A lay-off is not an experience that any employee would choose to imagine or relive. In fact, anyone who has ever been laid off from a job can attest to the feeling of helplessness and even frustration that ensues. However, in this article, we will focus on the plight of those recently let go from leadership positions.
In many cases, business leaders have likely risen through the ranks of an organization, if they weren’t recruited to work alongside those who have. Nevertheless, once unemployed, most business leaders are aware of the fact that there is often a reduced selection of open positions at their level. So where do those who have found themselves laid off from top ranking roles begin when facing a new job search?
Recruiter, career strategist, and author; Jenny Foss; summarizes a few effective strategies for displaced leaders navigating the job market.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for the right kind of help.
Chances are that if you’ve held a high ranking leadership role at the same company for many years, it’s likely you have not recently spent a great deal of time planning your next move. However, this is exactly the first notion that laid-off business leaders must consider. While it’s fine to take some time for a proverbial “exhale” following a lay-off, do not allow any of your own thoughts of uncertainty begin to fester. Ross reminds readers, “Rather than wasting valuable energy and time spinning out over something you’re not current on or proficient at, consider hiring a career coach, job search strategist, or resume writer when you’re ready to get started”. If this is not possible, at least incorporate friends or family members who would be willing to look over your application correspondence and help you prepare for interviews.
Re-educate yourself on the job-search process.
One of the most important ways to ensure that your resume is viewed by the right people is to learn the basic recruiting practices of HR reps and hiring managers. (In fact, this is important for any new candidate finding themselves back on the job market after a long period of employment.) From ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) to current resume expectations, your best course of action is to perform the right type of research before jumping head-first into the job market.
As Foss reiterates, “These factors [understanding recruiter practices and how to ensure your resume stands out to hiring managers] matter, especially if you’re applying for roles online”.
Communicate to your network.
While online job boards are definitely not to be skipped, solely applying to jobs in this manner does not necessarily guarantee that you will find exactly what you are looking for. In fact, many top leadership roles are sometimes not even publicly posted on the internet. Quite often, the position you are looking for may come by way of someone you already know. This is where networking comes in to play. There is little time to waste when it comes to effectively utilizing your existing network of colleagues and contacts. However, Foss explains that “simply ‘reaching out’ to your people may not net you the results you’re looking for. You’ve got to be specific”. She continues, “The more detailed you can be in painting a picture of how they can help, or what they can ‘keep an eye out for’, the better the odds that they will be genuinely useful through your efforts”. For this reason, be sure to first ascertain the role of each individual before reaching out, rather than merely sending a blanket email to a mass of contacts.
Leverage your capacity for “Thought Leadership”.
If you had the ability to inspire and lead while inside the workplace, there is no to reason to believe you cannot do the same within other circles of your industry or the job market as a whole. The same tenacity that you used to expand your expertise, land promotions, and show your competence as a leader can be harnessed during your job search. Foss states, “When you’re laid off… it’s time to put [self promotion] at the top of your list. It’s time to capitalize on your thought leadership in a way that promotes your knowledge, your firepower, and your brand”. In fact, the best place to begin is with social media, starting with LinkedIn and Twitter. Creating content that displays your expertise and competence as a leader in your field will help build your personal brand, making you a more desirable prospect for employers. Foss suggests starting small, “[producing] content that’s interesting and relevant to your area of expertise. Publish your own LinkedIn articles [and ask] other industry pros relevant questions on Twitter (or answer other people’s questions)”.
Further reading: Creating Quality Online Content That Fits Your Business
More from SC&C: Important Reminders for Job Seeking on LinkedIn
What’s most important to remember is that as a business leader, you’ve likely earned your spot through talent, strategy, and resourcefulness. Applying these very qualities to securing the next phase in your career is the best decision you could possibly make.
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