by Kathy Sweeney, NCRW, CPRW, CEIC, CCM
Is your company downsizing? Have the recent
unethical business practices in corporate America had an affect
on your company? Statistics have proven that when other businesses
are in trouble, the stock market tumbles, corporations panic,
and layoff's occur. For this reason alone, you need to have
your career "mapped out", just in case you become a victim.
There are many questions you should ask yourself
in this situation. First, how prepared are you if you lose
your job tomorrow? Is your resume and cover letter updated
with your current position? Do you have other contacts in
your specific industry or related industries? If you could
not work in the industry where you are employed now, what
skills do you have that are transferable?
Financially, how stable are you? Do you have
at least 6 months of salary in the bank in case you are downsized?
Losing a job can be devastating financially if you are not
prepared. If you do not have any savings, starting now can
help to ease the burden. Ten percent of your salary should
be put directly into a savings account, to make the unemployment
transition not as overwhelming.
The first step in planning your career path
is to ascertain if you are working in the industry you love.
If not, now may be a great time to make a change.
Not sure what you would like to do? I suggest
taking career assessments or talking with a career consulting
specialist to find out how valuable you are in today's marketplace.
You may have talents in specific areas that you have not recognized.
A specialist in the career services industry
can also assist you in determining if you need additional
education or certifications which would be beneficial to keeping
your current job or finding a new one.
Further, depending on your earning capacity
or if you work in an industry that has been adversely affected,
you may find that there are Federal programs that can help
make the transition cost effective. Student loans and Federal
Student Aid (Pell Grants, which do not have to be paid back)
are two such sources.
There are also specific job training programs,
such as the Workforce Investment Act of the U.S. Department
of Labor Employment and Training Administration (formerly
the Job Training Partnership Act), which helps individuals
who have been displaced in specific industries.
After 9/11, many industries were affected,
but most importantly, the aviation industry. Thousands of
workers were laid off and the government picked up the tab
for job retraining for these individuals.
Once you have determined your specific goal,
found the funds to make it happen, then the focus becomes
making a timeline by which you will make these changes happen.
Determine which employment skills are necessary to be a player
in your industry. Then, go out and get those certifications.
Get the most important certifications first
and then work backwards to the least important. If you are
not certain which certifications are important, talk to others
in your industry, read trade publications, join professional
associations and participate in their local meetings, visit
your local university, or talk to a career counselor.
Start your employment search now! Take a look
at the employment opportunities that are available in your
area. Visiting national websites such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com,
or Jobing.com (local employers only in certain states), specialized
websites, such as Dice.com (technology), Medzilla (pharmaceutical),
or JobsintheMoney.com (finance) will assist you in knowing
what types of jobs are the hot tickets.
In addition, you should visit Indeed.com,
which is a job-search aggregator (search engine). It culls
jobs from every possible source on the Internet. It is not
a job board - so, you must search by keywords, like "sales
manager" or "network security" to find the
Ensure your resume and cover letter are up-to-date
in case you find a position you want to apply for immediately.
The next step is to research the companies
or industries that appeal to you. Research the companies through
the Internet by visiting their company website or do a keyword
search on that company using Yahoo.com or other search engines.
Look for trends in hiring or downsizing, profitability,
financial stability and opportunities for advancement. Is
the company a proactive entity or do they resist change? Network
with individuals in the professional associations you join
to get a first hand account of the company stability.
If you have not interviewed for positions
lately, get back in the game. Become familiar with the types
of interviews that are currently being used by Human Resources
Utilizing an Interview Coach, who is well-versed
in these areas, can also be a benefit. There are also several
good books on the market, which can give you a gauge of the
types of questions being asked.
Prior to the interview, ensure that you have
up-to-date interview clothing. If you have not purchased a
suit in a while, make sure that you purchase something that
is fashionable, but not too trendy.
Present a polished look from head to toe by
having your shoes shined (or purchasing a new pair), a good
hairstyle, nails manicured (for the men) and polished (for
the ladies). Carry an updated briefcase or portfolio, which
is not tattered or worn. Dress for the job you want three
years from now. Hiring Managers always remember who was professional
in their initial interview.
As a last thought, change the outgoing message
on your voicemail or answering machine so your message is
clear and professional. Do not have a message with your children's
voices on it. Turn off any background noises such as music
or television. Human Resources Managers want to deal with
individuals who are professional in all areas of their life.
If your current resume is not getting you
interviews, then it may not be geared to what the Hiring Manager
is looking for. Have The Write Resume prepare your documents
and get the interviews you deserve!
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