Career resilience: Part 1 - Don't get sucker-punched

November 26, 2017

Losing your job can feel like a punch in the face or worse, especially when it catches you by surprise. Invest in your career resilience to be like a boxer in the ring: keep your hands up, your feet moving and your eyes on the opponent. Any one thing can go wrong, from the economy to your company, down to your relationship with your boss, so that you find yourself out of work without a moment's notice. Would you at that instant have the resources lined up to survive and thrive despite this unforeseen event? Put a solid plan in place now. It's an important step to reaching your desired financial outcomes, no matter what happens later - let's explore what that means.

 

Start from solid place

In some earlier FiClub posts we've talked about:

1). Other sources of income

2). Emergency savings

3). Cutting expenses

4). Paying down debt

These are all things you should do so you don't find yourself on the ropes and out of breath when the job loss punch hits and tries to knock you out. If you haven't felt motivated to do all this yet, the first signs of trouble at work should get your butt off the sofa.

 

Treat the job search like a marketing professional would treat a campaign:

 

You are the product and service, now act like a marketing master to put it to highest value.

 

 

 

The first thing is to know what you want to do and what value you bring to market. Consider your strengths: the combination of unique things that you not only are good at doing but that you also enjoy excelling at. The Gallup organization, famous for the Gallup opinion polls, developed the Strengthsfinder survey that has been used by millions of people to find their unique strengths and by organizations around the world to better understand their people. Consider taking it if you haven't identified the settings where you operate at your best. 

 

Assuming you have that figured out, the next step is to list companies with a presence in your targeted locations that you honestly feel can benefit from your skills, knowledge, and background.

 

Once that is done your goal, like any good salesman, should be to find a minimum 2 points of contact at each target company:

1) The hiring manager in the relevant group you are targeting (e.g. the Director of Sales if you are targeting a sales position OR the CEO directly if it's a small company) AND

2) the relevant recruiter for job openings for that hiring manager/team.

 

You should find at least 50 companies to target. If you struggle to find that many in the relevant industry in your target city then you must either a) expand the number of target industries to target that your background is relevant OR B) expand the list of locations you can consider/open yourself up to relocation if practicable.

 

If you can develop a list of 50 companies that means your contact list should have a minimum of 100 names (2 per target company). From there, go to LinkedIn and the employers’ websites to find names of the relevant hiring managers and recruiters to add to your contact list. If you are targeting nonprofit organizations as part of your search, you live in the best time in the history of the world to research them. In 2016, the IRS granting full access to all tax filings (Form 990), that list names and salaries of officers of nonprofits making your job search so much more data rich. Sign up for a free Guidestar account to search this treasure trove.

 

 

From there , I would review the LinkedIn bios of your contacts and see if any are already 1st or 2nd degree connections and also learn as much as you can on a Google and Google news search of each company or organization. You can create Google Alerts so that you get an email whenever there is a news story on one of the people or companies you track.

 

From there, like a good salesman, I would begin a strategic 1-by-1 campaign to connect with every single person on the list BEGINNING with the hiring manager decision makers. This campaign would be using an “all of the above”/whatever it takes until you connect with your targeted people approach. By that I mean don't restrict yourself to simply 1 attempted outreach and/or using only 1 platform (e.g. only using email or only using LinkedIn). Try LinkedIn with the person with a personalized invite message and your reason for reaching out. Then try emailing them at their work email address which can usually be guessed by googling their companies email address format.

 

I hope you notice that I have said nothing about actual job openings and postings. This is intentional because for your purposes in doing a proper job search actual job openings and postings are irrelevant.

 

Like a prospecting salesman working his list and/or territory your goal is first to establish contact and introduce yourself and ideally get a meeting/phone call with your targeted contacts. If possible see if a company, if they say they are not hiring, will meet you informally for an informational interview. Informational interviews serve 2 purposes: 

1) the target companies are now acquainted with you when/if they do have an opening,

2) people willing to do informational interview tend to be the type of people willing to assist you in your job search by providing thoughts, feedback, advice, AND even, if the meeting goes well, introductions to other people they know that you should connect with about your job search.

 

As you connect with more and more people and have more and more meetings two things will happen. You will either be encouraged or discouraged to continue your course of action in your job search. In other words, you will sense that you either realistically have a shot to land a targeted job and one of your target companies OR you may feel that it best to change paths and pursue other career paths in line with your passions and skills and financial goals.

Make sure you do not stop your job search prospecting until you have found and received an informed response from every company on your targeted list. This generic job search strategy approach can be applied to any role, in any industry, in any location.

 

For simplicity we ignored running a campaign focused on your existing network as part of this job search approach. All we will say there is to reach out to every person you are close to that you believe is in position to help you and ask for their advice. DO NOT ASK FOR A JOB. A general rule of job search networking is if you ask for a job you’ll instead get advice. Conversely if you ask for advice about your job search you may end up in fact getting a job.

 

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: Much of this post was advice I received from Tomas Svitorka -  http://tomassvitorka.com/why-and-how-to-network/ Tomas is a highly regarded life coach and career adviser.

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