What to Do about Your Executive Job Search if You Have Been Fired (or Consciously Uncoupled) from Your Company
Let’s face it–there is very little that is good about being fired. Executives experiencing this type of crisis often believe that the best thing for them to do is to get right back in the saddle and go search for a new job. Instead of forcing yourself into a job search situation for which you are not fully prepared and to which you are not fully committed, take a step back and follow these five steps to preparing to start an executive job search.
1. Take time to heal from the job loss.
It has been said that job loss and the ensuing loss of income is one of life’s biggest stressors. If you recently lost your job, you should take the time you need to process what happened without the compounding pressure of engaging in job search. You need to clear your head, read a dime store novel, and spend time with your family–to the extent that the financial pressures bearing down on you are not dire.
2. Evaluate your position in your industry.
If you have been terminated from a position, either terminated for cause or let go as part of a reduction in force, take some time to rethink your career trajectory. Consider the following questions:
- Is this industry expanding or contracting?
- Does your function within your industry have future viability?
- Do you like your work well enough to return to something just like it in another organization?
If you are not entirely sure that the industry from which you came is the one you want to continue in, then perhaps this is a time to make a radical change in career direction.
3. Re-engage your network.
Once you have taken time to heal and evaluate your situation, start to talk to people inside and outside of your industry. Be a great conversationalist by being a great listener, and learn what drives them, professionally speaking. Do not go casting about asking anyone who crosses your path for a job–that is not networking. Rather, advance your knowledge of others’ careers and industries. You might learn something valuable to add to your own executive job search strategy.
4. Write your resume.
By this time, you will have had time to recover from your job loss plus taken the time to discover what is really important to your executive career strategy. Use this information to craft a resume directed toward a particular role in a particular industry. If you are unable to pull this information out on your own, do not hesitate to ask for help; there are career experts who walk this path every day. In any case, make sure that you include your current volunteer work or education as a current role, so that future hiring executives know that you are keeping your industry skills sharp.
5. Start applying for positions–via your network
You have developed quite a lot of information about the direction you want your career to go, and you have validated this information with your network. Now continue to work within your network and those your first-degree connections (think: LinkedIn) suggest you should meet to become top of mind before positions are posted publicly. You will find this to be a much stronger strategy than scouring the job boards for open positions and posting into the void. If you must use job boards, set up alerts to email you with appropriately filtered lists, so that you can review them quickly and decide to apply through the job board or approach the company from a networking connection.
Image courtesy of Freeimages.com / marzie