Prepare Now for Employment Disaster or Opportunity

By Glen Esnard, Senior Principal, 20/20 Foresight

If you're like me, you have friends or family members who were so dedicated to their job that they missed seeing what was right in front of them until it was too late. Or, maybe it’s happened to you.

I cannot tell you how many executives I speak with who recite the following after a merger, a downsizing, a bad quarter,  “reduction in force” or a change in leadership leaves them frantically looking for a job:

·       "I never saw it coming."

·       "I haven’t updated my resume since I was twenty-five."

·       "I have a LinkedIn profile but I haven’t really managed it."

·       "I haven’t really had to look for a job since I got out of college."

·       "I haven’t had a real job interview in years."

·       "I really haven’t thought about what I might do next."

That’s a lot of catching up to do when the paycheck stops. 

I’d like to say this is an uncommon experience. Unfortunately, it isn’t. And by the time displaced executives and managers seek professional help they are often 60+ days into the job search experience and burning through their savings.

If you see warning signs, or simply want to be prepared, what is it you should be doing now and ongoing to be in the best position possible?

First, build a relationship with someone in the recruiting business active in your sector. They are the best at reading the winds and giving insight on hiring trends. Ask them to spend a few minutes advising you on the components of an effective resume. “Out Placement” services are great, but they aren’t the people reviewing hundreds of resumes a day giving them a valuable understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Second, revise your resume and update it regularly.

Third, copy and paste your updated resume on your LinkedIn page and keep it current. It’s free and everyone you meet with reviews your profile, whether you do the same or not.  Two other truths about LinkedIn:

·       Every recruiter reviews and uses it to source and qualify candidates; and

·       I have never heard of anyone getting fired or chastised by their boss for having a powerful LinkedIn Profile.

Fourth, manage your career. Consider your next career step if the unexpected happens. What direction best matches your profile, market demand and your career desires? When you get calls from recruiters on interesting positions or hear about a position that might fit, check it out. It’s good interview practice and can give you a data point or two on your market value.

Fifth, find an ally that can help you when disaster strikes, ideally well before. There are firms that will write your resume, but typically knowing nothing about your industry.  There are outplacement firms that will psychoanalyze you, give you career guidance and help you write your resume while typically knowing little about effective resumes and nothing about your industry.

Finally, there are firms like ours where finding your new job is our only job.

We provide personalized career guidance. Giving you a powerful outreach mechanism to senior executives in your industry, your consultant will work with you to provide:

·       A career plan that strives for long-term happiness and earning potential.

·       Resume creation and critique by hiring experts in your field.

·       A personal branding campaign that targets key companies and yield interviews.

·       Extensive, one-on-one interview coaching to help you land an offer. 

As Zig Ziglar once commented, “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.”

No one can control when opportunity or disaster will arise. Anyone can control preparation.