Losing your job is a stressful situation. We are currently living in difficult economic conditions. In many instances, very senior executives are for the first time faced with job uncertainty, and many are having to proactively look for a new job and career. Let me share with you some of my insights on what you need to do to get re-engaged in meaningful employment within 90 days.
Get Good Advice
If you think you are about to lose your job or are about to be made redundant, please make sure you get proper employment and legal advice. I am aware of a number of employers who are taking advantage of the current economic situation and laying people off without following the proper procedures and/or not giving their employees the correct pay-outs and entitlements. If you need a referral to a good employment lawyer, please call me personally for several excellent options that I can recommend. Wherever possible, try and negotiate to have Outplacement Services included in any redundancy or retrenchment – these support services can be extremely beneficial.
Aim to get re-engaged within 90 Days
Set yourself the goal of being re-employed within 90 days. This is a realistic timeframe to secure meaningful employment. Make it your number one priority to get re-engaged in the workforce. Treat finding a new job, like a job! This means getting into “job hunting mode”, getting up early every morning, dressed as if you are going to work, and spending your time focused on finding employment. Finding work takes effort, and there are no short-cuts available here. With unemployment rising, this presents a highly competitive situation, so you have to be ahead of the game and be 100% focused on your job search.
Engage Professional Help
Don’t try and do it all alone. Get a professional resume put together, engage a Career Coach, get Interview Coaching – this is not the time to be trying to wing it. You will find that you need proper help and assistance if you are going to be one of the lucky ones that scores the job. A small investment in professional help may have a very significant payoff. The reality is that recruitment and executive search firms are in a fight for survival themselves, so don’t expect them to help. You need access to professional assistance that you can leverage and give you an edge in a highly competitive job market.
Consider a Sea Change
For some, in industries that are undergoing a radical shake-up, a complete career change or sea change may be the only viable option. This type of option needs careful planning and thought to make it a successful long term career change. For example, if you are a banker looking at working in another industry, keep close to your core skill set and make sure that your resume is tailored to opportunities in the new industry or role that you are considering.
Network, Network, Network – Online
Leverage your formal, and informal business and personal networks to help identify new opportunities. In my experience, people underestimate the power of their networks, and fail to reach out in times of need to secure new employment. There is no embarrassment to have lost your job, especially in this climate. Well networked individuals are rarely out of work for long because their network will help do some of the legwork for them and help to identify new opportunities.
Register with Quality Firms
There is a tendency to panic after a few weeks of trying to find employment when results don’t materialise, and many candidates start to ‘scatter gun’ their resume into the market. Please avoid this temptation as it will not improve your results. Register only with quality recruitment and executive search firms, and always phone the consultant first to make sure that there is a good fit with any advertised roles, before sending out your important details.
Get Your Home in Order
Finding new employment is hard work, it can be stressful and tiring. Eliminate any financial or personal worries that you can during this time, cancel unnecessary spending, speak with your bank if appropriate and register at Centrelink as quickly as you can. No-one likes to register for Centrelink unemployment benefits but in these difficult times, you need to be sensible and realise that finding new employment may take longer than expected. During your job search, keep fit and healthy, work on keeping your stress levels in check.
Volunteer and Keep Busy
Busy people tend to attract more opportunities than the folks who are sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. I encourage my candidates to keep busy, network, make appointments, attend a training course, catch up with former colleagues, prepare for and attend interviews, or volunteer your time for a good cause or Not-For-Profit organisation. Above all, stay active and don’t give up!
Get a New Resume
I regard a quality tailored executive resume as one of the most important documents that you have in your arsenal, and it is a critical marketing document which is used to help secure job interviews. The quality of your resume will directly correlate to the number of interviews that you secure, so don’t leave this important document to amateurs. Get professional assistance and invest in a resume makeover. This is particularly important if you need to consider an industry change, as it is imperative that you are able to translate your experience in another industry to the role or opportunity that you are applying for.
There is a job for everyone on this planet! Economic cycles come and go, and there is always work available for someone willing to roll up their shirtsleeves. Australians, by and large, are resourceful people, and being resourceful means that no matter what comes our way, we will figure out a way to get through, even the most bleakest of recessions. Having spoken to a large number of executive candidates in recent months, who in some cases have lost very high paying positions, losing your job can be a very cathartic experience, and make you take stock of what is really important, and what you want to do with your life. Stay positive!