I have several experienced friends, who have left employment either voluntarily or not, before having secured their next role. In the current environment, it can be challenging to make that ideal next connection and your next career move.
Here are some tips on how to ensure your continued employability after reviewing how we typically fill job openings as an insight on where to place your search emphasis.
As the pool of jobless executives grows, experts counsel that those on the market must be willing to continue learning, get on social media and possibly take a pay cut to land their desired next roles.
I know from talking to friends, that the journey to return to employment can involve long periods of frustration – as search firms sometimes did not return calls; as people you hope to speak with took longer to come back to you than you hope; and as courtships began and then evaporated for a range of reasons which had little to do with your abilities and more to do with the external environments and businesses cautious approach to staffing.
In the search for your next job, remember how you managed to hire all those people in the past. It will be no different as you search for a role.
Remember all those unsolicited CVs you threw away, expect others to throw your unsolicited CV away too. Discussions with head hunters can be useful, but how often did you use Headhunters for mid-level roles? Here’s a quick graphic of how typical roles are filled and suggestions on how you can tailor your search approach to them
Obviously, you aren’t an internal hire and so providing evidence of success and building contacts through networking are the biggest opportunities to find that next career.
To help with this, there are now great networking tools available on social media.
1. Make use of Social Media.
When rebuilding a network for your next career, it’s important to establish the key people who might be important in that network to help connect you to others, and then “reach out” to them. To ensure you’re not just seen as deadwood or a hanger-on, you have to bring some value to that networking opportunity.
The job market is more fluid, and past achievements and practices may not be as critical for the future so don’t hark back to the days when you were a Marketing Director in China. Instead, consider taking on board the growing significance of social media and get help in building an effective LinkedIn profile.
Don’t feel constrained by considerations about existing structures and defined roles in organisations, increasingly, opportunities are defined by the capability or competence of individuals. Companies on a search have problems or opportunities and an obvious lack of skills to be able to address or take advantage of them- that’s why they are searching. If you can demonstrate that you can bring value and capability, you’ll find organisations are far more willing to create roles around your skills. That’s why you have to be clear about what value you bring in your online ‘advertising”.
2. Keep Busy.
If you’re an out-of-work executive get busy with related projects in order to attract employment offers. Looking for a job is NOT a full-time exercise. So, get some project work or do something for a not-for-profit. Just make sure you’re busy and building your contacts. Consider the external environment, think about if there has been a spike of executive redundancies in the past six months as it may be difficult for many to gain new roles immediately.
Set up your own blog-site. Its cheap and with word-press, simple- like this site. Create a new business card, highlighting your site. Start explaining how you would deal with some of lives intractable issues for business. Use it as a net to catch potential employers.
3. Put some perspective on your value.
As an unemployed executive you may need to reduce your expectation about your future pay. Not only has their been downsizing, but many many companies are down grading pay scales either through increasing internationalization, or as a means to reduce overhead.
You are not necessarily worth what you were paid in the last job, but your worth can vary from situation to situation depending on how much your skills are needed. A charity might pay you 30 per cent less, a job in government might pay you 20 per cent less, and a small company or start-up might pay you 25 per cent less. It doesn’t mean that they’re not worth considering especially if, as with smaller companies, theres an opportunity to share in business value later.
4. Consider your age as Experience
Make sure your age is seen as experience and not as used years, by setting up LinkedIn and other appropriate social media profiles and join in discussions on the profession networking sites. Your edge is that during difficult times, many companies should be looking for experienced candidates who have experienced crises in the past, who can draw from this experience and also can coach and mentor staff.
Clarity about what attributes you have to offer is essential. Position yourself as different, better, than an internal hire or hiring a younger (by definition, less experienced) outsider. Find ways to indirectly highlight your experience and the results you’ve brought in social media exchanges, and on your profiles. Try to persuade hirers to recognise ability and enthusiasm over age by providing case study examples of your experience either on your own blog, or in online publications.
Be clear, jobs wont just come to you. In the current environment, finding your next position is a job in itself, and if you were any good at your previous job, trying to find a new role should be seen as a marketing/strategic issue. Think about how you want to be “positioned”, what value your ‘personal brand’ brings- be relevant to a new employer, distinctive from other job applicants, and have a motivating ‘offer’ to potential bosses. Think of how to sell yourself.
Remember, its thought that 70 per cent of jobs don’t get listed. But when you talk to people, be very focused about what you’re looking for and what you can bring to the business, this way you are more memorable.
Have you moved careers recently, please share your opinions and suggestions, we’d appreciate it.