by Eric Frankel
Most agree these are unprecedented times with business leaders “stuck” in a cycle of deteriorating revenue and cash flow. Small, mid-sized and larger companies have been resisting, but 2009 may become known as the year of layoffs and downsizing.
So if you (or someone close to you) lose their job, here are 5 fresh ideas to turn this life transition into a positive vs. a negative time period.
Be Good to Yourself
Immediately after the layoff, update and upgrade your resume and cover letter and reach out to key business associates and personal contacts (by telephone as a 1st step, then email). Let them know your situation and ask if they can help or can refer you to someone who can. Then… take a few days off (a week if financially able) to clear your head, “refresh”, re-energize and be ready to move forward with a higher level of confidence and internal fortitude.
Going forward, remember that a job search, while time consuming, is not a full-time focus. Spend time with the family, walk in New York City, tackle that home project you’ve been excited about. Keep your spirits high and your mind sharp to embrace the exciting opportunities which lie ahead.
Be responsive, not obsessive. Check emails at least twice daily and return phone calls within one business day. You are not “chained down” to read emails every minute with a Blackberry or iPhone attached to your hip- don’t do it! We chuckle at the teenage girl who constantly checks her cell phone for new texts and messages; by mimicking those actions, you are adding unnecessary angst to your increasingly full plate.
Be Realistic and Open-Minded
There are a multitude of reasons why our economy has suffered; one of them is quick fixes and short-term thinking. Most agree that long-term (vs. short-term) solutions are required in government, business regulations, housing, financial markets and world trade to lead us in a positive direction.
Recognize the next few years will bring downward pressure on compensation (supply of quality professionals will exceed demand). Holding out for a comparable or higher base may be unrealistic (ask professional contacts if you are realistically compensated). Remember you are looking to maximize your compensation over the long-term, say 5 year period, not the next six months. Landing a new position with a 10% increase is counterproductive if the company and the position are a dead end. On the other hand, a position where your instincts feel right and upside potential exists will deliver a much great prospect of happiness and success, for the long-term.
Behave Like a Salesperson to Open Doors and in Interviews
Many professionals are intimidated by sales (even some who have that title). Life, however, is filled with sales situations where an engaging, creative and persuasive personality increases the likelihood of success- to name a few, managing, parenting and of course, job searching.
Jump “outside” your comfort zone to call contacts you haven’t talked to in years. Use Social Networking sites (Linked In, Facebook) to reach out to people/companies who will benefit from meeting you. Yes, you will talk to a handful of “cranks”, but they are long-forgotten when you progress with decision makers who admire your verve and ability to truly differentiate yourself from other job seekers.
When it comes to the interview, make every effort to be professional, genuine and comfortable. Most interviewers embrace a conversational tone and a relaxed, confident and highly capable individual in front of them. Role play and practice with friends or family to ensure you are getting the kinks out in advance of the “real” interview.
Lastly, send a handwritten thank you after the interview, not email like 98% of your competition; it really makes a difference.
Establish Clear Goals
At the end of a typical business week, you take pride upon goals attained and then establish new goals for the upcoming week. In job search mode, you must also identify goals weekly and adhere to them! The end goal, of course, is to land a good job in a realistic time frame; what will it take to get there? Try weekly:
1. Contact 25 people in my industry or others that may be able to help (telephone of course, not email)
2. Meet with at least 5 people (that’s what Starbucks is for).
3. Send your cover letter/resume direct to the decision maker of at least 20 companies in your industry (just call companies and ask for CEO’s or VP of a particular function)
4. Follow up in the coming two weeks with phone calls to cover letters/resumes sent (again differentiation).
Stick to the intermediary focuses and your end goals of interviews and the right job will come sooner rather than later.
In summary, do everything you can to retain confidence and reduce stress. Only YOU can put yourself in a position to think positively, do the right things and interact with the right people who bring out the best of you. With the right attitude and right approach, you’ll be looking back soon enough with an upgraded new job position and internal gratification of how well you handled the job transition for the benefit of you and your family.
Eric Frankel started Frankel Corporate Consulting in 1995 to serve the needs of growing, profitable Companies requiring “out of the box” services to sustain their success and grow profitability and shareholder value. Business consulting initiatives are focused on assessing and enhancing clients’ unique “organizational dynamics” through communication with employees and review of financial information. Eric complements the consulting focus with specialized recruiting and financial advisory services.
His newest venture, 10 Minutes to Change (http://www.10minutestochange.com/), harnesses his unique gift to assess talent, delivering essential perspective to Business Professionals in a positive, constructive manner. 10 Minutes to Change has achieved prominence as an innovative leadership development tool, a unique sales training approach and a cost-effective way to provide meaningful guidance for displaced employees.