By: Dwain Celistan
7 steps to take to get your next opportunity
In today’s business environment, many people have been laid off, given early or forced retirement or been the casualty in a merger or acquisition. In addition, there are several persons who have been terminated, “let go” or fired by their employer. If any of these descriptions apply to you, you are not alone; this is and has happened to millions of Americans over the past several years.
As you move forward from this new situation, the issue is not about “why me” and more about the changing nature of business. Getting your next opportunity will become your new job. Here are seven steps to get there.
The first step is to take a breath. Use the first few days to reflect. Reflect on yourself, the situation, things that are important to you-personally and professionally. This is a fantastic time to reinvent yourself for the next opportunity. However, one must be introspective first.
Prior to advancing into implementing your plan to secure your next role, think about what is it that you’d like to do next. What are the elements of your prior roles and responsibilities that you found exciting and motivating?
Define the goals and objectives you have for your career and your life. For example, do you want to stay in the same industry? Would you like to stay in the same geography? Is this the time to continue in a similar role or can your skills be transferred into a different role? There are many avenues that talented professionals can pursue, use this time to determine the path that you’d like to take for the next chapter of your career.
Determining where you want to go next is incredibly important and it is hard work. You may use resources to help in this process. 5 Simple Steps to Achieving Your Dreams is a helpful book for this process.
Once you have determined the path you’d like to pursue, this will guide the balance of your search efforts. You are now focused for the subsequent steps in the process. Now you are empowered and can begin to move forward with a purpose…
Step two is to refrain from making quick decisions. This is particularly true for blasting our resumes, and calling your network and colleagues. Making those contacts needs to be well thought out and rehearsed.
Third, take full advantage of any outplacement benefits that may be provided. Outplacement firms are professionals and usually provide a solid pathway to follow as you transition into the next opportunity. The staffs are usually helpful and they provide great tools and coaching.
Fourth, develop an action plan and timeframe for your activities. This includes timing to complete a resume and secure feedback from a professional-HR, recruiter, senior executive, etc– prior to sharing broadly. Your resume should clearly communicate what you’re looking to do next, and reinforce why you are a person that needs to be contacted for that type of opportunity.
Fifth, create an “elevator speech” that can be shared with others. It is essentially a brief capsule of who you are, what you’d like to do next and why you’re an appropriate person to do it. This speech needs to be tight enough to share quickly with a busy executive, or has the ability to be expanded in a face to face meeting.
Sixth, develop a networking plan. This includes a broad list of organizations you’d like to work with, the persons you know professionally, socially, through volunteer activities, etc. The key is to establish a minimum number of contacts per week via your network.
In your networking efforts, share your “elevator speech”. The goal is to make it easy for them to help you. By identifying the organizations and types of roles you are pursuing, your network can help advance your efforts through more connections.
Data from a large outplacement firm suggested that you are ~ five times more likely to get an opportunity through networking than via an executive recruiter or via the internet. That makes incredible sense when you think about it as an example. You are the hiring manager for a new team. Your company has gotten a large number of resumes from the web site and you get a call from a colleague regarding someone they know. Who would you contact first? Most leaders will leverage their network versus a posting on the web site.
There are no absolutes in securing a new position; however, spending more time networking with a purpose than “working” on the computer typically pays bigger dividends.
Seventh and lastly, empower yourself to chase your dreams during this transition period. Pursue opportunities that take advantage of your strengths and interests. Thus, once you begin your new role, you are on a path to even greater professional fulfillment!
Dwain Celistan is the Career Acceleration Coach and author of 5 Simple Steps to Achieving Your Dreams and You’re Hired! Actions to Get and Keep the Job You Love. He is an executive recruiter and coach. Get more information at coachdwain.com.