I lost my job this week. My client made a decision to select a new vendor more strategically aligned with their strategy over the next 3-5 years. My company took a preemptive move and eliminated my position upon notification of the client’s decision. As the newest member of the team, and the highest paid, it was likely a no brainer for my company’s leadership team. From that perspective, the decision makes sense as they protect the bottom line through the end of the contract.
It still stinks to be looking for a next spot in this economy.
In case it happens to you, here are some pointers.
- Ask to take your phone with you. Offer to return it in 5 days. You will want at least some of the phone numbers stored in it. You have friends numbers saved in it, and likely don’t have them written down or stored elsewhere. Your company may say no, but it is worth a shot.
- Ditto on your calendar. Chances are the only place you have your next hair appointment captured is in you work Outlook calendar, same for your dentist and other annual exams. Where would you be if you had to reenter all your birthday reminders. Yuck. If you have a Blackberry, keeping the phone for a week will take care of this as well. If not, you need to know how to export your calendar, ideally to a file, but at least to print it so you have important personal appointments.
- Create your own ending. You may be getting “relieved of your duties”, IE: fired. Leave everyone the experience of you that you want them to have for the next 15 years. Think leadership, not kicking and screaming. Did you have an opportunity to say good-bye to your staff? Send them an email from home. Tell them how proud you are of them. Be their leader, even as you exit. They need it from you, their lives are being up-ended as well. And their impression of you will be that in the end, you cared about them.
- Now send a similar email to your company’s leadership. It is NOT about how you feel, it is about their last impression of who you are. Their final impression of your brand. Thank them for the opportunity to learn from the company and from their leadership. You may gag at the prospect of writing it, but you are protecting the impression others have of you. And in this economic environment and the global village we live in, you are likely to encounter them again. Go out with class.
- Activate your network. Immediately. Tell everyone you know what has happened, and do it without anger. Lay out the facts: you are on the market. Ask for their assistance: keep you in mind and spread the word within their networks. Thank them in advance for their help. You will be keeping yourself in front of them-see below.
- Do your resume. DO NOT DELAY. Your resume should be done before you lose your job. That is a huge help. No one enjoys doing resumes, and do not let that be your excuse. It will not get easier, it will get more difficult when you are not in front of your business calendar to remind you of your accomplishments. Do it the first day after you lose your job.
- Thank everyone from your network who sends you a note of encouragement or acknowledgment about your situation. You need to keep in touch with them.
- Update your profile on LinkedIn, it is more important than your resume. Seach agents are constantly culling through profiles looking for key words to zero in on. LinkedIn is the best place to find high performers which is what every company is looking for. Establish your real estate using strategically chosen words. It takes work, sure. And you will reap the benefits.
- Send your Resume to your network. ” Thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts and encouragement…attached is my resume outlining my skill set.” Thank everyone again for keeping you in their awareness. This is a second contact with everyone, keeping you in their awareness.
- Develop your value proposition. What do you bring to a company that someone else won’t. Boil it down to 2 or 3 sentences. This is your cocktail party answer to what you are looking for. What industry? (or not specific to 1 industry), and what do you bring. “I help clients maximize their investment in technologies they already own, by better explaining what business tasks can be achieved with the tool”.
- Email your value proposition to your network. This is what they will tell people about you to stimulate conversation which ends with “Send me her resume”.
- Update your LinkedIn status everyday in a business and goal related manner. It will keep your name in front of those in your network. Build a history of your accomplishments or your thoughts on current business events in the news.
- Arrange a short phone conversation with anyone your network suggests as an possibility, even if there seems to be no connection to what you are looking for. It is an opportunity to expand your network. Ask for 10 minutes and talk about your value proposition and ask about them-everyone likes to talk about themselves and what they do. One of their take aways will be that you are inquisative and curious. Talking only about yourself has others remember you as self absorbed (even if you are not). They may not have a position, but once they have spoken to you, they are much more likely to think of you while in conversations with others. And since the conversation they had, they feel comfortable that they are recommending a professional. You are expanding your network and it will work harder for you.
More later. Good Luck.