Today’s post is courtesy of Tim Baker from Markham Ontario, I “met” him on the Twitters and found that he always has something interesting and challenging to add to the conversations. Make sure you connect with him. Thanks for the post Tim!
Recently, during a Twitter chat (apologies for not remembering which one) someone mentioned that “everyone should go through a layoff at least once – to really understand the experience”. There probably is some truth to that. But it’s not something anyone wishes for themselves or anyone else.
I told Melissa that I would share some of what I learned from my layoff experiences. I told her that a couple weeks ago.
Ironically, this past week, I was laid off again. Yup, that’s 3 times in the last 7 years. Some may say (myself included) that you get used to it. But it’s not really about “getting used to it”…it’s more about knowing what to expect and how to manage the situation…and how to look after yourself. I know exactly how I will react in certain situations and what my stress indicators are.
The experience of losing your job, whether expected or not, is similar to the stages of loss or grief (I won’t name them…you can Google that). We all will go through them to varying degrees. It’s all about recognizing them, letting them happen…and then moving on. Don’t get stuck in any of the stages.
Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way. We’ll start with a couple of obvious ones…
Update your “resume”
If you haven’t done it already, update your resume. And by “resume” I don’t mean only the traditional paper resume…that’s just one small piece. Do it now while everything is fresh in your mind.
If you haven’t been job searching recently (last 3 years or so) it is important to explore the new ways that job seekers are marketing themselves, and where employers are looking. Much of it has very little to do with the traditional “paper resume”. Your online presence has a much bigger impact these days. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Blogs…just to name a few. These are the new resumes. It all about marketing yourself. The resume is a marketing piece. The cover letter is a marketing piece. Each and every one of these marketing pieces should be able to stand alone and entice a potential employer to bring you in for an interview.
That being said, you have to be careful of your online presence. There’s no question that a potential employer is going to “Google” you to see what comes up. They can’t use the information they find against you when making a hiring decision (technically). But let’s be honest, it will influence their decision.
Here’s a great blog post from April 11, 2013 by @YouTern, “Drop the Resume Shotgun Pard’ner: A 12 Step Targeted Job Search”…amazing information.
Practice your pitch
Nope…not talking about baseball. And I’m not talking about a sales pitch…or am I?
One of the best pieces of feedback I ever received after interviewing for a role was “You have to sell yourself better”
This is so true. However, this does not mean that you put together the “used car salesman” routine. Be genuine and authentic…but be sure to really sell yourself. To do this really effectively, you will want to practice it. Ultimately, do it with someone else that can give you feedback. You have to be open to criticism in order to make improvements. Another really great way to practice is to take a video of yourself and watch it. You’ll be surprised that sometimes what you think you are saying, is not really how it’s being received.
Right…easier said than done. We will hear people say:
“Something will come along, don’t worry”
“When one door closes, another one opens”
“Better things to come, right?”
If you have been searching for a while, it can get frustrating…seriously. However, it is all true. That next great opportunity WILL come along, it’s just a matter of time. The great Albert Einstein once said “Nothing happens until something moves.” This is the key. We have to keep moving forward, be proactive…but mainly just “be active”. Keep our minds and bodies active. Search out new ways to connect with people, and not just the job opportunities we find when conducting our search. Sometimes the greatest opportunities are found in the most unlikely places.
Look after yourself
What happens to many of us in career transition is we forget to look after ourselves. The only thing on our mind is finding a job, and spending all our time doing it. However, it can be counterproductive. Spending all our time searching for a new job will not increase our chance of finding something. At the same time, we’re forgetting to take care of our physical and mental well-being. This is important because if we start to get frustrated, depressed, or even angry, we will no longer be able to focus. Our attitudes will deteriorate and we may even become withdrawn. Worst of all, this negative change can impact other parts of our personal lives, and that can lead to a myriad of other issues (i.e. Relationship, financial, etc).
So…if you have a chance to go out with friends and just socialize, do it. You’re not losing valuable “job search time”. It is extremely important to keep doing the things you like to do. Even if that means taking a day off from the “job search” and just hanging out. It does the mind, body and soul a world of good. Just think of how good you will feel if you complete a few things that have been sitting on your to-do list.
Don’t be selfish
The final piece of advice I can give is this: if people offer to help you, let them. They would not be offering if they weren’t sincere. If there is one thing I’ve learned is that our network is very powerful…amazing things can happen.
And if you have any outstanding favours you can cash in, you might as well do it. You’d be amazed how generous people can be when you’re in need of their help.
But remember this…most people will not help those that do not help themselves.
So, on that note…if I can be of any assistance, in any way, please let me know. Here are my coordinates:
Tim Baker, CHRP
LinkedIn – ca.linkedin.com/in/bakertim
Google – https://plus.google.com/117736719870021220095/posts/p/pub
Twitter – @TimBakerHR