Many articles talk about figuring out when it’s time to make a change, but what happens if your company makes that decision for you by eliminating or relocating your position? In some cases, you are provided with ample notice, and can begin your job search prior to your final day in your current role. In other situations, you are notified and released on the same day.
With corporate consolidations, splits, operational efficiencies, and cost cutting measures, everyone needs to maintain their personal brand and be prepared for their next move. Individuals with whom I work often say that searching for a job is a full-time job. Job search preparation doesn’t happen overnight- it takes time. In my opinion, it’s a multi-step process that requires introspective thought and taking the steps below will help set you up for success in finding your next position.
Build Your Personal Brand. Everyone is known for something, even if it’s getting the job done in a timely manner without errors. You are an expert in something. Showcase that knowledge. Develop a professional social media presence. Ensure that your online persona aligns with who you are in person and what you can deliver in the office. Know what you stand for and be able to convey that message clearly. Live, breathe, eat and sleep that brand daily. According to a 2018 Career Builder Survey, 70% of employers will check social media prior to hiring. Why not be viewed as a passionate, well-versed professional in your field?
Understand Your Strengths. Be able to articulate what you are good at and be cognizant of areas that need improvement. Maybe you are exceptionally quick on the uptake, and don’t require a significant amount of direction. You ask appropriate questions to get to the root of an issue or to clarify goals and deliverables. You can break down complex problems into manageable tasks and execute on-time and under-budget, and you have a proven track record of doing so. While you are exceptional at tackling challenges and delivering result, you may lack the ability to present your progress in a clear and concise manner and this is an area on which you are working. Look at all aspects of your current and previous positions and develop a list.
Know Your Goal. I was recently working with a candidate, who was initially interested in a specific role. The company viewed this candidate as a high-potential (hi-po) hire, that could easily move into management and take over the whole department in a few years. After the offer was made, the candidate thought about the position, the corporate structure, and their personal goals. They weren’t aligned and the offer was declined. The client agreed that if they hired someone as a manager above this individual that stayed in the role for a long time, there was no-where for this hi-po to progress to in their organization. While I always hate to lose a deal, this was the outcome that was candidate-right and client-right, and I’m happy that both were able to find the right alternative solution that met their goals. Be objective in evaluating opportunities. Know your short-term and long-term goals and look at the backgrounds of those who proceeded you to determine the various paths to get there.
Job Search Plan. You know what your strengths are and what you believe in. You know where you are willing to commute – set a geographic radius. If you are geographically flexible with your search, research multiple locations. You know whether you fit in better at a large or small company. Develop a plan that includes the type of companies and organizations in which you are interested. Do your research on the various organizations – what’s their mission? Is it something you can stand behind and help to drive the company forward? Make a target list. Then look for competitors of your targets. Look for suppliers, distributors, or consumers of your target companies’ goods and services. Keep expanding this list until you feel you’ve exhausted all options. We know that with which we are familiar, but there are numerous hidden gems out there.
Refresh Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile. We’ve all heard that your resume is a living breathing document, and should update it regularly, but most people do not. Now is a good time to revamp that personal selling tool that’s going to get your foot in the door. In the first third of the first page, you need to convey to the reader (recruiter, HR, hiring manager) why they need to speak with you about the role to which you are applying. Eliminate your objective – it’s to get the job. Develop a bold summary that highlights your strengths, from the exercise mentioned above, that align with jobs to which you are applying.
Know Your Story. Be able to tell your story in a concise impactful manner. Know where to elaborate and where to truncate. The elevator speech you create must highlight your most valuable strengths for the individual to whom you are speaking. Be nimble and know your audience. Additionally, interviews may include a combination of technical and behavioral questions. Prepare your answers to the standard behavioral questions. Know your stories and be sure to include what you learned and the results.
Network. Utilize LinkedIn and your personal and professional networks to gather more information about the field, roles, companies, and industries you are pursuing. Develop a broad group of individuals who will act as champions for you in the marketplace. Be genuine when reaching out to people – you are trying to learn more about what they do in their current role, where they work, or how they got to this point in their career. You are not asking for a job. People inherently like to help others and they will help you when they get to know your passions and desire to be successful in a given area.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position where your role has been eliminated, take a test drive and begin to devise your plan. This road map is a great one to follow, even if you aren’t actively looking for a new position. Always plan and be on the offensive when your livelihood may be impacted by a decision outside of your control.
If you would like to connect and discuss your next step, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melissa Shapiro has been helping professionals navigate the job search since 2005. She is currently the Recruiting Director for Precision Recruiting Solutions Group, LLC, a boutique staffing firm placing candidates in accounting, finance, and human resources functions on a temporary, temporary-to-hire and director hire basis. She spent 9 years in career management, supporting masters level business students in full-time, professional, and executive MBA programs, as well as specialized master’s degree programs. Melissa has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and Finance, Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and her MBA.