Bob Larson, CPC
Bob Larson, CPC




Career Report
January, 2009 — Issue 107

Free during Lunch Time; Career Transition Coaching Webinar Series

The Berman Larson Kane Career Transition Coaching Webinar Series starts Thursday, January 15th at Noon. “How to Get Your Resume Noticed and Read” will be the first topic. Log in from your computer at no charge!

Who among us is not thrilled to have 2008 behind us? At Berman Larson Kane, we have seen not only many of our clients’ recruiting efforts halt, but also many of them laying off employees, due to the weakened economy. If you are one of those former employees, who currently is experiencing an unplanned career transition, BLK is offering additional services designed for jobseekers. Lunch time “How-to Sessions” provide free webinars to jobseekers who want advice and guidance on how to transition into their next career move. These twenty- minute sessions are free to you. Topics range from Expanding Your Professional Networking to Conquering Your Job Searching Fears.

Please accept our invitation to join us for the first in an ongoing series. Register by sending a blank email to

Don’t Let Layoff Push You Off the Edge

Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, which works out pretty well for most people–that is until the paychecks stop. According to a USA Today article, that’s the predicament facing thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs in recent weeks.

If you’re one of them, you might need to make some long-term changes, such as learning new jobs skills or relocating. But in the short-term, the most important thing you need to do is to shore up your finances. Otherwise, even a short period of unemployment could jeopardize your financial security. Here, according to the article by personal finance columnist Sandra Block, are six key places to start:

1. Know Your Numbers — Sit down and figure out all sources of income, such as severance pay, unemployment, wages from a part-time job, and help from family, said Mike Haubrich, a financial planner in Racine, Wis. Once you’ve calculated your income, make a list of monthly expenses. That way, you can figure out how much money is coming in, how much is going out, and where you need to cut.

2. Prioritize Your Expenses — Basic needs, such as mortgage, utilities, health insurance and groceries, should be at the top of the list, according to Barbara O’Neill, financial resource specialist at Rutgers University. After that, list expenses that will enhance your job search. Your cellphone and Internet service, for example, “can really be important lifelines when you’re trying to get a new job,” she pointed out.

Additionally, scale back immediately on non-necessities, such as premium cable and restaurant meals, even if you’re sure you’ll be back to work soon. Also resist the temptation to use credit cards to maintain your lifestyle. Many people underestimate how long it will take to get work, O’Neil added.

Everyone in the family should be involved in this effort, said Catherine Williams, vice president of financial literacy for Money Management International, a credit counseling agency. And don’t hide the truth from your children. You don’t want them to start to think they’ll have to start selling matches in the street, Williams told USA Today, but you should “talk in very general terms about the changes that are going to have to be made.”

3. Use Credit Cards Only For Emergencies — Legitimate emergencies include medication, car repairs or job hunting expenses. If you’re not sure an expense is essential, Williams said, wait 24 hours before spending the money. By then, you may find the purchase is unnecessay.

4. Start Conserving Cash — When you’re out of work, “You want to maximize every ounce of cash you’ve got,” Williams said. Make minimum payments on your credit cards. If you’ve been making extra payments on your mortgage, cut back to the minimum required by your lender.

Williams also recommended that you stop automatic withdrawals from your checking or savings account. When you’re receiving a paycheck, these programs offer a convenient way to pay your bills on time. But while you’re unemployed, you may need to change the timing of some payments so your most important bills – such as your mortgage – are paid first.

5. Contact Your Creditors — Even one late credit card payment can trigger sharply higher interest rates or a reduced line of credit. For that reason, many people are reluctant to tell their lenders they’ve fallen on hard times. But if you can’t pay your bills, hiding from your lenders will make the problem worse, cautioned Adam Levin, founder of, a consumer information website. “If you owe somebody money, communication is the only way you’ll make them feel comfortable enough to want to do something for you,” he told USA Today. “If you become scarce, they’ll feel like you’re trying to evade them.”

And while bargaining with lenders is tougher now than it was in the past, you may be able to negotiate a lower interest rate or a temporary deferral on your payments,” Williams said.

6. Get Help — If your debts are overwhelming, consider seeking assistance from a reputable credit counselor. These organizations can negotiate a debt-management plan with your creditors. Many also offer advice on financial planning and budgeting. Be wary, though, of debt-relief companies that promise to make your debts disappear. Paying off debt isn’t easy or painless, and any business that suggests otherwise could be a scam.

News from BLK

As we enter our 29th year of changing people’s lives through employment options, we would like to assure our valued candidates and clients that we have survived the challenges and hardships of 3 recessions, and we will do the same through the current one. Our book, Aim, Shoot, Get Hired, a digest of over ten years of career advice articles, offers insight into some of what we’ve learned during almost three decades. To order this helpful manual, please click here.

Our wish to all is that we approach 2009 with patience, humor, and generosity of spirit, resulting in positive change wherever it may be needed. We look forward to working with you!