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From Layoff to Opportunity 

16th April 2010 Posted in Blog, Career Development, Industry Articles 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This was the feature article in this month’s TechCom Manager newsletter, reprinted here with permission. Click the previous link to subscribe to the newsletter.

by Uri Galimidi

Job Hunting In Turbulent Times

Almost one year ago, unemployment in the US was 9.4% (or 14.5 million people) and job openings were approximately 2.7 million. If you have been laid off recently, you are probably asking yourself “What would it take for me to be successful in my job hunting?

First and foremost, you have to be at the top of your mental form. You have to be very clear about your goal, be creative, resourceful, determined, understand the best techniques and resources out there, and have a strong support system.

This article aims to bring you an insightful Career Transition FrameworkTM that will help you meet your career objective. Let’s start with an interesting job-hunting story.

Case of John Ramsey

John Ramsey (not his real name) was one of the many casualties of the economic downturn. True to his methodical nature, John decided to approach this job hunt as a project. First he took a few days off to clearly determine his career objectives and how he was going to approach his job-hunting challenge. This was not an easy process for John. In retrospect, he wished he had hired a Coach, but he didn’t.

John chose to use a sharp-shooting rifle approach, rather than sending a blast of resumes to every possible job site. He drew a shortlist of contacts he thought might help him in his job hunt. After a couple weeks of calls and follow-up calls recorded in a worksheet, John received the call he was waiting for. “Call this man,” said one of his contacts. “He is the CEO of an emerging but dynamic company. They are looking for someone like you.”

Before calling, John searched the internet for everything he could find about the company. He then developed a detailed strategy statement, carefully articulating his vision for the company and how he could help them realize it. John then prepared for his interviews, using video rehearsal and visualization techniques. John had to ensure that he would project himself in a professional, confident, experienced manner. Eventually, after seven long interviews, laced with challenging discussions about his ideas, John received the good news he was hoping for.

A Job Hunting Strategy

Losing your job is one of the most stressful life events you may ever experience. Having a strong support system around you may be the key to your success. The Career Transition FrameworkTM described below, combined with the support of a Career Coach, provides one of the most effective ways to tackle the challenge.

1. Come To Terms

If you have lost your job recently, you probably experienced feelings of disbelief, anger, disappointment, loss of self-esteem, and possibly even depression. It is crucial that you find effective ways to work through these issues as quickly as you can. You have to get in your top-most mental shape quickly if you are to be successful in your quest for a new job.

2. Explore The Market

In this step, you may consider spending some time exploring the market. The economy, the stimulus package, the state of your industry, occupations and locations in demand, companies that are still hiring, government and other resources available to you, and the like. You’d be amazed at the abundance of information and resources out there — some very valuable, some not.

3. Develop A Strategy

This is the most important step of all. Do not be tempted to skip it. Start by defining your long-term and short-term life vision, your core values, you strengths, weaknesses self-limiting beliefs, and the things that make you unique. Next, write a description of the job you wish to have, the position, responsibilities, salary, employment conditions, and your future work-life balance. Then, think about your job hunting strategy and how you will execute it.

4. Write Your Resume

Writing an effective resume is based on a few simple principles. First, it is important to customize your resume to meet specific requirements of each job for which you are applying. Most companies use resume-search software that automatically scans for the attributes they seek. Make sure those attributes are included in your resume. You should also clearly state your expertise, your quantitative achievements (e.g., managed a budget of $….), and what makes you uniquely valuable.

5. Networking

Recruiters agree that 60-70% of jobs are found through one’s own network connections. It is important that you invest in your professional and personal networks. The internet provides ample opportunities to stay connected via LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, and others.

Your immediate objective is to network with those who can help you with your job search. Your longer-term objective should be to define your professional brand, and build your professional presence. You should also search your name on the internet, and ensure that you are comfortable with the content posted about you.

6. Search Job

Most experts prefer the targeted approach to job hunting, based on pursuing your network of contacts. It is also a good idea to thoroughly research the company you are pursuing. Get to know everything you can about the company, its strategy, its market position, its key personnel, and even its competitors.

7. Interview

Ultimately, it will all ride on your ability to project a confident, competent, skilled, and experienced image at your interview. Your preparation is crucial, both in terms of the knowledge you need to acquire and your ability to resonate positively with your interviewer. Take this step very seriously. Use visualizations, interview rehearsals, and role playing to prepare.

8. Salary Negotiation

Skillful negotiation of your salary and employment conditions is essential. First, do not negotiate before you are certain that you are the chosen candidate. If asked, avoid the topic tactfully but firmly. Research the market salaries in your profession. Prepare a detailed list of benefits that are important to you. And finally, determine the minimum salary at which point you would be prepared to walk away from the job opportunity.

Armed with this framework, you are bound to be successful. Good Luck.

About the Author

Uri Galimidi is the founder and principal coach of The Will To Change Inc. Uri specializes in Executive Coaching, Career Coaching, and Personal Coaching. He offers one-on-one coaching, as well as group coaching, and career transition workshops. Uri is a Certified Coach and a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF). Prior to his coaching career, Uri was a management consultant. He was a partner with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and VP of Consulting at Oracle Corporation.

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