For those job-seeking executives — young or old — who still think there really is a surefire way to land that next job with no muss or no fuss, forget it, unless of course you think “professional wrestling” is a sport and not a pre-scripted entertainment spectacular.
The secret to success is a lot of hard work which includes paying attention to the career management fundamentals — understanding your value proposition, then creating a killer resume that can easily be adapted for each job you pursue, and nurturing a robust network of professional contacts in your field of interest. Then, after all that, there is a lot more disciplined hard work to find the right next position.
For those filled with self-confidence and who believe they will never have to deal with the enforced job search ordeal, think again. Leaving your current job may, in fact, be your decision, but unless you are being recruited away for that certain next great job the chances are that you will experience at least two compulsory transitions in your career. In some industries like healthcare, in the early stages of a massive transformation, the number of layoffs could be more.
The only way you can avoid the anxieties that occur when you lose your job and the inevitable self-doubt as to whether you will able to find the security of a regular paycheck again is to be prepared and stay prepared. Always.
Here are four points to help you avoid the gut-wrenching angst of a prolonged career transition:
- Lock in your value proposition. Understand it, believe in it and let it be the center of your resume and how you communicate your story in interviews. If you are not sure how to develop this critical career management tool, find someone who does and can help you with your journey in identifying those four or five things you are really good at.
- Keep a career journal — including your jobs, dates of employment, titles, scope of responsibility, supervisors, compensation, records of your performance reviews and, most importantly, your important quantifiable successes. Most people think they will remember their successes but they are wrong. Over time, our memories fade a bit and too often great relevant accomplishments are never mentioned. Don’t be that candidate whose resume is filled with namby-pamby accomplishments that will not differentiate you from the dozens of other people competing for the same job. You need that information to differentiate your career brand.
- Keep your resume up to date — on your HOME computer. Backing it up is a good idea, too. This is the smartest move. That said, more than half of the executives will, at some point in their career, be faced with having to recreate a resume because their only copy was locked in their office computer when they left the company, their home computer crashed with no backup, there was an inadvertent permanent deletion by your kids, or the ever popular, Act of God. If any of those things happen, see number two herein above. The career journal becomes your invaluable reference book to recreate an accurate replacement.
- Every week, reserve time to work on developing and feeding your professional network using:
- Contacts made through your national and local professional associations
- Image management – do not allow yourself to be so focused on your own success that you morph into That Person because you become oblivious to what your employees and colleagues think of you
Join John tomorrow for the SelfPerspective podcast: Millennials and Their Bum Rap