Union Pacific to Layoff 750

Union Pacific to layoff 750

Photo credit UP.com

That was the recent headline in the local media.

Union Pacific follows corporate trend, trimming 750 positions, mostly at Omaha headquarters Omaha World-Herald, Aug 17, 2017

Union Pacific to cut 750 jobs KETV, Aug. 16, 2017

Union Pacific announces workforce reduction WOWT, Aug. 16, 2017

Union Pacific to cut 750 positions by Fall KMTV, Aug. 16, 2017

You get the idea.  All sounds rather dim and if you read the stories that day there is not much in the way of positive outlooks for the people that will face being laid off.

Things may get better in time, but many of the targeted group are long time employees. They haven’t looked for work in years.  I am sure some will take an early retirement, others a buyout, still others will be facing the harsh reality that the job market they entered 20 or 30 years ago is radically different.

Newspaper help wanted ads

Finding a job in the newspaper classified is practically non-existent. What used to be a regular thick section in the Sunday paper is now nothing more than a few pages in the Money section.

Online Job Boards

Job hunters will turn to online job boards like; Monster, Careerbuilder, Indeed, Zip Recruiter, Careerlink, NEWorks, and even LinkedIn. Finding a job online will only prolong your job search. Only 20% of all available positions are advertised anywhere yields a 5% success rate.  Still many people waste, yes, I said waste, 80% of their time filling out online applications. There will be competing with hundreds of other people trying to get through the computer software that is there to screen people out. Applying online is the spray and pray method of finding work. Very low yield.

I have said in the Tuesday night sessions that the role of Human Resources is not to look at 500 resumes to find the best 3 or 5 candidates, it is their role to screen out 495 people and they use computer software to make their job easier.

If you do not have the right keywords in the application, someone in HR will never see your app. If they do they will give it 5 to 10 seconds of time to judge whether it will go up to the hiring manager. Certainly, this is not a process that anyone should subject their job search to.

The Resume

When many of the Union Pacific workers that will be getting pink slips this fall, will have to dust off their old resume, if they even had one. Probably when they did have a resume, it was just one that listed their Objective, Work Experience with bullets for duties and responsibilities, and education.

Use that kind of resume today and it will not see the light of day.

First, the Objective, is all about YOU and nothing about how you will be an asset to the company you are applying at. Get rid of that archaic term.  You need a Summary of Accomplishments.  A couple of sentences on how you made a different to the bottom line of the business.

Work Experience, please avoid repeating the job descriptions. Anyone with knowledge of a job title will know what you did.  What you need to do is tell people how you did it better than anyone else with the same title. I typically tell people these are the Dragon Slayer Stories (see Liz Ryan’s website Humanworkplace.com for more info on this topic). How you did your job, better, faster, cheaper, made money, saved money.  You will need to differentiate yourself from other candidates looking at the same position.


Any job seeker, needs to get onto LinkedIn and fill out a personal profile.  Sort of an expanded resume. They have plenty of tools to help you, but the best practices here a bit different than a resume. Resumes are written in third person. LinkedIn Profiles are FIRST PERSON; “I did this…”

Then start building your network. The magic starts around 75 connections. I only connect with people I know or ones that send me a custom written invitation rather than the “I want to join your network.” People that do not take the time to remind me of our connection, or why they want to connect with me, get nixed, not only that I will mark it as I do not know this person. There has to be something in it for both parties as far as I am concerned.

LinkedIn is a professional networking tool, the best one out there at the moment.  It has changed over the years and not always for the better, which is an article for another time. Still more than 500 million people are on LinkedIn, with more than 125 million in the United States; that is a huge number with a workforce of over 150 million.  You chances of connecting and finding a network connection to a hiring manager is greater with the more connections you have.

Networking your way to a new job

The best way to find work is through networking. You have a better than 80% chance of landing a job by networking and it is the only way you will hear of the jobs that are not advertised or find an employer willing to create a position for you.

Why don’t people network more often?  They have to get out of their comfort zone. As I mentioned in the post Making Tracks in your job search getting a job is all about networking and moving beyond the glass; of your computer and your home.

Dan Weber, a corporate refuge, runs Peak Pathways Network, is also an Executive Coach. He has a great saying, “There is only ONE letter different between NETWORKING and NOT WORKING. This should drive home the reality of today’s job market.

I could go on, but there are many other things the Union Pacific staff facing the job market have to learn.  I am sure some may get outplacement services and that is great for them.  Still there are numerous other resources locally that they can take advantage of.  Here is a short list:

Omaha Career Networking – Yes, our group that meets on Tuesday night. We have helped hundreds of people since 2008 find rewarding work.  Thousands have come through the ministry, not all have taken the advice and done the hard work necessary to find rewarding work.

Career Transition Workshop – We run this 12-week program once a year and it covers every aspect of the job search, from Accepting the Axe, to Negotiations after the job offer. You can watch all 12 sessions online at CareerTransitionWorkshop.org/resources. I encourage the Union Pacific folks facing career transition to take advantage of this great resource. If you would like to get a Workbook with supporting material, message me through our contact form. There is a small donation of $20 to cover our costs.

Free Job Coaching – run by Paul David Madsen, America’s Job Coach, offers coaching to people in career transition. More information at FreeJobCoaching.com.

NEWorks – Yep the job service.  Their website is a great resource for the job seeker and they have some great positions listed that may not appear anywhere else. Still this is only the 20% of available jobs. Find them at neworks.nebraska.gov, they also have a mobile app, not quite as robust, but you may find it helpful.

The Hiring Manager

Your goal is to bypass HR and go direct to the Hiring Manager you’re your resume and cover letter. This can only be done via networking. Help wanted ads maybe the tip off you need to start the networking process. You may not be able to find a strong connection, there are other ways besides applying online to get to the Hiring Manager. Come to a meeting sometime to find out.

Well, Good Luck to the Union Pacific employees getting laid off.  You know what they say about LUCK: it is when preparation meets opportunity. And Hope is NOT a job hunt strategy.

About Jeff Quandt

Jeff Quandt is an Inbound and Digital Marketing Strategist and owns On-Q Marketing LLC. He helps the members of the OCN through understanding their personal brand, how they have to market themselves as the solution to a hiring manager's problem, and offers a personal LinkedIn Counseling session for any member of the group. Jeff is a corporate refuge that has been laid off several times, so he is very familiar with the job hunt process, the ups and downs, and the success at the end of the tunnel. Keeping a positive attitude with the end goal in mind is crucial to a job seekers success. Today as a business owner, he is constantly looking for work, he knows the process well and it makes no difference if you work for someone else or yourself, you need to be the solution to someone's problem to get paid.