"You Can't Fall Off The Floor"

July 26, 2009 7:40:19 AM PDT
With the unemployment rate at its highest point in 50 years, more than 150-million employed Americans say their number one fear is losing their job. Steve Blacker, author of "You Can't Fall off the Floor," joined us with tips to reinvent yourself. What are some of the key lessons you have learned about re-inventing yourself? And do they apply to everyone?

To successfully re-invent yourself, you need to market your skill sets and not your former job titles. For example, if you are good at sales or administration in the food service area you can do an even better job in the cosmetics, travel or any other business category. Why? Because you bring a new perspective and that's what companies are looking for today. And this key lesson applies to anyone. A worker on an automotive assembly line knows how to work under pressure, be part of and team and manage quality control - key skills that can be applied to other job categories.

What mistakes do most people make when looking for a job today?

Looking for a new job must become a full time job in itself. You need to be extremely pro-active. Examine a company's annual report, see what their challenges are. Then contact an executive in an area of that company you are interested in, but not with a traditional form letter and resume. Write a brief e-mail saying you have a few ideas you wish to share about either creating a new profit center or reducing operating costs. That's what every company is interested in today. Obviously, you need to develop a few ideas for your meeting. And don't be worried about a company stealing them. Everyone is so downsized they would need you to execute the idea if they like it.

Why have you had so many jobs?

When I graduated college in 1958 I had no idea what I wanted to do. My first two jobs were training programs. Then I realized as long as I kept learning new skill sets, I could become worth more at another company. So when I felt dead ended or bored, I moved on. Plus, I've been through three takeovers, three job eliminations, two terminations and the rest of the time I left on my own. I had no formal training in research, yet I was the top research executive at Conde Nast Publications, Hearst Magazines and Hachette Filapachhi Media. That's because I knew how to apply my prior skill sets.

Where have your numerous job leads come from?

Good question. From the most unlikely places. One was from a dermatologist, several were from suppliers I did business with - It is extremely important to be nice to suppliers. A few were from friends. It is important to let everyone know you are looking for a job. Today when you are seeking a job with a company, check out their key executives on Face Book, Linkedin and other sites to see who their friends are. You may know one of them.

What skill set do you think is most important today?

The ability to think out of the box. Most business models are broken today and companies are looking for people who are creative and innovative problem solvers. A good sense of humor goes a long way too in these stressful times.

Any last word of advice?

People need to remember they need just one opportunity, one good job --so the more contacts you make, the more pro-active you are --the better your odds become. Too many people become embarrassed or shy about sharing their need to find a job with everyone they know.

More about Steve Blacker:

- Blacker has been practicing successful career re-invention for the past 50 years and is still going strong today. He has worked for over 25 different companies; most likely a record. His jobs have ranged to selling indoor golf machines, managing a store for Montgomery Ward to being the Publisher of the Village Voice.

- His new book "You Can't Fall Off The Floor! The Insiders' Guide to Re-Inventing Yourself and Your Career" is the first major book on this topic. The book is inspirational and provides insight as it chronicles how Steve Blacker went from a career in retail to become one of the most highly regarded corporate executives in magazine publishing and consumer research.

- Steve has created a whole new way of looking at the job process.Rather than focusing on former job titles, his approach is to market your prior skill sets to solve a company's major challenges. For example, a worker on an automotive assembly line has skill sets in working under pressure, being part of a highly skilled team and maintaining quality control. These skills can be applied in other industries.

- Blacker provides easy to follow practical advice. He knows how to find jobs when it seems there are none. He tells how he was able to launch an outdoor ski network even though he cannot ski. Finally, he explains how he was able to apply conventional wisdom to media consumer research and become an expert in the field without formal training.

- Steve is a unique career coach. During two major recessions he has re-invented himself successfully and shares 189 lessons he has learned in the process. Thirty two well known media and business executives such as Gayle King, Cathie Black, President Hearst Magazines, George Lois, the legendary ad man, provide their insider tips on what it takes to be successful today.

- Steve Blacker's Career History: Bloomingdale's Training Program, Buyer Small Electrical Appliances, Macy's, Store Manager, Montgomery Ward, Editor, Chain Store Age, Market Contact Rep, Time Magazine, Account Supervisor, Chenault Ad Agency, SVP Sales & Marketing, Golf-O-Tron, Ad Manager, Money Magazine, Publisher Village Voice, VP Advertising, New York Post, President & Publisher, Cue Magazine, EVP Publisher, Medical Economics, SVP Sales & Marketing, Ski View, Director Sponsorship Sales, American Heritage Magazine, Director, Sports Illustrated's Olympic Program Guide, Director Cable Sales, TV Cable Week, Marketing Director, People Magazine, President & Publisher, Business Month Magazine, Publisher, Inc. Magazine, Director Database Marketing, Playboy Enterprises, SVP Sales Ron Delsener's Jones Beach Concert Series, Publisher KPMG's Business World Magazine, VP New Business, Frankfurt Gipps Ad Agency, SVP Market Research, Conde Nast Publications, Director of Consumer Research, Hearst Magazines, Executive Director Consumer Insights, Hachette Filapacchi Media, Partner, Frankfurt & Blacker Solutions.

For more on Steve or to order his book, visit http://blacker-reinventions.com.
Type in the promotional code ycf09 to get a 31% discount and signed copy.