Firstly, I’m not trying to scare anyone. Really.
But there are thousands of people that, in retrospect, would have received tremendous benefit from reading this post. Had they done so prior to their own layoff. And if there’s even a small chance that you might join the job search fraternity or sorority, it’s time to open up to some ideas that might help you.
This way you can avoid a substantial amount of hand wringing, frustration, anger and disillusionment. You can succeed during job search like my friend Ryon who wrote 10 ways to find a job successfully in 60 days or less during the worst job market ever.
Because he was prepared.
So I’m writing the post now. To help the thousands (and more) who still believe they are untouchable in this new economy. The one they are calling the new normal. An economy that is entirely unpredictable.
At least for now.
So if you are employed today, here’s what you need to hear. And what you need to start doing. Whether you are open to it or not.
Get serious about LinkedIn. Stop ignoring it and the requests coming from those who appear to need it more than you. You need it too as (minimally) a safety net for your career. Accept those connection requests from people who are trying to connect in the right way. Please stop being lazy on LinkedIn. All those annoying people bugging you on LinkedIn might one day be your way out of a difficult career interruption. You can also join LinkedIn groups that offer career advice now instead of waiting.
Get involved within your industry. Find groups that meet in your area and start to become known outside your company. If you get laid off, you might lose your influence platform (title, affiliation, email address, phone number, parking spot) and the phone calls won’t be returned the way they once were returned. If you’ve been less than friendly to vendors or industry group leaders, perhaps its time to say “yes” to a request now and then.
Develop your personal brand. Yes, you can think of yourself as a brand. And no, people won’t think you are weird. If you can identify what makes you unique, it will help you in your current job and in a job search down the road. Here’s a link to a free personal branding e-book I wrote that includes a road map to getting started.
Be a friendly interviewer, not a pompous one. Yes, you can be friendly and ask tough, penetrating questions at the same time. But if you interview like an arrogant SOB, you are setting yourself up for issues down the road.
Offer your time to do informational interviews. It’s easy. It introduces you to new people. And it helps others who would love to learn a little bit about your company. One informational interview per week = 30 minutes.
Keep track of your accomplishments. You’ll need specifics one day to write out great accomplishment statements. And most people do a very poor job of this.
So while this list could be much longer, just know that the reaction you are probably having is dangerous. It could happen to you. Even though all of us are hoping that it doesn’t.
But if it does and you didn’t listen, well, we’ll be harder to reach as a community. Especially if you played by your own rules when the game was in your favor. Or didn’t accept our connection requests many months back.
If you think there is any chance at all of your perfect career being upended by a layoff down the road, please start opening up to the world around you – especially the one outside of your office and home.