As part of the “re-employment eligibility assessment (REA) program, (see the previous post), shortly after the group session, I received a notice that I had been “scheduled to attend a Re-employment and Eligibility appointment.” I was instructed to bring my homework from the group session (a print-out from the Labor Market Information website) and my “work search” form, which is a record of all the job contacts I have been making.
I wasn’t too optimistic about this meeting. However, in doing the homework on the LMI site, I found good information about my profession, other professions that use the same skills, salary ranges, and job markets. To be honest, I would not have found this resource without help. Print-outs in hand, I showed up at the job center determined to be professional and positive. The door was locked. As I started down the hall to look for information elsewhere the receptionist opened the door and called to me. The center is not open to the public at that time, she explained. She seemed surprised that I was so early (by ten minutes). The lights were off in the work area, so I asked if I could move to the conference room, where the lights were on. She seemed surprised that I wanted to sit where I could be productive as opposed to sitting passively in the darkness. I settled in and waited to be called.
Without going through all details of the actual meeting, it was surprisingly productive. The job counselor, the same woman who had run the group session, asked for my story. She then shared some of her own experience of losing her job and going three years without fulltime employment. It turned out that she had been through something similar to my situation, including some of the legal processes, so there was an unexpected empathy there. I greatly appreciated the personal touch and found her encouraging and supportive regarding future possibilities.
What was most helpful about the meeting was the review of my resume, which I had handed in at the group session, as required. She said it didn’t tell her what my skills were. Looking at it in advance, and noting my academic qualifications, she had wondered if she would be able to talk to me at all! I knew that my resume was very focused on education; for people in that field, the key words, experiences, and job titles tell them everything they need to know. However, for anyone else, wading through my resume would be a chore. We discussed sample business templates and how to extract specific skills and qualifications from my work history. I left our meeting feeling that it had been worthwhile and knowing that I had another person on my side.
After the holiday rush, I went to work on a revised resume and sent it to her for review. The answer came quickly:
“Your business resume looks wonderful. Your qualifications are right on target, and the flow of experience, education, and skills transfers nicely to private sector business. I believe your resume now presents you as not only a highly educated individual, but also features your real world skills, that are diverse and valued in the business world. I think you are right on target…”
A nice start to the new year. My second meeting with her is this week. This time, I look forward to seeing her again.
Sounds positive and maybe you will head in a totally different and surprising direction. Good Luck!!!