So one day it’s a sunny Fall day and you’re watching children play football and soccer, and the next, 60 mph gusts are launching tree branch projectiles at your home, snapping massive tree trunks in two like so many toothpicks, and driving record tidal surges into coastal homes and businesses. The storm’s aftermath is a period of shaky calm as people try to assess the damage and contend with life without running water, power, phones, Internet access, the ability to get to work or school or the grocery store (if it’s open and if it has items on the shelves), or even worse…
So just what does a hurricane have to do with losing your job unexpectedly?
It’s not so much the storm that brought you to your “here and now,” since that storm has come and gone. It’s the aftermath that matters….how you pick yourself up from the devastation, dust (dry?) yourself off, and begin moving forward to stabilize and rebuild. Recovering from a hurricane and coping with an unexpected job loss are very much about clearing out the debris (the wreckage of your home, yard, career) and focusing on the essentials you need to have/do to move forward to a better place.
You need to:
Stay positive — believing in yourself and a positive future outcome,
Have the necessary tools available and functioning (e.g., Flashlights, Batteries, Resume, References)
Roll up your sleeves and work hard to rebuild, and
Reach out to people for mutual support (aka network)
And all this is done, one step by one step at a time. So, what are the detailed steps you have to take to power up your job search and find your next job? Be ready to do some:
Soul searching – It’s time for some healthy introspection. How did I land here? What went wrong? What went right? What am I good at? What can I become good at? What am I lacking? How can I fill any gaps? Where do I want to be? What do I really want to do?
Researching – What’s the current job market like? What companies would I like to work for? Are they hiring? Do I know anyone who works there? What other companies are out there that I might have overlooked with my first pass?
Packaging – Think of yourself as a “product” to be packaged and marketed. Your primary tools are: your resume, your cover letter, your LinkedIn profile (and other social media pages), and your own blog. Each of these elements needs to be mindfully constructed so it is clear, crisp, and consistent. Ideally, working with an experienced resume writer is the best way to devise “stand up and be noticed” marketing materials. But even if you can’t afford specialized help, you can do-it-yourself with help from Ivy Exec’s numerous webinars on the nuts and bolts of creating “wow” career documentation. Above all, do not work in a vacuum or your resume will never make it to the top of the pile.
Applying – Use company job boards and job boards offered by premier career resource companies. Ivy Exec’s job board posts over 60,000 premium jobs that have been hand selected for our elite members. Our premium level members receive daily job alerts tailored to their search specifications directly in their inbox. Only apply to jobs you are well qualified for, otherwise you are wasting your time. Make sure you submit a customized cover letter with every job application that clearly delineates why your skill set and experience map perfectly to the job’s requirements.
Networking – Network! Network! Network! Reach out to colleagues from prior jobs, friends of friends of friends, and classmates you’ve lost touch with. Be very open to renewing contacts with people from your past. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter are all ways to connect and re-connect. And these social networks can be used to uncover and connect with company insiders if you are patient, yet appropriately persistent. You just never know, but someone, who knows someone, who knows someone MAY be able to help you. Additionally, reach out to the alumni offices at schools you attended. Alumni offices often have networks of alumni who are more than happy to meet with job seekers for informational interviews, and alumni just might have job leads to share with a fellow alum.
Interviewing and Closing… – If it has been awhile since you interviewed, be sure to sharpen those skills before your first interview. Scheduling informational interviews can help you polish up rusty interview skills. As a starting point, Ivy Exec offers member access to a library of webinars on Interviewing. Our premium members have access to a Mentor Network comprised of seasoned executives who can help you prepare tough interviews. Ivy Exec also offers career coaching services. Though it may seem “quaint,” make sure you follow up with every interviewer in writing to thank them for their time, and to reaffirm your interest in the position. Ivy Exec’s webinar library also includes materials on Negotiating – a key skill you need to master that will help you ensure that your compensation offer is in line with your expectations/requirements.
…and Working Again! — Once you’ve regained your professional footing make sure you nurture your career by growing your skill set and remaining plugged-in to the bigger picture. Most successful careers require constant care and feeding. Careers that are going places don’t “coast” there…
Greg Olsten is an Associate in Professional Services at IvyExec.com.