Are You The Weakest Link? Plan Your Career Strategy Before You Take The "Walk Of Shame"

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,, or (local employers only in certain states), specialized websites, such as (technology), Medzilla (pharmaceutical), or (finance) will assist you in knowing what types of jobs are the hot tickets.

In addition, you should visit, 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 open positions.

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 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 Managers.

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! Order now or call us at 1-866-726-9052!

Back to Job Seeking Tips Index

Find out what your past employers are saying about you. Check your references. Job References and reference checking services. Job References and reference checking services. Job References and reference checking services. Job References and reference checking services. Job references and reference checking services. Reference checking services and job reference checks. Job References and reference checking services. Reference checking services, get your job references checked.

Copyright 1987 - 2020, All Rights Reserved

Resumes That Get Interviews or We Rewrite for Free!


Resume Facts | About Us | Services and Rates | Testimonials | Employment Resources | Job Seeking Tips | Contact Us | Site Map