Thriving After a Downsizing – Part Two

In my last article, I shared thoughts on managing through the shocking process of being downsized from a company. Losing your job is one of the top five most traumatic life events. If you are a part of the unfortunate many who experience a job loss, I suggested the following five steps to help you survive a downsizing.

  1. Breathe

  2. Mourn the loss

  3. Get focused

  4. Involve your personal network

  5. Engage your professional network

In this article, I will share with you five additional areas of consideration… areas that will help you thrive after a downsizing.

As you engage with your personal and professional network of people, they will ask you “What do you want to do next?” or, “What kind of job are you looking for?”. So, it is a good idea, to have a good idea… of what your next step looks like.

1. Get clear on your next move. This can often be very challenging. It may seem easy to simply look for a similar job in the same industry to the one you just left. If you truly loved the work you did, that’s fantastic. However, have you considered doing the same work in a different industry? Or, doing different work in the same industry? Are you looking for a job with the same level of responsibilities or are you looking for more… or for less?

Transitions in life offer us an opportunity to review our values, goals, passions, skills, and interests (to name just a few). Being in-between-jobs is a perfect time to review the big picture of your life and to spend some time “going within” to ensure you are on your best path.

This is a good time to check out some career exploration resources at your local library, talk with a mentor about your personal and professional objectives, or work with a professional career coach. There are numerous resources available to you, if an exploration is what you desire. (If you are interested in professional coaching, a great resource to locate a trained and certified coach is through the International Coach Federation.)

2. Determine if there are gaps. Once you have made a decision on the role or roles you want to pursue, ensure you have the most current training and certifications needed or expected for the job. One way to uncover this information is by doing a search on a job site (like Monster, CareerBuilder or Indeed) for versions of the job title. Reading through the job descriptions will give you a clearer indication of requirements for the job you seek. If you do not have all of the requirements, you have uncovered a gap. Your next decision is then, do you want to continue to pursue this job? If the answer is yes, then what will be your next steps toward closing that gap? A couple of websites that may be of interest to you as you consider additional training options for specific jobs include O-net Online and the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

3. Update your résumé. Once you have the best job for you in your sites, it is time to start marketing your capabilities to fill this job. A dynamic, specific, well-designed résumé is the marketing tool of choice. The purpose of a résumé is to market you well so that you gain a job interview. If you have a résumé already developed, review it to ensure that the contents of the document speak specifically to the requirements of the job you now seek. Generic résumés are out. For each job, ensure that you address the specific requirements noted in the job requirements. DO NOT USE ONE résumé FOR ALL JOBS YOU APPLY TO. (Did I shout that rule loud enough?) Each résumé should be tailored to the specific job you are applying for. If you are struggling with developing a strong, focused résumé, there are a number of written resources available to you for ideas. There are also professional résumé writers that you may wish to engage to help you with the process. Trained and certified résumé writers can be found through a couple of organizations including the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches or The National Résumé Writers’ Association.

4. Prepare to be interviewed. With a stellar résumé in hand, you’ve applied for a job. And, the good news comes… you have been selected for an interview. Are you ready? If it has been awhile since you last interviewed for a job, you may want to spend some time thinking about the types of questions you will be asked and your appropriate responses. Google “typical job interview questions” and you will gain a plethora of information on the topic. It is important to practice answering questions. Engaging a friend or significant other in this part of the preparation phase can be very helpful. Dressing for an interview is important as well. Even if the interview is via Skype or other virtual meeting method, a professional appearance is important. If your suit is a relic of the 90s, it is time to invest in something more current. For suggestions on proper attire for interviews, I recommend a couple of articles on the topic: “How to Dress for an Interview” and “Dressing for Interviews”.

5. Focus on what is going well. It is important to focus on the positive experiences you are having. Whether it is gained insight into more meaningful or lucrative work, success in landing a job interview with an employer of choice, or meeting new people at a networking event. The job search process can be very challenging. It is WAY too easy to get discouraged. By focusing on what is going right, you help yourself stay on target and keep your momentum. Remember, if you fall seven times, stand up eight.

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