly what you are looking for, let them know. NOTE: These same people are the ones you will be meeting with within the next week or so for moral support and guidance. They will rock your world.

As soon as you possibly can file for unemployment. In Colorado the process is online and it took me less than 10 minutes. From the time you apply to the time you get your first check it could be several weeks, maybe over a month. So the quicker you do it the better. And once you have applied read the instructions! There are several other things you'll have to do, none of which take a lot of time but are important in the process of you getting your benefit.

Social media can make a HUGE difference with your job search and with getting the word out that you have just been laid off.

Create a LinkedIn account. It would be perfect if you already have one. I already had one and it has bee incredibly helpful. I have been able to search jobs as well as get help around my resume and cover letters. I keep my connections informed on what I am doing and many reach out to see if they can help. Some online application processes allow you to log into LinkedIn from their online application and download all of your resume information. Let the folks on LinkedIn know what you are looking for. It's OK to ask for help!

I would say the same for Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is of course a little more personal. Let your friends know what is going on. Not a day passes that someone on Facebook doesn't let me know of a job they think I might love. On Twitter I have a personal account and a professional account. The professional account is just that, and I use it to make connections and let friends there know about what has happened and what I am looking for.

More to come. Thank you for reading! My email address is fundraisingdan@gmail.com

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Two weeks unemployed

I have been counting the days since I was laid off, mainly as a reminder to myself. The day I was laid off I wasn't thinking about how long I would be unemployed. I figured I didn't want to find any job, that I wanted to find the job. As a good friend put it, I didn't want a "rebound" job.

Two weeks unemployed and I have had some good results:

Two interviews

One interview coming up next week

16 resumes out

Over a dozen lunches/coffees with friends to talk about work

Applied for jobs I would not have even known about or considered had I not been laid off

Started to think about an out-of-the-box job that might include some consulting, some development work and some writing

Applied for jobs in San Diego

Spent great time with a dear friend

Have been reminded how much love and support is out there for me

With much support, am writing awesome cover letters

I'm not sure what the next two weeks will bring. As centered as I am being unemployed and working hard to find a job, I don't want to be here for a long time. I have loved the idea of doing something on my own. A lot of folks are doing consulting, filling in, headhunting,etc. Perhaps I could do something like that?

For the many of you who have supported me, given me an idea, spent time with me, connected with me on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter or Facebook, helped me with my cover letters or supported me in any other way, thank you. I am deeply grateful. As have been said to me many times, I believe that things happen for a reason and I know that there is an agency out there prime for a big dose of Dan Hanley.

Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cover letter example

 I am in day 12 of being unemployed and hoping to get in front of more possible job options this week. I have written many cover letters to date and have gotten some great feedback. With this post I would like to share one that I have used in the hopes that I can make my cover letters stronger. I would be thrilled to get your feedback, either in a comment or emailed to me at fundraisingdan@gmail.com

This cover letter has a generic Employer and I took out the name of the agency.

Dear Employer:

I am ecstatic to apply for the position of Executive Director.

My experience from several non-profit Director of Development positions, hotel sales positions as well as time in the US Navy and work with many diverse communities have brought me to a place in which I thrive in building relationships throughout many communities and believe that I excel in relationship building and partnership building.

I read position details and qualifications and have experience in all of the categories. I have worked with several Boards of Directors and have had great success in working with specific board members in becoming more active within the mission. I have managed staff and teams from three to seventeen people and have always succeeded in helping create a work environment that is positive and productive. I excel in the entire fundraising category and am in bliss when building relationships that become the core of a fundraising plan. I have written budgets, cut spending and can work closely with a team to look at a five-year or more budget plan. I also thrive in community relations and have worked in several diverse communities. I believe that collaboration is one of the keys to successful relationship building and fundraising.

I am a proven fundraiser and have many good relationships in the Boulder area. I have had success in creating and supporting a more positive and productive workplace. This would be my first Executive Director position and I feel I could bring a lot to____ from all of my past experiences. My personality is one that allows me to be just as comfortable speaking with clients as I am at a Chamber event, with a major donor or at the state capitol.

I bring a history of non-profit successes, community building, engagement with diverse communities and a personality and attitude that remains positive and energetic in any situation. I have spent most of my life working in human rights and trying to make the world a better place for all living beings. Working with ____ would be the perfect match.

Thank you very much for your time.


Dan Hanley

Thank you for reading!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Actively seeking employment

For those who are reading my blog for the first time: Having been recently laid off, I decided to stop writing about fundraising and to write about the process of being unemployed. It's a new experience for me and my hope is to help others who might have to go through this process some day.

Day 10. It's a beautiful in Lakewood, Colorado and being that it is a Sunday I am only going to spend a little time on the job search today.

I have realized that it is important to create boundaries around the job search. It's sort of like working from home. At 5pm, your day is done and it's family time. In the past ten days since I was laid off I have not done well with boundaries. I have worked on my job search anywhere from 4:30am through 11pm at night. In the past couple of days I have gotten better at the search and with boundaries and this is how:

During the week I get up early just as I would if I were going to work. I respond to emails, look at all of the job posting sites I have bookmarked and tweak some cover letters.

If I work on the job search during the weekend I have specific goals and specific amounts of time.

If I am going out for coffee or lunch with a friend or a colleague, I dress as if I am going to meet a donor. Not a full suit and tie, but business casual for sure (which I might ad in the Denver area is probably a little more casual than on the east coast).

I have a more clear idea of what I want in my next job. Not necessarily who I want to work with/for rather what the benefit package, including salary, looks like. As I am looking in Denver and San Diego, I have different thoughts for each place, knowing that the cost of living is higher in San Diego. 

In our social life, I have decided not to make my being laid off the main story of what is talked about. With my inner circle it can be, especially when I feel I need more emotional support. Yet out and about I am trying to focus on everyday life and remembering how awesome of a life I have, employed or not.

More to come. I am very grateful that you are reading my blog posts. My email is fundraisingdan@gmail.com I would love your feedback, especially if you have been unemployed or are hiring!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

From laid off to unemployed

Being that this is the first time I have been unemployed, I am still getting used to the idea. Today was one week since I was laid off. I have started to think about that. I'm not sure when I can start telling people that I am unemployed as opposed to telling them that I was laid off.

It's not easy telling someone you are unemployed. If they don't know you, there seems to be a little prejudice around the fact that you are not working. I got that today. The look was something like "well you look like you should be able to work". Buddy, you have no clue.

The last thing I wanted to be was unemployed. I loved my job. I was one of the most loyal, ethical, positive, productive and successful employees my past employer had ever seen. I brought 100% every day. And although that was not enough for my past employer, I am sure there is a company or non-profit out there that will think I will make a great addition to their team and they will embrace all of those attributes.

I realize I am not the only person unemployed. Based on recent numbers, I think about 8.8% of the able-to-work US population is unemployed. I am doing everything I can to not be in this category for too long. There are a lot of jobs out there. Fortunately for me, I have seen several that I think I would love. Also fortunately for me I have this incredible network of friends and colleagues who have been so wonderfully supportive of me. It is truly unbelievable.

I have tweaked my resume so many times. I try to not send the same resume to every place I am applying to. I am getting pretty good at writing a cover letter. One page, maybe two. I have the job posting in front of me while I write the cover letter and that seems to help my creative writing, which is a struggle at best.

Then I get an email or a call from someone who has received my application materials. They call me Daniel as I use my formal name with the resume. So far each one of them has been kind and respectful, and we both have laughed at some point of the conversation.

I also get many calls and emails from people I love and people I barely know telling me that they are there, that they will do anything for me and that I will land something quickly. I'm not sure how quickly I will find a new job. I don't want a rebound job. I want a job that I will love with a company or non-profit whose mission or product I can get behind. I want a job that will honor my ethics and loyalty, and one that will pay me well and honor my personal life with a good vacation package.Definitely not too much to hope for.

I know it's out there.

Thank you for reading. My personal email that I am using for my job search is fundraisingdan@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Unemployed: The Job Search

I decided to keep writing blog posts while I am unemployed. This helps me keep people updated and hopefully it will help others who have recently been laid off.

It is day 6 of being unemployed.

Before I get to the job search part, I want to write about other actions I have taken during my so far brief unemployment.

As soon as I was told I was being laid off I applied for unemployment. I am not sure how this works in other states or if it is the same everywhere. The process to me was easy and took only about ten minutes, online. All the information needed I already knew, so there was no need for paperwork or collecting items needed to fill out the information.

I'm not sure how the process works from here. On Monday I got a PIN number that allowed me to go online and enter bank information so that my unemployment can be put directly into our account. I also got some information about education opportunities. I printed a calendar of reminder dates for when I need to apply for benefits, which is every two weeks. I'm not sure how that works but assume that includes where I have looked for a job, etc. In addition to unemployment, I also signed up on the Colorado work website, which I think is another thing you need to do in the unemployment process.

The day after I was laid off I went to the local job center. This one is the Jefferson County Work Center, in Golden. Easy to find. The woman who greeted me, if you can call it that, had no interest in me at all. She did, however, refer me to a gentleman in the other room who was very friendly and helpful. He pointed me to a list of jobs on the other side of the room and offered the use of a computer to aid in my job search. I checked out the job listing, which is the same as is online.

As the friendly gentleman told me, everything that is at this work center I can see online. The big deal for the center is that it offers online access for those who don't have it at home.

As this is the first time I have been unemployed and been part of this world I had never been to a job center or work center. I honestly was disappointed. My expectations were way too high. If I ran the place everyone who entered would feel honored and supported. I didn't feel that at all, except for the friendly gentleman.

I have now sent in nine resume/job packages and have had two interviews. I do searches on the Colorado Nonprofit website, Andrew Hudson's Job List, LinkedIn job postings and google searches for fundraising jobs around the country. And I have to keep repeating how grateful I am for all of the job leads and calls and emails of support. Thank you.

And thank you for reading.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My first days as unemployed

Last week I was laid off from my position as Director of Development at Opera Colorado. I have never been unemployed, fired, or laid off, so this is a new experience for me. I thought I would share my experiences being unemployed with all of you as I go through this process.

Fortunately for me, I felt this coming. What I did as I started getting that feeling is something that I have come to find out most people already have. I created a list of emails in my gmail account of friends and of professional contacts. This has become very useful as I get the word out about me seeking employment.

I also had already spent time tweaking my resume, have friends look at it, and creating a list of strong, current references. All of this was in place the second I was laid off.

Another thing that was already in place was my presence in social media. I already had a LinkedIn account that was very active and I already had a personal/professional Twitter account. Immediately I was able to use both of these resources to let people I know know that I had been laid off. So I highly recommend both of these if you are not already suing them.

As you read this, please keep in mind that I never thought I would be laid off. Towards the end of the year I knew my company was in trouble, and also knew that the only way I would lose my job was if we closed, and I was not going to let that happen. I knew that if given a chance I would be able to raise whatever money needed to be raised for the company to survive and thrive.

Yet that didn't happen. It doesn't hurt to be prepared for a job loss, and creating a social network can even help you in your current job, especially if you are a fundraiser!

The day I was laid off I was home by lunch time and started thinking about what had just happened. It is important to process everything that is going on within yourself as you start the process of looking for your next adventure. Be on the lookout for self-pity, anger and maybe some fear. Share with friends, your spouse, really anyone who cares about you. And one thing that became very clear very quickly to me was that there are a lot of people who care about me.

I posted a note on Facebook letting everyone know. I let people know that I was free for breakfasts and lunches but that they would have to treat (I wrote that partially as a joke and partially serious) and by the end of the day I had 57 invitations. I had to start writing them all down. I was blown away and my heart was filled with gratitude.

Then came all of the support in other ways. Job suggestions, gift cards, flowers, introductions, job websites, and much more. I am honestly struggling to keep up with all of these and make sure I am thanking each person.

Thank you for reading. I will continue sharing my process. Thank you for your support and please keep the suggestions coming!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Getting laid off

At 46, I realize that I have been beyond fortunate in employment. I have loved my jobs, never been unemployed and rarely had to look for a job. Usually I would get a call from an organization interested in me and go from from there.

This past week I was laid off. In my professional life I am a fundraiser, a Director of Development. I had rocked it for almost two years at our local opera company. Loved my job. After a very tough year in fundraising my boss decided that cutting back would begin with me.

I wasn't surprised. Life had become dark at work in the past couple of weeks. A lot of closed door meetings and no communication at all.

When my boss called me down to his office and I walked in to see him and our Human Resources guy, I was honestly relieved. He told me his story of why, my HR guy gave me some paperwork and I headed back to my office. Tears were shed by some of my peers. I was grateful for their kindness and support, and for helping me move out of my office!

So I guess you can take this blog post as a resume, as part of my job search.

In the last couple days I have applied for seven jobs, had one interview and have another interview tomorrow. I keep tweeking my resume and continually working on cover letters that do a great introduction of who I am and what I can bring to an organization.  I have been on LinkedIn, Indeed.com, Colorado Association of Non-Profits, Idealist.org, several arts websites, Andrew Hudson's job list and have followed up on leads from many friends.

I have seen a couple of jobs that excite me. Is this the time to start looking at an Executive Director position? Perhaps it's finally that time and opportunity to move to San Diego? Become a consultant? As my friends and professional colleagues continue to remind me, the possibilities are endless.

It's Sunday so I am going to take the rest of the day off and enjoy my family and friends. Thank you for reading this and I would be grateful for any leads or suggestions. My twitter name is @FundraiserDan and my LinkedIn account under Dan Hanley in the Greater Denver area (I couldn't figure out how to link it here!).

Saturday, January 5, 2013

So you want to join a non-profit board?

Throughout the years I have been incredibly grateful to work on and with several non-profit boards. After a few conversations recently with colleagues in the professional world as well as a couple of friends regarding joining a board, I decided to write this blog post. I hope it is helpful to anyone considering joining a non-profit board of directors.

Here are a few things to consider before joining a board:

Have a passion for the cause. If you are on a board, most likely you will be asked to not only fundraise for the non-profit but to also be a cheerleader for them. It's vital that you have a passion for their mission.

Check out the days and times that the board meets and make sure you can make it to the meetings. Meeting attendance is important as that is when the action of the board takes place. It's also your opportunity to meet other board members and see where else you might be able to use your talents for the non-profit. Finally, board meeting attendance is important when it comes to grants for the on-profit as many granting organizations ask for the attendance percentages of the board and consider that percentage when deciding on grants.

While talking about meetings, you may also be asked to join a committee of the board, like finance or development. These committees will take even more of your time, time that will be well served. Keep this in mind before committing. 

Have a clear knowledge of expected giving and know that you can afford that (and be willing to make that kind of financial commitment to the organization). This is crucial. Most boards have a giving requirement. Sometimes it is give and get, meaning the total number includes what you yourself can donate and/or bring in through others donating. It's important to be comfortable with the amount that is required aside from any other amounts of money you may give to the organization, say for tickets to an event or a table at the annual Gala. When fundraising plans are developed board giving is typically one line and event revenue another. Keep this in mind when deciding whether or not you can personally afford to be on the board.

Ask yourself why you want to be on the board. I have seen many people who serve on several boards and wonder why. I also wonder how much commitment can they seriously give to so many organizations and how effective can they be to each of those organizations. If you have passion for a group, wonderful. If you want to look good or add something to your resume, make sure you can bring something to the organization, and I mean more that a check or attendance at a few meetings.

Non-profit organizations can thrive with an active, fundraising and effective board filled with members who have passion and skills. Make sure you can bring 100% to them before you commit. This will make your experience on the board more fulfilling and at the same time strengthen the non-profit.

Thank you for reading!