If you have managed to “buy” yourself some time by following and implementing option 1, you should now be in the position to consider your next possible step with slightly less uncontrolled urgency and much more concerted focus. Option 2 is what I call “the traditional” option and is the one that the vast majority of people choose to concentrate on.
2) Looking for Another Job:
Now, before you say; “Well that’s obvious isn’t it, Peter?”, Yes, that would be the most obvious thought process for most people, but it’s not always a simple as that, particularly in the current economic climate. There are things to consider and it’s not necessarily the right option for everyone either.
The first thing that most people do is hunt around looking for a copy of their last CV or Resume, make a few changes, then hit the streets with it having no real plan.
But this is now the perfect time to take a step back, look at the wider picture and ask yourself a few questions;
- Do I simply want to replace my old job for the same thing in another company?
- What were the things I really liked about my last job and my employer, and, just as importantly, what were the things I didn’t like?
- Was my previous job/career taking me in a direction I wanted to go?
- Is there anything else I’ve always wanted to do?
- Are there any qualifications I would like to achieve to assist my career progression?
This is a really important exercise as knowing the answers to these questions will save a lot of time and potentially wasted effort in moving forward and help you to understand your motivations & desires.
Once you have a clear picture of what it is you are aiming for you can then take a good hard look at your CV or resume. There are many sources of information on the internet with advice on how best to present yourself on paper and also plenty of companies who offer CV writing services too. Getting this right will save a lot of disappointments later on and will have a significant impact on how successful you are at finding the right job.
With this completed you will now be fully prepared to move forward in a controlled and focussed way.
Your “Route to Market”
Now that you are ready to go, you’ll need to decide on a strategy to find potential openings and how to get yourself noticed. This is what I call your “route to market”. Think of yourself as a commodity which needs to be marketed to someone with a potential interest in buying you. I know this isn’t a particularly pleasant way of looking at yourself but it might help to understand the mechanics of what needs to be done. Here, there are two routes for you to consider and both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
1) Market Yourself
This is where you will need to make use of all your personal contacts; ex- work colleagues, friends, acquaintances, family, the landlord of the local pub and anyone else you can possibly think of! Ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for you. A personal recommendation will almost certainly get you an invitation to interview at the very least.
Set up your profile on some of the social and business networking community sites such as facebook, myspace and LinkedIn and seek out anyone you know. There are many of these available on the internet and are perfect for networking and spreading the word that you are available and looking.
Go to any potential networking events such as industry related seminars and exhibitions. This may sound like an impossibly difficult and uncomfortable thing to consider for people who are not naturally outgoing but it can be incredibly effective. The chances are that the people you meet will not be the physical “hirers”, but they will often be a good source of information on the ground and another potential recommendation.
Use the internet to target websites of companies that look like potential suitors. A short, well constructed e-mail to the MD, CEO (or as high up as you can get) containing an brief introduction about you and asking who you would need to contact in relation to a position within the company is probably the most powerful tool you can use to market yourself. You will almost certainly get a reply and even if the company are not currently recruiting, you will at least have made an impression and another potential networking contact. If, on the other hand, they are recruiting, you will have bypassed many of the initial hurdles and gatekeepers by being recommended from the top!
Remember also, that the company will not have had to pay a recruitment fee if you turn out to be the person they are looking for and get hired!
2) Outsource Your Marketing
This is where you make use of professional Recruitment Agencies to do all the leg work for you! The advantage of this route is that you don’t have to do anything – the disadvantage is that most of what goes on is out of your control. More often than not, you will be just one little fish in a very big pond so unless you happen to stand out like a killer whale, you might want to be prepared to be proactive and push the agency to work hard for you. There are two ways to involve an agency in your search for a job;
Sign up with as many of the myriad of internet job sites that you feel are relevant to the type of work you are looking for. Search for job ads that look suitable and make contact with the agency who are advertising. Most of them will list a name and contact number although more and more seem to be turning to online registration forms and uploading your CV or resume. My personal preference is to speak directly to the individual at the recruitment agency in order to;
- get a better idea of the actual job itself and not rely on a typically standard advert
- get a feel for the extent of knowledge of their clients’ requirements (if any..!!)
- assess how effective they sound over the phone. – After all, they will be the ones representing you in the first instance so I think this assessment is pretty crucial!
During your search process you are bound to come across job sites and companies that advertise their ability to get your CV to literally hundreds of agencies for you, for a small fee. My personal opinion of this whole concept is it uses what I call the “shotgun” approach; firing thousands of tiny pellets over a wide area in the hope that something might get hit. This, to me, is the total opposite of a well thought out, controlled and targeted approach and I’m yet to be convinced it actually achieves worthwhile results, however, if all else fails, it’s got to be worth a try!!
Just be aware that, unless you strike it lucky, this may be a fairly slow process with disappointments and frustrations along the way, but try to remain positive, optimistic and focussed.
In the final part of this series we will look at Option 3 – Taking Control of Your Own Destiny.