However, your job loss can be an opportunity to reassess your career, figure out what you want to do next, and take more control of your future.
Clearly, the days are gone when one company took care of you from graduation through retirement. While you may still meet people who’ve worked for one company for 30 or 40 years, their situation has little in common with ours. In fact, today’s average worker changes jobs every 3 years. Furthermore, hiring managers now prefer the worker who has changed jobs every 3 years. In the manager's eyes, that's the worker with broad experience. The worker who’s stayed with one company for 30 years is now a questionable bet, unless he or she moved around within the company, continuing to learn and grow.
Since you can't rely on a company to manage your career, you have to manage it yourself.
Coz..."If you don't have a plan, someone else will make your plan." And forming that plan for your career is a critical first step in creating the future you want. You need a strategy for the short term and the long term.
Jobs, as per job gurus can be divided into three categories--the ideal job, the transitional job, and the survival job. Here’s how they could be described-
Ideal Job: This is what you really want to be doing--"right livelihood". The job that grabs your heart, where your needs and abilities align with those of your company. However, be warned that, at best, your ideal job will last for roughly 7 years. At some point, your soul-mate boss will leave, or your great company will be acquired and then probably messed up. Thus, the ideal job is not a single destination, but one of several destinations in a long journey.
Transitional Job: The transitional job is an OK place to be for 1 to 3 years. It serves a purpose, but should be intentionally temporary. It may be a stepping-stone job in a company or career that you want to break into, or a job that gives you a good shot at the job you want later. Just don’t get too comfortable in a transition job and stay there--keep your focus on your longer-term goals.
Survival Job: Waiting tables, or temping in offices--these are often the stop-gap jobs. The reasons to take one of them are to keep you employed for sanity's sake, and to have some semblance of an income. However, you can try to align even survival work with your career strategy. For instance, don't wash dishes in the back of Denny's--take a job that is in the public eye, one that lets you meet people and build your network. And while you’re in your survival job, develop or keep a positive, friendly attitude. This affects how people perceive you and how you perceive yourself and your worth, which is important as you continue your ideal job search.
In essence, you need to figure out what you want to become, and develop a plan that will get you there. Your plan may change, but you do need one.That's strategy.
Now what about strategy execution? What do you do to get the job you really want? The answer? Marketing.
Every job counselor says the same thing: firing off resumes at every job opening that passes by is an ineffective way to get a job, especially a job that fits your long-term plan. We could call this passive-reactive job searching. You wait passively for a job opening, then reach out and try to grab it as it goes by. True, many job seekers have gotten jobs this way. But the passive approach doesn’t work very well in hard times, because the competition for available jobs is fierce. Passive job seekers will often be left waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
Marketing yourself, or proactive job searching, starts with identifying (1) what you can offer, (2) what distinguishes you from your competition, and (3) who your target market is. Marketing yourself is no different than marketing a product, but the product is you.
To effectively market yourself, you must develop a good understanding of your assets--your skills and personal traits. If you know your strengths, you can market yourself more effectively and with greater confidence, making your strengths available to companies that are looking for them.
You also need to understand the marketplace for people with your skills. This requires research. You may find that you need to go back to school or that people with your skills are employed in industries you hadn't thought of.
When you know your skill set and your market, your job search should rely on two important techniques: informational interviewing and networking.
One technique to apply to your job search is the informational interview. In the informational interview, you contact people who work in a field or company that interests you, and ask them questions to increase your knowledge and understanding. The interview can be done on the phone or in person. You can take this approach: "I'm exploring the kind of work I want to do, and I’d like to learn more about you and your work."
The informational interview is an extension of the research you’ve already done. These interviews should help you learn more about your field of interest and intelligently craft your career plan. You might make a connection through interviewing that leads to a job, but don't approach it that way. Instead, be a researcher. Always thank your interviewees for taking time to help you. If they’re interested, keep them updated on how things work out.
The second key tactic used by the proactive job searcher is networking. Networking is about meeting people--lots of them--and staying in touch. You should focus your networking on people who are in your field of interest. A good way to do this is to attend professional association meetings in your target field. Attend the meetings of these and similar organizations. Use the meetings to develop relationships with the members, and you will gradually build a powerful professional network.
Why do you need a professional network? Because the people in your network care about your success, just as you hopefully care about theirs. Many of them also recognize that helping each other is far more fruitful than treating others as hostile competitors.
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