What’s the best defense against the probable inevitability of unemployment?
Assume that it may happen to you, and be prepared. Things can change in an instant.
Wise people understand that we’re all always in perpetual job search, whether or not we’ve been steadily employed throughout our careers.
They know that they should always keep their networks alive, and be accessible and open to new opportunities.
This means continuously communicating your personal brand and unique value to the kinds of employers you would want to work for next, mainly through your LinkedIn profile.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and contains lots of content optimized with your relevant key words and phrases. This way, your profile will help you get found, on an ongoing basis, by recruiters and hiring decision makers at the companies that interest you.
Stay proactive with LinkedIn, in particular, but also with other social media.
Keep your resume and other personal marketing materials up to date and at the ready.
That’s all well and good, but most of us don’t do these things. So let’s say you haven’t, and suddenly you’ve been laid off or fired.
What can you do when you’re unemployed to catch up with branding your value to companies you’ll now have to actively pursue?
4 Ways to Get Your Career Back on Track When You’re Unemployed
1. Work on targeting and your personal brand messaging
Haven’t done anything yet to define your brand and create targeted personal marketing materials (LinkedIn profile, resume, biography, etc.)?
Get to work on your personal brand.
My executive job search worksheets will help you.
2. Rebuild and expand your network
Reconnect with everyone you can think of, in any walk of life, and let them know your career goals.
Search the LinkedIn company profiles of those you want to target, look for employees you may know, and invite them to connect.
Ask everyone you know if they know anyone at your target companies, and ask for an introduction.
Also, look for senior level executives at these companies who may be hiring decision makers, and reach out to them.
Learn how to network your way into the goldmine of “hidden” jobs.
3. Find ways to fill potential employment gaps, before they happen
It can take many months to find a new good fit job.
When you’re unemployed, you need to do some kind of work – whether or not you receive compensation – to avoid major gaps in your LinkedIn profile and resume.
Typically, things get sticky with gaps of one year or more. So do what you can to keep that from happening.
Here are some suggestions. Do your best to find work that is consistent with your personal brand and unique value proposition to your target employers. Then this fill-in work experience will be of greater value to them:
- Volunteer – charities, schools, hospitals, civic groups, etc.
- Find consulting gigs or short-term interim work
- Secure temp work
4. Get comfortable with social media
Now you’ll probably have the time to learn about and spend professional time on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media.
Use my Essential LinkedIn Checklist to fully leverage this most important social network for executive job search.
Get a handle on Twitter and why it’s a good complement to LinkedIn.
Work on building your online presence, to be more visible and “findable”.
Some More Proactive Things to Do When You’re Unemployed
Job hunting will take up a fair amount of your time, but it’s wise to carve out some time to pursue things that will contribute to your professional growth, and set you up for career success.
There are many other things you can do with that time, along with my suggestions above.
MakeUseOf.com offers some proactive things you can do to increase your chances of landing your next job:
Track your schedule.
By organizing your day, you’ll stay focused and motivated, and it will be easier to measure your progress. Set aside specific times to work on your goals.
Learn in-demand skills.
Research and identify in-demand skills in your industry or the job market you’re targeting, and upgrade/polish your existing skills or learn new ones.
Develop a personal website or portfolio.
A personal website or online portfolio can showcase your skills, projects, and achievements. It acts as a centralized platform where potential employers can learn more about you and your work.
Use job search websites and apps.
Utilize job search websites and mobile apps to explore job opportunities and conduct research. Platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn Jobs, and Glassdoor provide access to a wide range of job listings.
Get a mentor.
A mentor can offer guidance and direction, easing the challenges and uncertainties. They can assist you in evaluating your skills and goals, providing insights into career paths that align with your strengths.
Look for professionals in your industry who have achieved success and are willing to share their knowledge.
Unemployment happens to most of us, and to the best of us. It’s often no reflection on you and your performance.
Your best defense is to be prepared BEFORE it ever happens. But if it sneaks up on you, when you’re unemployed follow my guidelines to keep your personal brand alive, as you navigate your job search.